Monday, October 2, 2017

Bisexual Representation in the Media (or Lack Thereof)

Welcome to the re-launch of QCity!

Last month we had Celebrate Bisexuality Day / Bisexual Visibility Day! As a proud bisexual woman, that day was so important, not only for celebrating my sexual identity, but also for speaking out about the marginalization that still exists both outside of and within the LGBTQIA+ community for bisexual individuals.

There are stigmas such as: we're on the fence between straight and gay and are just waiting to make a decision; we're promiscuous and disloyal; we're only seeking attention; we're incapable of committed relationships; etc. Some or all of these things can possibly be true varying from person to person but that has nothing to do with this identity and everything to do with individual personality. These stigmas, that are voiced especially when it isn't asked for ("Look Janet, I'm bisexual not 'temporarily gay'. Could I just have my latte please?"), make it increasingly difficult for people to 1. confidently identify as bisexual and 2. feel comfortable coming out as bisexual.

A lot of this can be attributed to lack of exposure--ignorance and misinformation are validated because there isn't anything substantial to combat it, like media representation. There is a severe lack of representation of bisexual people in mainstream media today. GLAAD's Where We Are On TV Report for 2016 does indicate a rise in representation for streaming from 20% to 26% but also notes a drop in cable networks from 35% to 32%, and these representations are still unfairly stereotypical portrayals of bisexuals.

The only truths that can be shared among every and all bisexual individual is the attraction to both males and females, and the increased probability of unironically using finger-guns. (Fact.)

Why is bisexual representation important?
  • to disprove the negative stigmas surrounding the bisexuality
  • to solidify bisexuality as a valid identity
  • to educate the populous on bisexuality
  • TO PROPERLY REFLECT AND CELEBRATE TODAY'S WORLD with a high percentage of bisexual individuals
This hetero-normative society we live in today has been cultivated by the lack of LGBTQIA+ in the media we consume. Had I grown up with a bisexual Sailor Moon or Sesame Street had celebrated bisexuality or even if Wonder Woman had been kicking butt while kissing men and women much earlier, perhaps I would have recognized and understood my identity sooner, and moreover, I wouldn't have had the mindset to automatically identify others as straight until proven otherwise, instead of people's identities existing on a spectrum that cannot and should not ever be assumed. So maybe if we can fight to establish this for the generation growing up today, we can create a more informed and accepting world for everyone tomorrow.

And in case you haven't seen it, I did a video singing about being bisexual and the stigmas we face to the tune of Popular from Wicked as my contribution for bisexual representation:

Media today is taking small steps towards more inclusive representation but we are miles away from where we should be for bisexuality to be more widely accepted as valid. This is our opportunity to open up discussions, showcase our work, and take those necessary steps to Celebrate Bisexuality!

Shine on my darlings,

~ Tilly ~

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Lesbian Autobiographical Manga Hits North America

My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness, an autobiographical manga written and drawn by Kabi Nagata was published in English earlier this month.

Beginning as an online hit through Pixiv--a Japanese online community for artists--it was then picked up by Seven Seas Entertainment to be brought to Western markets. The story follows Nagata growing up in the modern world, her struggles with mental health and eating disorders, and discovering her sexuality, all leading up to the point where she, at 28-year-old having never had any sexual experiences, finds herself hiring a same-sex escort.

Drawn simply in black and white with hints of pink, it's a very brutally honest look at Nagata's life. Despite her saying she's normally quite introverted, she was unafraid to expose the details of her personal journey for the sake of creating good manga content.

It had been rated in the Top 3 Manga for Women in 2017 by Japanese publishing company Takarajimasha's manga guidebook: Kono Manga ga Sugoi! (This Manga is Amazing!) and has received high reviews on Goodreads.

Lissa Pattillo, production manager at Seven Seas Entertainment said about the manga:

"My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness is a book we are immensely proud and excited to be publishing. As the top yuri publisher in North America, we’re keenly aware of the impact and importance that stories about same-sex relationships can have on our audience. While our yuri titles offer wonderful tales of dramatized romance, My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness is an autobiographical comic, written by a queer author who is brave and talented enough to share her story in a both moving and highly entertaining way, depicting not only her explorations of sexuality, but many other personal aspects of her life that will resonate with readers."

I read the first 25 pages of the manga and really enjoyed it! Nagata definitely doesn't shy away from sharing the darker details of her eating disorder and I found I was able to really connect with her feeling of displacement, of desiring a place to belong. Only being the first few pages, she didn't yet touch upon her sexuality, but one review stated that the manga "[explores] realistic and emotional and mental dynamics in lesbian relationships... that the events leading up to Nagata's meeting with the sex worker shed a new light on how we can think about yuri" (Ana Valens of The Mary Sue).

If you're interested in reading the first 25 pages before picking it up, you can do so here. Or check out the ratings and reviews on Goodreads here.

In North America, it's available online through Indigo, Barnes & Noble, and/or Amazon.

If you've read it already, hit up the comments down below and let me know what you think! Just from the first few pages Nagata's caught my attention, so I'm very interested to dive into the rest of it!

