Category Archives: MISC

Don't miss these LGBTQ-inclusive panels at WonderCon 2017

Don't miss these LGBTQ-inclusive panels at WonderCon 2017

WonderCon 2017 is just around the corner, and the schedule for the event is live now. WonderCon is a convention that brings fans of film, television, and comic books together. Guests will have access to exclusive workshops, screenings, discussions, Q&As, and panels featuring various celebrities and creators. This year’s convention will be taking place March 31st-April 2nd at the Anaheim Convention Center. For tickets and more information, click here.

The program for this year’s convention includes many panels that will feature LGBTQ creators, cast, and inclusive media. Check out the panels below (descriptions taken from the official programming guide):

Friday March 31st

The Growing Popularity of Latin Superheroes: Marvel, DC, and Beyond

From Jaime Reyes as DC’s Blue Beetle, to Fanbase Press’s Quince, the story of a girl named Lupe who discovers her abilities on her quinceañera, to Marvel’s groundbreaking new solo series Miss America (America Chavez), Latin American superheroes are making their way to the forefront. Jessica Tseang (founder of The Comic Book Girl and Little Geek Girls) leads a lively discussion with Eric Lopez (voice actor for Young Justice‘s Blue Beetle), Dani Fernandez (host for Geek & Sundry, Nerdist), Juan Manuel-Rocha (host for Comics on Comics),Sebastian Kadlecik (writer of Quince),Alex Quintas (storyboard artist for BoJack Horseman), and other special guests regarding the new age of Latin superheroes in our ever-changing culture.

Friday March 31, 2017 1:00pm – 2:00 pm 
Room 221

BOOM! Studios: Discover Yours

Discover your new favorite comic book series in a panel designed for everyone, from new fans to long-time readers to anyone who loves comics. BOOM!’s top editors and creators explore the diverse imprints of BOOM! Studios, BOOM! Box, KaBOOM!, and Archaia, with exclusive previews, news, and the information you need to discover your next obsession.

Friday March 31, 2017 2:00pm – 3:00pm 
Room 211

Comic Arts Conference #2: Comics and Fandom

Johnathan Flowers (Southern Illinois University Carbondale) uses the concept of feminist killjoys to explain how the treatment of fans who criticize the representation of diverse bodies in comics is one of the primary ways that comics fail in their attempts to diversify. Law professor and IP specialist Marc H. Greenberg (Golden Gate University School of Law) provides guidance for fans wishing to navigate the confusing thicket of legal issues that surround the creation of fan fiction and art.

Friday March 31, 2017 2:00pm – 3:00pm 
Room 210

Prison Break

Breaking out is only the beginning! Join Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell, Sarah Wayne Callies, Robert Knepper, and executive producers Paul Scheuring, Vaun Wilmott, and Michael Horowitz for a true fan event as they debut the first episode of 2017’s most highly anticipated series. A moderated panel will follow the screening.

Friday March 31, 2017 2:15pm – 3:30pm 
Room 300AB

CBLDF: Comics Change the World – The History of Activism in Comics

From the medium’s earliest days, activists have taken to the comics form to communicate their messages to the world. CBLDF deputy director Alex Cox brings you on an image-filled march through more than a century of comics activism, revealing the history of how comics can change the world!

Friday March 31, 2017 2:30pm – 3:30pm 
Room 208

Comics Arts Conference #3: Parallel Worlds Pedagogy: Fans, Academics, Creators and Educators in Conversation

Susan Kirtley (Portland State University), Antero Garcia (Colorado State University), Peter Carlson (Green Dot Public Schools), David F. Walker (Power Man and Iron Fist), Shannon Wheeler (The New Yorker), Johnny Parker II (Neat-O Comics), and Rosie O. Knight present a roundtable conversation on the ways in which our various relationships to comics inform our thinking on the medium, and how we might work together to develop better comics, better comics criticism, and better comics education. Panelists will examine their own fandom while assessing how representations of agencies, identities, and actions in comics shape how readers define their world. Inversely, participants will explore how much the voices and experiences of readers can reciprocally influence comics.

Friday March 31, 2017 3:00pm – 4:00pm 
Room 210

Spotlight on Marguerite Sauvage

Award-winning artist Marguerite Sauvage weaves vivid imagery in DC’s Bombshells, Faith (Valiant), Thor (Marvel), Scarlet Witch (Marvel), Adventure Time (BOOM! Studios), and more titles along with numerous stunning variant covers. Join Nina Taylor Kester (Cartoon Art Museum) in conversation with Sauvage to learn about her path from law and communications graduate to internationally acclaimed illustrator and cartoonist. Plus, learn about her upcoming work in Femme Magnifique, an anthology of stories about women who crack ceilings, take names, and change the game.

Friday March 31, 2017 3:00pm – 4:00pm 
Room 209

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Two Decades with Feeling: A 20th Anniversary Celebration

Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman (The Fifty-Year Mission), authors of the upcoming oral history Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Slayers & Vampires, re-open the Hellmouth and look back at the secret history of the slayer who saved the world a lot, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for its 20th anniversary as well as what the future might hold for Slayage in the 21st century. Also, a look back at the underappreciated genius of Angel and the Buffy’s that never were.

Friday March 31, 2017 4:00pm – 5:00pm 
Room 300DE

Riverdale Special Video Presentation and Q&A

Unlock the mystery of Riverdale and leave your innocence behind. Join stars KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Ashleigh Murray, Luke Perry, Mädchen Amick, and Marisol Nichols, along with executive producers Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Sarah Schechter, and Jon Goldwater as they dive into the secrets that continue to loom over what may look like a quiet, sleepy town. While new details of Jason Blossomâ

Friday March 31, 2017 4:45pm – 5:45pm 

Psychology of Cult TV Shows: Episode 4

Are you a fan of Supernatural, Westworld, Game of Thrones, or Sherlock? Do you love Daredevil, The Walking Dead, Jessica Jones, or Luke Cage? If so, come join a team of psychologists and TV writers as they discuss the psychology behind these shows. Psychologists Janina Scarlet (Superhero Therapy, Star Wars Psychology),Dr. Travis Langley (Doctor Who Psychology, Star Trek Psychology), Travis Adams (Department of Veterans Affairs), and TV writers Adam Glass (Supernatural, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders),Jose Molina (Agent Carter, Firefly), Christine Boylan (Castle, Once Upon a Time), and host Jenna Busch (Legion of Leia,Star Wars Psychology) geek out and discuss your favorite TV shows.Dr. Billy San Juan (Doctor Who Psychology, The Walking Dead Psychology) moderates.

Friday March 31, 2017 6:00pm – 7:00pm 
Room 207

Saturday April 1st

Queer Comics at the Crossroads

In the past several years, LGBTQAIU individuals have made great strides in representation in comics. The next frontier for queer creators is tackling characters whose experiences straddle not only a queer identity but the other identities that make people who they are-racial, religious, gender, and more. What are the unique challenges facing writers and artists who wish to examine intersectionality of identities? How do a character’s additional identities complement or complicate their lives and loves? Join Prism Comics and moderator Tara Madison Avery (Gooch, Alphabet, Stacked Deck Press, Prism Comics) and panelists Vi Cao (David Doesn’t Get It), P. Kristen Enos (Active Voice,Web of Lives), Viktor T. Kerney (StrangeLore), Sonya Saturday (Load World Comics), William O. Tyler (Ratboy), and Josh Trujillo (Love MachinesDeath Saves) for a lively discussion of intersectionality in comics.

Saturday April 1, 2017 11:00am – 12:00pm 
Room 211

IDW Entertainment: Wynonna Earp

The breakout hit of 2016 returns to WonderCon Anaheim! Join the cast and crew of the show that Variety named one of 2016’s best new shows as they reveal what’s in store for season 2!

Saturday April 1, 2017 11:30am – 12:30pm 
Room 208

Midnight, Texas Series Premiere

Universal Television presents NBC’s new supernatural thriller Midnight, Texas. Welcome to a place where being normal is strange and only outsiders fit in. Based on the bestselling book series by Charlaine Harris (author of the novels that inspired True Blood), comes a journey into a remote Texas town where nothing is what it seems. Home to a vampire, a witch, an angel, and a hitwoman, Midnight is a mysterious safehaven for those who are different-a perfect place for anyone looking to hide from the outside world. That is, until the arrival of a powerful psychic and the murder of one of their own. As the town members fight off outside pressures from ever-suspicious cops, deadly biker gangs, and their own dangerous pasts, they band together and form an unlikely but strong family. Join your fellow “Midnighters” for an exclusive premiere of the pilot episode and a Q&A session with cast members François Arnaud (The Borgias), Dylan Bruce (Orphan Black), Parisa Fitz-Henley (Luke Cage), Arielle Kebbel (The Vampire Diaries), Jason Lewis (Sex and the City), and Sarah Ramos (Parenthood) and executive producers Monica Owusu-Breen (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and David Janollari (Six Feet Under).

Saturday April 1, 2017 11:45am – 1:00pm 
Room 300AB

Comics Arts conference #6: President B****: Gender and the Superhero Narrative

Just in time for the heated and hated 2016 presidential election, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro’s Bitch Planet released its 9th issue, appropriately emblazoned with “VOTE” and “President Bitch.” In this panel, Tara Prescott (University of California, Los Angeles), David Hall (Old Dominion University), Philip Smith (College of the Bahamas), and Maite Urcaregui (University of California, Santa Barbara), contributors to the upcoming collection Gender and the Superhero Narrative, will examine the role of gender in the superhero narrative, starting a discussion for the audience to delve into the larger issues of comics in a post-Trump America and beyond.

Saturday April 1, 2017 12:30pm – 1:30pm 
Room 210

Syfy’s The Magicians

How about a trip to Fillory (and Further)? Jason Ralph (Quentin Coldwater), Stella Maeve (Julia Wicker), and executive producers Sera Gamble and John McNamara present an inside look at The Magicians, Syfy’s hit show based on Lev Grossman’s bestselling novels. With only three episodes remaining this season, you might want to bring a batch of truth serum to uncover some secrets!

