Bisexuality, LGBT, Opinion

Life of Bi: But you don’t fit any gay stereotypes!

“What did do this weekend?” He asked.
“I’ve just started watching Sex and the City, never seen it” was my reply.
“What? You’re not fitting any gay stereotypes”.
He laughs.
“That’s because I’m not gay” I chuckle.

 

The above is about the exact words used in a very innocent exchange between myself and a guy I know. Now, as a bi man, my immediate instinct after this was to clarify my sexuality. But in the moment I was on my way out of the room and it caught me off guard. Somehow in the last few months I’ve managed to avoid anyone making any remarks like this to me (possible related to being tied to work and not going out, but who can say). As such I wasn’t ready with my clarification: the “i’m bi, by the way” response.

This moment was actually the second in which I’d been singled out as a non-straight person. Now for the first I am assuming that the person thought I was gay, but they didn’t actually say it, and so for the sake of speculation it didn’t bother me as much. But this exchange did and it has been playing over and over in my head.

As someone who is very aware of bi erasure and the importance of bi visibility, I have wanted to go back to this guy and let him know that I’m bisexual. Either by reminding him of the incident and asking if he thinks I’m gay or mentioning that I’m bi as a matter of clarity. However, that feels like pushing my agenda for my own personal sense of place.

But is that wrong? Should I be leaving people with the assumption? I don’t want to.

Gay until proven Straight

My sexuality is an important part of who I am, because it affects, in larger and smaller ways, every interaction in my life. For straight men in particular, I feel there is a lack of awareness and understanding about bisexual men (not to mention HUGE issues and assumptions about how they feel about bi women).

Often there is an unwritten rule that if you don’t immediately flirt with a women in their presence or have a touch of the camp about you – I’ve been known to add flourishes for fun – then you must be gay. It stems from the cultural awareness of gay men that has saturated the media, particularly white gay men. The shadow of which hides a number of different orientations, identities and races from the view of the straight world, along with the spectrum of gay men.

Bisexuals are one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented part of the rainbow community, and thought to be one of the smallest sections of the LGBT+ when really we are one of the biggest. Our visibility is diminished significantly by a lack of acceptance and fear that means we hide behind gay and straight labels.

They’ll miss what they don’t have

While this has all been mulling over in my mind, I have been watching more Sex and the City. It’s an entertaining, if not hugely flawed and dated show. During one of its most dating moments, that is also disturbingly not uncommon enough in modern portrayals of bi people, Carrie dates a man who happens to be bisexual. Her friends advise her, mostly, to ditch him because he’ll either end up being gay or won’t be able to settle. Only Samantha actually advises that having a man who is more versatile in his sexuality might be a bonus.

It all ends with Carrie leaving a party without telling him because she is so horrified by not only the bisexual man being okay with his own bisexuality, but also that he has bisexual friends who are ALSO comfortable with their own bisexuality.

I find that what concerns me most about Carrie and her friends’ conversation is that I’m sure its the same talk that people who I would want to date will be having too. I’m a bi man and I’m trying to date but then the question becomes: how soon do I need to be making my bisexuality known?

I’ve had times where conversations have ended because the guy thinks I’m not being true to myself. I’ve had women tell me I didn’t really like them or that I’m a gay man who likes boobs (whatever that is supposed to infer). At the end of the day, I’m faced with “you’re not fitting any gay stereotypes” as the best case scenario. That or I try to only date bisexual people, assuming I can find someone who feels safe enough to admit it!

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LGBT, Opinion, Television

8 reasons why Sense8 is a legendary show

With the devastating news that Sense8 has been cancelled, now seems as good a time as any to cement its place in entertainment history. Whether the show gets a miracle renewal or pickup, who can say (though it is unlikely), this show needs to be recognised.

Sense8 is gone before its time, before it had even finished the story that they have been working so hard to tell. But like all great things, time is not always on its side. A celebration of what the show’s world, stories and representation meant to me, and why I think it is a legendary show, can barely be summed up in 8 reasons. But I’ll give it a try anyway.

