Pop Culture Fix: These Two Sitcoms About Lesbians of Color Though

Hello welcome to your pop culture fix, a weekly edition of cool news for cool kids who like doing cool things with their cool pals.

The Teevee

+ Wanda Sykes just wrapped shooting a pilot for ABC called “Dream Team” in which she’s a lesbian OBGYN married to a woman with a daughter on the soccer team. I absolutely cannot wait and if it does not show up on my television screen I’ll die.

+ AND YET ANOTHER PIECE OF NEWS regarding a lesbian character of color on your teevee! Tattiawana Jones will be starring in the Untitled Weeks/Mackay comedy pilot about a lesbian and her straight best friend navigating their dysfunctional, co-dependent friendship. She’s best-known for Flashpoint but has also been in queer tv show Lost Girl and the lesbian film Tru Love.

+ In Season 2B of Empire, Tiana will have a new male companion and “Bre-Z hopes that the latter half of season 2 will “keep that realness,wp_postsbut that Freda learns to open up and transition out of that “dark spacewp_postsshe’s been inhabiting for so long and “learn to have a little bit more fun.”” Also, Cookie will call Naomi Campbell’s character a “half-lesbian” and ask Jamal to “pick a damn team.”

+ I wanted to see how gay/bi male deaths compared to gay/bi female deaths, so I made this list for Queerty! I was actually expecting there to be way more gay/bi male deaths than female, due to the fact that gay men outnumber gay women on TV at something like 3:2… but… nope.

+ On that note, let’s talk about how we got here: The Mary Sue discusses what led to the history of Media Burying Its Gays, and looks at lots of reasons including:

“It doesn’t matter if they die to violence (Boys Don’t Cry), disease (the recently released Freeheld) or AIDS (throw a dart, you’ll hit one), the number of films about queer people suffering and dying so far outnumbers all other kinds of media about them that it’s absurd.”

+ On an entirely different note, you might like this article from Bitch about Cameron Esposito’s new special, Marriage Material, especially this part:

So much Cameron and Deanne Smith!

So much Cameron and Deanne Smith!

The New Activists

+ Interview Magazine’s “The New Activists” issue is pretty kickass, and includes interviews with cool millennials like Hari Nef, Tyler Ford, Rowan Blanchard and Amandla Stenberg.

Amandla Stenberg:

I oftentimes receive the question, “What do you think is the most important social issue to focus on?” Or, “What’s the most important component of identity? Is it gay rights or race or feminism?” And I’m like, “Well, they’re all intertwined. It’s all one conversation at the end of the day. You can’t just pick one.” I mean, people experience all kinds of prejudice because of all different parts of themselves. And that doesn’t make one part more important than the other.

Rowan Blanchard:

In middle school there was literally a spot for the cool kids to sit. You could only sit there if you were cool, and I wasn’t. So I would go read Hugo Cabret under the slides. All my friends were literary characters. So that’s so important to me, that a girl on Instagram doesn’t see a group of girls and feel intimidated. No girl should feel scared to be friends with other females.


+ Are you a female? Do you like film? Are you into things that are essential (besides essential oils, obviously)? Then you might want to hear about these feminist film essentials.

+ Indiewire’s film-in-progress series looks at Signature Move, a film described as “a romantic comedy meets coming-of-age story about Zaynab, a Pakistani, Muslim, lesbian who takes care of her sweet, TV-obsessed mother and is seeking her identity in love and wrestling”


+ What if your Mom was Gloria Vanderbilt and you were Anderson Cooper and suddenly your Mom was like, “oh hey Anderson Cooper, guess who had a lesbian relationship once?” I bet you’d be even more surprised than I was when I saw Anderson Cooper riding his bike in Chelsea looking totally perfect.

+ A Montreal artist re-created ’90s teen idol heartthrob posters with women and the whole thing feels ever so queer. If that story interests you, you might also enjoy:

Kristen Stewart and Soko: A Romance for the Ages!