Stay shining my darlings,

~ Tilly ~

Monday, June 5, 2017

Fans Sign Petitions & Send Flip-Flops to Save 'Sense8'

In beautifully dedicated fashion, Sense8 fans have taken action to voice their disagreements with its cancellation on the first of this month.

Petitions have popped up all over the internet from Twitter to Tumblr and beyond to renew the beloved show for a third season, to continue to showcase diversity on mainstream television and find closure for the cluster's story.

Another, more creative, operation has gone underway, where fans are called to send a single flip-flop to Netflix with the message that "Sense8 needs closure like Lito needs his flip-flop #renewSense8"--a reference to a fan favourite moment in Season 1.

If you're a fan of Sense8 and would like to show your support for its renewal, you can sign and share the petition here.

And/or if a more assertive motion is your thing, you can learn more about Operation Flip-Flop here.

Don't let this show go down without a fight!

Sending good vibes out to you my darlings,

~ Tilly ~

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Netflix Cancels 'Sense8' on the First Day of Pride Month?!

Some sad news rains down on the first day of Pride Month. Earlier today, Netflix announced the cancellation of The Wachowski's Sense8 after its two-season run.

The drama first premiered on Netflix in June 2015, introducing us to eight characters from around the world who are all mentally linked, dealing with their own and then each others' daily lives and the mysterious and dangerous company trying to track them down. It wasn't a perfect show, oftentimes very unstructured, but it was a strong leap towards representation with a diverse cast that even included a trans-actress (Jamie Clayton) playing a trans-character.

Netflix's VP of original content, Cindy Holland, issued a statement today about the cancellation:
"After 23 episodes, 16 cities and 13 countries, the story of the Sense8 cluster is coming to an end. It is everything we and the fans dreamed it would be: bold, emotional, stunning, kick ass, and outright unforgettable. Never has there been a more truly global show with an equally diverse and international cast and crew, which is only mirrored by the connected community of deeply passionate fans all around the world. We thank Lana, Lilly, Joe and Grant for their vision, and the entire cast and crew for their craftmanship and commitment."
No particular reason for its cancellation has been stated but with it being a largely expensive production there could be a multitude of reasons. It does come as a hurtful surprise, however, with it having a much stronger second season and the fact that today is the first day of Pride Month--it all feels like a slap to the face of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Fans are understandably outraged, calling foul on all fronts, making queries as to why other less-than-impacting shows are receiving renewals when Sense8 was just building momentum. Adding fuel to the fire is the cancellation of Baz Luhrmann's The Get Down (also featuring POC's and LGBT+ characters) that was announced just last week after only a single season.

Losing two popular shows that not only represented but celebrated diversity has made the beginning of Pride Month feel a little despairing. 

But all is not lost, be loud in your disappointment, make it known that shows like Sense8 and The Get Down, that celebrate love and acceptance despite vast differences, are so vital in moving the world forwards. And then support the shows: raise their numbers, keep them buzzing, let Netflix know that we're not letting go without a fight.

Stay happy my darlings,

~ Tilly ~

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

YA Books to Read This Summer!

Spring is here and summer is on it's way! Time to say hello to sunshine, two digit weather... and rainbows, rainbows, and rainbows galore because tomorrow, PRIDE MONTH BEGINS! 

And what better way to celebrate the festivities and warm weather than with some of 2017's YA reads?! Here's some of what to pick up this summer:

"The Inexplicable Logic of my Life" by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

Writer of multiple award-winning YA novel: "Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe" returns with a new story about Mexican-American teen named Sal and his best friend Samantha. It's a coming-of-age tale that deals with faith, loss, and grief, that promises to be just as lyrical and thought-provoking as Ari and Dante.

And of course, if you haven't read Ari and Dante yet, definitely do that for the #summeraesthetic. But fair warning: have tissues on hand!

"It's Not Like It's a Secret" by Misa Sugiura

Sana Kiyohara has a lot to face at just sixteen years old: stresses about her peers, her father having a possible affair, and blossoming feelings for the beautiful and smart Jamie Ramirez.

Sugiura creates a relatable character and a world that struggles with honesty while also touching on the issue of racism.

I'm very pleased to see another WOC writing about YA WOC lesbian characters and hope this book can resonate well with its diversity.

"Ramona Blue" by Julie Murphy

Six-foot-tall, blue-haired, Ramona likes girls, is loyal to her family, and believes she meant for more than her small, stressful life in Eulogy, Mississipi (a real place that exists, I checked!)

When childhood friend Freddie returns and reignites her love of competitive swimming, and ignites possible feelings for him too, Ramona will find her life and identity are as fluid as the very water she loves to swims in.

I stole that from my friend Vicki so I, unfortunately, can take no credit for the cleverness. Oh well.

"The Pants Project" by Cat Clarke

Liv's school has a strict uniform policy: boys wear pants and girls wear skirts. There's a problem however because while Liv is a girl on the outside, he is a boy on the inside.