1. Global Storytelling

How many stories can you name or even barely recall that took you around the world? How many transported you from Berlin to Mumbai, Iceland to Chicago, Seoul to Nigeria, London to Mexico and back again?

The feeling of watching each character in their homeland, feeling their emotional reactions to being transported round the world and into the hearts and minds of strangers. It reignited a wanderlust for fantasy that I have mostly only got from books.

Key to the story that was being told, Sense8 filmed on location in cities and towns around the world. Its global storytelling felt grounded in the reality of life, while adding the drama of great television. Few shows have accomplished what it did, if any.

2. Emotional Closeness

One of the greatest values that the Sensates share, and one that humanity itself craves, is emotional closeness. Given the ability to feel what the other members of their cluster feel, and share that emotion, was what brought them together. What made them a unit, such a close and tight knit group, was their drive for emotional closeness.

This isn’t to say that every character was warm and fuzzy at all times. But they were allowed to explore each of their own emotional vulnerabilities. The Sense8 writers and creators looked to the actors of the show to channel their own raw feelings into these unique characters. It brought them to life in a way that opened their eyes to acceptance and support in all its forms.

3. Diversity & Authenticity

Representation in art is one of the cornerstones for a greater society. It is my belief, shared by many, that we cannot expect to be the best versions of ourselves if we only see, interact and hear from those who are exactly like ourselves. Sense8 offered a glimpse, a small but varied set of windows to the lives of people we might never think to know.

What I eternally seek is diverse shows and casting that reflects the characters. Actors can be straight and play gay, they can be pansexual and play hetero, being convincing is all in the acting ability of the person. But historically straight, white people (mainly men) have really gotten all the visibility they could ever need. Which is why the representation in Sense8 was so commendable and exciting.

They may not have covered every letter of the queer community, they may not have had every single kind of person and body type in the show. But they did a damned lot better than a lot of shows. They even had a bisexual secondary character in season 2! If one of the actors came out as bi/pan then I’d be hooting and hollering for days.

But regardless of the actors own personal sexualities and gender identities, they all brought authenticity to the characters. From Jamie Clayton as Nomi, representing trans women and speaking the words of a trans woman and co-creator Lana Wachowski (along with Lily), to Miguel Ángel Silvestre giving Lito the duality of pain and love, through to the lack of literally any of the straight male actors/characters to say “no homo!” or act in any small way like it mattered, without being dismissive.

4. Compelling Characters

What some deemed to be slowness in the show, I devoured as meditations on character. Every moment of the show gave insight into these characters. Like watching people in the park, stopping to see families playing, couples walking, someone sitting and reading a book or laughing on the phone, we spent time watching these characters simply be.

I fear that if I did a small dive into what I loved about the characters and what made each compelling, it would end up deeply submerging, and that would only end with me writing the series out as a Wikipedia page. I will say this though, and its something I’ve said to people about the show since the first season came out. I would watch episode after episode, even if it was only each of them sharing moments, “Visiting” as its called, with each other. Even without the action, it is the characters that bring me back.

5. Visual Splendour

The global locations made for stunning backdrops, but what pushed the visuals to new levels of awe was the styling. The scenes often jumped between locations creating contrasts in weather, lights, even the sounds of the spaces. In season 2 especially, as the sensates grew closer together and joined together more often, we were treated to new and more brilliant shots of people disappearing behind one another, rising together, appearing side by side.

6. What’s Up

I couldn’t write about Sense8 without talking about the iconic season 1 scene set to 4 Non Blondes “What’s Up”. The song itself is enough to make your heart swell with emotion and thanks to this show, its taken to another level.

Each of the sensates hears the song and, such is the power of music, it brings them together. It a pure moments of bliss, friendship and joy, all set to cleansing lyrics. I can’t listen to it and not “scream from the top of my lungs, what’s going on”!

