Davey Wavey's Gay Sex Ed

With nearly 300 million video views in over 160 countries around the globe, Davey Wavey has become one of the leading online voices for the queer community. Since he began shooting videos in 2007, he has become a sex-positive activist, using his life experiences to spread messages of love, acceptance, and humor.

His innate curiosity about love and sex formed the basis of his nearly 10-year career of making videos. Every week, millions of eager fans tune in to hear what he has to say on topics related to the gay male experience.

He wasn’t always this confident talking about sex. A good Catholic boy, his only education about gay sex as a teen came from porn. And like many other young people, he says, he “tried to emulate in the bedroom” what he saw on film. The result? Sex that felt superficial and disconnected.

Now the YouTube star is creating a whole new way to experience gay erotica through HimEros.tv, which aims to enhance gay men’s sexual experiences by focusing on ecstasy through intimacy.

“Porn is designed to get you off,” Wavey says. “It’s not designed to teach you about pleasure or connection or intimacy. Porn doesn’t teach you how to have good sex. When it comes to gay sex, I think life imitates art. What we do in the bedroom is often a reflection of what we watch on the computer screen. It’s my hope that by serving a different flavor of gay erotica, we can encourage gay men to shift their approach.”

HimEros.tv looks like a porn site by design, but when a viewer digs around they will notice clear differences. First, there’s how it introduces itself: “Most of us learn about gay sex from the porn we watch, but porn isn’t created to teach you about pleasure, connection, or the power of your sexuality. We created Himeros.tv to enhance your experience of sex and sexuality through juicy erotic videos, co-created with a team of sex coaches and talented cinematographers.”

The site also boasts how-to videos and offers performers a “Porn Star Bill of Rights” that guarantees entitlements like consent, fair pay, drug-free environments, and zero-pressure directing.

“In a way, it’s like creating grass-fed porn,” Wavey says. “Happier, supported models create a better product — and that’s something conscious consumers appreciate.”

For example, rather than just focusing on the traditional money shots, Wavey explains, “We worked with a renowned tantric instructor named Ian Ellington to create a how-to video around experiencing full-body orgasms, featuring Blake Mitchell from Helix Studios.” Wavey says, “There are also guided masturbations that explore different stroking techniques or visualization exercises. And then there are hot, juicy videos, featuring sex between men who are embodied and ecstatic.”

Wavey also knows how important it is for young gay men to talk to each other about sex. After all, even he still finds it difficult.

“As someone who grew up Catholic, it’s a journey to replace shame and guilt with unbridled joy,” he says. “It takes time and energy and effort, but it’s been the most exciting and fulfilling journey of my life.” No doubt, Wavey is fully aware that teaching the world about the pleasures of sex, and the joyful experiences of being a gay man, is not only what he’s good at; it’s his calling.

“My talent is being gay. That’s what I’m passionate about, and that’s what I wanted to share with the world,” he says of his past and future career. “As much as I’m creating this content to help and empower my audience, I’m also doing it to help and empower myself. The truth is, I still have so much to learn and discover, and I’m just getting started on this journey.”

Above: Producer Davey Wavey hopes to put the ecstasy back in gay sex. 

Rather than having a stationary studio, so far, HimEros.tv has taken to the road, shooting videos in São Paulo, Brazil; Palm Springs, Calif.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Vermont, North Carolina, and Hawaii. Next on the HimEros.tv list is Toronto, Canada and Provincetown, Mass. “We’re excited to work with gay men around the world to create content that enhances gay men’s experience of sex and sexuality,” Wavey says. “We’re just getting started.”

Janeane Garofalo Is Still the Voice of My Generation

It’s probably the dread of Midwestern girls all over: moving to Hollywood with their dreamboat actor boyfriend only to find him in bed with another man. But in The Happys, Tracy (Amanda Bauer) not only persists, opening herself up to the quirky neighbors in her Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz, dubbed “the Happys,” she also sticks with Mark (played by The Fosters’ Jack DePew). As Tracy and Mark, both 21, learn what we all must eventually — that finding what you thought would make you happy very frequently does not — the film turns charming and thoughtful, with a sense of introspection that goes with the California dream. 

This makes The Happys (which opens today in select cities) a delightfully queer film about millennial adulting, in which we’re rooting for the straight girl as much as the bi/gay guys. At the center of Tracy’s new hood is a Latino food truck owner, a gay magazine reporter, Mark’s delightfully butchy manager who tries to straighten him out (a hilarious turn by The Walking Dead’s Melissa McBride), and importantly Luann. The latter, a compassionate, nurturing, free-spirited former child star who invested in real estate and seems to own half the rental cottages in Los Feliz, is played by Janeane Garofalo. The character, she says, is the complete opposite of the actress herself (a self-described nearly asexual New Yorker with a long-term boyfriend).

The voice of Generation X, Garofalo had her breakout role in the 1994 Winona Ryder film Reality Bites. She was dark and sardonic, attractive, sarcastic yet seemingly sincere. She became a Gen X icon immediately and through the next nearly two decades she worked steadily in film and television, having broken into the latter on the beloved but short-lived Ben Stiller Show on Fox in 1992 (alongside friends Andy Dick and Bob Odenkirk). From there came the role of the short, slightly frumpy, delightfully sardonic Paula on The Larry Sanders Show on HBO, which earned her two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

More films would follow, from the cult hits (Mystery Men, Wet Hot American Summer) to the blockbusters (The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion), with many excellent indies in between (including The Matchmaker, Cop Land, Clay Pigeons, and Dogma).

But her feisty stand-up comedy and outspoken progressive activism (she was fighting Republicans long before Donald Trump became one) made Garofalo the voice of a generation — at least a generation of women who, in the era before social media made connectivity, nonhomogenous imagery, and intersectionality ubiquitous, didn’t fit the mold of what Hollywood had always told us we needed to be.

The Advocate: I love the overarching theme of The Happys — that sort of dichotomy between what we think will make us happy versus what really does. I’m wondering, do you think that’s a universal experience?
Garofalo: I assume most things, in a way, are universal experiences, if you’re dealing with human beings. Now, obviously with The Happys, it’s a slice of life that … I live in New York, but I think it’s supposed to be a comment on a slice of life in a particular neighborhood. Certainly the experiences those people have are not universal, given that 90 percent of the global population lives on less than $2 a day. …  So it’s a comment on what [the writers] have experienced [in Los Feliz], but certainly lots of people don’t live that way.

This isn’t the typical Janeane Garofalo role. I’ve heard film critics use this as shorthand: “Well, that’s the Janeane Garofalo role,” meaning the witty, acerbic, cynical character, a lot of times, female character. Have you heard that before?
In the ‘90s, I was certainly typecast. There’s no doubt about that. I didn’t start acting until I was 27, which is very late. I started doing stand-up at 19, but I got lucky when I was 27 through Garry Shandling and Ben Stiller, who I was friends with, and got cast on their shows. Now, on Larry Sanders, my character was based on a real person who worked at [Late Show With David Letterman]. The Sanders show was a little bit about behind the scenes of Letterman. That person was, I guess, what you could call acerbic, taciturn, and so I was tasked with doing that. And I guess people thought I was pretty good at it. And then combined with the way I look, which entertainment, and life in general, people like to put you in categories.

