Pop Culture Fix: I Definitely Spotted a Lesbian In The JonBenet Ramsey Documentary, So

+ Well, it is a sad day in the world of queer pop culture because yesterday was the day we learned that AfterEllen, a groundbreaking project and an invaluable resource for queer women who love pop culture, would be shuttering on Friday. Come join the wake. AND THEN JOIN A+, or shop through our affiliate links, or like us on facebook, or donate, or buy merch. Do something.

ETA: Totally Her insists that AfterEllen is NOT SHUTTING DOWN… because uh… I guess they are not deleting the archives or the forums, and also “we will continue to work with our freelancers and contributors to cover the many topics and news that are important to the LGBT community.” They also fail to address that the “false rumor” was started by their own employees after being told the site was shutting down, so. Nice!

+ But first watch the JonBenet documentary and talk to me about it please! Listen: there is a lesbian in it near the end of Part Two. I promise. I looked it up, she rescues dogs and owns a visor.


Some Interviews Of Note

+ Jill Soloway talked to The Daily Beast about Transparent and there’s a lot of interesting stuff in this interview, including:

Although I would never invoke the same reasons today, in 2016, knowing what I now know—back then, four years ago, we had our reasons why we felt it was okay for Jeffrey to play Maura. Of course he was brilliant at the role. He reminded me a lot of my Moppa pre-transition. We felt that this was a story of a late transitioning person who looks a certain way, doesn’t necessarily have that passing privilege. None of those benchmarks would work for me any longer.

+ GLAAD talks to out actress Geri Jewell, who has cerebral palsy and is best known for playing Cousin Geri on The Facts of Life.

+ Abby Wambach talked to fellow lesbian Robin Roberts on Good Morning America about her new book Forward, which addresses her struggles with drugs and alcohol addiction as well as her divorce from Sarah Huffman.

+ Ilene Chaiken talks to The Hollywood Reporter about Season Three of Empire, declaring that “We’re being rigorous with ourselves to follow our stories through, to keep stories alive and to pay them off and to take our time really exploring all of these stories that we’ve put in motion.” Apparently that doesn’t apply to like… keeping queer characters alive…? Also Taye Diggs and Phylicia Rashad are gonna be in Season Three which is genuinely fantastic.

Queers Are So Fucking Cool Now Huh

+ H&M’s newest ad features a diverse cast of queer people and people of color and also Lauren Hutton and I think you’ll like it a lot:

+ Peau De Loup is changing the queer fashion landscape. Also, they shoot photos in very nice landscapes.

At the Guardian it turns out that the “everyone is reveling” in a “new wave of lesbian visibility.”

Transgender models “Strut” onto Oxygen

+ i-D has a lot of cool stuff this week, like a feature on trans actress Hari Nef and queer model Lily Olsen.


+ Did you read our Fall TV Preview yet? You should!

+ A very classy look at Angelina Jolie’s love life, from the vial of blood to the “lesbian fling” (“relationship.” It’s called a “relationship.”)

+ Heather Peace is over your girl-toy/boy-toy bullshit.

+ Indie Queer Artists of NYC includes our pal Mal Blum!

+ Nicola Adams tops the Diva Power List.

28 Famous People Proudly Claiming the Word “Bisexual”

#Born This Day: Writer Fannie Flagg

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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 3197 articles for us.


  1. This is like, barely related to this post but JonBenet Ramsey and her family “summered” in my small northern Michigan hometown, so my interest is always piqued by mentions of her. They must have moved there full time at some point because I went to high school with her brother and I think their mom was instrumental in getting a skate park built in a town that gives no shits about its young people, so good for her. It’s always boring when people talk about their faint association with famous people but here I am, avoiding work by doing it. :/

    • WHICH TOWN? the whole thing they’re talking about how they’re going on vacation to michigan and i am like WHERE IN MICHIGAN I NEED TO KNOW IT’S A BIG STATE

      • Nooooo AS ate my comment! I got a 503 Bad Gateway error. Let me see if I can recreate it as I get excited to talk about Michigan whenever possible.

        You went to Interlochen, right? My hometown is Charlevoix and JonBenet Ramsey was crowned Little Miss Charlevoix (a couple times, I think?) It might make sense that they would vacation there, AFAIK they still own a lovely house there, super close to the literal fishmonger I go to whenever I visit home.

        So… if anyone needs to know where to get whitefish paté and a visual on the Ramsey home in a waterfront tourist town that I have mixed feelings about, I’m your girl.

        • yah i went to interlochen yes i know charlevoix! SO PRETTY

          we will definitely have to check out the ramsey home the next time we go up there omg

          also i have bad news for you about her brother…

  2. I am a bit confused about the AfterEllen news… I’ve read the tumblr post from Trish Bendix, which made it clear that the site is shutting down on Friday. So I decided to check if they posted anything about it on AfterEllen, especially after the loud outcry on the net. Low and behold: They did! A post in which they claim that they are NOT shutting down and that it is only a false rumor. Here’s the link:


    • what???!!

      but also if you read it carefully it sounds like what they are saying is that they are not erasing the archives or shutting down the forums. it’s linguistically possible that their sentence reading “We will continue to work with our freelancers and contributors to cover the many topics and news that are important to the LGBT community” could refer to LGBT coverage on other sites in their network that might also feed to AE. Like maybe it’s gonna be a vertical now? I have no idea. This is sort of a shitshow.

