Pop Culture Fix: Ellen DeGeneres Flattered By Tabloid Gossip, Bangladesh Gets First Lesbian Cartoon Character and More Super-Important Stories

Autostraddle’s Pop Culture Fix is a weekly round-up of the queer arts and entertainment news you need in your life. In the course of trying to find THE PERFECT HEADLINE STORY (I never did), I really scraped up a lot of stories off the internet today. BRACE YOURSELF.

Human Beings



+ Atlanta lesbian party promoters Traxx Girls hired legendarily terrible person Chris Brown to introduce Teyana Taylor for “the biggest girl party in the country,” but Brown allegedly stood up the over 4,000 women at this Atlanta Black Pride Event. Brown’s face was prominently featured on promotional materials. According to The Georgia Voice, “Brown refused to enter the building once he learned that a handful of gay men were present” and the promoter was “told to take his (Brown’s) image down because he looks a little feminine in that image.” Brown has since tweeted that he was never booked for the show and has nothing but love for the LGBT community. Fortunately, Scott was able to get Fetty Wrap, who was touring with Brown, to sub in. Traxx Girls is considering legal action.

+ If you’ve seen I Am Cait, you’ve probably sensed that Caitlyn Jenner has some tough hangups about homosexuality (including the possibility that she herself might be gay, considering she’s only ever been attracted to women), so Ellen had some questions about her stance on same-sex marriage during her recent appearance on Ellen’s show. Caitlyn says she’s come around on the topic but considers herself “traditionalist.” (Just a friendly reminder that Jenner speaks on behalf of nobody but herself and that many trans people have been valuable activists in the fight for marriage equality.)


Ellen later appeared on The Howard Stern Show and told Howard that being an American Idol judge was one of the worst decisions she’d ever made. Referencing tabloid coverage of her and Portia’s alleged breakup (don’t worry, they’re okay), DeGeneres noted, “We’re kind of flattered. Because for awhile no one cared about us. And we thought ‘oh, lesbians aren’t worthy of tabloid stories.’ So now we’re kind of flattered that they even care about us.” The funny thing is that we kinda feel the same way.

The Movies



+ Sleeping With Other People, a romantic comedy about two love/sex addicts, Jake and Lainey, who reunite many years after losing their virginities to each other, will feature Natasha Lyonne as Lainey’s queer best friend, Kara. Kara’s younger girlfriend is played by Remy Nozik.

+ Speaking of Natasha Lyonne playing a lesbian, please check out Addicted To Fresno.

+ Her Side Of The Bed, a queer movie about falling for your best friend, has released a new trailer.

Summertime, a french film about the ’70s women’s rights movement with a lesbian couple at the forefront, will have its North American debut at The Toronto International Film Festival. It sounds and looks pretty awesome:  “Setting the film between the bucolic French countryside and the streets of Paris in the 1970s, Corsini casts a steady eye on a twenty-year-old farm girl whose homosexuality becomes a source of anguish when her very traditional parents expect her to marry a local boy who — in their eyes — seems perfect for her. Delphine (Izïa Higelin) takes a huge step in her life by picking up and moving to the big city. She finds an apartment and replaces her overalls with a leather jacket. It’s not long before Delphine is drawn to the dynamic Carole (Cécile de France), who heads up a feminist group.”

+ A new film from Kiss Me director Alexandra-Therese Keining will also debut in Toronto. It’s called Girls Lost and it sounds super queer.

+ Take Part is praising the prominence of LGBT characters in many upcoming films, including a few that we are really excited about (Freeheld, Carol) and a few that we are not (About Ray, The Danish Girl, Stonewall).

+ Despite threats from “fringe groups,” a young filmmaker in Kannada, India, is determined to release a film depicting lesbianism, called 141. Director/Producer Bhavaji told the press, “Though the movie has been given an ‘A’ certificate for the nature of content, but there are no scenes that will make the audience uncomfortable. The movie tells the story of two women, who are in love with each other and how they have to face the wrath of the society.”