I wasn’t savvy enough to realize, “Oh, you’re going to get typecast.” I was just so flattered to get a job. I couldn’t believe my good luck. I am extremely chatty. I’d like to think I’m polite. I’m much more polite now that I’m older than I was. I used to be drunk a lot, so I don’t know how polite I was all the time in the ‘90s, but still, I like to think of myself these days as a door holder, a holder of doors.

Unfortunately, in my early stand-up, due to insecurity, I … probably behaved in a more, I guess, what could be called cynical way only because I was nervous. And then as the years went on and I became more comfortable in my own skin as a stand-up, I speak in the way that I’m speaking to you now. So I’m terribly embarrassed by any old footage of me doing stand-up, like I’m too cool for school. because I’ve never felt that way about myself. I am embarrassed that I behaved that way. …  I have done a lot of roles that are different; it’s just that no one ever sees them anymore.

Especially the small indie films. They just don’t get the wide attention.
There’s a lot of them. And not all of them deserve to get [attention]. A lot of times you’re on the set going, “Why are we making [this?] Why did this story need to be told?”

You’ve also gotten a little bit choosier about your projects.
It’s not like people are banging down my door. But luckily, when I was successful in the ‘90s, I didn’t buy anything. … I’m not a big spender, and I don’t have children … I can afford to be “choosy” and again, it’s not like I have a ton of people saying, “Hey, please do this.” I don’t have to do certain things because I don’t have to think in terms of, “Oh, I need to put this money away for my kids.” I own the apartment I live in. I don’t have a car. And that’s about the extent of it.

There’s not a lot of roles for middle-aged women as it is. There’s also less roles for middle-aged women who are not considered conventionally attractive, and not a lot of roles for middle-aged women not considered conventionally attractive who have been pigeonholed. Again, I’m not complaining, I’m just answering.

Did you ever have a moment in your career that you were like, “This is it, I’ve made it?”
Not so much, “This is it, I’ve made it,” but just pure joy, meeting certain idols like Catherine O’Hara, Carol Burnett, Tim Conway, Albert Brooks, those kind of things. Those were moments where I felt, “Oh. my gosh, this is amazing,” Catherine O’Hara being one of the biggest. … It’s not “I made it,” it’s like, “I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I’m doing a scene with these people.”

That’s probably a smart way to do it.
I think it is because a lot of people start buying stuff … [and] very, very few have sustained career success. It looks like there’s a lot, I guess to the outside eye, but as you’ll note, there are a handful of actors that work and work and work and work and work. And a lot of times females drop off. You know what I mean? There is a precious few that work and work and work well into their 60s and 70s. And they tend to get a lot of the jobs. A lot of the men get old, they keep going, and the women get younger.

It requires a great deal of luck, but also a great deal of hard work, and I must say I am not the hardest-working woman in show business. I am a person who is easily defeated, and I’m the first to say, “I’m out, I’ll pass.” You know what I mean? Except for smoking and making jewelry and doing stand-up, I’m what you call a quitter. It requires a great deal to sustain, to stay in the game. And a lot of the stuff that I just don’t want to do. And sometimes I feel bad about that, and then sometimes I realize that’s not my nature. I don’t want to be on that metaphorical treadmill. It requires a great deal of things outside of the actual job of just acting that I don’t have any interest in.

Also, I don’t want to take care of myself physically. I don’t want to take care of my skin. That’s a full-time job. I also have no social media platforms. There’s a fake me tweeting and a fake Facebook me, but I don’t work the social media, which is a full-time job. I don’t want to dress up and go somewhere to have my picture taken. I don’t want to do any of that. I never have wanted to. The business requires you to do that, and I don’t want to do it.

And a lot of those folks end up doing stage work too.
I’ve done plays, and I’m happy to do that. I did this summer. I was on Broadway with Lili Taylor in a revival of Marvin’s Room. It was a great learning experience, but I did not enjoy some of the process. I enjoyed actually doing it with Lili, when we really got in our rhythm. But then there’s the repetition. And the tech rehearsals. Some people really like it. I did not, but I did love working with Lili Taylor.

Do you identify with your character Luann in The Happys?
Actually, no, there’s really nothing similar to us in certain ways. She and I did this movie a long time ago, so forgive me. She became a landlord of sorts and was responsible for people and collecting rent checks, stuff which wouldn’t be great for me. I feel like I wouldn’t be that kind of person. Also, she was much more flighty. …  She’s a nurturer, which I can be that, but I am not as like, “Oh, say yes to life, and go for it.” I’m not like that.

How old were you when you were able to really admit what made you happy?
I think I’ve always been able to admit it, but I think, as I’ve gotten older, as probably as everyone does, you realize who you are, I think. Still, one hopes to evolve. I think I really know my nature. I really know what I do and don’t want to do. Sometimes that’s fine, and sometimes I can become more cut off. I’m the chattiest introvert you’ll ever meet.

You know what my greatest joy is, to tell you the truth? Walking, just walking around. That’s one of the greatest parts of New York and the outer boroughs, but also any cities I go do stand-up in. That’s all I want to do. I don’t want to bring my phone with me, and I don’t want to have a plan. Now, if there are bead stores, that’s the cherry on top of the cake, if I can wander into a good bead store. I just want to walk around. I want to read. I want to go to a bead store.

I love walking across the bridges in New York at night — either the Brooklyn Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, or the Manhattan Bridge at night — on a cold, brisk night. That’s when I feel as happy as can be by myself. I have no problems being alone.

And you’re not afraid for your safety?
Oh, no … New York is so safe. I think people misunderstand that because everybody’s out walking, and everything’s open. Now, that’s not true of every city, which I find out the hard way lots of times.

I love that you bead.
Oh, I’m a beadist, yes. I like making jewelry. I just make it for the fun of it, but also, I give it as gifts for free. It’s not like I’m good at it, and I would never charge anyone for it. I just enjoy the process and the ritual, I think.

Do you ever look back on some of the jobs you had before you were successful?
I was a bad bike messenger who was quickly demoted to a walking messenger. This is back in the day before the internet’s open. In downtown Boston in the Financial District, there’s papers that need to be delivered between buildings. So there was a lot of work for walking messengers that does not exist now. I was a terrible waitress who was demoted to ice scream scooper and then dishwasher and then fired. And I worked at a shoe store, was terrible at that. I was fired. I worked in retail, was fired. And I say this with no pride, no pride whatsoever … I can’t follow directions very well. I get easily overwhelmed, and I’m really stupid sometimes, like pitifully stupid.

Have you ever had that problem in acting?
Actually, no, because it’s a different kind of multitasking. It’s more talking and doing. When I first started acting, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, and it was hard for me. You pick up the glass of water here while walking. That was really hard, because … I didn’t realize you have to stay within certain parameters, and then you have to do the same thing again. So that took a while to naturally walk and talk, which you wouldn’t think would be so hard. But as soon as somebody says action, it’s like, “What do I do? What?”