7. Showing Love

As infamous as the What’s Up scene, Sense8 was noted for showing love, specifically love expressed in sex, in the show. Not only did they get many a viewer hot and bothered, I can admit that I’ve been moved, but they gave us sex scenes that were all about sensation and love.

Every sex scene, between the same sex couples and opposite sex pairings, along with the group shared scenarios, were passionate but also infused with the closeness and trust that it must have taken to film them. Not many sex scenes have love as such an integral part.

And once again, none of the cast were shy about getting to grips with this on and off screen – see the wonderful Pride shoot from São Paulo in 2016.

8. The Sensates

I love each and every one of the Sensates, and they each brought something new, personal and special to the roster. In no particular order:

Lito – in Lito we got a struggle to be courageous. Wrestling with honesty, caged by fear, he went through what so many LGBTQ+ people go through in learning to be themselves openly. And he learned the hard way what the consequences of honesty in a harsh world can cost you.

Will – In many ways Will was the beating centre of his cluster. He wears his heart on his sleeve, does what is right regardless of his own safety. He’s basically a Gryffindor. Will would die to save anyone, especially those he loves.

Wolfgang – As Kala put it, some are trapped by circumstance and our own pasts. Tortured as a child by his father, Wolfgang is strong and quiet, but also brutally truthful and caring. We got to explore how Wolfgang found new family with his cluster, and of course with Felix.

Nomi – The core of Nomi is to be a rebel. She lives to love and learn, being a hacktivist was the epitome of her skills. But she is also transgender and while it doesn’t define her completely, it is part of her history and life, and she owns it.

Kala – She looks upon the world with hopeful eyes and an outstretched hand. She is supportive but never to a fault. Kala is reliable yet impulsive. Kala struggles with accepting her privilege, wrestling with accepting fortune when others suffer.

Sun – Wronged by her brother, broken by her mother’s death and difficult relationship with her father. Sun never forgot to love, but prided herself on needing no-one else to hold her up. She is driven and determined, humble and righteous.

Capheus – A smile can change someone’s day. This I am sure is Capheus’ internal motto. He is the everyman, but a special man, unable to see his own gifts and talents. He works, he helps and he laughs, bringing a smile to all he can.

Riley – Maker of music, she surrounds herself with energy. Family grounds her, and she struggles with personal demons. Riley has the strength of a mother, but the hardened heart of one who has lost her child. Yet she still finds love.

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Life, Opinion

Bad Books Are So Good

Have you ever read a book that was so bad, it became good? The more you read, the more you find books that make you wonder how anyone approved them for publishing. And as an aspiring novelist that fills me with SO MUCH hope.

Most recently, I’ve been listening to, the now hugely popular, My Dad Wrote A Porno podcast. If you haven’t listened to it, you should. Each 30 minute episode features a dramatic reading of a chapter of Belinda Blinked, an erotic novella by the dad of one of the hosts. Through a combination of the book being self-published, by the aforementioned parent, and the co-hosts giving great commentary during the reading, you end up being completely enthralled by the somewhat nonsensical and hugely entertaining book.

Part of the addiction, as the hosts and fans have pointed out, is that the book is so good at being bad. Or rather, it’s so good at not adhering to your expectations for a story. Elements like: plot, character’s names (which have been known to change mid-chapter) and choice of details, skews from the obscure to the mundane and then to the sexually graphic within a few lines.

The familiar feeling of loving and hating a book in equal measure is something I’m certainly familiar with and rather enjoy. There is a Google Hangouts/ Goodreads book club called Vaginal Fantasy which I absolutely love. It’s a romance-fantasy/genre monthly book club, featuring novellas and novels with (mostly) female leads and some element of romance or sex. In one particular month, when I was reading along, we got to read a novel called: Hunter’s Claim. Now, I fully expected the story to be about this rugged, dominant male figure who sweeps/ravishes the female lead. Oh, were it that simple.