My co-worker and I found this a couple of weeks ago and were so excited because it's a middle grade book! It's fantastic to be finding more transgender stories focused on younger characters and a younger audience. Especially a character that is brave, humorous, and smart--someone who can be a hero to other transgender youth.

"Noah Can't Even" by Simon James Green

Noah Grimes is dealing with the disappearance of his father and his mother's embarrassing Beyonce tribute act, all while harbouring a crush on classmate Sophie. And then his only friend Harry kisses him at a party and things get just a tad more complicated.

Okay, there's a banana on the front cover of this, y'all. Why? Why not? It might be the reason it stood out for me but it's also very well rated on Goodreads and promises to be a hoot! So yeah, why not?!

"Noteworthy" by Riley Redgate

When Jordan Sun gets rejected for the musical for the third time, she considers another option to add some pizzazz to her college applications: The Sharpshooters, her performance arts school's elite (and all male) a cappella group. Donning her best drag, she gets accepted and begins a journey of juggling two identities, crushing on a guy and a girl, and finding out who she is.

L I S T E N . I am all about the performance arts AU, the Raise Your Voice's of the world, and this just calls to me. Not to mention it's an F-to-M drag that pushes the gender norms and explores what it means to be really be a "girl" or a "guy". I honestly cannot wait to read this!

Plus the tagline is: A cappella just got a makeover. I AM LIVING.

"The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue" by Mackenzi Lee 


Taking place on a grand tour of 18th-century Europe, Henry "Monty" Montague desires a life of pure pleasure despite his father's expectations and a secret crush on best friend and travelling companion Percy. But when some unsavory mistakes lead to a continent-wide manhunt, Monty has to come to terms with the life that he knows and a choice between friendship and love.

This book sounds so intriguing. If not simply for the outfit of two rambunctious teens traversing from 1700's Paris to Rome but for how their homosexual romance develops at a time where it would be most dangerous. Could be a very interesting read!

"We Are Okay" by Nina LaCour

Marin takes her phone, her wallet, and a picture of her mother, and leaves her old life at the California coast for a college in New York. She hasn't spoken to anyone since then, not even her best friend Mabel. However, when Mabel comes to visit, she'll have to face her past. This is a story that focuses less on plot and more on the human experience of forgiveness, loneliness, and hope.

You might want to save this one for when you've got a couple of days off because I hear it can really get in your head and tear at your heartstrings. I am not ready.

Important Note: If you live in or near Brampton, Ontario, Canada, feel free to join Chapters Brampton's LGBTQIA+ Book Club who will be discussing LaCour's book on Tuesday June 6th @ 7:00PM. Located at: Chapters Brampton, 52 Quarry Edge Drive.

And those are the YA books I'm looking forward to the most this summer! If you'd like a more lengthy list, here's the brilliantly compiled one I used as reference from Goodreads:

What do you think of these titles? What are you excited about reading this summer? Hit me up in the comments below and enjoy that sunshine!

Stay happy my darlings,

~ Tilly ~

An Introduction: What Pride Means To Me

Hiya! My name is Tilly. I’m a 24 year old bisexual woman--

--and I’ve never been to Pride.

“Somewhere Over The Rainbow” plays in the background.

I was very lucky to grow up in a household where my parents embraced individuality and uniqueness and applied a parenting style that created a subconscious that never said my siblings and I couldn’t be anything but ourselves. They had no expectations of us other than to be happy and healthy. So coming out March of last year was actually very uneventful. I gathered my family and announced: “I am bisexual!” My mother told me she loved me no matter what... and then proceeded to ask if she could continue washing dishes. I mean, my brother also clapped but that was really it. No glitter or confetti or Gaga in the background.

Just: you’re still you… but gay sometimes.

Which is phenomenal. Not everyone is as lucky to be accepted as instantly and wholeheartedly as I am, whoever I am. And I’m so grateful.

I’m still very new to the LGBTQIA+ community; still delving into the history, still hearing about other people’s experiences, and still trying to figure out what my place is. I have a few queer friends but really my only experiences with discovering the LGBTQIA+ community have only been through the media: TV shows, movies, books, Tumblr, etc. And for some people, that’s their only available connection because maybe it’s not safe for them to come out or they don’t have any queer friends or family or they’re still trying to discover who they are.

I’ve never been to Pride and I don't quite know what it means to me yet, it's the same for a lot of people in those situations above. So I think that’s a part of why representation in media is so important. Not only to resemble and accept a more realistic world full of diversity but also to reach as many people on this Earth as possible and give them something to connect and relate to.

That’s why I’m starting this blog.

I want you to think of it as a place for us both to help discover Pride and representation through reviews and news of television, movies, books, manga, comics/graphic novels, and video games that have LGBTQIA+ themes. I also want us to find a safe space here for all.

Maybe along the way, I can help someone discover what Pride means to them, find out what Pride means to me, and make my way to finally celebrating Pride next year!

Stay happy my darlings,

~ Tilly ~

Bisexual Representation in the Media (or Lack Thereof)

Welcome to the re-launch of QCity! Last month we had Celebrate Bisexuality Day / Bisexual Visibility Day! As a proud bisexual woman, tha...