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Everything posted by lindagray

  1. 1. Giovanni's Room, by James Baldwin Author Chavisa Woods is far from alone when calling Giovanni’s Room “masterfully written, heartbreaking.” It’s a book that has resonated with so many queer people since first being published in 1956, speaking to issues of identity even now. Woods, a Lambda :Literary Award nominee for her novel Things to Do When You’re Goth in the Country, says Baldwin succeeded at “blurring the lines of hero and villain and bringing the complexity of human nature into horrifying focus.” Maybe that’s because Baldwin said the book isn’t actually about being gay. “Giovanni’s
  2. 4. Orlando, by Virginia Woolf Orlando, which Virginia Woolf wrote in tribute to friend and lover Vita Sackbville-West, is a study in gender fluidity across time and space. The eponymous protagonist starts as a rakish young nobleman in Elizabethan England, finding favor with the queen, then falling out with her and indulging liberally in sex with a variety of women but having an intense friendship with a male poet. Later Orlando is sent on a diplomatic mission to Constantinople, where he finds he's become a woman, and the gender switch offers an opportunity for commentary on the limitati
  3. 7. The Line of Beauty, by Alan Hollinghurst Alan Hollinghurst famously questioned the future of the gay novel this year, which is striking since he's often viewed as helping make queer books accessible to a mainstream audience. His 2004 novel broke through in a major way — The Line of Beauty won that year's prestigious Man Booker Prize for fiction. Hollinghurt was praised for his expert command of the English language and his flawless re-creation of upper-class British society and conservative political circles of the 1980s. Hollinghurst set his pen on the sexual hypocrisies of homophob
  4. 10. A Single Man, by Christopher Isherwood A quietly devastating exploration of love, loneliness, and the often-crushing weight of adult responsibilities, 1962's A Single Man might just be one of Isherwood's most beloved works. The short novel — under 200 pages — tracks the experiences of an aging college professor in Los Angeles. Wracked with depression over the loss of his partner in a car accident, George matter-of-factly plots his suicide. But, as Isherwood demonstrates, life gets in the way. After crashing into others who are suffering as much as he is, George has a change of heart. But
  5. 13. City of Night by John Rechy City of Night, a 1963 novel by John Rechy, is a seminal piece of fiction that follows the life of a gay hustler in New York City, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and San Francisco. Through stream-of-consciousness narration, the reader gets a glimpse of queer life in mid-century America, with a long and fascinating cast of characters that includes drag performers, S&M practitioners, and sex workers. The book has inspired music from the Doors as well as a film by Gus Van Sant, My Own Private Idaho. "This epic chronicle of gay culture in the American sixties is as
  6. 16. A Boy’s Own Story, by Edmund White A Boy’s Own Story is comparable to another literary classic, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. The 1982 book by Edmund White, which begins with the first sexual encounter of a 15-year-old boy, is based on his own experiences coming to terms with his gay identity as a youth in the Midwestern United States. White would later write two additional novels, The Beautiful Room Is Empty (1988) and The Farewell Symphony (1997), which follow his gay protagonist into young adulthood. Together, they form a poignant trilogy that chronicles a gay life in the la
  7. 18. Fun Home, by Allison Bechdel You might not expect to see a graphic novel in this list, but iconic cartoonist (and Bechdel test namesake) Alison Bechdel always takes the less traveled road. Off the success of her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, she created the deeply personal Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, which touches on her dysfunctional relationship with her father through a lesbian lens. Chronicling Bechdel's confusing childhood in rural Pennsylvania, the book took seven years to create in Bechdel's laborious artistic process, which included photographing herself in poses that ar
  8. 20. Under the Udala Trees, by Chinelo Okparanta "This lyrical book is a wonderful story with a background of a civil war and a love story between two young girls on the frontlines. Wonderful book," gay refugee activist and columnist Danny Ramadan raves about the global-minded story. The book unpacks the emotional life of a young girl displaced by the Nigerian civil war who begins a gut-wrenching affair with a fellow refugee. These girls are from different ethnic communities, forcing them to face not only the taboos of being queer but the prejudices of surviving in a nation that is eatin