Hunter’s Claim features an alien hunter called…Hunter, who is part of an alien invasion that has taken over earth. He ends up being captured by some angry humans who want to kill him – reasonable really when their planet has been taken over – but is freed by a kindly woman (our lead). Conceptually it has potential, right? Yes. But oh the execution is so weird. Apart from the fact that its written with a questionably limited vocabulary, this lead woman, Jesse, fairly instantaneously become’s Hunter’s wife without, it seems, much input from her. Especially when the choices are: he owns her now, or dies. Its all a bit creepy really.

Also he’s part cat. Alien cat. Yeah.

Suffice to say there were two choices when reading this book. Either decide that it was terrible and hate read the rest, OR, what many readers did, read along for sheer joy of whatever randomness was going to happen next.

A common thread between Belinda Blinked and Hunter’s Claim is that both writers seem to have strange feelings/understandings of female anatomy. In the former, there is far too much (by which I mean any) cervix grabbing, and in the latter, if I recall correctly, when having sex, Hunter had a habit of prodding her ‘vaginal walls’ with his penis – which we all hoped was not too cat-like, as cat peni(plural?) are barbed.

Now, it must be said that these books don’t have clear feminist tones or characters, and thats an issue. But that in a way is a problematic trope of much romance literature like this. Another common trait is that even when these books are poorly written, grammatically or in terms of literary style, we readers are far more accepting. Why is that?

My theory; and its a very loose theory, is that erotica, like fan fiction, is purely based in fun. Its whimsical and so we don’t have to take it very seriously in order to enjoy it. If you ever really need proof of this then think about 50 Shades. Goodness knows thats badly written, and started life as fan fiction, but it was hugely successful. Why? Because it wasn’t serious. As someone who studied english literature at university, there is something comforting about reading a book that you don’t have to learn from. Romance-fantasy books are just meant to be enjoyable, easy reading.

To be fair to the community, it is a broad category in which there are superior texts with careful world building and detailed storylines. But there’s also the absolute trash thats almost as good to read as it is to laugh at. And isn’t laugher what we all need more of in our lives?

I leave you with that thought and the recommendation to start listening to My Dad Wrote A Porno, and watching/joining the Vaginal Fantasy book club.

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Music, Opinion, Television

Reading, Watching, Listening : Best of 2015

Here’s what I’ve been loving in 2015:

TV

BANANA (& CUCUMBER) – queer drama series on UK TV from Russell T Davies of Torchwood and Queer as Folk.

THE FOSTERS – three season strong, this family dramas anout a same sex headed family of bio, foster and adopted children is heartwarming, interesting and deals with queer, race and other social issues in a smart way.

DAREDEVIL – the Hells Kitchen hero who sees the grit and corruption, despite being blind, and takes a stand. He’s also superpower-less meaning we see him tire, ache and break. Fantastic.

SENSE8 – the most LGBT drama series with a superpower twist, 8 people from locations around the world are thrown into each other’s heads and become emotionally connected. Riveting character exploration and real location filming gives a true sense of scale.

Movies

INSIDE OUT – Pixar returns to greatness with the five aspects of a twelve year olds mind. Everything I wanted it to be and more. Prepare to laugh, gasp and cry. All the feels.

Music

Pentatonix (Self Titled) – acapella goes mainstream, great songs from extraordinary voices that won a Grammy.

RWBY SOUNDTRACK (1&2) – the epic web series from Rooster Teeth, created by the late Monty Oum, has an exqually epic soundtrack. Tracks by Jeff Williams and best songs ft Casey Lee Williams.

Book

YOU’RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET ALMOST by Felicia Day – one of my favourite geeks wrote a memoir, how could I not love it. Learn how being the outsider helped her find her tribe online.

BINGE by Tyler Oakley – I thought I knew this YouTuber, who is hilarious and ridiculous in the best way, but I had no idea till I read his book. A collection of stories that proves we’re kindred spirits.

