Also.Also.Also: Ellen Page’s Gaycation is Ready for You and Other Stories You’ll Want to Read

Hello this is the best thing I’ve ever created. Get ready for it. I was watching this first episode of Viceland’s new Ellen Page show, Gaycation, which you can see here:

And I was like “Heyyyy what’s so familiar about Ellen’s look in this scene? What’s … the .. deal … OMG BINGO.”

Ellen Page Hipster Cat


You Should Go or Do or Give

+ Andrea Bowers Fights for Transgender Icons in New Chelsea Show and you can go see it! If you’re in or around or near Chelsea!

Queer as in F*ck You

+ Arghghhhh you will love this: Learning to Love the Worst Case Scenario by Shauna Miller. Unfortunately filed under Things I Wish We’d Published, but ALAS.

I am supposed to be pregnant right now, not dancing. By society’s clock, I was unconscionably late already. But my fiancée and I had plans, happy plans. We’d been engaged for half a year. A drag queen wearing a clerical collar and pasties blessed our union after my partner got down on one knee in front of all of our friends. My eggs were in order. We were looking at donors. We had picked out a name, something that honored her father and my brother, both gone.

Then, I don’t know: A work party? Team-building exercise gone far too well? True love?

+ Oooh and also this: I’m Not a Stay-at-Home Mom, I’m a Queer Housewife, Thanks by Katherine Clover.

+ The Black, Queer, Feminist Legal Trailblazer You’ve Never Heard Of by Kenya Downs.

+ Germany Opens First Major LGBT Refugee Center.

+ This Pastor is Sleeping Outside Until His Church Opens Its Doors to LGBT People.

+ These Charts Show How the Criminal Justice System Targets Sexual Minorities.

+ Transgender Women of Color: When Being Yourself is a Dangerous Decision by Nancy Fowler.

+ Ohmygod Are You Going to Be Alright? An Interview on Passion Perseverance and Hope for the Future with Anna Anthropy by Veve Jaffa.

+ Heyoooo here’s Colette Arrand with Samus is Trans and Ronda Rousey Probably Shouldn’t Play Her.

+ Between Bodies: Trans Girls, Sex, and Dating by Sean Faye.

+ Workplace Discrimination and the Queer Black Woman by Lauren McEwen.


Doll Parts

+ Roxane Gay and Rebecca Traister Talk Sex, Female Friendship, and What It Means to be Single Now and now I want to buy Traister’s book, so jolly good show!

+ In Conversation with Perfect Pussy’s Meredith Graves and CHVRCHES’Lauren Mayberry. Not sure what we’ve all done so right in the world to deserve these amazing conversation posts, but I hope this never ends.

+ How Black Women Like Me Reckon with America’s Political Process by Jamilah King.

+ Meet the Incredible Woman Chosen to Lead Mother Emmanuel Church After Last Year’s Shooting by Collier Meyerson.

+ Writing for That Teenage Girl

+ Hi I purposely didn’t read this when I saw it last week because I’d already had my fill of other people’s feelings about the sex David Bowie had with teenage girls, because there’s a lot to unpack there, and I was tired. But then Riese told me I should read it because obviously Riese knows what I can handle and what might kill me. So! I’m elated to inform you that this is the best fucking thing you’ll probably ever read about this situation, and all situations similar to it. What Should We Say About David Bowie and Lori Maddox by Jia Tolentino.

+ From January but I’ll bet you still wanna read it: Beyond R&B: 7 Black Women Fronting Rock Bands That You Should Know by Inda Lauryn.

+ Ummmmm The History of Mideival Swords and the Women Who Wielded Them yes yes yes.

Saw This, Thought of You

+ Lynn Cyrin and The Rules of Engagement for Navigating Conflict Within Social Justice Communities.

+ Rachel Syme brings you Jodie Sweetin’s Return to Predictability. I can’t talk about this show yet. Stef just shared this gem with us and I also can’t talk about that. I just cannot! I mean I’m gonna watch the fucking show, I’ll just hate myself for it.

Have a wonderful weekend, you rowdy weirdos!

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  1. The Queer Housewife article is amazing. Evan Rachel Wood Bisexual! Everything looks amazing, and thank you for Ellen Page as a hipster cat. That’s what she would look like if she could turn into a cat Professor McGonagall style.

  2. There is so much going on in that Gaycation episode, I feel like we need an entire post just to talk about it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Ellen Page, and I understand that the point of this series is not about cultural tourism, they are genuinely trying to understand a different culture, rather than simply exoticize it, but that video made me profoundly uncomfortable. I have never been to Japan, so I don’t know anything about their queer culture, so maybe any Japanese Straddles could jump in with their perspective, but to me it just felt like the whole time she and Ian were superimposing their Westernized conception of coming out and social acceptance onto a culture that doesn’t necessarily fit the same mold. I can’t really explain it well, it just felt like they were always asking the wrong questions. They were trying to understand Japanese queer culture without first understanding Japanese culture more generally.

    Ughhh I’m having so much trouble articulating this. Did anyone else feel something similar?

