Pop Culture Fix: Marvel Says “Black Panther” Features Gal Pals, Not Lesbians!

Riese and I toyed with the idea of axing the Pop Culture Fix due to the millions of other demands on our time, which is why we’ve been missing these last few weeks, but we’ve decided not to do that after all because there’s honestly too much Kristen Stewart news in the world right now and it’s not fair to make Stef fly solo on that beat. And so hey here is your queer pop culture linkity roundup for the week! 


+ Are you wondering what Ilana and Abbi are up to today? I bet you only need one guess.

+ Quinn is getting a lesbian friend on the next season of UNreal and she’s going to be played by Tracie Thoms!

She plays Fiona, a close friend of Quinn (Constance Zimmer) since early in their careers. Fiona is a high-end executive in the entertainment industry; a fun-loving, gorgeous gay woman with swagger.

+ The reviews for the Doctor Who spin-off, Class, are in and they’re pretty great. Wired actually compared it to BuffyBUFFY! 

And that goes beyond race, gender, and LGBTQ diversity. True to its name, the show also examines the socioeconomic divisions among its characters. “‘Class’ is such an uncomfortable word, especially in England, because it intersects society on so many levels,” says Ness. So Class doesn’t just reference the learning its stars are doing at Coal Hill School, it also speaks to the larger issues these students—and all students—face. It’s meant to signal, Ness says, that “there’s going to be things that we’re going to talk about, that might make you feel uncomfortable.”

+ The Good Fight is coming back for a second season. You can prepare yourself for that by reading Dorothy Snarker’s recaps!


+ Marvel screened a few bits of the new Black Panther film for journalists earlier this week and the rumor was LESBIANS. But then Marvel reached out to Vanity Fair to let their movie critic know that what she thought was lesbians was actually just gal pals.

The scene in question features Walking Dead star Danai Gurira dancing on a boat with her fellow Dora Milaje, i.e., Black Panther’s personal female bodyguards. These women—first introduced to moviegoers in Captain America: Civil War— are the warriors who watch over Chadwick Boseman’s royal family … In the rough cut of this Black Panther scene, we see Gurira’s Okoye and Kasumba’s Ayo swaying rhythmically back in formation with the rest of their team. Okoye eyes Ayo flirtatiously for a long time as the camera pans in on them. Eventually, she says, appreciatively and appraisingly, “You look good.” Ayo responds in kind. Okoye grins and replies, “I know.”

I mean, okay, but that’s about fifty-eleven times gayer (and with longer screentime) than LeFou’ gay situation in the live action Beauty and the Beast.

+ How Moonlight altered NYC’s indie scene. (Or how an indie movie about a gay Black man starring an all Black cast unseated Harvey Weinstein.)

+ IndieWire has an exclusive behind the scenes look at Jill Soloway’s new show, I Love Dick.

“It’s a feminist, matriarchal revolution-inspiring comedy about love and sex,” Soloway said. But more than that, “I Love Dick” looks to provide a look into the world of the artist, and act as an outlet for female writers (the first three episodes were written by women).

Queer Humans, Out and About

+ Kristen Stewart and Chvrches’ contribution to the vinyl records box set 7-Inches for Planned Parenthood is almost here. KStew directed the video for a new version of Chvurches’ “Down Side of Me” off their Every Open Eye album, and here’s a sneak peek. (The full video drops on April 28.)

+ Jen Richards wrote a piece about her experience at this year’s GLAAD Awards over at NewNowNext. It’s called The Uplifting Blackness And Transness Of The 2017 GLAAD Awards; like everything Jen Richards does, it’s perfect.

+ Mary Emily O’Hara at NBC Out interviewed Jane Lynch about her new character in the forthcoming comedy Relatively Happy and about Hollywood’s LGBTQ evolution.

Speaking of connections: Who is the most famous woman you’ve ever slept with?

Oh. Me! I’m the most famous woman I’ve ever slept with. No, okay … Hilary Rosen. I just gave you a scoop. You’re welcome. Oh, and Hilary: you’re welcome too. It’s a very short list, actually. And it’s done. The shop is closed. It’s over. The ship has sailed. It’s not sad, it’s a f—ing relief.