Visibility Matters

via quartz

via quartz

+ Bangladesh has released its first lesbian cartoon character, Dhee. She was developed by the country’s largest gay rights group, Boys of Bangladesh. A spokesman from the group told Quartz, “We have created boxes with 10 flashcards each. On the backside of each comic strip, there are general descriptions of homosexuality, heteronormativity, gender, sexuality, stereotypes, patriarchy… not like theories so very easy to understand.”

+ The Root 100 came out this week and has Shonda Rhimes and Serena Williams at the top of the charts — and a lot of LGBT women are included on the list, too: Black Lives Matter activists Alicia GarzaPatrisse Marie Cullors and Opal Tometi; musician Janelle Monáe,  activist and writer Janet Mock, feminist organizer Charlene Carruthers (National Director of the Black Youth Project 100), activist Ashley Yates, actress Laverne Cox, writer Roxane Gay and filmmaker Dee Rees.

+ The Mary Sue looked at a study with some pretty interesting revelations about what men and women declare to be preferred traits in strong female characters.

+ Flavorwire talks about Why TV Is Making Such Strides on LGBT Representation — But Lagging in Racial Diversity. A big reason is stronger LGBT representation behind the camera (which I talked about last year), noting that “people who represented the gay experience were already part of the industry, and they were essentially waiting for it to become publicly acceptable to tell their stories in a mainstream forum, as it now most certainly is.” Flavorwire suggests “the entertainment industry needs to be more welcoming, not only to diverse TV shows, but to diverse professionals behind the scenes, in internships, fellowships, and more. People of color need to be given that chance to direct a first TV show, and both LGBT and minority characters need to be given a loving, fully fleshed-out treatment, not a box-ticking, clichéd kind of role.”

+ Star Wars Novels are adding three new LGBT characters, including two lesbians, and “the novel will also explore the question of what life is like for gay men and women in the Empire.”

+ So uh, Kathleen Turner will play “the mother of a lesbian ex-convict” in an Off-Broadway called Would You Still Love Me If... The play focuses on a “lesbian couple” “who are expecting a baby together — when one of them begins considering gender transition.” The playwright was apparently inspired by Blue is the Warmest Color, noting that while reflecting on the film, he began thinking, “what if one of them decided they wanted to physically change? That was the germ of the idea.” Fantastic.

+ Anita Dolce Vita has 5 Androgynous Women of Color Models You Should Know because Ruby Rose isn’t the only one!

+ Did y’all spend July curled up in an air conditioned cove watching The L Word on Showtime on demand? Be honest.



+ Wanna hear Christine and the Queens w/Tunji Inge’s new track? You can do that right now.

+ Wanna see the new “gorgeous and unsettling” video from “bipolar folk” band Kera and the Lesbians? You can do that right now.

+ Queer hardcore punk band G.L.O.S.S. (Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit) talk to Bitch Magazine about how awesome they are.

Laura Jane Grace tells bullied trans teens to take no shit.

+ Manika is releasing a new single featuring Tyga called I Might Go Lesbian. So.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3227 articles for us.


  1. So much good French stuff in this post <3

    (this is me living in the UK and missing my saucisson and excellent-yet-cheap wine, okay?)

    • if we spend a few years in the US as planned, I am pretty sure I’m going to hear my GF mumbling “saucisson” in her sleep. courage! ;)

      • ahah My sister spent 4 years in Istanbul, and she and her husband (who is Turkish and grew up saucisson-less) made up a song in Turkish about how I would bring in the saucisson with me whenever I visited them :p

  2. Hey, fellow cis LGB people: it’s probably not our place to be super hard on Caitlyn Jenner, given that 1) she’s 65 and “I don’t get it, but if it’s important to them, then I support them” is pretty good for her age group (55% of boomers don’t support same-sex marriage at all), 2) she’s probably gay herself, and come on, internalized homophobia gets fucking ugly, you know this, 3) as much pressure as we’re under to conform to acceptable behavior for our genders (including heterosexuality), trans people are under an even greater pressure to be gender-conforming. If Caitlyn Jenner was a lesbian, a whole bunch of people would be awful about it, and you know that, too.