    • i definitely see what you’re saying, yes. to me the show seems to be about digging into a culture as much as you can as a total outsider, and then trying your best to unpack [some of] the crucial information you need in order to understand it even a little bit, and then of course comparing it to your own experiences, which in this case happen to be western and white and cis and very privileged. like i think the superimposing of lived experiences on top of unlived experiences is how people begin to understand them and contextualize shit?

      idk, they’re trying to squeeze a shit ton of information and processing and culture into one episode of one show, which will of course be impossible to do completely and in an entirely balanced way. and i guess it could be argued that if you can’t do something completely and in an entirely balanced way, you shouldn’t do it, but i’m grateful that they’re at least trying and scraping the top of an iceberg. hopefully it creates a space where someone else can come in and ask more of the right questions, and show some other aspects and dig even deeper into the cultures.

      i guess i’m also taking it on good faith that the show isn’t being done to exploit underprivileged people and/or people from extremely different cultures, but instead to talk to them and try to understand [something/anything]. and probably i’m in a position to take it on this good faith bc of my own privileges.

      and also i just wrote so much about this show but really i’m not super invested in it at all! just sharing my thoughts, bc i did have them and i was hoping someone would share theirs so we could talk about them. wheeee! maybe i’m 100% wrong about everything i said! ?

      • Laneia, I absolutely agree with you that they are doing this all in good faith, and that the show isn’t about exploiting or exoticizing other cultures. I think they are genuinely trying to learn, and they seem to have done a great deal of research before going in, which I appreciate. But that almost made it WORSE. Like, I think my entire feeling about the episode was that cringe-y second-hand embarrassment feeling you get when someone is really trying to be respectful but is just utterly failing, without even realizing it, you know? But also, I’m not Japanese, so maybe they DIDN’T fail, and I’m just worried about nothing? I don’t even know.

        Ughh, I sound really harsh and like I really didn’t like it, but really, I thought most of it was great, and Ellen was adorable throughout.

        • I definitely wanted to crawl entirely out of my skin when they were there for that man’s coming out to his mom. Like nothing about that was chill at all, and so awkward and terrible! I mean I guess she came around at the end but it felt like a Jerry Springer episode for a little bit.

          You don’t sound harsh at all! I super feel you. I hope someone with some firsthand experience with Japanese culture/queer culture chimes in! I’d imagine it would be extremely annoying to have outsiders come to your space and gape at your customs and try on your clothes (literally and figuratively!) and drink all your tequila

    • “…she and Ian were superimposing their Westernized conception of coming out and social acceptance onto a culture that doesn’t necessarily fit the same mold.”

      This is not about coming out, but one of the things that bother me most were the lines about anti-discrimination laws, it was one of the first lines.

      Most countries in the world don’t have anti-discrimination laws targeted or directed especially to the LGBT community or any other community, that is one particular American thing.

      Anti-discrimination laws covered multiple classes of discrimination: sex, gender, race, religion, nationality, political opinion, social and economical conditions, physical conditions, etc.

      And, in a couple things that the rest of the world is different from the US, anti-discrimination laws are national laws, so you have national enforcement of those laws (crazy things like those transphobic laws coming out from different States are impossible to happen); also most countries accept, use and enforce international human rights treaties.

      In America, we also have the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, similar to the European Court of Human Rights, to enforce the American Convention on Human Rights. Of course, the US is not part of that because never ratified the treaty since the time it was signed, in 1977.

      So, no, most countries don’t have targeted anti-discrimination laws, but that doesn’t mean that we all are backward countries.

        • I must say I got a little mad about this, because if you’re gonna say that, say it about a country like Russia, not Japan or, as I saw in the trailer, about Brazil.

          One thing I know for sure, anti-discrimination laws don’t change bigoted views or attitudes, but they make you legally liable for them when those views or attitudes affect the rights of another person. And that’s all I want and need from a law, nothing else.

      • Absolutely true, yes. I didn’t get the vibe that they were implying backwardness bc of the lack of those kinds of laws, but it was definitely a pointless distinction to make, and completely without the necessary context.

        • About backwardness, maybe that came from not loving certain international descriptions, especially from the US, about Argentina and our LGBT community: “the country has an Equal Marriage Law and a Gender Identity Law, but not an anti-discrimination law.”

          We do have one, Law 23.592 (1988), and we also enforce international human rights treaties and conventions as constitutional rights (those are part of out Constitution).

    • So I’m not Japanese at all, but South Asian and from a Buddhist culture.

      My thoughts were, on the surface it’s entertaining and the friendship between Ellen and Ian and their real honesty about several of the things that happened were compelling to watch. I think if you watch this as a friendship story, it’s actually really nice.

      I think you know, there’s always a problem with the media space given to wealthy white people going to other countries to understand their culture, and that’s a systemic problem. It would have been nice if they addressed this problem by having a clear native host at each country who acted as the real focus of this show instead of it being here are Ellen and Ian trying to process what is going on in a very short amount of time with very little background and we get to experience mostly through their filter and their emotions and reactions. But that’s a bigger issue around what names and faces get media visibility and money to do shows.