  9. 22. The Hours, by Michael Cunningham Cunningham’s 1998 novel, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award, tells three parallel stories involving queer characters in different times and places. In England in the 1920s, Virginia Woolf struggles with depression and writing Mrs. Dalloway, a novel to which Cunningham pays homage; in mid-20th-century Los Angeles, housewife Laura Brown, discontented with her life, confronts her attraction to women; and in 1990s New York City, Clarissa Vaughan, who is lesbian, plans a party for her best friend, writer Richard Brown, a gay man dying
  10. 24. Tipping the Velvet, by Sarah Waters Sarah Waters’s 1998 page-turner is the coming-of-age story of Nan, a Whitstable “oyster girl” (talk about a euphemism) circa 1890 who, upon taking in a show in her local theater, becomes smitten with the charismatic masher (male impersonator) Kitty. Waters’s heroine follows Kitty to London, where the more experienced woman schools Nan in the ways of impersonating a dapper dandy onstage. The pair begin performing as men together and become the toast of London’s music halls while simultaneously falling in love. Heartbreak eventually ensues and Nan i
  11. Critics of the suppression of gay identity often conclude that, as homosexuality is normalized in broader culture, it will be in video games as well. A 2006 survey exploring gay gamers was the first academic study of any gamer group. With about 10,000 respondents, the survey exhibited a reverse bell curve of gamer sexuality, with most people identifying as either completely heterosexual or homosexual. A 2009 academic paper explored the cultural production of LGBT representation in video games and found that factors that would lead to a significant increase in LGBT content included: t
  12. The belief that young, white, heterosexual males were the force driving the industry forward was strongly challenged by the record-breaking success of The Sims. Video game developer Maxis had resisted Will Wright's goal of creating the title on the grounds that "girls don't play video games." The title was seen as unappealing to young heterosexual males. In the 1990s, the industry began to make some effort to market games to women by creating software titles with strong, independent female characters, such as those in Tomb Raider and Resident Evil. Some video game companies are now moving to f
  13. Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) In 1994, several top gaming publishers formed the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) as the trade association of the video game industry. Shortly after its creation, the ESA established the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) to independently assign individual games content ratings and descriptors according to a variety of factors. Identification of sexuality falls under the sexual content description which is allowed for games rated Teen to Adults Only. Following the establishment of the ESRB, console developers relaxed their in-h
  14. Company policies Sega Like Nintendo, Sega policed the content of games for Sega systems. Unlike Nintendo, Sega's initial system of censorship was more liberal. Their content code allowed games to have blood, more graphic violence, female enemies, and more sexually suggestive themes. Although Sega allowed LGBT themes and characters in games sold for its home console systems, Sega often chose to tone down or erase LGBT characters when porting Asian games to American markets. In Phantasy Star II, a musician's homosexuality was edited so that the only acknowledgment of his sexual orientat
  15. Company policies Nintendo In order to legally release a game for a Nintendo system, a developer must first obtain permission from Nintendo, which reserves the right to preview the games and demand changes before allowing their release. In this way, Nintendo exercises quality control and can prevent any content they deem objectionable or offensive from being released on their systems. Prior to the introduction of the Entertainment Software Rating Board in 1994, a game sold for a Nintendo system could neither display, nor make reference to, illicit drugs, tobacco and alcohol, violence agains
  16. Same-sex relationships Same-sex relationships as an option available to players in video games were first portrayed in the role-playing genre. The original Gameboy game titled "Great Greed" in the US and "Bitamīna Oukoku Monogatari" in Japan, released in September 1992, featured the possibility of your male protagonist's marriage to a variety of characters at the end of the game that included any of the king's daughters (except the eleven year old), the elderly court magician, the queen, and even the king himself. While possibly not the absolute earliest appearance of same sex relations
  17. LGBT visual novels and independent games Many visual novels and independent games are created by independent creators and may sometimes include or be focused on LGBT themes and narratives. Many of these narratives themselves sometimes come from a member of the development team and maybe a version of their personal story. These depictions tend to be more alike the struggles of being LGBT in the real world but often take place in universes where homosexuality is normalized and acceptable. In the 2013 exploration Visual novel Gone Home you take on the role of a young woman who returns to h