Saturday April 1, 2017 1:00pm – 2:00pm 
Room 300AB

Comic Arts Conference #7: Queering Comics

Andrew Barton (Texas State University) discusses how Vision offers a unique insight into the position of The Other through the story of the Avenger android’s attempt to fit into a small community in his own ideal America. Karma Waltonen (University of California Davis) explores Kill Shakespeare‘s representation of the intersections of female villainy with sex, gender, and sexuality. Michael Lee Gonzales (Texas State University) explores how the transition from animation to comics of KaBOOM! Studios’ Steven Universe allow for the exploration of queer spatiality/temporality and pleasure not possible in the animated version.

Saturday April 1, 2017 1:30pm – 3:00pm 
Room 210

CBLDF: State of Censorship 2017

Get a global look at comics censorship from CBLDF. See how the new political climate is affecting free speech in the U.S., with increased scrutiny at the border and an abundance of local challenges to comics addressing diversity and equality. Explore how cartoonists are being prosecuted, threatened, and intimidated by authorities around the globe for making art. Learn how you can participate with CBLDF in making a difference and standing up for free expression.

Saturday April 1, 2017 3:00pm – 4:00pm 
Room 209

End Bullying: Be a Superhero IRL

Been bullied? Brandon Routh (Superman Returns, Legends of Tomorrow) invites you to turn kryptonite into your own personal strength with Pop Culture Hero Coalition’s powerful panel, back by popular demand! Featuring activists Anne Wheaton, Dr. Janina Scarlet (author, Superhero Therapy), Dr. Andrea Letamendi (Under the Mask Online, The Arkham Sessions), Matt Langdon (Hero Round Table), a rep from Amnesty International, and welcoming back NOH8 Founders Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley. Moderated by Chase Masterson (Star Trek, Doctor Who: Big Finish). Topics include geek, cyber, sexist, and LGBTQ bullying; racism; misogyny-and heroism IRL.

Saturday April 1, 2017 3:00pm – 4:00pm 
Room 207

Riverdale Exclusive Screening of Brand New Episode

A WonderCon Anaheim exclusive!

Saturday April 1, 2017 3:15pm – 4:15pm 

Queer, Comics, and Social Justice

Are comics mightier than the sword? Can comics be calls for action, or catalysts for resistance, revolution, and change in a divided society? Now more than ever, comic artists and writers are claiming their diverse identities, writing their own histories, and using the artform to build empathy and understanding. Join Prism Comics, moderator Elizabeth Beier (Bisexual Trials and Errors), and a diverse panel of LGBTQ comics creators as they explore comics as a source of power and change. Panelists include Marc Andreyko (Love Is Love), Tara Madison Avery (Gooch, Alphabet, publisher Stacked Deck Press), Ajuan Mance (1,001 Black Men), and Sonya Saturday (2016 Republican Presidential Candidates Coloring Book). Prism Comics will announce the recipient of the 2017 Prism Comics Queer Press Grant at the end of this panel.

Saturday April 1, 2017 4:00pm – 5:00pm 
Room 207

The Most Dangerous Women at WonderCon Anaheim: More than Just Cookies

The doting girlfriend. The damsel in distress. The evil seductress. The tough girl who dies. Why are so many female characters such cookie-cutter archetypes? Why do so many fictional women lack the depth and variety of character of their male counterparts? How can fans and writers work together to create richer stories with more well-rounded characters, female and otherwise? Here to discuss the many archetypes of women in fiction are a group of women dangerous in their own right: moderator Katrina Hill (Action Movie Freak, 100 Greatest Graphic Novels), Jennifer Stuller (Ink-Stained Amazons, GeekGirlCon), Stephanie Thorpe (CryptTV, The Ladies & The Gents), America Young (Geek & Sundry), Jessica Tseang (Little Geek Girls, Comic Book Historian), Alex Langley (The Geek Handbook, Kill the Freshman), and Tamara Brooke (Comic Book Resources, Seat 42F).

Saturday April 1, 2017 4:00pm – 5:00pm 
Avalon Room, Anaheim Hilton

IndieWire’s Fan Favorites Showrunners

Moderated by IndieWire executive editor Michael Schneider, an all-star panel of showrunners behind some of the coolest TV out there will swap stories and insights about the behind-the-scenes inner workings of your favorite shows. Panelists include Marc Guggenheim (Arrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow), Jessica Goldberg (The Path), Jonah Ray (Mystery Science Theater 3000, Hidden America with Jonah Ray), Sera Gamble (The Magicians), Raphael Bob-Waksberg (BoJack Horseman), and Aline Brosh McKenna (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend).

Saturday April 1, 2017 4:15pm – 5:15pm 
Room 300AB

U.S. Premiere Screening of Doctor Who Spin-Off Class

End your day with BBCA and Nerdist for the exclusive U.S. premiere screening of Doctor Who spinoff, Class. From award-winning writer and Class creator Patrick Ness (novel and film A Monster Calls, novel Chaos Walking) and executive produced by the team behind Doctor Who, Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin, Class is set in London’s Coal Hill School, where four students who have hidden secrets and desires navigate a life of friends, parents, schoolwork, sex, sorrow-and possibly the end of existence. Coal Hill School has been a part of the Doctor Who universe since the very beginning, but that has come at a price. Time traveling over the years has caused the very walls of space and time to become thin. There’s something pressing in on the other side, something waiting for its chance to kill everyone and everything, to bring us all into Shadow. Class is a BBC America co-production and premieres Saturday, April 15, 10/9c following the season premiere of Doctor Whoat 9/8c.

Saturday April 1, 2017 7:30pm – 8:30pm 
Room 300DE

Sunday April 2

Rainbow Magic: LGBTQ Disney Fandom

Disney is popular around the world. And Disney characters, films, comics, media, and theme parks are especially popular in the LGBTQ community. Young or old, LGBTQ folk identify with the stories, characters, the fantasy, and the imagination. Since you are next door to the “Happiest Place on Earth,” join Prism Comics and Disney fans as they explore why the queer community loves all things Disney. Panelists include Dusty Sage (founder and CEO of, Justin Garrett (former Disney cast member), Renee Jeskee (Disney Music Group), Worthie Paul Meacham (expert on Disney Parks and Disneyana), Eddie Shapiro (producer, Gay Days Anaheim), and David Woodman (animator, Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, Aladdin). Moderated by Chris Riley (Geek Play Media).

Sunday April 2, 2017 10:00am – 11:00am 
Room 211

World Premiere of DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games

Get in on all the pomp and circumstance of the world premiere of DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games, the second full-length feature film spotlighting this worldwide franchise sensation. The film finds the young superheroes—Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Bumblebee, and Katana—squaring off against Korugar Academy in the Intergalactic Games. However, trouble is in the air as Lena Luthor takes advantage of the gathering of the Supers to enact her villainous plan. It’s up to the DC Super Hero Girls to fight the forces of evil and protect their school. With Wonder Woman’s strength, Supergirl’s speed, Batgirl’s strategic knowledge, Poison Ivy’s ability to make things grow, Harley Quinn’s energy, Bumblebee’s ability to shrink, and Katana’s fearless personality … anything is possible. After the screening, stick around for an action-packed panel featuring the voices of Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Katana—respectively Grey Griffin (Scooby-Doo! and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery), Anais Fairweather (DC Super Hero Girls), Teala Dunn (Are We There Yet?, Enchanted), and Stephanie Sheh (Naruto: Shippuden)—alongside producer Jennifer Coyle (Bob’s Burgers), director Cecilia Aranovich (DC Super Hero Girls: Hero of the Year), and screenwriter/author Shea Fontana (Doc McStuffins, The 7D). Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment, the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital HD (6/13/17) and DVD (6/27/17).

Sunday April 2, 2017 10:00am – 12:00pm 
Room 300AB

CBLDF: She Changed Comics

Meet the women who changed free expression in comics! From the turn of the 20th century to today, women have overcome censorship and more to make comics, inspiring today’s landscape of increasingly diverse and empowering comics storytelling. Hope Larson (Batgirl, Chiggers, Compass South), Cecil Castellucci (Shade, the Changing GirlOdd Duck;The Plain Janes), CBLDF editorial director Betsy Gomez (She Changed Comics), and others discuss the women who changed the format.

Sunday April 2, 2017 12:00pm – 1:00pm 
Room 211

DC Comics Drawing Daddy’s Little Monster with Chad Hardin

Chad Hardin (artist, Harley Quinn, Zatanna, Warlord) demonstrates, step by step, how to draw DC Comics’ favorite bad girl. Get some tips and tricks for working in the comics industry as an artist, and get the scoop on some behind-the-scenes shenanigans of the creative team of Harley Quinn.

Sunday April 2, 2017 12:00pm – 1:00pm 
Room 209

Lucifer Special Video Presentation and Q&A

If you thought all hell broke loose when Lucifer arrived in the City of Angels, just imagine how things will heat up in his absence. Indulge your deepest desires and be among the first to see what’s in store for Chloe Decker and the Devil himself after his mysterious departure in the midseason finale. Get a sizzling sneak peek at the second half of season 2, followed by a Q&A with series stars Tom Ellis, Lauren German, DB Woodside, and executive producers Joe Henderson (White Collar) and Ildy Modrovich (CSI: Miami). From Jerry Bruckheimer Television in association with Warner Bros. Television and based on characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg for Vertigo from DC Entertainment, Lucifer returns with all-new episodes in May airing Mondays at 9/8c on FOX.