Podcasts

INVISIBILIA – exploring the hidden forces in our world. This podcast gave me infinite creative ideas based on the concepts discussed, from hive emotions to computers.

POP CULTURE HAPPY HOUR – for the cultural discussion, the ideal set of other perspectives on movies and Tv shows and for introducing me to Glen Wheldon

Comic Books

ALL NEW X-MEN – the lastest series has brought the classic X-men to the future, revealed Iceman is gay and given us Professor Kitty Pryde. A wonderful series, drawn in a beautiful way, its new classic X-men greatness.

UNCANNY X-MEN – Another series that explores the X-men divided, in the aftermath of the Phoenix Force return. The series centres on Cyclops’ new X-men, New Xavier School and feature, my personal favourite, Emma Frost in a central role.

Web Series

RED VS. BLUE – the longest running online series hit a crescendo with its latest season. The soldiers from Blood Gulch have travelled the stars, going from strength to strength. Hilarious comedy, stellar action and outstanding animation.

RWBY – Another series from Rooster Teeth (RED VS. BLUE), this time the magickal world of Remnant sees a main cast of four young women learning to defend their world from the creatures of Grimm. Season 3 is being released bi-weekly now!

L.A.R.P.S. – From Geek & Sundry (THE GUILD) comes a series based on people who play Live Action Role Play. Marathon this series on YouTube and become immersed in two worlds, the characters and the people. Makes me want to LARP.

 

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Life, Opinion, Rant

Being a grown up is fucking stressful

When I turned eighteen I started to think that I was an adult. Leaving home and heading off to university seemed like the moment when I would transition to adulthood. In reality it only postponed the real learning by giving me one last hurrah – a hurrah that lasted three years mind.

Being able to manage my own finances; aka paying rent, bills and having a part time job, all seemed like the sort of thing that proper people do. That was true. But I was experiencing the most simplified version of what that meant. My responsibilities were surface level complicated.

My household costs and university fees were paid for by a combination of a few hours of bar work, huge student loans and a bank overdraft.

Banks are terrible. They really drag you, coaxing you to join open an account with them by offering student bonuses for signing up to an overdraft with them. You’re the kid in the candy store who’s been told they can have any sweet or chocolate they want. What you aren’t being told is that if you keep indulging like this then you’ll end with cavities and then painful visits with the dentist soon after.

Even at the time you know that an overdraft is a loan, but you don’t really understand the weight of that. You can open multiple accounts if you want to and it’s all interest free! Brilliant! Nope, not brilliant. You are borrowing money you don’t have. Money you may not be able to easily earn back (especially in this job market). Money that you could only pay back if you stop doing anything that costs any money to do for at least a year. This is unlikely to be feasible if you’re even only a little bit sociable or live in a big city.

Then I got a full time job and realised that those student exemptions to council tax were amazing. Who knew?

Apart from the huge chunks of money that get taken out as tax and national insurance – whatever that is, you have to pay to live in an area of the country and that, it seems, can be quite costly. So that’s just another one of those life costs and you learn to deal with it draining that much more of your bank balance. You save that much more of your pay each month, on top of bills, and you keep on working hard and having fun. And that’s it right?

Wrong.

Your still not done learning because what if something goes wrong? What if you get ill or someone in your family gets ill and you have to take time off work to help them? Well, you lose money. Or rather you don’t make as much.

That means that the little bit of money you were saving to pay off that still-interest-free-for-a-year overdraft is being used up on transport or eating out because you don’t have the time or energy to cook for yourself. If you manage to get by, scraping what you can together and feeling battered the whole time, then it’s back to working hard and paying normal, massive, bills, bills and more bills.

The lucky few will end up with jobs that earn them a decent salary and money will be a process of in and out. If you’re one of them then you’ll be able to plan a holiday here and there. If you’re unlucky/chose a career path that didn’t lead to being instantly the most employable graduate ever, you will have to keep working those long and less loved hours in what feels like a dead end job. Dead end because it’s not even remotely close to what you dreamed of.