    Basically, a lot of things are going on, and I’m definitely not saying this shouldn’t be talked about, but we as cis people should probably stay in our lane for this one. If you reverse the issues at play, you probably wouldn’t really judge a 65-year-old who just recently was able to come out as gay for not really getting trans people, but thinking they should do what makes them happy if it’s important to them. And yes, it makes sense that people in one minority group should be more understanding of the struggles of people in other minority groups, but in practice, it’s punitive toward people in minority groups to hold them to a higher standard than the majority. Making a bigger deal of Caitlyn Jenner’s very mild (and likely internalized) homophobia than you would of an equivalent cis woman’s very mild homophobia is literally treating her worse because she’s trans.

    So yeah, let’s just… sit this one out, okay?

    • Neither Ellen nor Reise were coming down very hard on Caitlyn Jenner for her views…I think most of us assume or recognize that Caitlyn still has a long way to go in her journey towards the full acceptance (celebration) of both herself and others in the LGBTQ+ world.

      • That being said, Caitlyn Jenner totally aside, I don’t buy age as an excuse for intolerance, and I would definitely judge somewhat a 65 year old lesbian who wasn’t even willing to try and understand how it might feel to be a trans person. 65 year olds were teens in the sixties (if I did that math right). My parents are nearly sixty-five, and they’re perfectly willing to listen and learn about things they don’t understand. I don’t buy that it actually gets harder to open your mind, especially when you’ve lived through so many decades of change.

        • I don’t buy age as much of an excuse either. Particularly in Jenner’s case. She can’t be THAT much of a “traditionalist”. She has children with 3 different women and she let her teenage daughter date a 25 year old single father. I don’t mean to give her too hard a time because like yeah I get that she is still learning and all that but she has always been a Conservative Republican so I don’t know why anyone is all that shocked by her views or unwilling to call her out on those things simply because she’s one of us. I just really have a hard time understanding the though processes of LGBT Republicans in general. I think Ellen made a good point when she brought up to her that Republicans aren’t exactly for Trans rights either. I wish she would have focused more on that than just bringing up Marriage Equality because I don’t think Caitlyn really gets yet that she doesn’t have the same privileges anymore that she used to have with her party when she was known as Bruce. Conservatives don’t give any more of a fuck about Trans lives than they do LGB part of our community.

          • Hmm. I think there are other factors at play for Caitlyn — she is still figuring out her sexual identity, a lifetime in the closet can really mess you up, etc. etc. — and I don’t really see the purpose of “calling her out.” Some LGBTQ+ people are politically conservative, and that may or may not change for her.

            She’s a reality tv star. She was never going to be a perfect spokesperson for the trans experience. But the minute we demand that someone be that, all at once, aren’t we kind of dehumanizing that person? Like, how can we simultaneously want Caitlyn to live her truth but also instantly become politically liberal, all at the same time? Of course I hope she gets there. I think we all hope she gets there. But there’s a difference between hoping that and insisting on it.

          • I’m not demanding or insisting she suddenly be liberal, even though I don’t understand LGBT who vote against their own interests. I just don’t get why anyone is particularly surprised by her views NOW when they are views she has always had. She has always been conservative. Why we are all of a sudden not supposed to talk about that now that she is out as Trans? Why is she suddenly off-limits from criticism? I think it’s good that Ellen had that dialogue with her.

          • I don’t expect her to suddenly be Liberal, however I am curious about how much she allys with the Conservative group considering how a lot of conservatives and “traditional” minded people reacted to the whole Caitlyn situation. I don’t know if anyone else remembers the “not as brave as these soldiers” thing going around on facebook (which was silly when you consider the number of LGBT vets) and the offensive political cartoon I’ve seen of Caitlyn floating around and shared among the right that was drawn by a Republican. While she has been conservative for most of her life, having a community turn its back on you in the way that a lot of conservatives have tends to push the average person away to the opposing side.