I don’t have a problem memorizing lines at all. I used to have a problem with “Do I have to pick up the water here? Can’t I just do it without the water?” That kind of thing. I used to have a problem with that. It’s a different kind of skill set. … I still get lost on the way to jobs all the time in Los Angeles in my rental car. I’m a terrible orienteer … I always build in an extra hour of getting lost time. I don’t know how to work the GPS.

Well, everybody gets lost in L.A., so that’s good.
I like to be punctual too. … It’s disrespectful [not to be]. [Perpetual late-comers] absolutely are doing it with the full knowledge that they are going to be late. And texting has just allowed people to do that. I don’t do that. If I’m late, it’s because it was something that was absolutely unforeseen. I do not build in an extra 15 minutes to be late like most people do.

In many ways you helped reinvent stand-up, the form of it.
I am credited in some instances with somehow pioneering alternative stand-up, which I don’t think is true … it’s just an undisciplined way of doing stand-up. It’s just the way that I happen to do stand-up. They say your style chooses you rather than you choosing it, and my style was always, I’m bringing the notes onstage. I don’t want to write it all out or rehearse it because then it doesn’t sound right to me. Also, I want to leave it open to maybe I don’t want to say that tonight. Maybe I want to talk about something else.

That was just a style I always did because that’s just my nature and a lack of discipline. Now, when I had to do TV stuff with stand-up … you have to tell [producers] what you’re going to say, this, that, and the other. And you have to shorten it, and so I find that it’s very difficult for me to do five-minute sets, 10-minute sets. It’s really easy for me to do an hour or more. It’s hard for me to contain it.

Mort Sahl used to do similar things and Paula Poundstone, and I really think the first sort of alternative stand-up is Patti Smith. There’s tapes of her speaking at events where she’s hilarious, and she’s doing what I think sounds like stand-up meeting spoken-word type stuff, which is sometimes called alternative comedy. Alternative comedy really just means in venues that are an alternative to a comedy club. But some people think it means the content is different, but I disagree with that. I think it just means that people are doing stand-up in venues that are not comedy club proper.

Also, the audience tends to be different. They’re willing to listen more and go on the journey with the person onstage than, understandably, people at a comedy club who have paid money for the tickets, and there’s a two-drink minimum, that kind of thing. They kind of, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, really would like the comedy the way they want it.

You’re talking about two women who were basically doing stand-up in their own way, in a way that was different than we had seen before in a lot of venues and stuff. I think in some ways that does sort of demand a reinvention.
Well, yeah, sure. But I think that there’s a tradition of it in, when I read about the ;50s and the coffeehouse scene in the ’60s in certain cities, there was spoken-word people and poetry slam people and comedy in the jazz clubs and things like that. So that has always existed. There’s always been people who have pioneered different ways like Beth Lapides, UnCabaret in Los Angeles, when she really worked very hard to establish a scene that would cause an alternative comedy scene. She deserves lots and lots of credit for that.

One of the things that happened early on with you, at least from my perspective, is we always thought you gave off a queer vibe.
Everyone thinks I’m gay and Jewish, to which I say, “Thank you,” because it makes me seem far more interesting than an asexual atheist.

Right-wing pundits for a long time liked to attack you far more than somebody who is also a left-wing comedian.
Oh, yeah, because it’s low-hanging fruit, right? It’s easy to mock and marginalize anyone in show business, especially if they’re female. And that’s why a lot of mainstream news outlets only book people in entertainment to speak about a lot of social issues, especially when it comes to military-industrial complex issues, because they’re easy to dismiss and dislike and to ignore. Let’s use a rock as an example: There were plenty of people in the Pentagon and within the military industrial complex that people could have gone, “Wow, that person’s against the Iraq invasion?” But they didn’t do that. There’s a reason they don’t do that. They put Susan Sarandon on and Tim Robbins and myself and others just to make it look silly. Right? Because it’s easy to ignore it and dislike it. I get so angry with people like, “Oh, just shut up and sing,” like with the Dixie Chicks. What? Are they not taxpaying citizens?

Yeah, or now with the NFL.
Exactly. And that’s just lazy. That is a person looking for an excuse to disengage. Are you telling me if I’m a plumber, you listen to your plumber? Oh, shut up and plumb, shut up and fix my pipes. How dare you. And they, of course the type of people that would say shut up and sing, are the first people to voice their opinion, right? Why wouldn’t you say to them, “So, what makes your opinion more valuable?” Also, some of these things are not opinions, they’re facts. They’re facts when people talk about social justice issues.

And science. That’s a thing.
Right. It’s not two sides to this story about LGBTQ issues. There’s not two sides to the story with climate change. There’s not two sides to the story with the lack of weapons of mass destruction. There’s not two sides to the story with the Trump administration. Facts are facts are facts. The mainstream media also likes to pretend there’s two sides.

The mainstream media has been trained to for the longest time. They’ve been trained to think that’s how it works, and now it’s really coming back to roost.
It looks cowardly. It’s just cowardly, and it’s just corporate.

In your case, part of the right-wing playbook is to call a woman a lesbian. You can point out that she doesn’t have children, that she doesn’t have a husband. Those are all ways to somehow discredit her.
It’s as silly a thing to say as “Don’t walk under a ladder — it’s bad luck.” You know what I mean? It’s verbal dust. It’s nothing, and right-wing politics media, it’s a blood sport. It’s a blood sport. It’s got nothing to do with issues, per se. It has everything to do with the most visceral, base instincts of a human.

What it is to be a conservative or a Republican today is a very bad thing, and one should be deeply ashamed of it. I would have said that for the last 30 years, almost, but for sure, today. It’s like when somebody says, “I voted for Brexit, but I didn’t think it would happen.” Keep that to yourself. Jesus. You sound like an idiot. And anybody who identifies as Republican or conservative today, I don’t understand that. Don’t say that out loud. You know what I mean? There’s no party for you, unless you’re admitting to me that you are unrestrained id, that you have no emotional intelligence and no empathy.

I wrote an essay a while ago about how I abandoned the Republican Party when I came out and got educated. I do think in Idaho, where I’m from, it was always a libertarian’s dream, a live and let live.
But they’re not live and let live.

Nowadays there’s no moral compass. There’s the lack of intelligence and morality and humanness about it.
They’ve been moving that way since the civil rights era. They are certainly not the party of Lincoln. They have always been the party that uses racial dog whistles and sexist things. They are a repository for the seven deadly [sins] or whatever it is that’s wrong. All the flaws in human nature gravitate toward that party and have since the late ’60s and early ’70s. It’s just really obvious now. They used to try and hide it.