By the time you start to realise that you are on a path where you are not only racing the other graduates, and also those who will being coming up after you for the jobs you want, each year adding more other people to the pot of choice for potential employers, you’ll start thinking again that THIS is what being an adult is.

Finally, this is adult life.

This is all of it.

You are the wacky racer who doesn’t have a car but has to run the driving race holding up a cardboard cut out of a car. It’s harder, painful and no one seems to care that it’s unfair. Being a grown up is fucking stressful because just when you think you understand how it all works, how you should be interacting with the world, you get shown something you didn’t even realise was a thing grown ups did.

This will continue every single year.

Worst of all, even once your twenty-five, you still won’t even have gotten around to thinking about retirement – as if that’ll be an option when you get to ninety.

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LGBT, Opinion, Television

Why does Glee need so many gay characters?

So here’s what you missed on Glee…(if you lost your way once the first group of kids graduated and they started to cover modern songs)…fan favourites Kurt and Blaine got together, broke up and then got engaged, all while living in New York and attending NYADA (New York Academy of Dramatic Arts) with Rachel, who got her starring role of broadway only to leave the show after being offered a TV pilot. Sam and Mercedes had a fling. Santana and Brittany learned they could be apart but reunited anyway and Mr Shue finally married Emma but lost the Glee Club forever when Sue became Principal of McKinley High. Also there were some more New Directions but they are basically gone now and the old cast is back for Season 6.

________________________________________________ 

That basically catches you up on everything important that happened in Glee except one, major change. Glee has always been something of a meta show anyway. What many reviewers failed to realise when it first aired was that not only is Glee a musical dramedy but it is satirical. Its knows the cast are way older than the estimated, average, 16 years the cast play and its hugely aware that the characters are larger than life BUT it was okay with that. That was the joke and the tool to help let you laugh with and love the characters.

Over the years, the influence of the cast on their characters portrayal became more and more apparent. There is no Glee Club without Rachel; see the episode after her departure entitled ‘The New Rachel’, and there is no Glee without Lea Michele. Every character was rounded out fully using the real life stories and experiences of the person who played them. Kurt Hummel in fact didn’t even exist before Chris Colfer auditioned. That character was created for him.

“Everyone wants to talk about how he died…I care more about how he lived.”

Then between season 4 and 5 something unthinkable happened. Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson, died. His death was a blow to the cast, who like many casts were a family, and in particular, his on and off screen girlfriend, Lea Michele. Ryan Murphy; co-creator of Glee, said that if at that point she didn’t want to continue then the show wouldn’t keep going.

His death was very public but was handled very carefully and tastefully in the show. Having garnered a young audience, the showrunners decided to kill of Finn but in an unexplained way because, as Kurt says in the episode ‘The Quarterback’, “Everyone wants to talk about how he died, too, but who cares? One moment in his whole life. I care more about how he lived.”

The queer spectrum on Glee grew from one young gay man called Kurt

From Season 2 onwards there were cast changes a plenty in Glee. The team had created a solid base in season 1 from which to launch their characters and even had even given them their first sense of victory as they coddled together enough members to compete in Sectionals.

At its core, the glee club was meant as a place for the misfits and the outcasts to come together in a safe place where they could be who they are; and sing about it. Kurt was the first character who appeared on screen as not heterosexual. He ticked a bunch of stereotypical gay boxes, had lost his mother and had a father who loved him but didn’t understand him. While Rachel was the star of the show, Kurt was the heart, and even more of an underdog than she was, because he didn’t always believe in himself like Rachel did.

Kurt was bullied, attacked, feared, judged and scolded as he tried to navigate coming out and redefining his relationships with the people around him. His character was the writers’ way to speak to gay teens and tell them that there was strength to be found even when there didn’t seem to be any hope.

Kurt learned over time to stand up for himself and received support from the New Directions; after people like Puck stopped throwing him in dumpsters, but his biggest change was to come in the form of Blaine “Warbler” Anderson (played by Darren Criss).

