Sexuality is a damned hard thing to wrap our minds around, and certainly to agree upon. Very often public figures comment on their own identities and the queer community feels ownership and pride—until those identities change. Anne Heche might be the most infamous when it comes to having dated Ellen DeGeneres and later saying she “changed her mind” about being gay. Just this week, Jessie J took to Twitter to say her own bisexuality was a phase.
While it’s true that celebrities, like anyone else, have the right to their own private life and identities, it’s hard not to be affected by their statements, especially when they echo the kinds of arguments that opponents of equality use against us. So this week’s Huddle is all about that: Was there someone whose reneging on their sexuality particularly disappointed you?
Oh, South Carolina, bless your little soul for consistently producing some of the most truly head-scratching stories of ignorance in the country. The most recent example? The University of South Carolina Upstate is canceling a performance called How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less, because, apparently, no one has a sense of humor. State Senator Mike Fair seems to believe that the show is a “recruiting” event and, to be honest, I actually have no words to respond to that.
Senator Fair, I hate to break it to you, but we don’t actually recruit. If we did, however, I think our field guide might look something like this.
I chatted with Jaime Murray and Stephanie Leonidas about Doc Yewll’s ex-wife and their picks for the AfterEllen Hot 100.
We are wary of lesbian villains, and for good reason. When the Motion Picture Production code, also called the Hays Code after the real piece of work that enforced it, was established in 1930, it created an atmosphere of fear and mistrust of gay characters for decades to come. Gay characters were considered deviant, and thus, no good could come to them. Seriously, no good. It’s written into the damn code. Perversion must be punished. (The excellent documentary, The Celluloid Closet, based on the book by Vito Russo, talks about the Code at length and gives a history LGBTQ characters from the origins of film through the late ’90s.) This is where the “Dead Lesbian” trope comes into play. Since lesbian and bisexual characters could not be seen as sympathetic, we become unrequited spinsters and obsessive villainesses.
Even after the Code was done away with in the late sixties, the damage had been done and queer characters continued to occupy the darker spaces of film. We were murderers, manipulative psychos, and predatory lesbians.
Here are a list of our 7 style icons of 2014. And, it’s not just the clothes that make the lesbian. From Cara Delevigne’s seductively assertive eyebrows to Robin Roberts‘ vibrant smile, each woman’s unique women’s fashion sense speaks to various aspects of their individual being.
During her acceptance speech this past Monday for the Point Foundation’s Horizon Award, Lena Dunham admitted her disappointment when she realized she was straight. She noted, however, she was grateful that there was at least one homo in the family: “When my sister came out, I thought, ‘Thank God, someone in this family can truly represent my passions and beliefs.’”
"This is why I stay away from balls."
This year’s Club Skirts Dinah Shore was poised to be star-studded with celesbians, so we brought our camera for the occasion. Unfortunately, video is less exciting to the promoters than photography and we were put at the end of the line where the lights do not shine. Nonetheless, we did our best to get all the pretty faces and what they had to say on film, because we are feminists and respect their minds, not just their bodies.
First up, the comedians who performed on Thursday night: Fortune Feimster, who spoke with us about her new sitcom with Tina Fey, Erin Foley on if she has hoes in different area codes, and Gina Yashere on her Dinah bucket list.