Yeah, it’s kind of like white supremacists.
It’s just human nature, and until the human condition changes, until human nature is upgraded as easily as software is, there will always be a place for people like that — as long as there are people who are ignorant or lack emotional intelligence or are racists, who are sexist, who are anxious, who are xenophobic, who are unkind, who are uninformed, or who are greedy. There’s always a place for you in the big tent. The GOP, they always call themselves a big-tent party. Yeah, a tent full of hate has elastic walls. And they do not represent the majority. That’s the good news. And that’s why they have to steal elections, and that’s why they have to redistrict, and that’s why they have to roll back the Voting Rights Act and gerrymander.

They cannot legally and ethically win anymore, and I don’t think there’s been an honest win by conservatives in certain districts and the White House since Bobby Kennedy got shot. That sounds like tinfoil hat stuff to some people, but it’s just business. They have not represented the country since the 1960s.

And how do people combat that?
Well, first of all, there certainly has to be people fighting for voting rights to be protected, for the illegal gerrymandering and redistricting to be undone. Now, obviously, Trump should have been arrested already. How Robert Mueller is going — how long is this going to take? I mean, if you watch The First 48, they get it done in 48 hours. They just have a carcass and the nickname of a guy that might have seen somebody, and then they solve it, right? But when it comes to this, how much evidence do you need?

Now, also, it was known that this happened prior to the election, and Mitch McConnell, of course, did everything he could to stop it because he’s a piece of shit. And Barack Obama, as much as I love him, conciliatory, who in the end allowed it to happen because he didn’t think that Trump would win. But the thing is, Barack Obama knew about it, but, of course, Mitch McConnell stood in the way as much as he could to keep the lid on it.

We don’t live in a democracy; we never have. It’s a managed democracy, and there’s never really been free and fair elections. That’s just a fact. That’s just business. The late Antonin Scalia illegally installed George W. Bush. That should have never happened. Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon. That was the agreement in the Rose Garden before they even installed him. You know what I mean?

It’s always been as corrupt as most other countries. We’re really quick to point the finger at other countries about their stolen elections. It’s front-page news. Then here it isn’t. I mean, it is now — you know what I mean? You can’t avoid it now, but people would drag their feet if they could. But there is just so much Trump stuff, and there’s some really good journalism going on, luckily.

Do you actually identify as asexual?
No, no, I just say that in my life. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 17 years. … What I’m saying is, it is what it is after 17 years. But I actually have always had a very low libido. Honestly. I think it is biology. I think some people have it. I think it’s just the way you’re hard-wired. From youth, I have had a very, very low libido. Now, when I was drinking heavy, it was much more active. Then there was a brief period in my late 30s and early 40s where, again, I think it was biology. This drive kicked in because I think it was my body saying, “If you want to have a baby, this is it.” The libido kicked in. And then it went back to where it is, which is basically at a base, low level. When you’re with the same person in a one-bedroom apartment for 17 years, I say asexual. I mean, we’re closer now than we ever have been before, but it’s not like romantic anymore.

I don’t see it as a problem. It’s just the way I am. I used to think it was weird. And also, when I would drink a lot, and I would be more sexual, it made me feel more normal, I guess. “This seems to be what other people are doing.” Looking now, it really doesn’t matter to me that much. It just is what it is. I’m just not really moved by sexuality that much.

Do you ever think about what your legacy is if there are no kids to remember you, if there are no children that are yours?
No, no, I’ve never actually wanted children. Now, I like other people’s kids. And I have seven nieces and nephews, and that’s fine. I have never, from earliest memories, wanted to be married or have children. It’s just, honestly, one of those things. There have been brief periods where I’ve thought, Should I just do it? And then I realize very quickly, no, no. I have never been more sure of anything. But also, a legacy, it’s weird to me when people say, “I want so-and-so to carry on my name.” And it’s like, “Oh, thank you, John Quackenberry. What would we do without a son to carry—” Who gives a shit? I don’t care. I realize that we are all here just mere specks for a brief time. You know what I mean? No one will be worse off if there is no legacy from me. … It doesn’t negatively affect anyone.

I’m not trying to degrade anybody or disparage anybody who feels they want that, but I don’t get it. There’s a lot of great reasons to have children, but just to leave a legacy isn’t one of them. … And if you’re concerned about a legacy, it’s best, then, really, get your ass going and do stuff that when you leave this earth, people are better off for your having been here. That’s more important than just naming someone after you.

I hear a lot about who will take care of me when I’m older, those kinds of questions.
It’s not my kids’ responsibility. … Who will take care of me when I’m older? Hopefully I’ll be financially OK to do it, or whatever, but that is not my children’s responsibility.

My favorite Janeane Garofalo movie, and thank God I’m not going to say The Truth About Cats and Dogs. My favorite Janeane Garofalo movie is The Mystery Men.
Oh, thank you, on behalf of the writer and producers, directors, thank you. I have the bowling ball right here. They gave it to me, and I put it out every Halloween, and the kids in the building love it.

You didn’t have a lot of dialogue, you didn’t have a lot you had to do, but there was something about it I just found very empowering for me.
Aw, I’m blushing.

Tell me what you’re favorite Janeane Garofalo movie has been.
Favorite as the best time I had, I can only speak to it in terms of the good memories. So my favorite experiences movie-wise have been — Wet Hot American Summer and The MatchMaker are two that come to mind. Just being in Ireland was so wonderful. I also loved doing a TV series called Ideal in Manchester, England, for two seasons that was on BBC Three. And also living in Manchester briefly, those kinds of things I’m very fond of.

I would say that the most important work I’ve done is working at Air America radio. I look on that and say, “That was important.” Although there’s a project that people would say, “That needed to be done.” I mean, I was happy to be part of The Laramie Project, happy to be part of Marvin’s Room, happy to be part of the Abbie Hoffman biopic. But I feel like I’m proudest of Air America radio.

Can you tell me a little bit more about Air America?
Well, it was just something I felt was important to do. I was very flattered I was able to do it. It also allowed me to work with Sam Seder, my cohost, who has gone on to continue his career in political podcasting and being on MSNBC and CNN. Sam Seder is a wonderful person, and also Rachel Maddow, Al Franken, Lizz Winstead, Marc Maron worked there. Just lots of great people, and I still — I made Al Franken a friend and I’m a supporter of Al Franken. I know that some people consider that controversial.

Discussing the #MeToo movement is like talking about Israel, for Christ’s sake. It’s one of the things, you know what I mean? People are like, “Uh-oh.” But Al Franken did a lot of great work, a lot of great work, and was a big supporter of Planned Parenthood and all kinds of things. And I think, in his case, it is OK to question the accuser, who had worked at Fox News, and Breitbart had contacted her. And I think when the word Breitbart is mentioned, everybody has the right to question what the heck is going on. And I think that’s fair. And the spirited gender-neutral bathrooms, you know what I mean?

I’m going to say, consider the source when it, like when we discussed earlier, the Republicans, it’s a blood sport. As soon as the game becomes there’s a lot of Republicans guilty of sexual harassment, you know the accusations are coming hard at Matt Taibbi and Al Franken. You know what I mean? Like I said, if you hear the word Breitbart, then you have every right to wonder what’s going on. And as you know, Democrats are the first to throw each other under the bus.