Sunday April 2, 2017 12:30pm – 1:30pm 

Gotham Special Video Presentation and Q&A

As Gotham City descends into anarchy, join the hit show as it returns to WonderCon Anaheim to give fans the scoop on all the shocking moments in store for the remainder of Season 3. With Penguin out of the picture, and a power grab taking place, who will become the new leader of the Gotham underworld? How will Nygma’s embrace of his Riddler persona alter the balance of power, and will any of it matter when the Court of Owls reveals its plans for the city? All will be judged! Join us for a special video presentation followed by a Q&A with series stars and executive producers. From Warner Bros. Television, Gotham returns Monday, April 24, with all-new episodes on Mondays at 8/7c on FOX.

Sunday April 2, 2017 1:45pm – 2:45pm 

Drawing Action

WonderCon Anaheim special guests Hope Larson (Batgirl), Andy Park (Tomb Raider), and Marguerite Sauvage (DC Bombshells) illustrate how to get in on the action as they explain how they give their characters dynamic movements on the page. Moderator Jessica Tseang (comic book historian) leads this talented group of creators as they share their insider knowledge and draw characters that leap off the page and into our imagination.

Sunday April 2, 2017 2:00pm – 3:00pm 
Room 211

WonderCon 2017 will be taking place the weekend of March 31st-April 2nd at the Anaheim Convention Center. For tickets and more information about the con click here.

March 27, 2017

Evan Wolfson on how to defend marriage equality during the rise of the antigay right

Evan Wolfson on how to defend marriage equality during the rise of the antigay right

Evan Wolfson, one of the architects of marriage equality, is bringing the lessons and know-how that secured equality in 2015 to campaigns for equality across the globe. And with the new documentary The Freedom To Marry, filmmaker Eddie Rosenstein brings those lessons and Wolfson’s indefatigable optimism to the silver screen.

The Freedom to Marry, now in theaters nationwide, follows Wolfson and his colleagues in the months leading up to the Supreme Court’s Obergefeld v. Hodges decision. “I hope that the film makes people think about how to be effective advocates,” Wolfson says. With challenges to all things LGBTQ coming fast and furious, those lessons and that sense of hope are more important than ever.

Not long after the film’s premiere, Queerty chatted with Wolfson about how we should meet the myriad challenges ahead under Trump.

I’m guessing you expected The Freedom to Marry to premiere to a very different political moment. How has the 2016 election changed the way you think people will receive this film?
It’s really boosted the hunger for the inspiration and the elements of success that are shown in this film, which captures not just the story of how we achieved this transformation of hearts and minds and the law, but what are the building blocks and tactics and ways in which other causes and other movements can achieve their goals. We always wanted the film to deliver those lessons and point the way for others, but now it’s just really ratcheted up the desire to look at this model, look at the lessons and look at the power of hope that we brought to bear to achieve an extraordinary transformation from a very dark place to a glorious achievement. Of course, many of us find ourselves and our country in a dark place again. We need that inspiration and we need that instruction, and this film offers it.

When you see protesters taking to the street these days, what lessons do you think they can take away from the film?
I think there are many. One is that protesting is a way of raising your voice and encouraging others to believe and take action. But of course it’s only one piece of the work that’s needed. It’s not enough just to protest. We need to combine that energy with all of the other methodologies of social change, as Dr. King called them. We need to channel that energy into litigation, into legislative work, meeting with our lawmakers, putting pressure on them. We need to tell our stories not just with anger and determination, but with the tone and the reach and the kinds of examples and messages that will persuade others to change their minds. All of this is shown, not just told, in the film. Because all of those ways of building toward change were what we needed to do over more than four decades to go from being a despised, oppressed minority to claiming the full dignity and equality of the central language of love and commitment.

So the hope and the inspiration that we brought to our work and had to sustain through many, many stumbles and defeats, and the ways in which this movement followed a strategy and the way in which a campaign like Freedom to Marry worked with many partner organizations and millions of people coming into the movement to find the right combination over time to get the job done—those are the kinds of lessons that are portrayed with, hopefully, powerful stories that the filmmaker [Eddie Rosenstein] was able to somehow condense into 86 minutes.

It’s an inspiring film, but it almost feels like it’s missing an epilogue to reflect what’s happening in 2017. Do you think audiences will find it hard to square the film’s happy ending with the challenges to marriage rights we’re facing under Trump?
I actually haven’t heard people say that. This particular campaign, this 40-year journey, this struggle did have a happy ending. And that happy ending remains. More than a million gay people have gotten married. We have transformed the place of gay and transgender people in our society. We have moved the center of public opinion over to our side. We now see businesses fighting alongside us in these battles that we’re fighting, for example, for transgender rights. We see conservatives moving in our direction. All of this is the happy ending of this chapter. But of course, we all understand, and it’s 100 percent correct that it’s still just one chapter in an ongoing story, and winning marriage isn’t over. We’ve won marriage in law, but the marriage conversation, the power and the empathy and the visibility that we had to harness, now we can couple to the work ahead of us in the other battle ahead.

So, I understand what you mean, but I actually think that what’s happening now is people are watching the film, coming in with huge feelings of anger and despair and frustration and uncertainty—all rightly so. What they don’t need to be told everything stinks. Rather, here’s the pathway for the work that we need to recommit ourselves to.

Something you say in the film about the momentum Freedom to Marry kept gaining in the fight for same-sex marriage really stuck with me: “It’s not a done deal until it’s done.” Is it done now?
Great question. What I mean is— Well, first of all, nothing is ever 100 percent done. We know from history that you can spin out worst case scenarios where things can erode and can go really wrong. So, we can never just sit back and say everything is taken care of and we can be complacent. That said, I do think we have won marriage as a matter of law. More than a million gay people have gotten married. Even before we won in law, we won in the court of public opinion. That 63 percent support that we had built and earned by the time we stood before the Supreme Court in order to build the climate for the victory, that didn’t go away on Election Day. In fact, polling over the last couple of weeks shows that we’re still in the supermajority 60 percent range of American public opinion. We won not just the final Supreme Court ruling, but of course the Windsor case two year before in the Supreme Court and more than 70 court rulings in the two years between those two rulings. That didn’t go away on Election Day. There is tremendous power in what we achieved, and we shouldn’t just act like all of that vanished. Let’s not make a bad situation worse than it is. All of that is still there.

What I meant by it’s not over, is not so much that I fear we’re gonna have marriage taken away, but rather, even though we won marriage in law, the power of the marriage conversation and its ability to move hearts and create empathy and have more visibility for who gay and transgender people are is a conversation that is still reaching many people in many parts of the country, and we need to engage that power, not just put it on a shelf and act like that’s all done and now we’re starting from square one. To the contrary, the marriage victory is the gift that keeps on giving, as long as we keep using it. We need to harness that to the other work on other fronts that are also very important. There are many threats and many concerns in this terrible moment for our country. There’s no question our country is on the wrong track. But of all those threats and all those concerns, I would say that worrying that marriage will be take away is not at the top of the list. It’s possible, but it’s not at the top of the list.

President Trump has said he’s fine with gay marriage, that he considers marriage equality settled law, but he’s unpredictable. What do you make of the Trump administration’s position of same-sex marriage?
Well, as you just said, the administration’s declared policy is a little bit all over the map. Trump himself has said that the marriage decision is settled law and that he’s ok with that. But there is no such thing as 100 percent settled law. Things can change. We always have to be vigilant and engage in the work. And it’s not up to the president whether the Constitution’s demand is fulfilled or not, because we didn’t win marriage equality through the gift of a president, and we don’t lose it if the president doesn’t like it. What matters is ultimately that we remain vigilant and work hard to continue growing the public support, get more and more gay people married, create more facts on the ground, build such an extraordinary public acceptance—as we pretty much have already achieved—that even an opponent would think twice about trying to undo it. And then undoing it is not that simple. The only way to undo it—well there are two ways: one is to amend the Constitution, to take away the constitutional guarantees that the Supreme Court affirmed not once, but twice. Or to so dramatically change the composition of the court with justices who, even if they are opposed in their hearts, also are willing to overlook precedent and facts on the ground and public opinion and the course of history. That’s a tall order. Is it impossible? No. But is it the number one threat today? No.

But there are other ways that the administration can chip away at marriage rights. What sort of threat do so-called religious freedom bills pose to marriage equality?
Look, efforts to carve out licenses to discriminate in defiance of civil rights laws are definitely a threat. It’s definitely something that many in the administration and lamentably many in congress and even some on the Supreme Court want to do. Gay and transgender people are not the only targets of that tactic. We’ve already seen it directed at women, eroding reproductive freedom and access to healthcare. And, in fact, history tells us that this tactic of using religion as a way of dressing up efforts to undermine civil rights advances is nothing new. This is a familiar part of the classic pattern of civil rights advancement. We struggle hard, we are eventually able to achieve a civil rights victory, and then those who failed to stop it try to undermine it. And usually they turn to the phony banner of so-called religious freedom to mask these licenses to discriminate.

So, yes, it is a threat. Yes, it’s something we have to work to defeat. It’s something that didn’t begin with Donald Trump. It’s not a new problem. It’s part of the pattern of the work we have to do. Happily, our movement has actually defeated more of these attacks over the years than have passed. But every one that passes is one that we have to combat. But this is in a different category from taking away marriage. I don’t mean to sound like there’s no threat. Our country is very much on the wrong track. We all need to recommit to, really, defending our republic, and standing in solidarity with so many overlapping communities that are under attack, including LGBT, but also immigrants and Muslims and Jews and women and people of color in general. So many of us are under attack. We have to work together, stand together and do the work that this film shows how to do. But let’s not make a bad situation worse by spinning ourselves into fear. And that, I think, is another lesson from the Freedom to Marry work: you can spend forever cataloguing your fears and the obstacles and the difficulties, wallowing in negativity. Or you can set your eyes upward on the vision of the country you want to share. You can map out a pathway for what it’s going to take, and you can do that work, summoning others to rise rather than giving them permission not to act because they’re so paralyzed with fear. And that’s what we did successfully. That’s what the film shows, and I think that’s why it’s being embraced by audiences who come into the theater feeling frightened and sad, and leave with an example of how we can move forward.

The Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade decades ago and we are still fighting that fight. Should we be worried that the right to marriage equality will play out the same way, that we’ll still be fighting to maintain the freedom to marry for decades to come?
I actually think that the fight that we’re really going to have to keep on fighting for a period of time is not so much, again, about marriage. It’s about gay and transgender rights. Marriage was an enormously important battleground on which we have now made tremendous gains for gay and transgender people. But that doesn’t mean that the anti-gay and anti-trans forces that are out there have completely vanished—although they are diminished. Part of the reason why we’ve seen so much of the right wing’s energy poured into anti-trans measures is because they know we have gained so much ground, comparatively on gay rights and that the marriage win moved the country so far forward on gay rights—and also forward on trans rights, but not as fully. But we’re fighting in a much better place, with far more support on our side now than before we engaged in the marriage battle. I mentioned earlier how businesses are some of the leading, most crucial champions now in these fights over transgender rights as well as efforts to carve out licenses to discriminate under the specious banner of religious freedom. Businesses were mobilized and brought into our movement enormously through the power of this marriage fight. All of that is now available and mobilized for us as we fight forward on the next frontier.

The NY Times published a story last month suggesting that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch might be sympathetic to LGBT rights. How do you anticipate Gorsuch might shift the court on LGBT rights, and potentially marriage equality?
I think any nominee to the Supreme Court bears a very heavy burden of proving that she or he is committed to individual rights and equal protection, standing up for the most vulnerable. And I see nothing in his record to reassure me that he can meet that burden. Obviously we still have to have hearings. I think the fact that he might be a nice guy, or that he has gay friends is all well and good. But that has nothing to do with whether he, as a judge, has a jurisprudence and a record that gives us the assurance that he is qualified to serve on the Supreme Court as a defender of the Constitution’s guarantees, particularly with regard to individual rights and equal protections.

I think it’s even more acute in this case, because of course this seat is a stolen seat that Republicans in the Senate failed to fill for nearly a year. And the president making the appointment has no mandate, lost the popular vote and if there ever were a time when the advice and consent requirement of the Senate were a demand that the president find a moderate nominee who can get the votes on both sides of the aisle, it is this moment. And again, I think Judge Gorsuch is highly unlikely to meet that test. Every analysis I’ve seen of his record points to him being extremely right wing, to the right even of Scalia, and not likely able to meet the test I laid out a few moments ago. So I think absent some total surprise, and the fact that he may have some gay friends notwithstanding, his nomination should be opposed.

You shut down Freedom to Marry in 2015 after the Obergefeld decision. How did the public react to that?
The overwhelming response at the time, and actually ever since, was appreciation of the message that sent about a model of activism. We committed ourselves to clarity of goal, clarity of strategy and clarity of work, and said from the get-go that this organization is not gonna just lurch from thing to thing, jumping on something when it’s hot, running away when it’s difficult, but it was going to drive a strategy to a goal and bring in others, work with partners, and get the job done. And when that job was done—even though the work of the larger movement is not done—the work of this particular campaign is done, and so we closed. I continue to say the work of the movement is not done. I’m not done. The resources and assets and expertise and even staff that Freedom to Marry assembled, we transferred strategically over to other organizations in the movement. We didn’t just spend it all on vacations and a party! We invested in other pillar organizations in the movement because they have to continue to fight.

But I’m a real believer that the more you have clarity about your goal, that should dictate your strategy. The clearer you are about strategy, that dictates your structure, rather than trying to reinvent to find something to do. Again, these are elements of how we succeeded with the Freedom to Marry model that can be applied to others, and I think that’s why most people have been quite appreciative of the way we handled that.

That said, again, there are still enormous challenges and opportunities for moving forward. That’s why I’m spending my time now responding to requests for advice and assistants from other movements and other causes and other countries. I’m doing a fair amount of work with others in other countries trying to take these lessons and apply them to the work of winning marriage equality in their countries as a way of really tugging the whole human rights standard forward around the world. I’m drawing on my former Freedom to Marry team and the assets we have. Would it be nice if there were a million Freedom to Marry-type organizations doing those same things on all those different goals? Yes, and that’s a lesson that I think our movement and its funders ought to take very seriously. One of the things we did before shutting down was help launch a new campaign called Freedom for All Americans to play a similar role in trying to lay out a strategy and fill in the gaps and work collaboratively to try to drive non-discrimination around the country. And that organization is thriving and effective. Actually many of my former Freedom to Marry team have gone to work there.

At the same time, National Organization for Marriage didn’t shut down. There’s the Trump Administration’s First Amendment Defense Act lurks in the wings. The Texas Supreme Court is hearing the Pidgeon v. Turner case. Shouldn’t Freedom to Marry should be there to meet those challenges? What do you say to the criticism that shutting down the organization was perhaps premature?
I would say that that’s not true. We have extraordinarily strong partners who we worked with to win marriage, who are rightly stepping up to the defensive work and laying out the affirmative work that we need to do, whether it’s the four legal groups that were Freedom to Marry’s closest partners—the ACLU, GLAD in Massachusetts, Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights; we have organizations that we helped create, like Freedom for All Americans, to take the Freedom to Marry playbook and apply it to non-discrimination and transgender rights. We have other partners in this movement who rightly are stepping up to play a bigger role now that the focus has shifted from everything needed to win marriage to everything needed to advance gay and transgender rights in other arenas. And the assets we built and delivered are very much available to those organizations. I myself remain an interested person and a part of this movement, and people are coming to me without an organization to hear me weigh in—as you are doing. So, the team we built and the model we drove was tailored to the strategy. It was a wonderful team. We were in our groove and I’m very proud of what we had. The wonderful people I had working together, they clearly would have been assets going forward. They still are. They’re just at other organizations now.

In the film, there’s a really lovely scene of your family talking about thinking you could have been the first Jewish president. And you would also have been the first openly gay president. So, are there any out politicians right now that you think could make a successful bid for the presidency in 2020?
There are a lot of people in public life whom I really admire. I guess I’m less focused now on who should run for president and more focused on the work we all need to be doing in the next year to massively ramp up civic engagement, all the work of terrific organizations like you and I just talked about, as well as in other movements. These movements overlap, whether it’s the ACLU or the National Immigration Law Center where I’m serving now as a pro bono senior advisor. There are many organizations that I’ve been coaching and advising. These organizations in gun control and environment and women’s rights and reproductive rights and so on, this is where we ought to be putting our energy right now. This is the crucial point that comes closer to what you’re asking, which is that we need to connect that civic engagement to the hard work on the ground first in key state and building toward Washington, to reclaim political power. We need to be political, even as we’re doing that civic engagement work, both defensive and affirmative. There are so many ways to be involved with that. It’s not just about finding a miracle candidate. It’s about doing all that work in all those different arenas, investing time and money and persuasion, standing in solidarity and connecting the case we’re making on particular battle to the larger vision we’re putting forward to win back our country.

You mentioned earlier that we need to get more gay people married. So I have to ask, after devoting over three decades of your life to same-sex marriage, do people ask you all the time to play matchmaker?
[Laughs] I wouldn’t say all the time. But friends who I’m dining with will say that to me, and of course I feel like I have to repay the favor from all those years when I was whinily single and asking my friends to help fix me up. And I kinda like trying to bring people together. One of the great things about having a positive vision of where you want to go—and particularly when it’s something like marriage which is so much about love and joy and family—is I do get to hear wonderful stories all the time from people who are thanking me for being able to get married. They tell me about how long they were together. Or parents will tell me about their kids or grandkids and how much joy has come into their lives. Non-gay people as well as gay people are sharing that joy. And that is a great thing to have. It’s something I’m very grateful and touched by. Still, every day I get those stories.

And I do try to play matchmaker where I can, spreading that joy.

10 Transgender and Gender Fluid Youth Who Are Working to Change the World

10 Transgender and Gender Fluid Youth Who Are Working to Change the World

Over the past several years, more and more young transgender people are coming out and sharing their stories publicly. These brave young people are becoming advocates for change across the country. Young transgender people from all walks of life are making a lasting impact towards achieving full transgender equality in our nation — even if some of these remarkable trail blazers aren’t old enough to legally drive or vote.

Transgender young people face significant discrimination and bullying. Last year, North Carolina adopted the infamous HB2, legislation that required discrimination against transgender people, including in public schools. Several states, including Texas, are currently considering similar bills. Seventy-five percent of transgender students report feeling unsafe in school, and, tragically, more than 50 percent of transgender youth report attempting suicide at least once in their lifetime.

Despite these odds, transgender young people are making history for all the right reasons using their own unique stories and backgrounds, they all are working the same goal: ensuring that transgender people everywhere are treated with the same rights and protections as everyone else. 

1. Gavin Grimm, Virginia

Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy and only a senior in high school, has become a leader in the transgender movement. Grimm filed suit against the school board alleging the district violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by denying him use of the boy’s restroom. The Supreme Court’s decision in this case will have far-reaching consequences for tens of thousands of transgender students across the nation. Yesterday, dozens of major companies have join the cause in supporting Grimm’s case in a historic Amicus Brief announced this week.

.@GavinGrimmVA speaks truth to power at White House rally to #ProtectTransKids. @HRC‘s proud to #StandWithGavin!

— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) February 23, 2017

2. Jazz Jennings, Florida

One of HRC’s Youth Ambassadors, Jazz Jennings is an openly transgender girl whose activism spans most of her life. At 16, she is a TV personality, spokesmodel and LGBTQ right activist. Her impressive resume includes starring in TLC’s GLAAD Award winning docu-series, I Am Jazz; co-author of I am Jazz,released her self-titled memoir, Being Jazz in 2016 and co-founded the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation, which assists transgender youth. She has also been named one of TIME’s 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014 and 2015.

you can’t bring us down. #LoveTrumpsHate

— Jazz Jennings (@JazzJennings__) February 26, 2017

3. Marci Owens, Washington

Nearly seven years ago, when former President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law — making healthcare accessible and affordable for millions of Americans, especially for the transgender community — standing next to him was 11-year-old Marcelas Owens, a “miniature health care activist.” Years later, Owens came out as transgender in her late teens. Now that Owens has publicly come out as transgender, she hopes to share her passion and journey with others.   