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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 California. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," 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. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3075 articles for us.


  1. I am so excited about the 2 new lesbian comedies, especially Wanda Sykes; I love her!

    I am not surprised about there being less dead gay male characters, they seem to get other types of trope-y stories though.

  2. Comment sections terrify me (AS being an exception!) so I won’t check the comments on Riese’s Queerty article, but I hope the response was positive.

    Also, I never really paid attention to American Horror Story and what happened in it, but, um. Wow. Looks like Ryan Murphy is working through some issues with that show, huh?

    • I did read the comments, and unfortunately a lot of the comments were “but straight people get killed too”, “why are you making such a fuss”, “this isn’t really an issue”.

      It’s a shame, because there’s so much *history* to it that people aren’t aware of and could know, yet instead spend their time defending the things that hurt them and their communities. :(

      Did you read the Mary Sue article? It was perfect. ♥

      • Yeah, it was a great article! It summed up neatly the common tropes for both men and women, which was a good idea because I’ve seen accusations of the Trevor Project charity and the movement attached to it being focused on women. But as the Queerty list showed, it appears that queer men… don’t care? Seems like shooting themselves in the foot to me, but oh well.

  3. Let’s just say I’m a masochist because I had to read the comments.

    Lovely to see a bunch of comments related to the “it’s just a TV show, get a life” trend.

    But this was a learning experience because it’s a real example as how places with gay men leadership, like Human Rights Campaign, work.

  4. Empire, just…. Ugh. The mighty fell so fast.

    I just opened up a bookmark to your Queerty list, Riese! I’m interested to see the comparison.

    Isn’t Rowan Blanchard like 13 or 14? So she was in middle school yesterday. I’m not saying that in anyway to belittle her, I think she’s very important to young girls and wise in a lot of ways beyond her years. I’ll even admit to being an occasional Girl Meets World watcher, even as an adult. I just had a little chuckle to myself when she started “In middle school this happened…” as if it was many years ago.

    And YAY WANDA SYKES! Though that probably means she’ll be leaving her role on blackish (she’s Anthony Anderson’s boss), which is unfortunate because she’s one of the best parts. But this is a better career move for her AND she’ll get to play a queer lady, so, yay!

  5. Also, I couldn’t help but notice that Angels in America counted as TV for the dead men list but Fingersmith, Tipping the Velvet, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit weren’t mentioned on the happy endings list…

  6. I’m curious to know how TV compares to movies. Cause I know there are way more movies with men who aren’t straight characters than with women who aren’t straight. And that’s before getting into the indie films that make you wonder is it a skin flick or just a movie with nudity and a bad plot?

    I know Patton Oswald talks about on one of this cds, he was offered the roll of the gay, sassy best friend to the girl with relationship issue, which even he says is a common trope. He jokes that if he does the roll, it has to be the gay best friend who is clueless. But, I’m sure that stereotypical role would increase how many non-dead, queer male character there are, no?

  7. In response to the “Bury Your Gays: Dude edition” I don’t think Beaver (Cassidy Casseblancas) from Veronica Mars should be on the list, because I don’t recall any evidence that he was queer.

    Explaination and spoliers for season 2 of Veronica Mars in the reply to this comment.

    • Beaver, along with other boys on his Little League team were molested by Woody, their coach and a public figure. When two of the boys (including Nester Olivos) wanted to come forward about the assault, Beaver orchestrated the bus crash in order to keep them quiet. One of those kids, Nester Olivos, was queer. Beaver was only ever attracted to women, as far as I know.

  8. I’ve put Lance’s details above here are some more:

    Troels Hoxenhaven, Borgen, 2011, suicide – the exact same storyline as Ray on Damages, and both were the only gay character on that show but it was even worse because Borgen is Scandinavian! It looked like they were going to make up for it by having the PM’s daughter come out, but that didn’t happen and instead they introduced a more well adjusted gay character in season 3.

    Leo, The Line of Beauty, AIDS, 2006

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