Yeah, we’re first to step down, we’re the first throw each other under the bus, and we’re also the first to do the right thing.
Well, because that’s who we are, and that’s why we’re liberals progressing as Democrats. And pieces of shit are not. And they double down on their stuff. They double down on it, but I don’t know why Democrats keep bringing a tennis rackuet to a baseball game. Why Obama believed there was going to be bipartisanship, why any Democrats still believe you can be bipartisan is shocking to me, especially when [Republicans] state it, they state it that they will not do it. It’s a weird one, but it’s human nature that draws us one way or the other. And if your nature is tainted, you are going to go to the right, but I do think Democrats really make a big mistake when they throw people under the bus so quickly, because sometimes you’re really losing a good person who is not defined by this accusation.

Here’s another thing. The person who accused Al Franken, now they were in Iraq and Afghanistan, that’s your takeaway. That’s your takeaway from the experiences you saw over there? Is this picture bothering you? Have you seen the way women are treated over there? Have you seen the way veterans are treated when they return? Have you seen how many casualties from the drones? This is what bothers you? You know what I mean? It would have been one thing if she was upset about that picture, which by the way I think what Al Franken is guilty of is not being clever in a photo. It’s just a ridiculously unfunny photo. It took months for that to be a problem, for the accuser, who as I said, worked for a Fox affiliate and was contacted by Breitbart.

It would be one thing if that picture bothered her and she spoke about how veterans are treated, how many casualties there are, and how women are treated, not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but by our own military. That I could accept.

I think the problem with the #MeToo movement is it’s really wonderful what’s happening for young women and young women coming out and speaking about stuff. It’s difficult, and there are many people you can see — Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey — all these people where you can see egregious crimes. When we look back 30 yeas prior at things that weren’t considered harassment, and the in current light we talk about them as though it’s the same. It’s difficult.
It isn’t. It’s not. It’s like lights out on Maple Street from Twilight Zone. You know what I mean? The same thing happens with these movements — always starting out with the best of intentions, always bringing us toward progress. That’s all to the good. The bad thing is now everything, now we’re casting a wide net. Now we’re casting a wide net. You cannot put Al Franken with Harvey Weinstein. You can’t. There’s not any similarity whatsoever. Harvey Weinstein, horrible human being. Al Franken, a decent human being who has devoted his life in the last 15 years to public service. And he’s a guy who’s a feminist. That photo is just stupid. It’s just a dumb photo.

We watched the TV when they announced that he was going to resign. We were like, “No! No, they’ve won!”
I cried. We can’t afford to lose good Democrats. We can’t afford it. It’s too important. And also, does nobody want to discuss the things he’s done or been trying to do? You know what I mean? It’s a part of that, and that photo, that’s the thing? That’s so strange. Actually, probably out of office, one could get more accomplished. It’s not like it’s easy to get shit done in Congress.

Do you think he’ll continue to do stuff in that realm?
I certainly hope so, but I’m sure he’s been emotionally impacted egregiously by this. And I’m sure it’s going to take him some time to recover emotionally from what’s happened and how fast it happened and how his coworkers were not there for him, etcetera. Who knows what. I haven’t spoken to him recently, so I don’t know what kind of mental state he’s in or his family’s in. I don’t know. And then people say, “Well, how do you think the woman in the picture feels?” She doesn’t give a shit, and actually, nothing happened to her. It’s just a shit picture. Also, for the rehearsal that she was upset that he kissed her. You know what, tell him. Tell him. Call him up. You guys were together day and night for weeks. Say, “Hey, man, get off me. Don’t touch me.” Had she no agency, you know what I mean, no personal sovereignty? Make it clear you don’t want that.

The one thing that I’ve heard from a number of actresses I’ve talked with who’ve said that happens all the time — it’s not necessarily meant to be harassment. It’s meant to be capturing those moments or whatever for the film.
Right, to make it real. There’s a huge difference between people who physically force themselves on a person. That’s a whole different category, and I’ve nothing but compassion, and they should be heard from, people that are physically and emotionally abused. That is certainly a different category than Al Franken taking this picture and then in rehearsal kissed me, and an octogenarian, George Bush touched my butt from his wheelchair. That’s just sad, you know what I mean? Come on.

And also, with these things, do you have to discuss that publicly? He’s senile, for Christ’s sake, and he’s also at your butt level. He’s sitting in a chair. You know what my problem with George Bush Sr. is his time with the CIA and his illegal invasion of Iraq. That’s my problem with him. And his work with Eli Lilly, and his work at the Carlisle Group. Now that’s something to have a problem with. 

Why a 'Grey's Anatomy' Character Meant the World to Me

Last week it was announced that Grey’s Anatomy would be writing two characters, Arizona Robbins and April Kepner, out of the coming season. When the news broke, many longtime fans of the show were heartbroken and furious because both characters put a face on underrepresented communities, as Arizona was queer and April was a devout Christian whose principles evolved. For many on Twitter, the loss of Arizona and April felt personal, and some began writing about other characters they’d prefer to see written out of the show.  

The only series I watched religiously from August 2015 to August 2016 was Grey’s Anatomy. I had heard so many rave reviews from my friends over the years, and once I moved into my freshman dorm, the time that I had used to work, cook, and commute became free time, most of which I spent catching up on Shonda Rhimes’s long-running medical drama. When I reached the fifth season, around November of 2015, the series introduced me to Arizona, played by Jessica Capshaw. Arizona was intelligent, beautiful, and a lesbian.

Arizona quickly became one of my favorite characters on the show. Her generosity in taking long-running character Dr. Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) under her wing to help him discover his love for pediatrics is still one of my favorite storylines ouf of the show’s entire 14 seasons. Through a plane crash, unexpected children, divorce, and loss, Arizona was undeniably herself — a beacon of light for the LGBTQ+ community. She never apologized for her sexuality or who she was, inside and outside of the hospital. Her relationship with Callie (Sara Ramirez), another character who helped further visibility for LGBT people as one of prime-time TV’s first bisexual characters, not only helped me come to terms with my own bisexuality but aided me in becoming less apologetic for who I was.

Arizona and Callie’s relationship came to me at a time when I was figuring out who I was. I was a freshman in college, had recently broken up with a long-term boyfriend, and was just starting to truly explore my sexuality in 2015 (around the time Arizona was introduced on Grey’s). Around the time Callie began falling for Arizona on the show, I entered my first relationship with a woman who almost exclusively dated women. We watched Grey’s together, and “Calzona” was our favorite part of the show. Their relationship, without my realizing it, helped me through my first queer experience. The love and understanding Arizona showed Callie made me think harder about whether I would receive that same acceptance from my family and friends.

In December of 2015, I came out to my mom; the following April, I came out to everyone else. In hindsight, I think that Arizona and Callie’s partnership was more than just a TV relationship to me. Arizona’s understanding of Callie’s bisexuality, after Erica (Callie’s previous partner) had written it off by saying someone cannot be “half-gay,” gave me a sense of belonging and acceptance, whether I realized it then or not. Watching Arizona embrace Callie and watching their subsequent relationship through good times and turmoil not only helped me but it provided positive representation of queer women for numerous other women coming to terms with their sexuality too.