“I’m not the obamacare kid anymore ” new article on cnn #transgirl #transgender ��: Annabel Clark for CNN

A post shared by Celise-Marcí Owens (@celisemarcii) on

4. Lucas Segal, Arkansas

For Lucas Segal, growing up in a conservative town in Arkansas was a painful experience, especially knowing that he was transgender. In fact, aside from the taunts and bullying he endured, Segal described those “painful and stressful” moments didn’t compare to the anguish he felt when he needed to use his high school restroom. However, he turned his pain into power and in recognition for his advocacy work, Segal won a trip to San Diego through the Students Taking Action with Recognition competition. Segal is also among HRC Foundation’s Youth Ambassadors.

5. Rebekah Bruesehoff, New Jersey

Rebekah might be the youngest transgender activist on our list, but her activism for equal rights is already making a big splash on social media. A photo of Rebekah holding up a sign quickly went viral earlier this week. Her mom, Jamie Bruesehoff, told The Huffington Post that her daughter came out publicly when she was 8 years old and has since began using her voice and her story to help others understand the hardships the transgender community faces.

10-year-old busts myth about trans people with powerful sign

— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) March 1, 2017

6. Brendan Jordan, Nevada

Social media star and one of HRC’s Youth ambassadors, 16-year-old Brendan Jordan’s stardom began with a viral video of him dancing behind a local reporter during a live news report. Jordan’s coming out video went viral in 2014, and has inspired LGBTQ youth around the world. He has advocated against drug use through SoCrush, appeared in advertisements for American Apparel and participated in Miley Cyrus’s #InstaPride campaign. At HRC’s third annual Time to THRIVE Conference for LGBTQ youth in February 2016, Brendan came out as identifying as both male and female, and using both pronouns “he” and “she.” “I’m still figuring it out. I’m starting to identify as one or as part of the trans community,” Jordan said to the crowd. While Jordan admitted that being a teenager and dealing with bullying can be tough, his shared this advice to young people, “Be true to yourself and don’t care about anything anyone else says about you.”

7. Trinity Neal, Delaware

Trinity Neal was only two-years-old when she started expressing her true self. Now 12, she tells Essence that she wants to help other transgender children in coming out. “They don’t need to hide all the time. I had to tell my parents, and they could do the same thing… I want to change the world by making it much more friendly for trans people.” Trinity isn’t the only one in her family to be a fierce advocate for the transgender community, her mother, DeShanna is a member of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council. The Council is some of the nation’s leading parent-advocates working for equality and fairness for transgender people.

8. Avery Jackson, Missouri

Avery Jackson made history in 2016, becoming the first transgender girl to appear on the cover of National Geographic and sparking a national conversation about gender identity. “The best thing about being a girl is, now I don’t have to pretend to be a boy,” Avery said in a quote on the cover. Avery’s mother, Debi Jackson, was the subject of one of HRC’s Moms for Transgender Equality videos and is a member of HRC’s groundbreaking Parents for Transgender Equality Council.

Avery, a trans girl, is on @NatGeo‘s cover. Honored to have her parents on @HRC‘s Parents for Trans Equality Council

— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) December 18, 2016

9. Grace Dolan-Sandrino, Washington, D.C.

At 16, Grace Dolan-Sandrino’s personal story of overcoming adversity during her transition in high school propelled her to advocate on behalf of other transgender students going through the same hardships. After getting involved in HRC’s Welcoming Schools program, which helps make schools more inclusive for LGBTQ students, she got a call from the White House. In 2015, she attended a meeting of transgender and other nonconforming students that would help inform the office’s policy under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. “It was very empowering and amazing to be involved,” she told Rolling Stone. “It made me feel like I was not only helping other kids but also that my opinion, my life, and my education mattered.”

Most recently, Dolan-Sandrino spoke out against President Trump’s actions to dismantle protections for transgender students during HRC’s Facebook live event last month.

10. Nicole Maines, Maine

Nicole Maines made history in early 2014 when a judge ruled that she had the right to use the restroom of the gender she identified with, marking a major victory for transgender rights and the first time a state court ruled it unlawful to deny transgender students access to the bathroom. Since then, their family’s story has been brought to life on a national scale in the bestselling book Becoming Nicole – The Transformation of An American Family, written by Pulitzer Prize author Amy Ellis Nutt. Maines’ father, Wayne Maines, was the subject of one of HRC’s Dads for Transgender Equality videos and is a member of HRC’s groundbreaking Parents for Transgender Equality Council.

In September, HRC partnered with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians to release Supporting and Caring for Transgender Children, a guide explaining what experts know about supporting our youngest transgender and gender-expansive kids, especially those in elementary school.

In 2015, HRC partnered with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gender Spectrum, the ACLU and the National Education Association on Schools in Transition, a groundbreaking guide for K-12 administrators, teachers and parents. The guide describes the legal landscape for transgender students, discusses crucial policies that affect students’ daily experiences, and offers advice for working with families who aren’t yet supportive of their child’s identity.

To learn more about how you can support transgender and gender-expansive youth, visit

For more information about HRC’s efforts toward transgender equality, go to

Also check out HRC’s Transgender Visibility Guide here.

Hollywood’s High Holy Night is Here: Our Predictions for the 2017 Oscars

Hollywood’s High Holy Night is Here: Our Predictions for the 2017 Oscars

Oscar predictions

The 89th Annual Academy Awards are this Sunday. Who are you rooting for?

Happy Oscar Weekend, all! Hollywood’s High Holy Night arrives this Sunday night on ABC. The big question on everyone’s mind is surely “How political will the acceptance speeches get?” and the answer is an indisputable “Very!”

So let’s move on to another question: How many Oscars will La La Land win? You don’t need any psychic gift to know that the answer is surely “the most!” but let’s get more specific. Damien Chazelle’s popular musical would need 12 Oscars to beat the record of 11 which was set by Ben-Hur back in 1959 and then tied by both Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003) and Titanic (1997).

Technically speaking La La Land could win 13 Oscars; it has 14 nominations but two of those are in competition with each other in Original Song: Ryan’s big number “City of Stars” is up against Emma’s showstopper “Audition (Fools Who Dream)”. Sadly, neither of those movie stars will perform at the Oscars so their co-star John Legend will do the honors on both of the songs.

Let’s break down the categories with predictions and opinions after the jump


La La Land will be this weekend’s big winner. I’m predicting 9 Oscars.

BEST PICTURE: Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Lion, and Moonlight

Will Win: La La Land already made history with its nomination count (tying All About Eve and Titanic for the most ever with 14) and will continue on into history as The official Best Picture of 2016. (Note: the internet loves to refer to the Oscars by the year in which they’re held but this is incorrect. These are officially the 2016 Oscars, they’re just held in 2017.

Should Win: La La Land and Arrival would both make very worthy winners but Moonlight is the most eye-opening and transcendent of the nominees and it would make such an unusual but worthy winner. Plus, Oscar owes us for Brokeback Mountain‘s loss.

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 6.44.50 PM

BEST ACTOR Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), Denzel Washington (Fences)

Will Win: Casey Affleck won the lion’s share of the precursor prizes and is the broken heart of the popular grief drama Manchester by the Sea and he remains the safe bet.

Should Win: …but it’s probably very close with the beloved Denzel Washington doing towering work in Fences as a former baseball star who resents his lot in life. Some people think Denzel is too theatrical playing this larger than life man but those people are wrong. He’s perfect as this chatterbox charisma machine  who sucks all the oxygen out of every room and has drained quite a bit of life from his devoted wife, too. But more on her later.

Thirst Trap Trivia: Viggo Mortensen is the first male actor nominated twice for roles involving full frontal nudity –see also Eastern Promises (2007)

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 6.44.30 PMemmafloats

BEST ACTRESS Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), Natalie Portman (Jackie), Emma Stone (La La Land), and Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Will Win: Emma Stone will float up to the stage like she’s reenacting La La Land‘s planetarium dance number. Actually, take that back. She’s so nerdy awkward at these events she’ll probably trip on the way up.

Should Win: But the year’s greatest nominated performance is Isabelle Huppert in Elle‘s bar none. She’s plays an impossible role (to sum up: ice cold video game entrepreneur with a worthless son and shameless cougar mom, who has been infamous since childhood due to her father’s crime, reacts but doesn’t  to being raped multiple times) and plays it like a Stradivarius at that.

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 6.45.12 PM

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), Dev Patel (Lion), and Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

Will Win: Contrary to expectations, I’m predicting that suddenly hot Dev Patel upsets the frontrunner Mahershala Ali to take the statue. Why? Call it residual Slumdog love plus that the touching adoption drama Lion was surging at exactly the right time during voting.

Should Win: Mahershala Ali arguably doesn’t even give the best performance in Moonlight (how do you choose from that amazing ensemble?) but that doesn’t mean he isn’t worthy of the win. He’s terrific as the guilt-ridden drug dealer who plays role model to the son of one of his customers. Plus he had a stellar year also appearing in Hidden Figures and Luke Cage on Netflix

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 6.44.59 PM

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Viola Davis (Fences), Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)

Will win: The Academy owes Viola Davis and surely they know it. (Meryl Streep’s Iron Lady mimicry over Viola’s deep soulfulness in The Help? I think not!) Plus she’s magnificent as the understandably resentful 50s housewife whose vision of her life is ripped apart when her husband confesses an affair.