    • I also think it’s really important that we can have a conversation about this here at Autostraddle dot com because basically every website on the whole entire internet is covering this story — Ellen pressed Caitlyn on marriage equality, Ellen tells Howard Stern she thinks Caitlyn didn’t dance with her on her show because she’s a lesbian — and they’re doing it in a way that frames it as an argument of Lesbians vs. Trans Women. Right, so this story is the biggest stage we’ve seen this argument happen on, and it actually happens all the time. (Check out Mey’s brilliant essay, “I’m Both an L and a T and I Don’t Want to Choose.)

      So Riese is actually trying to bridge that false dichotomy here; she’s saying, “Look trans women have been fantastic allies in the fight for marriage equality; Caitlyn Jenner’s comments are an outlier.”

      I Am Cait has been fascinating because it has showcased Caitlyn Jenner’s privilege in every single episode, with her full approval, and it has shown how being exposed to the real world is helping her bust up so many of these ridiculous things she believed while living in her Kardashian bubble. Like she was genuinely SHOCKED to hear how often trans women are abused and murdered, and how hard it is for them to get access to affordable healthcare or decent jobs or good housing. Every episode, she just talks about how much she’s learning, learning, learning. She has actively chosen to be at the center of a conversation that has now evolved to things like sexuality and marriage equality.

      And we need to be able to actually have these kinds of conversations here on Autostraddle because it’s where the smartest queer women come to talk with the deepest empathy and respect. If we can’t discuss it and hear each other’s ideas, how are we going to learn and grow and be leaders in shaping the way these conversations happen in broader, more mainstream spaces? We have to have the hard, nuanced discussions here. All of us need it. Staying in our lane w/r/t this story doesn’t benefit lesbians or trans women, or the folks who identify as both.

      • I’d just like to point out that Riese didn’t use the word “allies”; she said “activists.” Calling trans people “allies” in the fight for marriage equality ignores the fact that many trans people are L, G, or B themselves, and, as such, were directly affected by the absence of marriage equality unless they held their noses and married under their assigned-at-birth genders. And that straight trans people were similarly affected in states in which their true gender wasn’t legally recognized for purposes of marriage.

      • Yes, all of this. I think she’s got quite a way to go with really understanding and embracing the different aspects of being in the LGBTQ+ community and she has definitely lived a life of certain priveledge, but she seems to be slowly learning more and more. For now it’s disheartening to hear her say things like this, but I’m hoping her views change as she does continue to learn and grow.

  3. Summertime is great, especially since it shows how hard it can be to be queer in a rural setting. You should definitely watch it!

    • I just want a quick semi-spoiler because I can’t deal with tragedy right now and I want to know if I should give it my time. Does it have a happy gay ending or not? Thanks. :)

      • semi-spoiler
        as requested:

        the ending is definitely not tragic, but I certainly didn’t think “oh a happy ending!”. I’d say bitter-sweet. everyone ends up happy, but with some regrets. Hope my ridic number of *s work and no one gets accidentally spoiled. :p

  4. To me the problem is not Caitlyn’s prehistoric views (she’s only 4 years older than me so, no, I don’t give her a pass based on age… her politics are just ‘eff’d up), the problem is how she’s been placed on a pedestal, had a spotlight shown on her and given a platform (and a lot of money) to speak. This was done by cis people… not the trans community. Many of the media people making those decisions were cis women and gay cis men. So what’s their part in telling us we should be paying attention to what a totally clueless person is saying and that she’s supposed to be a leader/spokesperson for the trans community (which she clearly is not).