Blaine was another gay man who had struggled with being bullied for his sexuality but he had transferred to the nirvana of schools, Dalton Academy. At Dalton there was a zero tolerance for bullying and the all-male school had its own glee club of straight and gay, camp and not camp, guys who weren’t afraid of being open about their sexuality.

While Glee also tackled issues of gender and race in smaller segments, there was always a big push to create a platform to shine a light on LGBT issues, notably aimed at the modern youth.

After Kurt and Blaine, Glee diversified further with closeted bully Karofsky coming out and attempting suicide – something that plagues LGBT teens, even pre-teens, and is truly terrifying.

The L and B of the queer spectrum came in the form of Santana and Brittany who began a relationship to much acclaim and gave Naya Rivera’s Santana a different coming out arc to Kurt by learning to come to terms with her sexuality by treading bisexual water before identifying as a lesbian (or Lebanese as Brittany would put it) in a Gaga themed episode.

Brittany was something of a quandary in the show as she struggled to find a name for herself that others would understand given her unique mind. Brittany found love in Santana but also Sam – who was introduced in Season 2 as what many thought was a new gay character – showing her bisexuality but sadly without really naming it.

Glee’s Unique tackled trans issues ahead of the Transgender Tipping Point.

Glee has had ups and downs with its characters and storylines. Not everything was plain sailing and trying to negotiate the graduation of much of the cast and introducing a new set of characters came with a number of challenges as it essentially doubled the cast. Oxygen’s The Glee Project sought to find new, interesting talent for the show in an elimination style musical challenge competition show which amounted to the final round of a public audition. The saving grace of that show; with minor successes in the form of some of the other finalists like Blake Jenner who played Ryder Lynn, was the amazingly talented and loveable Alex Newell aka Wade aka Unique.

From his entrance onto the show Alex was enrapturing. He was a young gay man who could sing like a diva of old but struggled to balance his talent with the exposure of being in the spotlight.

Originally only joining the show for two episodes, Alex’s reward to being runner up on The Glee Project, his gender bending entrance into the halls of McKinley High as Unique was truly fierce and fabulous. Unique was the T in Glee. She struggled to be understood for what she was, tackled issues like not obsessing over genitalia when it comes to trans people, use of public bathrooms and wearing the clothes of whichever gender rather than only the one you were assigned at birth. Unique showed trans youth that they could be themselves in the same way it taught them it was okay to be gay.

Glee pushed the envelope with its representation of so many real people, including: the abused, the nerds, the disabled, the lonely, the gay, the racially stereotyped, the mentally troubled and a whole bucket more. It pushed into representing all of these young people, in different areas of depth, but they are there, each one is shown and allowed to be accepted.

Why does Glee need so many gay characters?

As the sixth and final began and the casting rumors and character confirmations began to appear, Glee started taking heat from people – okay, twitter people mostly – for the number of gay characters it was adding. Fans and non-fans alike started to ask why there were so many gay characters in this show.

I think that the reason Glee has so gay characters in their show is because, a) as a gay man, Ryan Murphy knows gay men so why not write what you know, and b) because every other show that exists either has to be labeled a gay show in order to have an almost full cast of LGBT characters OR introduces a token gay character to much applause from critics who think that counts as diversity.

In a way, Glee is a straight show that has a lot of queer characters. It targeted a broad audience which allowed it to tell the stories that it wanted to and represented on prime time TV the people who wouldn’t usually get represented. Glee is balancing the scales for all the shows that has one, token, LGBT (but usually gay) character.

*Spoilers ahead!*

In the first two episodes of season 6 we are seeing a return to what made Glee great in the first place. Gone are the extra cast members, back are the favourites who launched this groundbreaking show, and with brilliant song choices we’re being swept up in comedic musical drama.