Arizona was about the only lesbian characters on prime-time when she made her debut on Grey’s. She was smiling and bright, and she entered her first scene wearing a pair of Heely’s (shoes with built-in roller skates) with her unending passion for helping the “tiny humans,” as she referred to kids. She inspired Grey’s fans to push beyond their preconceived limitations, to be more than what they think they may be, and to love deeper, without prejudice. Before watching Grey’s, I knew how important representation was in the media. What I did not realize, until I was introduced to Arizona, was how important the representation of a queer blond girl would be to me.

While I could make this article a piece on why I believe there are better characters to write off, I don’t think Arizona, with her inherent generosity, would be so appreciative of that negativity. So, thank you to Jessica Capshaw for playing the character so beautifully. Thank you to Rhimes for creating such an exemplarary character. And thank you to Arizona for being my and several others’ favorite character throughout 14 seasons of Grey’s. Thank you for always being “a good man in a storm,” as she once referred to herself. 

MICHAYLAH KIMBLER is an editorial intern with The Advocate.

Love, Simon’s Greg Berlanti Was Blackmailed

What’s harder than being a gay teen in high school? Making a movie about a gay teen with a major film studio. It hasn’t existed — until Love, Simon “came out” this month. The film’s journey to the big screen was no straight line.

Simon Spier was first introduced in a 2015 young adult novel by Becky Albertalli, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Albertalli seems an unlikely source for a book about a closeted high-schooler battling digital blackmail. The 30-something Georgia native is a straight, married woman with kids; who worked as a clinical psychologist before penning Simon.

But Albertalli knows what it’s like to be an outsider. Growing up in the Atlanta suburbs, she was bullied for her body type, and she drew from this experience to craft her gay 16-year-old protagonist. “He’s a lot like me,” Albertalli revealed: “a theater kid” who is “full of secrets” and “piecing together” how to grow up.

Simon was a hit with critics and readers. It found its way to the desk of Greg Berlanti — the gay producer behind The Broken Hearts Club and the CW’s Arrowverse. Berlanti fell in love with Albertalli’s book and pursued a potential film adaptation. However, Fox 2000 Pictures and Temple Hill Productions beat Berlanti to the punch, commissioning a screenplay by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger.

Berlanti still wanted to be involved, and he visited the studio one Saturday afternoon to share his notes about his imagined adaptation. In return, producers offered him the opportunity to direct, and Berlanti happily accepted. Albertalli, a Berlanti fan, was thrilled. “It feels very special that this movie is coming out, that Fox is taking this chance right now,” she said.

Berlanti connected with the book “in a very personal way,” he said, and “really tapped back into myself, the sense of isolation I felt as a closeted gay teenager.” He used this perspective to advise writers, producers, and actors in creative choices. With them, he was “more open and vulnerable than I usually am about my own story.”

“I realized for me to be the best shepherd of this, I’m going to have to be as personal as I can be. And maybe that will invite other people to be personal too,” he reasoned.

There are also many parallels between Berlanti and Simon. The 45-year-old director grew up “really closeted” in a town outside New York City. He felt “a sense of isolation” within his family. He was a theater geek who studied playwriting at Northwestern University, where he encountered another “bizarre” overlap while in a fraternity.

“I was with someone before I was out, and someone threatened to out both of us in a letter when I was still in college,” said Berlanti, who was “terrified” by the experience. “I was living a double life in school.”

Fortunately, Berlanti resolved the situation by approaching the blackmailer, who “melted down” after the confrontation. “I think they were going through stuff themselves. Again, there wasn’t as much ability to express who you were [back then]. That can cause people to act all sorts of ways where they aren’t their best selves,” he said.

Berlanti eventually came out at 23. Initially, his parents “had a rather rough time with it.” During the “cooling-off period,” Berlanti wrote a letter to them expressing a theme also addressed in Love, Simon — that being gay was only one aspect of who he was. It must have been persuasive. Within a year, his parents were attending a party at a gay bar for a film he had made.

Today, Berlanti also understands what it’s like to be a parent. He and his husband, soccer player Robbie Rogers, welcomed a son, Caleb, through surrogacy in 2016. The experience taught Berlanti a lot about children.

“You try and figure them out more than you try to imprint on them,” Berlanti said. “I’m not sure I realized how true that was — that our son has his own desires and wants and personalities. I’m sure they’ll keep unfolding to us as he grows up.”

For parents, seeing Love, Simon with their kids might help them with this discovery. Berlanti recounted “a really emotional moment” at a test screening in Kansas, when a 13-year-old came out to his father.

It demonstrated how a film like Love, Simon was necessary in both red and blue states. “People in the heart of Kansas were just as passionate talking about the importance or the reason people needed a movie like this as the people in California,” Berlanti said. “At the end of the day, it’s good for us all to remind each other that we’re all human beings, and people aren’t as different as they think.”

This lesson is vital. As the #MeToo movement has shown, the perils of being closeted can extend well past high school. Sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein have used threats of outing to manipulate vulnerable queer people.

To fight this abuse of power, Berlanti quoted Harvey Milk: “Every gay person must come out.” But unlike in Love, Simon, where “that moment gets stolen from our hero,” it’s up to individuals to take control of their own narrative. Coming out is “not something that should be taken away from anyone,” Berlanti stressed. But it is inevitable.

He concluded, “Everybody in their lifetime, in one way or another, has to learn how to say to the world, ‘This is who I am.’”

Love, Simon's Joey Pollari: Every Love Story Is a Coming Out Story

In Love, Simon, a closeted teen, Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) wrestles with his identity. Despite having supportive friends and family members, he fears being an out gay person might affect these relationships. He worries the future he had envisioned for himself will be destroyed. 

It’s a situation familiar to many members of the LGBT community, including Joey Pollari, who portrays Lyle — a potential love interest for Simon — in the groundbreaking romantic comedy, which is the first backed by a major studio to center on a gay teen.

“His experience was similar to mine,” said the 23-year-old actor, who began his career in  Disney Channel movies like Skyrunners and Avalon High before graduating to ABC’s American Crime.

In Love, Simon, Pollari plays a server at a Waffle House who may or may not be Blue, a closeted teen who corresponds with Simon through email. For most of the film, Blue’s identity is a secret, leaving a lovestruck Simon to guess who the identity of his crush might be. Along the way, Simon is blackmailed by a fellow classmate, who discovers that he is gay and uses that information against him.

Pollari came out as gay at age 18 to friends and family — although thankfully, unlike Simon, he did not have to contend with blackmail. Overall, Pollari’s coming-out was a “positive” experience. “I think all my friends and family knew on some level. I think maybe two people were shocked.”

“The only part that was difficult was me coming out to myself. And I think that is the most difficult coming out,” he said. His supportive mother had been “waiting for a very, very long time” to hear her son speak those words. “My mom knew. She laid hints for me everywhere,” he said, recalling conversations they had in the past about acceptance of gay people.