    As to Ellen… she put Caitlyn on her show. I believe Caitlyn is the FIRST TRANS WOMAN Ellen has ever had as a guest on her show in 12+ years (what’s wrong with this picture?). Until 5 months ago, Ellen never even mentioned the word trans/transgender/trans woman on her show. She’s had dozens of “Ellen talks to the audience” discussions about bullying, same sex marriage, young GLB people… but hasn’t said a peep about trans people. Now she brings Caitlyn Jenner on her show only a few months after the Diane Sawyer interview and is somehow confused that Jenner didn’t make a 180 degree turn in her attitudes? Then she goes on the Howard Stern Show, a person who ridiculed trans women for decades, to talk about how messed up Caitlyn’s views are?

    I detest Caitlyn’s politics (even though I wish her well in what I know from first person experience is an extremely complex process and difficult life path) but I don’t watch her reality show, don’t watch her interviews or read stories about her and don’t patronize any advertisers just because they’re sponsoring a show with Caitlyn on it. We have thousands of other crises, stories and issues in the trans community which need to be told and I refuse to have this one put first, shoved down my throat, and told it’s all about us.

  5. I love Ellen so much, glad she knows that being an American Idol judge was not the best of ideas…
    And internalized homophobia can really wreck you, damn…

  6. I like that “forever” wedding entrance as much as the next gal-pal but why would you book Chris Brown for a lesbian party? I just don’t get it…

  7. The story about the 1970s French women’s rights movie made me realize that what I really, really want is to see every one of Carmen’s Rebel Girls column entries turned into a movie. Like the woman who rode her bike around the world, Annie Londonderry, she can be the subject of next summer’s action blockbuster, ya know?

  8. I loved Summertime so much. I had like a post-movie hangover for a few days.

    But also, I’ve loved Cecil de France since The Spanish Apartment so I am 100% not objective, but I don’t think that alone could account for how much I loved it.

  9. If you book Chris Brown for anything, then I don’t feel bad for you when it goes wrong.

    glad to see Cécile de France in a positive lesbian movie. She was in that horrible slasher film several years ago where it turned out the killer was a lesbian with major issues over the straight girl she wanted.

    • Yes, but she’s also played gay in the Spanish Apartment trilogy, which is a great character (at least in the first two films)

    • WHY in the ENTIRE fuck would one hire CHRIS BROWN for such an event? I guess that should tell ya something about the ATL scene. Can’t say I’m surprised.

  10. I find it odd that Caitlyn would say such things, when she’s has been photo’d a few times with a trans women activist who happens to married to a cis woman(an activist who last I did a google search identifies as lesbian).

    • It’s so ridiculous, I mean she’s a woman that has only ever been attracted to other woman. How does she not realize that she’s a lesbian?

    • Somehow I wonder if her “surprising” views aren’t quite for publicity’s sake. Also I see most bigoted people as trying to overcompensate for something. People that don’t want to properly invest in their own sense of self worth love that kind of kabuki dance. Jenner needs to fucking wake up cuz she’s not impressing ANYONE. She sounds like an extra terrestrial.

  11. I don’t usually watch Ellen but I happened to catch the interview with Caitlin Jenner… And I was pretty surprised / disappointed with a lot of the questions that Ellen asked.

    Like, she was confusing gender and sexuality, she asked if Caitlin “missed Bruce”, if she still had the same hobbies (cars and golf etc)… Maybe, maybe Ellen was asking questions she thought the audience would want to know, but personally I don’t really buy that. I thought it was pretty poor form of Ellen, although perhaps I shouldn’t be too surprised given what Gina pointed out above.

    I was more impressed by Caitlin Jenner than Ellen- SHE was the one who brought the conversation around to broader issues facing the trans community and the horrible statistics around violence, murder and suicide particularly of trans women of colour. She graciously answered Ellen’s stupid questions about having the same ‘masculine’ hobbies (and rejected the idea of gendering hobbies) (and other stupid and insulting questions too). And yeh, she’s still conservative and obviously still working some things out, but I was impressed by the way she handled herself. Not so much with Ellen.

  12. Hey I love this post, but I just wanted to point out that Kannada is a language and culture, not a place. Obsessed with that cartoon!

  13. A big especial thank you for the link to the news of the Bangladeshi advocacy comic strips. These are phenomenal <3 <3.

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