Should win: But it’s a leading role. I’m so exhausted by actors campaigning in the easier category just to win. It’s not fair to the actual supporting actors. So I would personally vote for either Nicole Kidman (sneakily brilliant in a role that lesser actors would have dutifully done justice to, but nothing more) or Naomie Harris, whose unnerving maximalism as the addict mom in Moonlight is not just a perfect style for the movie (since she’s playing a memory) but a fascinating counterpoint to Mahershala Ali’s minimalism.


It’s Damien Chazelle vs Barry Jenkins for Best Director. Regardless of who wins, we all win because these two fresh voices have great careers ahead of them.

BEST DIRECTOR Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge), Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea), and Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Will Win: Damien Chazelle has this wrapped up for his dreamy hit musical. And he probably had it wrapped up by the time we left the freeway in that gleeful opening sequence. His momentum from his Whiplash breakthrough didn’t hurt. Of note: He will become the youngest winner in this category ever on Sunday night. He turned 32 last month. The current record is Norman Taurog who won at 32 (but closer to 33) way back in the early 1930s for Skippy.

Should Win: Villeneuve and Chazelle are eminently worthy nominees, but I’d vote for Barry Jenkins who infuses what could have been a standard coming-of-age memoir with haunting visual boldness and emotional specificity.


How fun were those tigers as go-go boy like back up dancers in “Zootopia”?

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, and Zootopia

Will Win: Unless Zootopia‘s behemoth success turns off enough voters and makes them root for an underdog it will emerge triumphant. If there is an upset look to the under-rewarded studio Laika. Kubo is the fourth film and fourth nominee in this category but they’ve never won. Should Win: What a terrific batch of films!  There is something to recommend literally all of them. My Life as a Zucchini, about a small boy who ends up in foster care after his alcoholic mother dies in the opening scene, just now opened in theaters. It’s good and it will remind you of how “safe” American animated films are. The Europeans don’t pull punches in their films about childhood.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion, and Moonlight

Will win: Moonlight has the edge here — they need to reward the movie somewhere. Or do we confuse our “need” with theirs? But an upset is possible as each of these movies has a devoted fanbase. Arrival would also make a worthy winner, especially since it’s all about language, but attacks its theme in ways that extend beyond the verbal and written.

tumblr_oewutvzjof1vfii50o1_400ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY Hell or High Water, La La Land, The Lobster, Manchester by the Sea and 20th Century Women

Will win: Some people think La La Land will take this in a sweep but musicals rarely win for Screenplay. Manchester by the Sea, which people perceive as a writer’s movie, is the safest bet.
Should win: But if I was voting I’d have to choose between The Lobster and 20th Century Women, which are both genius films and were both only nominated in this one category.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY Arrival, La La Land, Lion, Moonlight, and Silence

Will win: La La Land‘s bold use of spotlights, saturated color, and realism veering off into fantasy will surely clinch this prize.

Should win: This is a gorgeous batch of movies. What a category! Can we have a five-way tie?

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE Fire at Sea, I Am Not Your Negro, Life Animated, OJ: Made in America, and 13th

Will win: OJ Made in America has won prize after prize already. But if you ask me if shouldn’t even be eligible for an Oscar. It is NOT a movie. Yes, it played in one theater for a week to qualify but it’s a TV miniseries and, as such, should be relegated to the Emmys. There is a reason why there are different awards shows and that is that they judge different artforms. I’m rooting for a surprise upset from the James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro which hit movie theaters during voting to great success. And it’s always nice (and rare) to see gay heroes honored at the Oscars.


Asghar Farhadi (who won the Oscar for the masterpiece “A Separation”) and his actors are not coming to the Oscars this year for “The Salesman.” Give you one guess why.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM A Man Called Ove (Sweden), Land of Mine (Denmark), Tanna (Australia), The Salesman (Iran), and Toni Erdmann (Germany)

Will win: This is a difficult call. I’d argue that The Salesman from the Oscar winning Asghar Farhadi, is the best of this batch but there’s no clear frontrunner. A Man Called Ove about a grumpy Swede and an immigrant family he meets was the most successful film of these films in US theatrical release, Toni Erdmann was the darling for the critical community, and Land of Mine plays out most like a typical Oscar choice (it’s about the aftermath of World War II in Denmark and is moving in a traditional anti-war way). My guess is that President T****’s illegal and immoral Muslim ban which led to Farhadi cancelling his Oscar trip will tip the sentiment to Farhadi but please don’t assume that’s the only reason for the win if it comes to pass. It’s a very good film about a marriage on the rocks due to a home break in and the resulting shame and secrecy.

BEST FILM EDITING Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, La La Land, and Moonlight

Will win: La La Land‘s long takes as well as its great pacing, and musical pizazz will probably deliver it this win.

Should win: But Moonlight’s moody symmetries within its three acts and Arrival‘s cascading time shifts would also make them worthy winners


BEST SOUND EDITING Arrival, Deep Water Horizon, Hacksaw Ridge, La La Land, and Sully

Will Win: This category usually goes to an effects heavy movie or an action movie so unless La La Land tricks voters into equating sound effects with music, this is probably between Arrival‘s alien soundscapes and Hacksaw Ridge‘s wartime carnage. I’m guessing Hacksaw
but rooting for Arrival.

BEST SOUND MIXING Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, La La Land, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Will Win: La La Land has the built in musical advantage.

Should Win: I’ve seen La La Land four times and in different theaters and circumstances and let’s just say that the sound mix is not always clear — especially in the great opening number “Another Day of Sun” when it’s hard to hear the lyrics sung. I’d vote Arrival.


La La Land’s going to lose somewhere. Will it be production design?

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN Arrival, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Hail Caesar!, La La Land and Passengers

Will Win: Unless Oscar voters realize that the Harry Potter universe has never won this prize despite consistent nominations and aims to correct that via Fantastic Beasts, this is probably La La Land‘s.

Should Win: Arrival‘s eery minimalism with circular language, stretched egg-like space crafts, and rectangular blocks of alien light make it the easy winner for me.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE Jackie, La La Land, Lion, Moonlight, and Passengers

Will Win: La La Land has this win sewn up since it’s a musical and the music is beautiful. If you doubt it, try listening to the soundtrack on Spotify. You’ll never stop. That’s not a threat but a promise. It’s so wonderful.

Should Win: La La Land‘s music is deserving but I’d be torn between that and Jackie‘s bizarre and beautiful score from Mica Levy. She also did the genius score to that creepy erotic Scarlett Johansson as a seductive alien movie Under the Skin a couple of years back.


Lin-Manuel Miranda’s EGOT will have to wait. La La Land is going to win this one.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG Audition (La La Land), Can’t Stop the Feeling (Trolls), City of Stars (La La Land), Empty Chair (Jim: The James Foley Story) and How Far I’ll Go (Moana)

Will Win: La La Land‘s chief ear worm “City of Stars” seems likely as a winner though if there’s a split with its other best song “Audition,” perhaps Justin Timberlake will emerge as a surprise victor for his Trolls hit?

Should Win: I’d vote Audition (Fools Who Dream)… with tears for How Far I’ll Go from Moana which is so underrated (as Disney songs go, other than the Frozen megahit “Let It Go”). Sorry Lin-Manuel Miranda but your EGOT will  have to wait. It will come.

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIR A Man Called Ove, Star Trek Beyond, and Suicide Squad

Will win: Beats me. I’m predicting Star Trek Beyond but I’m not confident. Their nominations are mystifying this year.

jackie-costumes-planeBEST COSTUME DESIGN Allied, Fantastic Beasts, Florence Foster Jenkins, Jackie, and La La Land.

Will win: Jackie could well interrupt La La Land‘s winning streak in this category. When people think of Jackie O they think of fashion. That might help in a tight contest.

Should win: Jackie and Allied‘s costumes are both stunning but I’d vote for La La Land, the rare contemporary film that managed a nomination. Contrary to cheap dismissals like “costume design by the Gap” this is actually a thoughtful sophisticated piece of design. I was moved to write a whole piece on it.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS Deepwater Horizon, Doctor Strange, Jungle Book, Kubo, and Rogue One

Will win: Jungle Book‘s photorealistic animals will take this Oscar but…

Should win: Shouldn’t Doctor Strange‘s kaleidoscope hallucinations or Kubo’s amazing animated wonders emerge as the surprise champ? We’ve seen talking animals before after all.


Merci, Isabelle!

So, to wrap up: I will never apologize for my Oscar obsession and list-making frenzies this time of year. I’m also predicting La La Land takes 9 Oscars and only Manchester by the Sea manages 2 wins among the scraps. The rest of the films will have to settle for 1 win or the pleasure of being nominated. Now I must jet to prepare for my Oscar party. There’s nothing like Oscar night and it comes but once a year.

Happy Oscar Weekend!

The post Hollywood’s High Holy Night is Here: Our Predictions for the 2017 Oscars appeared first on Towleroad.

Hollywood’s High Holy Night is Here: Our Predictions for the 2017 Oscars

And the 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards nominees are… #glaadawards

And the 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards nominees are… #glaadawards


GLAAD announced today the nominees for the 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect their lives. The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD’s work to accelerate acceptance of the LGBTQ community.

Take a look at the nominees below!:

Among the nominees: Academy Award-nominee and Golden Globe-winner Moonlight; Film Independent Spirit Award-nominees Other People and Spa Night; ABC’s The Real O’Neals and Black-ish; The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Supergirl; Netflix’s The OA, Grace and Frankie, Black Mirror, and Easy; Amazon’s Transparent and One Mississippi; Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse;  USA Network’s Eyewitness; Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe; Nickelodeon’s The Loud House; Oxygen’s Strut; HBO’s The Trans List; The Ellen DeGeneres Show;, and Tampa Bay Times for interviews with Orlando shooting survivors; ESPN’s E:60 and SC Featured; Brandy Clark for her Grammy-nominated Big Day in a Small Town album; and Frank Ocean for his album Blonde.

