This week, Norwich Pride held an emergency demonstration outside City Hall to protest a new wave of abductions, imprisonment, and killing of LGBTQ+ people in Chechnya. Over 50 people gathered on the steps of City Hall to hear speeches from local activists, and to show solidarity with LGBTQ+ people in Chechnya. These acts of solidarity are vital, and it has been encouraging to see similar displays across the country, but our actions must go beyond this.
by Zoe Harding
TW: Homophobia, transphobia.
On June 2nd, the latest in the life-simulating retail behemoth Sims franchise, The Sims 4, was patched to allow players to create non-binary and transgender characters. As IBTimes reported, the free update ‘unlocks over 700 items of clothing’ for either of the game’s binary genders, allowing ‘Female sims [to] wear suits like Ellen [DeGeneres], and male Sims [to] wear heels like Prince.’ This update has apparently been a year in the making in conjunction with GLAAD, but it was launched with little fanfare (most major gaming sites haven’t picked up the story, and there’s been comparatively little buzz online) and provided completely free of charge.
That last part was the most surprising for those versed in the gaming zeitgeist. EA, which owns The Sims’ publisher Maxis, is famous for its brutally exploitative commercial tactics and complete lack of corporate ethics, but they do have a surprisingly positive reputation for LGBT equality, at least amongst their workers. While it’s depressing that it took four massive games, sixteen years, 114 (and counting) editions and expansions and billions of gamer-hours of deleting the ladders leading into swimming pools to finally realise the dream of letting people put boy clothes on their girl Sims, it is encouraging that even a product like The Sims is finally starting to include people who aren’t just cisgender and straight.
It’s not just the Netflix account that has parental controls. Life itself comes riddled with rules about what’s appropriate for children. Considering how important childhood is to the person they will grow up to be, it’s understandable that we want to shield them from any negative influences. It’s unfortunate then that this well-meaning idea of childhood censorship also includes queerness as being among topics that are ‘too adult’ for children to know about. This censorship of queerness hurts more than it helps, leading to lots of confused teens and twenty-somethings who are still figuring out their identities thanks to childhoods where the only kind of relationships they were exposed to were heterosexual ones.
by Chris Jarvis
In one form or another, I have been ‘out’ for about eight or nine years. Obviously the concept of being ‘out’ is far more nuanced than a simple one stage event, act or process. The reality is of course much, much more complicated. Each time you meet a new person, each time you move to a new town, each time you start a new job that process has to start again, from the beginning.
Coming out is never an enjoyable experience for me, no matter how many times I have to do it. Throughout my life, there have been few things that have terrified me more than coming out to new people. I am not yet actively or consciously come out to my parents, despite now being 23. So much of the time it seems much easier to sit in silence and not rock the boat rather being upfront with the truth, even if that truth forms an important, albeit not defining, part of my identity. Why would I choose to risk potential isolation and victimisation when things could sit so much more comfortably in ignorance?
by Blythe Aimson
According to The Tab’s William Lloyd, I am not Cara Delevingne. Damn. I wish someone had told me sooner. No wonder DKNY aren’t returning my calls.
In all seriousness, The Tab recently published Lloyd’s article ‘Saying you’re bisexual is no substitute for being interesting’ (original article found here via donotlink). The central points of his argument are as follows: most people who identify as bisexual are lying; you must have slept with someone of the opposite sex to be ‘legitimately’ bisexual; bisexuality is a largely modern phenomenon caused by the desire to be dramatic and interesting on social media.
The first error in Lloyd’s pretty abysmal article is the assertion ‘So this is it: the gay-straight binary is collapsing’, as though gay and straight are the only two sexualities to have ever existed before social media told us otherwise. It’s true that the media has recently fixated on bisexuality as hip subversive trend, as more celebrities open up on the subject, such as his example Cara Delevingne, but this certainly doesn’t mean that bisexuality never existed before Miley Cyrus said so.