  18. Gay characters in fighting games Having gay male characters in fighting games can challenge the perception of homosexuality and masculinity. Nevertheless, hints about a particular character's sexual orientation in a fighting game often take the form of stereotypical femininity in an otherwise tough masculine character. In the Mortal Kombat series, Kung Jin is a homosexual character. The story mode of Mortal Kombat X features an exchange between Jin and Raiden that implies Jin's sexuality. Jin's homosexuality was confirmed by NetherRealm Studios cinematic director Dominic Cianciolo. The
  19. Transgender characters in video games Capcom created Final Fight for the arcade in 1989. The game involved players choosing among three fighters on a quest to save the mayor's daughter, who was kidnapped by a criminal gang known as Mad Gear. In 1990, Capcom presented Nintendo with a version of the game for the 16-bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). According to David Sheff's book Game Over, Nintendo stated that Capcom could not put a female enemy in a video game published for the SNES, as that violated Nintendo's ban on violence against women. Capcom countered that there were no
  20. A common method of introducing LGBT characters is to reveal their sexual orientation through gender inversion. A male character's homosexuality is often indicated by making him a sissy character with effeminate or flamboyant mannerisms, dress, and speech. The underlying assumption is that homosexuals are also frequently transgender and, therefore, possess mannerisms stereotypical of the opposite sex. This technique has been widely used in Hollywood movies (to circumvent the Production Code's ban on "sexual perversion"), as well as in Vaudeville. Although mainly used in video games for its come
  21. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) characters have been depicted in video games since the 1980s. In the history of video games, LGBT characters have been almost nonexistent for a long time, reflecting the overall heteronormativity of the medium. While there has been a trend towards greater representation of LGBT people in video games, they are frequently identified as LGBT in secondary material, such as comics, rather than in the games themselves. Gamesradar’s Sam Greer pored through thousands of gaming titles and found 179 games with any LGTB representation: Of those 179 games, on
  22. Gentleman Jack In 2010, queer women went wild for the British TV movie The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, about a wealthy 18th-century British landowner who’s been dubbed the “first modern lesbian.” Now, Anne Lister’s story is getting the prestige TV treatment with an eight-episode series created and directed by Happy Valley’s Sally Wainwright and commissioned by BBC One and HBO. The series stars Doctor Foster’s Suranne Jones as Anne and Sophie Rundle as the object of her affection Ann Walker. Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones), Timothy West (Last Tango in Halifax) and Gemma Jones (Bri
  23. Hair Live! NBC had a massive hit with Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert last year. Now, the out dream producing team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, are giving the counter-culture classic Hair the live treatment. The show, from queer creators James Rado and Gerome Ragni, will be directed by legendary helmer Diane Paulus (Broadway revivals of Hair, Porgy and Bess and Pippin) and Alex Rudzinzki, who is currently directing Rent Live for Fox. The original show included bisexual characters, but there’s no telling at this point if NBC will lean into the characters’ sexual orientation.
  24. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina After a spooky first season last fall on Netflix, everyone’s favorite teenage witch is coming back! Kiernan Shipka will return to her role as the spunky and occasional-worshipper of Satan, Sabrina Spellman, in season 2 of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Created by the gay mastermind behind Riverdale and Love, Simon, Greg Berlanti, it’s safe to assume that the camp and representation of season 1 will stick around for "part two" as Sabrina continues to navigate teenage boys and witchcraft. The show also features two prominent queer characters: Ambrose Sp
  25. American Gods A groundbreaking sex scene between two Muslim men was one of the highlights of season one of American Gods, the Bryan Fuller-produced Starz series based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name. So was a performance from Gillian Anderson as the god Media, who assumes the form of I Love Lucy's Lucy Ricardo. Now, American Gods, starring Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Yetide Badaki, Orlando Jones, Omid Abtahi, and Mousa Kraish, returns for its second season with more gods and "a storm" coming. Shrill Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant stars as Annie, a young P
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