Episodes 1 and 2 introduce us to newbies Jane and Spencer. Jane is a phenomenally talented black girl who wants to join the Warblers but is rejected as having a woman changes there rules – see how that might be relevant in modern times? – and Spencer is the post-modern gay teen who doesn’t see his sexuality as a hindrance and has douche bag levels of arrogance which, despite his handsomeness, make him somewhat repellant.

These two characters; along with others, have been introduced as the founding members of New Directions 3.0 because they represent the new modern group of people that need to be seen, understood and allowed to take centre stage in a show which so many young people look to.

Having shown a bunch of different gay characters in Kurt, Blaine, and Karofsky, Glee has expanded into new territory with Spencer. It can only be a good thing for other gay people who don’t fit a musical loving mold to see themselves represented on TV.

So, why so many gay characters? Because we haven’t gone through all the representations yet! That’s why.

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Life, Opinion

Coping With Failure : Assessing Your Self Worth

It feels like much more than just disappointment when someone sets you up for a fall. Or rather, you think that’s what’s happened. In reality. We may never know another person’s true intentions. Trust is the basis with which we make those judgements.

This is why it feels even worse when you feel betrayed by a friend. Having taken the time and made the effort to get to know someone, sharing stories, bonding over shared experiences and starting to explore your similarities and differences, you start to want to believe what they say.

But what happens when you’re set up to fail? When they tell you to try, but you suspect they know you will fail? Would confrontation make any difference?

I’m not an angry person. I don’t have a burning temper than simmers on the precipise of boiling over. It’s never been my way to lash out, as much as I might want to. There is a mean girl in me who wants to exact a well planned and ultimately shallow revenge, but I don’t. That’s not how to real world works.

Revenge is spontaneous, dangerous and frequently regrettable. You won’t do well with a reactionary attack on anything or anyone. That being said, it doesn’t make it any easier. To fight back is what you want, what I want.

In between looking for flats/rooms/houses to move into and searching for a job; for after my internship, I’ve had my fair share of disappointment. Interviews are few and far between for the jobs that you actually want and finding a house with people who you could get on with, and who actually want their house to be a home, is harder still.

With high competition and just being another face in a crowd of similar minded people, it’s easy to get lost, wrapped up in trying to get by.

What really enraged me is the false formality with which some choose to deal with the rejection in these situations. In most it’s perfectly understandable to expect an “at this time we are not able to offer you” response, or even a “you application has not been successful”. But you’d have thought that in a personal situation you could at least get a direct person to person response. Something along the lines of, “I’m sorry it didn’t work out. We found someone who was better qualified and despite you being almost as good, they were better suited”.

When it’s a promotion from within a company and they choose to go elsewhere, you might prefer an honest “we shouldn’t have made you jump through hoops seeing as we really wanted someone new, someone from the outside but we thought we’d gamble on you just in case you changed our minds”.

And they expect no hard feelings? Difficult to stomach. Yet bearable?…

What cuts the deepest is when you reach for a goal that should be within reach, a success that you’ve earned and worked for, something your passionate about, then you get the all important support you need and you are convinced it’s the right move….
Then nothing.

You “fail”. Or at least don’t succeed. In the instant you find out. You are caught between acceptance and downright fury. Why did I build this up? Why did I dare to hope or try when it wasn’t going to happen?

The answer is because you didn’t know. Possibility and drive are what puts you above the many others who don’t or can’t do the same. By trying, even if you fail, you have tried and that requires an internal strength and resilience that not that many have.

Success is measured by the failures, the bad times are outweighed by the good, you thank the universe for when they come your way. It doesn’t make the negativity and disappointment of missing out on something you want any easier but it’s the perspective of the future you can look forward to. It might be that you have something better on the horizon.

I should be clear, there are a million situations this applies to, whether personal, career or social. When it comes to how we measure our own success and failures, deeming them so in words and phrases, comments and asides, is one thing. Delving within ourselves to come to terms with these truths and accepting them, that is quite another.

No one is perfect and not all people need our forgiveness.
Perhaps the latter is not a popular opinion, but it’s one I’ve come to accept.

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