+ The Lesbian Love That Survived the Nazis: Review of ‘Indecent’ on Broadway

+ We talked about this a little bit on Boob(s on Your) Tube last Friday, but we haven’t mentioned it in a Fix yet: Non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon will get to choose which category they will be nominated in for the Emmy Awards this year. In addition to which: MTV is getting rid of its gender-specific categories for the MTV Movie Awards.

+ Tig Notaro talked to Variety about the SNL clown sketch that seems like it cribbed right off of her short film, Clown Service.

It’s more a feeling of I just want to stake my claim and be like this is a film I made. It’s been out there and touring around and screening for awhile now and I don’t want to stop doing that. People were like, “Oh, were you going to sue?” That’s not even crossed my mind. It was people contacting me who were saying I’ve seen this movie of yours and so that’s the only reason I thought god I have to go back out on tour and this is my opener of my national tour and I’d look like a fool.

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. Unpopular opinion: with MTV nixing its gender-specific categories for the MTV Movie Awards and the winner being decided by online general vote there will be no women winning an acting award for a long time. It will all go to Zac Efron or whoever the chiseled abbed heartthrob of the moment is.

    • Yes, I was wondering whether or not to post about this, like already the category is mixing tv and movies and with this as well, how will you ever shine a spotlight on a good performance

    • Love this series! I hope Autostraddle will give it some coverage! Bi, lesbian and genderqueer representation and it feels a lot like season 1 Carmilla. :)

  2. I’m so ready for a full season of I love Dick (did I just say that?) The pilot was brilliant.

    • You know who’s gonna love that show? Michelle Rodriguez. Cause Michie likes sausage

  3. “Quinn is getting a lesbian friend” my very first thought was “you mean Rachel right?”, well. But I love Tracie Thoms, can’t wait to see her in new season.

  4. 1. THANK YOU FOR NOT AXING THIS ARTICLE!!! I know there is a lot of heavy shit going on in the world, but that’s even more reason why we need small respites like this, No Filter, and Boobs Tube. And even beyond the “light” nature of some of this work, I fundamentally believe that representation matters in our media. And I know y’all do too. So, thanks!

    2. I am so disappointed that Ayo and Okoye won’t be girlfriends in the new movie!!! This just kinda broke my heart. Especially since they are not only girlfriends, but leaders of a black feminist milita and co-stars of their own independent spin off series in the current run of BP comics. I still think that Black Panther is going to fundamentally change the comic book movie and be a major step forward in breaking the barriers of black cinema– and will be there opening weekend 3x a row ready to celebrate– this still let’s a bit of air out of the balloons.

    As an aside, this is why’s Annalise Keating and Nova Bordelon really matter. Black queer women’s representation (and black queer representation more generally) in pop culture is… depressingly slim.

    • * “I am so disappointed that Ayo and Okoye won’t be girlfriends in the new [BLACK PANTHER] movie!!!” <– in case the missing words made my comment difficult for some to understand

  5. A little clarification for people who aren’t familiar with Marvel comics, Ayo is a character from the comics who is a lesbian.She was introduced when the Black Panther series was relaunched and she’s become really popular. In the MCU, she first appeared in Captain America: Civil War but she was unnamed at that time so when it was revealed for the Black Panther movie that she was Ayo, we were understandably really excited! Her love interest from the comics, Aneke, was not in the listed cast though so I wasn’t really expecting the her being gay would be mentioned in the film. We were all hoping though, so when scenes like the one described happen, of course we’re going to interpret it as queer! Marvel could have just kept their mouths shut and let people see what they wanted to see but they just HAD to come back with this “Gal-Pal” crap. UGH.

  6. Stef is unhappy with the workload for the K-Stew beat? Cuz… I bet you could recruit a few volunteers.

  7. SPOILER for the latest episode of “The Catch”:

    So “The Catch” clumsily but successfully managed to turn around the dead lesbian trope they stumbled into in season one. Turns out Felicity (Margot’s female love interest from early in the first season who was shot by Margot’s brother Reese) is actually alive and back for some general Kensington Firm related scheming. Not getting too excited because who knows where that storyline might lead but the show is a guilty pleasure of mine and given that we technically never really saw her die I had a nagging hope that Felicity would be back (although I must admit with all those new intertwined storylines I had almost forgotten about her). =)

  8. The SNL clown sketch wasn’t even funny. Why would someone want their name to be associated with it?

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