New Lesbian Superhero to Premiere on TV, but Will Still Be Born Through Whiteness

TV shows about superheroes have been around since the 1960’s, and have recently experienced a resurgence in popularity thanks to shows like Arrow, the Flash, and even Supergirl. The Avengers movies, X-Men movies, and Wonder Woman have been some of the highest grossing movies at the box office in their respective seasons. But, there has yet to be an openly QTPoC star or QTPoC-centric narrative in any of these films.

The CW is now looking to make history in the arena of LGBT superheroes on screen with the production of a new show centering around Batwoman and her life as a white, lesbian superhero, reflecting the modern print version of the comics. For many kids, this character has the potential to serve as a figure they can look up to or think about as a source of refuge while they question and explore their sexual or gender identity.

The CW’s representation of Batwoman as a white womxn is a rather predictable, yet inexcusable choice--television can become a new canon. The kweer rights movement began when trans womxn of color decided to rise up and fight police brutality through violent protest at the Stonewall Riots in 1969. And yet, we have movies like Stonewall that portray them as gay white males, effectively erasing their history. This signifies a larger cultural shift that has chosen to portray kweerness through whiteness to make it more digestible and respectable to so-called mainstream audiences. However, this always relegates QTPoC to being an afterthought; the invisibles;  the exiles; and the nonexistent, resulting in countless hidden instances of insidious violence. Therefore, it is important to question the legitimacy of this new show as a symbol of progress for the LGBTQ and QTPoC community, regardless of whether or not this may be the first gay superhero on TV.

Further reading:

Batwoman: Lesbian comic hero to get TV series (BBC)

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page. 

 

TERF Activism Reveals Transphobia Within LGBTQ+ Community

Trans-exclusionary radical feminism (TERF). It is a so-called radical feminist movement, both in and out of the LGBTQ+ community, that rejects the acceptance of trans women and instead promotes traditional gender binaries and gender essentialism. Activists in the movement have become known for their aggressive online trolling tactics and public demonstrations meant to disrupt and negate trans pride, advocacy, and inclusion.

Many individuals in the TERF movement, which contains a contingent of  cisgender white lesbians, take issue with all aspects of trans* life, even calling them “crossdressers.” It is a characteristic of TERFs to devalue one branch of the LGBTQ+ family through abusive language and tactics.

Last week at the London Pride parade, a group of activists associated with the movement interrupted the parade and ultimately hijacked and led the procession. The incident sparked outrage in trans community, particularly amongst the QTPoC community.

With events and trends like these, it is important to remember what Marsha P. Johnson always taught: “No pride for some of us, without liberation for all of us.” QTPoC, particularly tran* women of color, have always been at the forefront of the fight for equality, and yet they continue to be the most prominent targets of discrimination, oppression, and violence, even within the community.

Further reading: 

Anti-Trans Protestors Invade London Pride Parade & Are Allowed to Lead (Out)

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page. 

 

Declaring a Politician a "QTPoc Ally" is a Complicated Process

California Senator Kamala Harris has long been considered an ally of the LGBTQ+ community. Recent tweets from her official Twitter account have showcased her support for and participation in various Pride-related events in California. As California Attorney General, Harris refused to defend a ban on same sex marriage, subsequently officiating a gay wedding once marriage equality was restored, and even instructed court clerks to grant same-sex couples marriage licenses with “no exceptions.” She also refused to defend a bill that would establish the death penalty for anyone caught engaging in a homosexual act.

So although she has been relatively consistent about her pro-QTPoC stances, an in-depth report by the Washington Blade notes that she argued “...on behalf of the state to withhold gender reassignment surgery from two transgender inmates who were prescribed the procedure while serving out their sentences.” So, if Harris is indeed a contender for a higher political office, as many political insiders believe, it is essential that QTPoC folx take her full record into account, and decide if she is a true ally.

The failure of politicians to remain consistent regarding pro-LGBTQ+ policies is a very serious concern for the QTPoC community, as it can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.  This is particularly true for trans* people of color in prisons who are often subject to assault, often lack proper medical care (especially if they are transitioning or they have HIV/AIDS), and often face the imposition of gender binaries (i.e., non-binary folx being sent to either a men’s or women’s prison or, trans folx being sent to the wrong prison).

Senator Harris represents a group of politicians who have worked to protect and empower the LGBTQ+ community, but have also made mistakes along the way. Politicians claiming to be QTPoC allies must be closely evaluated in order to determine the strength and value of their relationship with the LGBTQ+ community, while also taking into account any mistakes or harm that they have caused, and the intentions behind those actions.

Further reading:

Kamala Harris emerges as LGBT favorite for 2020 — there’s just one thing (Washington Blade)

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page. 

 

World Health Organization Ceases Categorizing Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Folx as Mentally Ill

On June 18th, 2018, The World Health Organization ceased categorizing non-normative gender identities as a product of mental illness, signaling a sharp reversal from a historically harmful perspective.

It was not until 1974 that being gay stopped being categorized as a mental disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. And it was not until 2013 that “gender identity disorder,” attributed to people who did not conform to the gender commonly associated with the sex they were assigned at birth, was changed to “gender dysphoria,” which is characterized by a “conflict between a person's physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify.” Additionally problematic is that the APA still  determines gender dysphoria through a mental health model, whereas many health professionals and organizations believe a general medical model is more appropriate.

Problematic medical classifications often make medical and health services difficult and unsafe for kweer folx because their gender identities are viewed as medical problems/issues that need to be fixed. This formal policy change by the WHO can help to better ensure that kweer folx can access vital medical and health services without the perception that they are mentally ill. While there is still much more work that needs to be done to change attitudes and make social spaces more accessible for kweer folx, this event signifies a shift towards more acceptance and inclusion of kweer folx in the medical community.

Further reading:

The World Health Organization No Longer Classifies Being Transgender as a Mental Illness (Out.com)

What Is Gender Dysphoria? (American Psychiatric Association)

Gender Dysphoria: DSM-5 Reflects Shift In Perspective On Gender Identity (HuffPo)

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page.

 

New Netflix Movie Highlights Need For QTPoC Narratives

(SPOILER ALERT!!)

Black quare folx have started countless movements, from the Stonewall Riots to Black Lives Matter. And yet, Black quare folx are often missing from mainstream television, as are other people of color. Netflix has just released a new show called “Alex Strangelove” that has received praise for its “queer-friendly” plotline. But it’s clear that even here, whiteness prevails as the norm. The characters are predominantly white, including the main lead, and the show is produced by a white cisgender heterosexual male.

A couple months ago, when “Love, Simon” was released, it received large amounts of praise and was seriously hyped prior to its release. But, again, the movie depicts how a white cisgender gay male struggles with his sexuality. Yes, there are people of color in the film, of course. The two cisgender black kids get together in a heterosexual relationship. The LGBT+ characters who aren’t the main characters are people of color. But throughout the movie, the spotlight is placed on this white gay cis male.

Where are the movies that star LGBT+ people of color? Where are the QTPOC main characters? Where are the movies about how QTPOC struggle with familial acceptance? Where are the movies about how QTPOC homeless youth struggle with severe poverty? Where are the QTPOC womxn? Where are the stories about gender dysphoria? Where are these stories?

There is this one show...

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page.