      There was a line in there that really struck me hard, where the anonymous gay man is talking about “It’s very Japanese of me, but this body is not just my body, so I would stick to a friend marriage”, where I was like yes- maybe they’ll delve into understanding collectivism more and this could be something I bring up when people don’t understand my family dynamics, or continual feelings about coming out and sharing relationships. Instead they went with well there’s no religious barrier, so what do you do when people still feel internally that they can’t come out?

      In the end, while I think this show is interesting, and may continue to watch it (I really love Ellen Page!), it’s through the Macklemore filter — this is a show by white American people for white American people to better understand other people, and even though they are going about it as honestly as they can, they are going to make a shit ton of missteps along the way, and while infuriatingly getting more money/recognition than any person of color who attempted to do this.

      • Omg “Macklemore Filter,” I am speechless because this phrase is so good.

        With your credit I’m going to propose this to Snapchat or Instagram as a legit filter for when people go to Africa (the country) and take pics of a landscape and the filter adds lions and shit, heck, maybe a caption that reads “African Queen.”

        Updates will feature other countries, ha.

      • Thank you for chiming in with your perspective!

        “It would have been nice if they addressed this problem by having a clear native host at each country who acted as the real focus of this show instead of it being here are Ellen and Ian trying to process what is going on in a very short amount of time with very little background and we get to experience mostly through their filter and their emotions and reactions.”

        – This was a big problem for me too! Like, couldn’t they have least introduced their interpreter? I felt like that was really missing, like I know these two white americans do not speak Japanese, so who is their guide while they’re in Japan and talking to people who don’t speak English

        ““It’s very Japanese of me, but this body is not just my body, so I would stick to a friend marriage”, where I was like yes- maybe they’ll delve into understanding collectivism more and this could be something I bring up when people don’t understand my family dynamics, or continual feelings about coming out and sharing relationships.”

        – This too! I wanted to hear more of what this guy had to say about marriage dynamics and expectations in Japanese culture!

        • I’m so glad this is being discussed today! My girlfriend and I watched the episode last night and ended up dissecting it for a good hour afterwards. So many thoughts!

          – In terms of the collectivist aspect, I felt like they touched upon it extremely briefly and then dropped the ball entirely when the voiceover phrased it as being “conditioned to not stand up”, which felt super jarring to me. There is a lot of complexity there that could have been unpacked a little more if there had been some kind of dialogue about the extreme individuality of the American culture that Ellen and Ian were coming from. It seemed to me as if the American viewpoint was being treated as a “normal” baseline to compare against which I was pretty uncomfortable with.

          – Also, am I the only one who was VERY discomfited by the marriage ceremony? It felt like stepping all over cultural boundaries to watch them go through a buddhist marriage ceremony for the ~experience~ and I felt like the really sweet emotional exchange between was cheapened by the setting. But then again, I’m not Japanese or Buddhist so I don’t feel like I can speak to that in any detail.

          – One thing I really really enjoyed about the episode though was the friendship dynamic between Ellen and Ian. It seems very honest and supportive and reminds me of a lot of my own close friendships within the queer community. I felt like this specific kind of supportive/friendship/chosen family dynamic was communicated really well which isn’t something you see all that often in media. I think it’s really important to accurately represent platonic queer interactions and relationships and the sort of community that exists there.

          • Damn, how could I forget about that ceremony?

            That moment was really uncomfortable because it almost had some kind of “visit to the zoo” vibe. I’m not a religious person and I really don’t care about any religion at all, but I do understand that the ceremony is really important and emotional for the people involved and for some members of the LGBT community was, until recently, the only way that you could have any kind of ceremony with your partner. So, for me, “let’s see how it looks like and give it a try” it’s not a good way to go.

            I think it’s all related with the expectations they have. The thing is that those expectations can’t even be fulfilled in several cities in the US, so why do you expect this to happen in other parts of the world?

          • did any of you guys cringe when they were wearing the wedding outfits? i was really uncomfortable but tried to justify it with “maybe they were given that by the temple and just outfitted for the experience”…and then they actually went through with the ceremony instead of learning about it?!? which seemed a bit…i’m hesitant to use disrespectful but it just seemed to diminish what it actually meant to the same-sex couples that get married in that way

            also maybe I’m a gross nerd but I was a little disappointed that they didn’t mention yuri(which is lesbian manga) along with yaoi…I would’ve been interested in the Japanese audience for that type of manga because in the states a the audience for yaoi is largely comprised of queer women&&I’ve totally seen lesbian anime that has summed up being gay and japanese a little better

            aaaaand the whole time I was thinking about the episode of the real l word where Francine is learning and discussing Japanese culture and how being gay fits into that and that definitely helped me perspective-wise

            also I really think having cameras surrounding you in the moment that you come out is a little much…it seemed really intrusive and I was so uncomfortable and I think his mom could’ve run out from being overwhelmed and maybe they could’ve been there to observe without the cameras and explained what happened later but I guess it’s all about ~capturing the moment~ and also I still cried

  3. I haven’t watched Fuller House yet. I probably also will and will also hate myself for it. But I saw someone refer to it as “a porn parody without the porn” and based on what I saw in the trailer, that seems like just about the perfect description for it.

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