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These Filmmakers Are Fed Up With How TV Kills Off Queer Characters

“If you’re a queer woman, chances are you underwent a great loss this year,” filmmaker Cole Santiago tells us, observing at the tombstone of the [*SPOILER ALERT even though I’m pretty sure we all binge-watched OITNB already*] late, great Poussey Washington. She adds that, in 2016 alone, 18 female queer characters have been killed off on television.

Indeed, the “Bury Your Gays” trope has been a particular topic of conversation this year, following not only the aforementioned death of Poussey, but also the controversial death of The 100‘s Lexa. Fans’ disappointment and frustration over the character’s death even prompted the series showrunner and executive producer, Jason Rothenberg, to publish an open letter, assuring viewers that “burying, baiting or hurting anyone was never our intention. It’s not who I am.”

Credit: CW

This ongoing theme of unhappy endings (and, you know, death) for queer characters also prompted Autostraddle to release a comprehensive set of infographics detailing queer representation in media, with a focus on lesbian and bisexual television characters. Take a look; it’s worth your time.

And while there have been queer female characters on television (Remezcla has a pretty thorough list), there are few series ABOUT these characters. They rarely get the A story, and even more rarely “get the girl” at the end.

Credit: ABC

And, thus, Vida.

Vida‘s team is unique in media–a female cast and crew, most of whom are Latinx–and the story they have to tell is an innately personal one. “Growing up as a closeted teenager,” Santiago explains on the project’s Seed & Spark page, “too scared to reach out, the only safe route to better understand my feelings came in the form of film and television.” The project, conceived as a short film and potential pilot, follows Vida, a quiet 17-year-old girl dealing with a roommate who wants to become Instagram famous. Vida’s life is uprooted by “a Courtney Love-obsessed lesbian vampire” and… I mean, that’s all I need to know to want to tune in.

Credit: WB

Vida‘s fundraising page keeps things nicely on-theme, with fundraising goals named after popular queer (or queered, in some cases) characters. For example, if you pitch in 50 bucks, you reach Drusilla level, and a member of the crew will be slimed with a bucket of blood in your honor, with video proof. Mwahaha!

Take a look at Vida‘s teaser video, below, and help #ressurectourgays:

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Kehlani Dresses as Both Prom King and Queen on Cover of ‘Playboy’, Talks Feeling Comfortable in Both Gender Roles

Entertainment

Kehlani Dresses as Both Prom King and Queen on Cover of ‘Playboy’, Talks Feeling Comfortable in Both Gender Roles

Photo via kehlani/Instagram

Kehlani has long been open about the fluid nature of her gender expression. That’s why it’s exciting that the R&B star is experimenting with different facets of her personality on the most recent cover of Playboy.

In a bold move, Kehlani appears on Playboy‘s latest cover dressed in both (traditionally) women and (traditionally) men’s clothing.

And as if one Kehlani isn’t exciting enough, the magazine cover treats us to two versions of this Oakland native. On the left side of the magazine, Kehlani is dressed up as a Prom Queen, complete with a resplendent gown and a tiara. On the cover’s right side, Kehlani is dressed in Prom King drag: her tie undone, her collar open, her crown askew.

She shared the picture to her personal Instagram page with the cheeky caption: “I always wanted to date me.”

In the accompanying interview, Kehlani talks about gender identity and expression, motherhood, and owning her sexuality.

When Kehlani was asked how she defines masculinity and femininity, Kehlani got refreshingly candid. “I’ve discovered that I’ve run from a lot of femininity,” she admitted. “I was way more comfortable in a more masculine space. I feel more masculine when I am in my stillness and I’m grounded in a quiet, contemplative mode.”

She then explained that she feels “most feminine” when she’s “being the mother of my house.” (Kehlani had a baby girl named Adeya Nomi in 2019). She also explained that she “feels her femininity” when she ‘s indulging in self-care, like soaking in a flower-filled bath, or doing a hair mask.

“My femininity makes me feel soft and gentle and tender and careful in a different way than my masculinity makes me feel,” she said. “I’m trying not to let it fall into the gender norms of feminine and masculine, but for me it does a tiny bit. But I also am very fluid in both of those settings.”

Kehlani has always been open about her fluid sexuality and gender identity.

In 2018, she tweeted: “Not bi, not straight. I’m attracted to women, men, REALLY attracted to queer men, non-binary people, intersex people, trans people”.

But of course, haters on the internet accused her of “queer-baiting”–that is, pretending she’s queer to get more LGBT fans and attract attention. In an interview with The Guardian last year, she revealed why the accusation frustrates her.

“I’ve had girlfriends in front of people’s faces, right under their noses, and they weren’t famous and so nobody cared to make it public,” she said. “So they automatically assume that I must like men more than women.”

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Interracial Couples Are Officially Getting Emoji Representation

Things That Matter

Interracial Couples Are Officially Getting Emoji Representation

Representation matters.

When it comes to interracial couples, this is certainly true. In 2017, The New York Times posed the question “where are all of the racial couples?” in an article about the representation of mixed-race couples on screen. The pieces pointed out that for many years, the entertainment industry “forbid depictions of interracial relationships. From 1930 until the late 1960s, the Motion Picture Production Code banned ‘vulgarity and suggestiveness’ so that ‘good taste may be emphasized.'” The piece put a bold underline under the fact that decades have passed since these codes were dismantled. In fact, the same year of the article’s release, the Pew Research Center revealed that the number rose to 10 percent, including 11 million interracial marriages in total.

These statistics oddly haven’t always extended to even our most innovative forms: texting to name just one. Up until recently, texters weren’t able to express their mix-raced love via iPhones.

Now thanks to a new update, they are!

New updates to Apple‘s iOS 14.5 are bringing interracial couples to your texts this Spring.

New couple emojis with skin variant combinations.nbsp
Emojipedia

Apple is working to make our texting experience more inclusive and representative for all phone users. In a recent update from Unicode, the system that produces emojis, Apple has announced that they will be unveiling new designs and new options for emojis that already exist as part of iOS 14.5.

New designs for the emojis will be more representative of people with disabilities as well.

Emojipedia

They include a person with a bird, flaming heart emoji, a healed heart, and new skin tone variants for kissing couples and couples with heart emojis. There will also be accessibility-themed emojis which include an ear with a hearing aid, a guide dog, a prosthetic leg, and a prosthetic arm.

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