For the first time, GLAAD expanded the Outstanding Music Artist and Outstanding Comic Book categories from five nominees to a maximum of 10 nominees each. Disappointingly – but reflective of the mainstream film industry’s dearth of LGBTQ-inclusive storylines  – Outstanding Film – Wide Release counts the fewest number of nominees (two) since 2003.

“For nearly 30 years, the GLAAD Media Awards have set the bar for media representations of LGBTQ people,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “At a time when progress is at a critical juncture, it is imperative that Hollywood tell more LGBTQ stories that reflect the community’s rich diversity – and build understanding that brings all communities closer together. This year’s nominees have created images and storylines that challenge misconceptions and broaden understanding, accelerating acceptance and equality for LGBTQ people across the globe.”

Spanish-language nominees include Kany García, the Grammy-nominated singer who came out as a lesbian in 2016, for her new album Limonada. Also nominated was Univision’s Aquí y Ahora, which received nominations for its interviews with Xander, the transgender son of Venezuelan pop star Karina Moreno; and with transgender advocate Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen and his supportive mom, U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Univision’s Al Punto earned a nomination for its interview with Gina Parody, Colombia’s now-former Education Minister who is a lesbian.

CNN en Español’s Conclusiones picked up a nomination for its segment on the Orlando shooting at Pulse Nightclub and its impact on Latinx LGBTQ communities. Local affiliate stations continue to garner nominations, including WZDC-Telemundo 25 for its two-part profile of a Nicaraguan mom supporting her transgender daughter. This year, there were no nominations in Outstanding Novela, reflecting the dire need for more inclusive representation in Spanish-language media’s most popular entertainment format.

GLAAD announced 115 nominees in 21 English-language categories and 41 Spanish-language nominees in 11 categories.

In the English-language categories, cable networks earned 31 nominations, and broadcast networks garnered 17 nominations. Streaming services received seven nominations. Netflix picked up four nominations, including its second for Grace and Frankie; and first-time nominations for The OA, Black Mirror, and Easy. Amazon received its third nomination for Transparent, and a first-time nomination for One Mississippi. Seeso, NBCUniversal’s new streaming comedy channel, received its first-ever nomination for Take My Wife.

For a complete list of nominees, click here

The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community and the issues that affect their lives. The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD’s work to amplify stories from the LGBTQ community and issues that build support for equality and acceptance.

The GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies will be held in Los Angeles on April 1, 2017 at The Beverly Hilton and in New York on May 6 at the New York Hilton Midtown. Find out how you can buy tickets or host a table here.

To receive the latest updates on the GLAAD Media Awards, follow @glaad on Twitter and use the hashtag #glaadawards.


January 31, 2017

Golden Globe Preview and Predictions: Lion and Ryans and Moonlight

Golden Globe Preview and Predictions: Lion and Ryans and Moonlight

Jimmy Fallon hosts the Golden Globe Awards Sunday night

What do Ben and Casey Affleck, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Bell, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Naomi Campbell, Steve Carell, Jessica Chastain, Priyanka Chopra, Matt Damon, Viola Davis, Laura Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gal Gadot, Hugh Grant, Jon Hamm, the “Chris”s Hemsworth and Pine, Felicity Jones, John Legend, Anna Kendrick, Nicole Kidman, Brie Larson, Diego Luna, Sienna Miller, Mandy Moore, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Timothy Olyphant, Eddie Redmayne, Ryan Reynolds, Zoe Saldana, Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers, Sting, Emma Stone, Justin Theroux, Carrie Underwood, Vince Vaughn, Milo Ventimiglia, Sofia Vergara, Kristen Wiig, and Reese Witherspoon have in common?

They’ll all be gowned and tux’ed up for your viewing pleasure to present the Golden Globe Awards Sunday night (Live on NBC. 5 PM PST/8 PM EST). Here’s a look at what to expect in the top categories…


just happy to be nominated?



  • moonlight-threeHacksaw Ridge
  • Hell Or High Water
  • Lion
  • Manchester By The Sea
  • Moonlight


While Lion has the benefitted of the Weinstein Company’s skill with Golden Globe string-pulling and would definitely benefit most from a win in terms of a commercial boost, it feels like a stretch as a potential winner. Hell or High Water and Hacksaw Ridge are both probably just happy to be nominated.

This contest likely narrows down to the grief drama of Manchester by the Sea and the soul searching of Moonlight, the only movies currently giving La La Land any night sweats on its road to a Best Picture Oscar win. My guess is Manchester by the Sea but it’s truly a toss up and I’m rooting for the one of a kind memoir moodiness of Moonlight.



Isabelle Huppert considering her competition

Amy Adams, Arrival
Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie

You might think this one is an easy call since the Globe voters are obsessed with Amy Adams who they’ve given 7 nominations and 2 wins in the past 10 years. On the other hand they’ve also given Natalie Portman two wins but they didn’t nominate either of their films in the Best Picture race.

I think Adams has the slight edge, but given the Globes capacity for surprise (historically speaking shocking wins are part of their legend unlike their more prestigious elder sibling, the Oscars) I’m rooting hard for Isabelle Huppert. She’s reminded the world of exactly what makes her such an inimitable and very French movie star in Elle. She just took the National Society of Film Critics Prize for Best Actress, so she’s won all three of the most important critics awards. Only ten other women in history have accomplished that and seven of them went on to win the Oscar as well.

Red Carpet Watch: Expect Ruth Negga to steal the “best dressed” prize. She’s been turning it out this year, making the most noise possible of her quiet breakthrough in the interracial marriage drama Loving.



  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Joel Edgerton, Loving
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences


I’m partial to Viggo Mortensen’s counter culture cockiness (literally… “it’s only a penis.”) but he’s not going to win for Captain Fantastic. Casey Affleck has been buried in an avalanche of critics awards for his grieving uncle in Manchester. Given his sour onscreen persona, he’s surprisingly funny and relaxed on the campaign trail. That’s a combo that will probably mean a win.

Potential spoiler of note: The Globes have a long history of worshipping Denzel Washington who does his best work since Malcom X in Fences. They’ve given Denzel their lifetime achievement award (the Cecil B DeMille) as well as two previous Globe wins for acting AND they even gave his previous directorial effort The Great Debaters (2007) a surprise Best Picture nomination in its year. In other words: if he surprises, don’t be too surprised.


  • lalatheater

    Your Oscar Best Picture frontrunner, LA LA LAND

    20th Century Women

  • Deadpool
  • La La Land
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Sing Street

While the Globes sometimes go wild in the comedy category with unexpected wins (and nominations) there’s no beating La La Land this year. Of Note: 20th Century Women is the least seen of these films (expanding soon in theaters) and it’s just sublime and you really must see it the first chance you get.



Annette does her arguable best work ever in “20th Century Women”

Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Lily Collins, Rules Don’t Apply
Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

My heart is with Annette Bening’s career-crowning moment (thus far… I mean she does have a history of constantly topping herself) as an unconventional single mother in 20th Century Women but there’s probably no way she could wrestle this win from the ambitious hands of Emma Stone who is a charm bomb in that  buzzy original musical. Meryl Streep is not a threat this year; the Globes have her trip to the stage covered to accept the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Meryl always gives great speech and this one will hopefully be a doozy.


  • deadpool-beaarthurColin Farrell, The Lobster
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jonah Hill, War Dogs
  • Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool


If you believe the current hype and hard driving campaign of Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds could well surprise with a win in this category for leading the year’s biggest viral hit. On the other hand he’d have to maneuver around the traffic jam over in LA caused by Ryan Gosling who is just as strong as Emma Stone in La La Land in the acting department while handily beating her in the singing and dancing. Plus Gosling plays piano! If (and it’s a big if) there’s a vote split between those two hunky movie stars, watch for Colin or Hugh to take it. They’re both excellent in their movies but more importantly the Globe voters like them: Colin Farrell was a surprise winner in this very category several years ago with his terrific work as a guilt-ridden hitman in In Bruges (2008) and Hugh Grant won this category on his first nomination for Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Red Carpet Watch: Make your predictions. Which Ryan is going to look the most delicious on Globe night?



  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea


This is a fine fine lineup of performances but the year belongs to Viola Davis, just honored by Meryl Streep on the Walk of Fame, even though she’s category frauding her way to supporting wins with this leading role which previously won her the Tony on Broadway.


  • screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-7-04-53-pm

    Can Dev Patel (Lion) surprise and take the Globe?

    Jeff Bridges

  • Simon Helberg
  • Mahershara Ali
  • Dev Patel
  • Aaron Taylor Johnson


Super talented and suddenly ubiquitous Mahershara Ali (he’s also in Hidden Figures, Luke Cage, and House of Cards) is the Oscar frontrunner. He has come to represent the whole stellar Moonlight cast in awardage (funny how the praise usually zeroes in on one person in ensemble movies) but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Dev Patel is the night’s surprise Globe winner for Lion. He has the advantage of the leading role (even if he doesn’t show up til the second half of the movie) and if the Globes are true to form there will be one surprise winner so why not a tear-jerking leading role in a movie they won’t be able to award elsewhere? Plus he’s a charming eager hand-shaker at Hollywood events and, yes, that helps.



Barry Jenkins (37) vs Damien Chazelle (31) for Best Director

  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
  • Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea


Sometimes the Globes preference for honoring celebrities wherever they can nominate results in really good Best Director lineups. Other times, as with this year it can leave you with a case of the eyerolls. It just depends on whether “celebrity” directors were doing the best work in a given year.

Mel Gibson’s direction may curiously be the weakest aspect of Hacksaw Ridge, since his gore-loving emotional broad strokes are in direct opposition to the movie’s spiritual resolve and pacificism. And don’t even get me started on Tom Ford and Nocturnal Animals, to my mind the year’s most repulsive movie. I realize the movie has passionate fans but no. Just no. Have you seen the soundtrack cover which further fetishizes the movie’s violent misogyny. No thanks.