There were other early indicators for the Minnesota native — a love of The Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland that inspired a Wicked Witch Halloween costume at age 2; an early interest in foreign films like Y Tu Mama Tambien with a “completely different approach to sexuality” than American fare, with exceptions like Brokeback Mountain, which he had seen by age 12; an interest in gay literature like James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room (a “heartbreaking rite of passage” for a gay person) and the work of AIDS activist and playwright Larry Kramer.

But for a long time, despite these resources and a support network, something held Pollari back.

“A lot of the trouble was self shame. I do believe a system of power, of patriarchy, of masculinity did impact me,” he reflected, adding, “The greatest difficulty I found was that it didn’t match my idea of myself. It seemed incongruent with the future I imagined for myself, the identity I had struck up with others. The interplay between me and women, me and men, now suddenly seemed entirely different. That just didn’t seem fair or right.”

Fortunately, Pollari discovered that his greatest fears of being out were unfounded.

“While it does have a big impact on [my] identity, it doesn’t in the ways that I thought it would,” he said. When he was in the closet, his mind would often contemplate “nightmares” about what being an out gay man would be like. “On the other side, it’s a lot plainer than I thought,” he found.

“The real scary stuff and the real exciting stuff is falling in love with someone,” Pollari said. That’s the prize of it.” In addition, of course, to the prize “loving oneself.”

Pollari also sees this message in Love, Simon. The film transcends some of the “more stereotypical torture” present in queer films, he perceived, because Simon’s coming out as gay “is tied to a narrative of finding love and self love.” It’s an experience he believes any audience would relate to.

“Every love story, gay or straight, has to come from a place of coming out of some closet of some previous fear into a new territory. This one just makes it a little bit more explicit and ties it to the gay experience,” he said. 

In fact, Pollari has found that there are a million things to come out about, in addition to being gay. Life is a series of “different doors to go through, into bigger, and bigger, and bigger rooms,” he said.

Love, Simon‘s historic representation as a gay-centered teen rom-com is not lost on Pollari, who reflected on the “positive impact” such a production would have had on him growing up. “It feels great to be a part of something that people could connect to the LGBTQ plus community, and youth could find themselves in or be moved by. That’s a cool experience.”

This is not Pollari’s first project that was a milestone in LGBT visibility. The actor was in in season 2 of American Crime, in which he portrayed Eric Tanner, a gay high school basketball player accused of sexually assaulting another male student. The acclaimed production aired in 2016, but it dealt with many issues that reverberate today, among them campus rape, as well as the dangers of toxic masculinity and the closet.

Although Pollari had recently experienced a closeted high school life himself, he found his character struggled with a “magnified” shame that came from “a masculinity tribe, his basketball team,” he said. “Although I wanted part in that as a teenager I was, I was in theater, in plays, and going to see foreign films, reading books. I took a little bit of an outside approach to that stuff.”

While Eric may or may not have committed a crime, he’s no one-dimensional villain. His father is not accepting of his sexuality, he is outed to his school, and his gay identity is used as a political weapon by the administration. Portraying him was educational for Pollari. “The show is centered around, its emotional core, sexuality, but it’s really about truth. And he finds that this truth [of his gay identity] has actually come to define him. It’s curious that he sees the injustice of it. I don’t think that’s hard to relate to. Having one’s self defined by their sexuality or defined by any one part of yourself can be frustrating.”

Overall, Pollari called the experience on American Crime, created by John Ridley and starring Felicity Huffman, Regina King, and Timothy Hutton, a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to work with top names in the entertainment industry for an impactful social message. “I dreamed of as a kid [to] get to be part of that community,” he said.

On Love, Simon, Pollari also discovered a community of passionate people who cared about the film’s social meaning. The movie is directed by the gay director Greg Berlanti (“wonderful to work with,” said Pollari) as well as several gay actors, like Clark Moore, who understood firsthand the importance of visibility as well as the power of being out.

From an early age, Pollari recognized the importance of queer public figures to his own life. It’s why he felt it was important for him to be out as an actor.

“It’s part of my goal to be more transparent, especially in the public sphere,” he said. “I think that’s a good thing. Anybody who’s out? It was helpful to me when I was in the closet. I think just adding another voice there is a good thing to do.” 

“It meant a lot to me when I was younger,” he added. “To see people who are out, to see people who are all kinds of things — people who are so clear in their anger, people who are clear about their arrogance, their pettiness, their desperation. I mean, that’s why I go to the movies… I go to learn something about someone else. In a byproduct, I learn about myself. That’s the power of representation.”

Love, Simon premieres March 16. Watch the trailer below.

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Alan Cumming: From 'Cabaret' to a Queer 'Murder, She Wrote'

Alan Cumming is no stranger to breaking ground. The Scottish-American bisexual actor and activist has never held back from expressing his opinions or tackling unconventional roles. Now Cumming is setting a new precedent, playing the first out gay lead character in a network TV drama.

In Instinct, a CBS series premiering Sunday and based on James Patterson’s 2017 book Murder Games, Cumming plays Dr. Dylan Reinhart, a gifted author, university professor, and former CIA operative who is lured back to his old life when New York detective Lizzie Needham (Bojana Novakovic) recruits him to track down a serial killer. The killer, it turns out, is using Reinhart’s book as a tutorial for murder.

Oddly enough, Cumming says he wasn’t a Patterson fan before being cast, and jokes that he “had no idea that one in 17 books sold in this country are written by him.”

“I met him and had a lovely chat with him, actually,” Cumming says. “I was sent a very early draft of [Murder Games] and found it a real page-turner. The combination of the many traits the character Dylan has — and also this kind of page-turner murder mystery, and the aspect that he was gay and how it wasn’t conforming to people’s expectation — I found it all enticing.”

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For an artist as precise and authentic as Cumming, it’s not surprising the most interesting aspect of his researching the role was learning from real CIA operatives what life was like undercover.

“They all shared this idea that what a kind of strange and odd and lonely life it was … living this double life,” he says. “I found that really fascinating. One of the most fascinating things I found out is that somewhere around 30 percent of the CIA are Mormon. Isn’t that crazy? Go figure.”

In many ways, being a CIA operative is no different from acting: Both professions require you to observe human behavior and appear to be someone you are not.

“I always say, observation is the first rule of acting — and I really think it is,” Cumming says. “That’s what’s difficult about becoming more and more well-known, is that it’s less easy to observe people because most people are observing you. But I find it really fascinating to watch people and listen to them. You find out so much by just a hand gesture or a tapping of a foot or an intonation. I think that’s at the root of my study of acting or [Dylan’s] study in abnormal behavior: watching and listening.”

The actor has had a string of hits and projects, from a popular role on CBS’s The Good Wife to his Tony Award-winning turn in Cabaret. There are blockbusters (X2) and thinky films (Emma), a stint on PBS, a memoir, a novel, a kids’ book, and even a cologne called — tongue-in-cheekily — Cumming.