    • I bet that just means that they are going to keep the archives online and will go back to using interns for content or asking people to write for free.

  3. I feel like the biggest moron. I just now, for the very first time, got the title, Transparent. It happened like this:

    “How did I not know that Jill Solloway had a trans parent? …Wait. Trans parent. OH MY GOD. TRANSPARENT. I AM THE WORLD’S DUMBEST PERSON.”

    Congrats to me. I won at dumb.

  4. I haven’t watched the JonBenet Ramsey doc yet, but I’m oddly obsessed with that case/story and want to write a musical about it. There will obviously be a lesbian in my musical adaptation.

  5. Can someone explain the fascination people have with a six year old being murdered? And the fascination with the family? Did I miss something? It just seems grotesque to me…

    • I think it’s a combination of so many things – the beauty pageant stuff, the suspicion around the parents/brother, and the fact the the police let basically the entire town wander through the crime scene so any evidence became totally contaminated. That would be unheard of in 2016. So now it seems like we’ll never really know what happened, so there’s no sense of closure for the family and community, or peace for JonBenet herself.

      Also I was 10 years old when it hit the tabloids (in NZ, at the bottom of the world), and I remember feeling so horribly sad and terrified for that poor kid who was just a few years younger than me. It resonated emotionally with a lot of people around the world.

    • It’s totally grotesque, but grotesque is fascinating to a lot of people. And I realize I contributed to it above when talking about my faint link to their family, their family just becomes a spectacle.

      I think Charlotte hit upon it, that it’s a combination of things. I remember that it seemed to be that in my mostly working-to-middleclass hometown there was a fascination that rich and seemingly glamorous people like the Ramsey’s (who “summered” in my tourist town) could have tragedy and family drama just like the rest of us. As shitty as it was, people are interested to see whether money can either protect people from experiencing tragedy or for being prosecuted for crimes. I think a lot of people have a tendency to revel in another person’s fall from grace when that they think have been dealt a better hand than you.

      In addition, there’s also a gross feeling of ownership among people who follow beauty pageants, like those little girls don’t belong to themselves but to their “fans” and so there’s a sense that it was their personal loss when she was killed. For people who are in the public eye, observers feel like they’re owed the right to know all about their private life too.

  6. Speaking of that H&M ad, I am obsessed with Jillian Hervey’s hair. I am obsessed with Jillian period. Did yall know that she is Vanessa Williams’ daughter?

  7. i LOVE that H&M ad. I saw it a few days ago and have found myself looking it up 5 maybe 7 times to re watch before I downloaded the song playing. (also turns out i like other music by them checkout duo lionbabe) i just can’t get over how perfectly they captured everything

  8. Hello AfterEllen transplants! Welcome!
    Make yourself at home! We are happy you’re here, Don’t mind the mess and feel free to get anything off the fridge!

    • Not Riese, but I HAVE to recommend “Talhotblond.” It’s a true tale of an internet love triangle that goes down a rabbit hole of (double!) catfishing and murder with a truly batshit plot twist.

  9. I really recommend that people watch the A&E show on Jonbenet Ramsey. I had concerns about the CBS series. The A&E show seems to me much more fact-based and includes detailed look at evidence by retired detective Lou Smit. If you want as much info as you can get, I was much more impressed with A&E and the hard scientists interviewed throughout.

  10. Not surprised about AE. If you think destruction of all non-1% culture is not a policy matter, well, keep the faith.

  11. Just watched the JonBenet documentary last night and had nightmares. But I also totally noticed the gay lawyer. I was really admiring how her outfit was at once very professional and super gay–it’s nice to see these things in life and not just queer fashion posts, and it’s something I’ve been especially grappling with since going to a conference and not knowing how queer it was ‘ok’ to look professionally (based on some of my fellow participants, really gay! Amazingly, beautifully, super gay!).

    But yeah, the Ramsey case… I guess for people of a certain age, it’ll be the first murder that really caught our attention, not least because the victim was a child. Those childhood memories–of my parents deflecting questions, of sneaking copies of Time to read in secret–mean it has an atavistic grip on me. There’s also the ways in which the case combines the domestic and outlandish, the mundane and the grotesque. The explanation which the CBS documentary pushed, and which seemed pretty compelling, tells such a small, almost recognisable story of sibling conflict. But not only is there the absurd fabulism of the staged kidnapping constructed around that domestic tragedy, there are also chillingly strange aspects which render the domestic dynamic uncanny. Disturbing details like Burke’s giggly, squirmy playfulness, his scatological issues… I also keep finding myself making connections backwards, say, to the parents’ early CNN interview where they say “We’re not angry, we just want to know why.” Which makes no sense at all if you’re talking to intruders, but makes a terribly sad sense if you’re thinking of your son.

    Sorry for rabbiting on about this…just trying to indulge Riese, you know? (Yeah, definitely that one, definitely not because I’ve been feeling haunted by this all day)

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