But no matter: This is a race between two thirtysomething men near the start of what should should be gigantic careers. It’s Barry versus Damien for the win with the La La Land director probably taking this home.

For a full list of Golden Globe nominations, they also cover TV and prefer new series to long running hits (unlike Emmy), hit their website.

The post Golden Globe Preview and Predictions: Lion and Ryans and Moonlight appeared first on Towleroad.

Golden Globe Preview and Predictions: Lion and Ryans and Moonlight

The most intriguing new LGBTQ characters of 2016

The most intriguing new LGBTQ characters of 2016

Photo Credit: Freeform

This year was a mixed bag for LGBTQ representation in entertainment media. While there has been a general uptick in the quantity of LGBTQ characters appearing in entertainment in the past year, these characters and stories have not all been particularly groundbreaking or original. There were some, however, whom audiences and critics connected with and noted for telling rare or never-before-seen stories.

Here are just a few of the newly introduced LGBTQ characters in 2016 that stood out from the crowd in film and documentary, television, video games, and comics. Check out our 2015 list here.


Barry Jenkins’ hit film Moonlight, inspired by the short play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney, has raked in over $12 million at the box office since its October 21st release and garnered awards nominations and critical praise. The film follows a young black man named Chiron living in a rough neighborhood of Miami in three acts from childhood to teen years to adulthood. Over this time, Chiron struggles with his own sexual identity, the concept of masculinity, and his feelings for his friend Kevin, all set against a challenging home life and bullying at school. Moonlight deftly balances telling a very intimate story about love, identity, family, and friendship with painting a picture of the larger experience of what it means to be a young, black, queer male. The film features a cast of very strong ensemble characters, anchored by the three actors who portray Chiron through his life (Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes). Studios that may be looking for a box office hit should look to Moonlight as an example of the kind of intersectional, inclusive stories audiences are hungry for.

The documentary Southwest of Salem opened in theaters this year before premiering on Investigation Discovery. The award-winning doc follows the “San Antonio Four,” a group of four Latina lesbian friends who were wrongfully convicted in 1994 of aggravated sexual assault and indecency against two young girls. In 2012 and 2013, after one of the accusers recanted and the forensic evidence used during the trial was debunked, the four women were released from prison but were still denied freedom. Last month, the four were officially cleared on all charges by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The documentary includes poignant scenes showing the impact of the amount of time the women have served and how that has affected them and their families. You can watch the full documentary Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four now on Investigation Discovery’s site.


Freeform’s new supernatural drama Shadowhunters premiered in January, and features bisexual warlock Magnus Bane (Harry Shum, Jr.) as one of the central characters. Magnus, as the centuries-old High Warlock of Brooklyn, begins working alongside his current love interest Alec Lightwood (a half-angel, half-human shadowhunter) to recover a relic that in the hands of the villain Valentine will send the shadow world into chaos and war. During the series’ first season, Magnus low-key affirmations of his sexuality and references to his past relationships have made it clear that he is bisexual without his sexuality being his sole defining characteristic or story. It is rare enough for a television series to include a well-written and nuanced bisexual male character, and it is even more rare for that character to be one of the leads. Hopefully, characters like Magnus (and Daryl (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) who came out early this year) will lead the way for increased and improved representation. Shadowhunters returns January 2, and the season will build the new relationship between Alec and Magnus.

This fall saw the premiere of Oxygen’s new docuseries Strut, executive produced by Whoopi Goldberg. Strut follows the lives and careers of transgender models Dominique Jackson, Ren Spriggs, Laith De La Cruz, Isis King, and Arisce Wanzer as they work to make names for themselves in the fashion industry. The models are all represented by Slay Model Management, the world’s first exclusively transgender modeling agency. The series gives an all-access look at the model’s lives; from booking jobs and navigating the highly competitive fashion world to conversations with family, coming to terms with themselves, and breaking down barriers. When only 16% of Americans say they personally know someone who identifies as trans, the majority of this country learn about trans people and their lives through what they see in the media. This is why Strut – and other shows which speak to the wide diversity of the trans experience and community – are so critically important.

Sundance TV premiered the new series Hap and Leonard this spring, adapted from the novel series of the same name by Joe R. Lansdale. The show is set in 1980’s East Texas, and follows best friends and Vietnam War veterans Hap Collins and Leonard Pine. They decide to try their luck at private investigating when Hap’s ex proposes a get-rich-quick scheme involving finding $1 million supposedly buried at the bottom of a river, and shenanigans ensue. The two men are near opposites – Hap is a straight, white, former hippie while Leonard is black, openly gay, and struggles with anger issues –  but their friendship grounds a premise that could have easily gone too absurd. Hap and Leonard will return for a new season in 2017.

Although they only appeared in one episode, Kelly and Yorkie from Netflix’s Black Mirror made quite the impact on the year’s queer TV landscape, and their episode “San Junipero” has received near unanimous critical acclaim for its originality and story. The two women meet in a seaside town in 1987 and “form a powerful bond that seems to defy the laws of space and time.” The episode is one of the only episodes of Black Mirror to have a happier ending, and was a refreshing change from the overwhelmingly depressing year for queer female characters on television.


Over the summer, Electronic Arts (EA) announced an upgrade to the popular The Sims 4 game which allowed players a greater range of gender customization options for their created sims. Players are now able to create sims with more varied body shapes; all voice, hairstyle, and clothing options are available to every sim regardless of gender; and players can now modify their Sim’s gender later in the game. GLAAD consulted with EA on the enhanced options in the “Create A Sim” menu. “It was a pleasure working with developers who were committed to updating the game so that all players can create a Sims world that more accurately reflects the world in which we live today,” said Nick Adams, the director of GLAAD’s Transgender Media Program.

This year, Blizzard released the massively successful multiplayer first-person shooter game Overwatch, which was initially unveiled in 2014 as a closed beta. Players are grouped into teams and then choose to play as one of four classes of heroes, including “Offense” class character Tracer who has the power to teleport and travel through time. Tracer, a fan favorite character and the only to be featured on the cover of the game, was revealed to be a lesbian earlier this month in the tie-in comic Reflections which further develops the lore of the game’s world. The comic includes Tracer gifting her girlfriend Emily with a new scarf and the two sharing a kiss, and later attending a team party together. Blizzard said in a statement, “As in real life, having variety in our characters and their identities and backgrounds helps create a richer and deeper overall fictional universe.” Given that this reveal came so recently and in a tie-in product, it’s yet to be seen how Tracer and Emily’s relationship will be integrated into the source material. Still, the inclusion of a lesbian lead in such a huge franchise is notable. Overwatch won Game of the Year at the 2016 Game Awards, and in October passed 20 million registered players across PC, Playstation, and Xbox markets.


The Backstagers, an ongoing all-ages comic series from out bi writer James Tynion IV (Memetic) and trans artist Rian Sygh, premiered in August and features several gay, bi, and trans characters. The series kicks off with Jory transferring to a private, all-boys high school where he decides to join the stage crew, and is pleasantly surprised to find there is a door backstage leading to different worlds. “Kids, more than anyone, use fiction to figure themselves out, and when they can’t find themselves in the media they consume, they don’t feel like they have a place in the world. So we wanted to show them they do have a place. We wanted to write the book we desperately needed when we were young, queer, and didn’t feel like we belonged,” Tynion told The Advocate. Issue six will hit shelves January 18, previous issues are available online.

This summer, Black Mask Studios released the limited run comic series Kim + Kim. The book follows a trans girl and her best friend, both named Kim, as they set out to make a name of themselves in the world of interdimensional bounty hunting. The four issues see the Kims taking on complicated cases, trying to beat another bounty hunting team (whom they have a complicated past with) to the reward, and the Kims bonding over their pasts and exploring their identities. All four issues have been compiled into one volume, available to read now.

Though not new characters, several established LGBTQ characters starred in their own comic series this year after being introduced in earlier projects. DC Comics brought out the six-issue miniseries Midnighter and Apollo in October, from bi writer Steve Orlando, which gets further into the superheroes’ relationship as Midnighter works to recover Apollo’s soul from a hell dimension. In November, Marvel launched World of Wakanda from bi writer Roxane Gay. The series is a spin-off from the Black Panther title and focuses on Ayo and Aneka, two lovers who were formerly part of the all-female security force Dora Milaje.

Who were your favorite new LGBTQ characters of 2016? Let us know!

December 30, 2016

20161127_ZA_DELHI QUEER PRIDE PARADE 2016 _ 150

20161127_ZA_DELHI QUEER PRIDE PARADE 2016 _ 150

Zabeeh_India posted a photo:

20161127_ZA_DELHI QUEER PRIDE PARADE 2016 _ 150

20161127::: NEW DELHI
LGBT community members and their supporters (Gay, Lesbian, transgender) taking part in ninth annual Delhi Queer Pride Parade 2016 in New Delhi on November 27, 2016 .
Photo: Zabeeh Afaque/Hindustan Times
20161127::: NEW DELHI, INDIA
LGBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and transgender) community members and their supporters taking part in ninth annual Delhi Queer Pride Parade 2016 in New Delhi on November 27, 2016.
Photo: Zabeeh Afaque/Hindustan Times

20161127_ZA_DELHI QUEER PRIDE PARADE 2016 _ 150

PHOTOS: These Guys Make Voting Sexy On This Historic Election Day

PHOTOS: These Guys Make Voting Sexy On This Historic Election Day


After months and months (and months and months) of nonstop mudslinging, name calling, finger pointing, and general nastiness, one of the most contentious, stomach-turning, panic-inducing Presidential campaigns in modern history is finally–finally!–coming to an end.

Related: Is One Hunk Enough To Start A #HunksForHillary Movement? Time Will Tell.

To mark this momentous occasion, we’ve gone a roundup of hot guys casting their votes and showing their support for their chosen candidate. Scroll down for pics and don’t forget to cast your vote today!

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