Despite Cumming’s immense success, the actor-activist says that starting his rise to stardom later in life has proven to be a huge blessing. The Scotsman first moved to America at 30 and says, “I had a whole life — really 30 years of my life — in a totally different environment and a totally different culture. I think that stands me in good stead for having a healthy attitude about life now. … If something went wrong and I couldn’t tug it, I’m confident, I know that I existed and was happy in the life I had before. And that’s a really heartening thing to know.”

Now 53, Cumming has been married to Grant Shaffer since 2012.

“The life I have now is so alien to anything I could have possibly imagined in high school,” he admits looking back. “People say to me, ‘Oh, you must be living your dream,’ and I’m like, ‘No, I’m not,’ because I didn’t dream about this. I think that’s why I have a really good attitude — being an outsider in your own life is actually healthy, and I think it gives you a good perspective.”

Samsung Oscars Ad Honors (and Was Made by) Queer Women

Rachel Morrison and Dee Rees

Rachel Morrison and Dee Rees

March 03 2018 3:14 PM EST

Rachel Morrison made history twice this year, by becoming not only the first woman, but the first out woman to be nominated for Best Cinematography at the Academy Awards.

Samsung has honored this distinction with a 60-second advertisement, “Make It Yours,” that will air Sunday during the Oscars.

Fittingly, Morrison was also the cinematographer for the campaign. The director is Dee Rees, another queer woman who directed the World War II-era drama Mudbound, for which Morrison received her historic nomination.

The female pioneers are also featured in the commercial eating popcorn together in a movie theater. Created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland, the spot features several successful women in entertainment, including Fresh Off the Boat’s Constance Wu and Insecure’s Issa Rae. These voices, as role models, all encourage young girls to reach for the stars and make history.

Watch it below.

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Could Frozen's Elsa Be the First Disney Princess With a Girlfriend?

Frozen’s Elsa already changed the game for young girls as a princess who doesn’t seek the love and validation of a man but rather focuses on the relationship with her sister Anna. Since Elsa is already a beacon for girls with agency, the hope that she could break down other barriers and become Disney’s first queer princess has taken root. And the writer of Frozen’s sequel is not opposed to the idea. 

Following an interview with sequel’s writer, Jennifer Lee (who just penned the screenplay for A Wrinkle in Time), who addressed the question of whether she would consider writing in a girlfriend for Elsa in the next film, the 2016 hashtag “#GiveElsaAGirlfriend” began to gain steam again on Twitter.  

“I love everything people are saying [and] people are thinking about with our film ― that it’s creating dialogue, that Elsa is this wonderful character that speaks to so many people,” Lee told HuffPost.

Disney films have had a couple of glimmers of queerness in the past with the character of LeFou in the 2017 Beauty and the Beast and with speculation that Finding Dory (2016) may have featured a lesbian couple in one scene. But giving Elsa a girlfriend would be a bold move for the family-friendly entertainment giant, although not entirely out of the question considering that the Disney Channel introduced a gay supporting character in the series Andi Mack in late 2017. 

“Where we’re going with it, we have tons of conversations about it, and we’re really conscientious about these things. For me … Elsa’s every day telling me where she needs to go, and she’ll continue to tell us,” Lee told HuffPost about conversations around Elsa’s possible queerness. “I always write from character-out, and where Elsa is and what Elsa’s doing in her life, she’s telling me every day. We’ll see where we go.”

Protest at Harvard Over 'Ex-Gay' Speaker Jackie Hill-Perry


Hill-Perry speaks with Rev. Russell Moore at a 2014 religious conference

February 19 2018 12:27 AM EST

Peaceful protesters crashed a Friday lecture at Harvard from Jackie Hill-Perry, a Christian activist and poet who encourages people to ignore their same-sex attractions for Jesus’s sake.

At least two dozen people held LGBT-affirming signs during the talk from Hill-Perry, which was sponsored by a group called Harvard College Faith and Action.

Hill-Perry proclaims on her website that she was “saved from a lifestyle of homosexual sin.” In her talk at Harvard, she referred to queer people as “broken,” insisted no one is born gay, and encouraged people to deny themselves same-sex relationships.

“The model for how we are to deny ourselves, whether that applies to our greed, to our lust, self-denial is not optional for the Christian,” she said, according to the Harvard Crimson.

The protest included professors, some of which said Hill-Perry’s presence sent a hostile message that LGBT people and religion are incompatible.

“The history of this speaker and the things that she keeps promoting are things that basically alienate and threaten the existence of queer students on campus,” Divinity professor Ahmed Ragab told the Crimson. “I think it is a problem to have a speaker that promotes this kind of discourse.”

After her lecture, Hill-Perry told a Crimson reporter that she doesn’t support so-called conversion therapy, but believes LGBT people should suppress their feelings and desires because it’s what Jesus wants.

Heavens to Murgatroyd! Snagglepuss Is Now a Sexy Gay Daddy

DC Comics’ new Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles is not an easy series for the average comic book reader to digest. 

These are heady and clever books with an underlying element of sadness and doom playing throughout their colorful pages. After all, it’s not the everyday comic book story that stars a rebooted 50-plus-year-old bright pink homosexual cartoon lion who not only coexists with humans, but secretly romances one against the backdrop of 1950s McCarthyism.

If you’re of a certain age, you might remember the 1960s cartoon version of Snagglepuss, the wisecracking mountain lion who starred in his own cartoon shorts as part of the iconic Hanna Barbera cartoons. As a lisping, fussy, and fey animal, Snagglepuss was a coded gay character whose sensibilities were played for laughs as he longed for the stage. He flounced about on screen as he chased his dream, delivering his trademark catchphrases (“Exit, stage left,” “Heavens to Mergatroid”) dripping with sass.

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The 2018 comic book version of Snagglepuss is no longer ambiguously gay, at least not in his personal life. While professionally “Mr. Puss” is a successful and celebrated straight playwright married to a lady lion, privately he’s busy hitting up gay bars, hanging out with the equally queer blue hound dog Huckleberry Hound, and romancing a sexy human boyfriend. And yes, there is a male lion on male human kiss in the first issue, which is worth the cover price of the comic book alone.

Writer Mark Russell and artist Mike Feehan set Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles in 1953, encasing the narrative and images within the witch hunt for communists, deviants, and other “unsavory” individuals in America. For all the nostalgic pleasure certain readers might find seeing a familiar cartoon character rebooted in a new light, it’s clear with the recently released first issue that this series will be far from a simple meander down memory lane; it’s actually a deep exploration and a reflection on our current cultural divide.

Issue 2, which came out last week, finds moral crusader Gigi Allen — whose name is “synonymous with virtue and good taste” — make a request of Snagglepuss that he refuses to comply with. This encounter sets the stage for an epic battle later in the series. 

It could be easy to take a casual glance at the Snagglepuss comic book and dismiss it as a just a gimmick, but if you were do so, you’d miss out on a deeply multilayered, powerfully moving, and surprisingly thoughtful take on queer identity in the mid-20th century. Check it out here.