Category Archives: LGBTQ

Degrassi Features Gender-fluid Character



By Ashley Fowler, 18, Staff Writer


October 24, 2017

The Degrassi franchise (which first showed up in the late 1970s and includes several different TV shows) has continued its trend of tackling difficult topics relevant to teens. The latest season of Degrassi: Next Class, seen on Netflix, features the coming-out story of a nonbinary teen. This makes Degrassi: Next Class one of the first shows to have a main character identify as gender-fluid.

Yael, the nonbinary character, struggles with their gender identity before the episode where they become familiar with the terms “genderqueer” and “gender-fluid.” Earlier in the season, they begin to bind their breasts and question their identity as female. Eventually, Yael kisses their friend Lola, thinking their confusion may stem from being gay. After determining that they aren’t gay and still like their boyfriend Hunter, Yael explains to Lola, “I feel in between. I don’t feel like a girl, or what everyone thinks is a girl. I don’t like makeup and stuff like you do. I really, really hate my boobs. But I don’t feel like a boy either. And I’m definitely not gay.” Lola then introduces the words “genderqueer” and “gender-fluid” to Yael, explaining that they are for someone who doesn’t feel male or female. Yael is happy to have found names for the complex feelings they were experiencing regarding their gender.

Although many viewers were happy with the show’s willingness to feature a nonbinary character, some complained that Yael is played by cisgender actress Jamie Bloch. According to the show’s co-executive producer Matt Huether, the idea for Yael to come out as nonbinary developed once Bloch had already been playing the character for multiple seasons. He says in an interview with the online publication Vulture, “Yael starts out the series as cisgender presenting. To be honest, for the first couple of seasons we knew…that Yael would be uncomfortable with [their] own body and self, but we didn’t know what the endpoint was yet.” Huether elaborates, saying it wasn’t until the producers visited a Toronto high school’s queer–straight alliance that they found inspiration for Bloch’s character development.

Television has an awesome opportunity to destigmatize marginalized groups within our culture and bring about awareness and change. To viewers who may not identify as male or female, watching Yael’s experience and acceptance by friends may encourage others to understand their gender identity. Seeing nonbinary people represented in books, TV shows and other media can break down some of the barriers that prevent people from being open about their gender identity. It can also encourage all viewers to think critically about issues that marginalized groups, such as nonbinary people, face today.



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Coming Out: Three Things to Know



By Sarah Emily Baum, 17, Staff Writer


October 6, 2017

Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not.

I wasn’t always this comfortable talking about my sexual orientation. It took years for me to get where I am, but now, I can finally say I am out, proud and happy.

However, as we celebrate National Coming Out Day on October 11th, it’s important to remember not everyone feels safe coming out. Some LGBTQ people may get bullied in school, fired from their job or rejected by their family. National Coming Out Day may seem like it’s only for people who can proudly wave rainbow flags and lead the pride parade, but what if you aren’t ready to come out yet? This is a day to help improve that—a chance to increase visibility for LGBTQ people and hear their stories. Whether you’re still unsure of your identity or you feel unsafe because of it, know you are still loved, valid and no less brave and amazing for being who you are.

When you’re ready to come out, you’ll know; but before you do, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Nobody Is Entitled to Know Your Identity

The first person I came out to was not my mom. It wasn’t my therapist. It wasn’t my best friend, or my second best friend or my third.  It was some girl I met in the park when I was 12. She said she was gay, and I said, “No way! I’m gay too!” and that was the first time I had ever said it out loud.

I never saw her again.

In fact, the people closest to me tended to be the very last to know. It was easier to come out to other kids online because if they judged me, I could just walk away without any repercussions. Meanwhile, I thought if my parents reacted badly, there would be no way to escape the consequences.

Thankfully my parents were supportive when I came out, even if they were displeased with the fact they were dead last to know. I had come out to my camp counselor, my rabbi, even my congressman before I told my mother and father.

But it wasn’t indicative of how much I care about my parents. It wasn’t me trying to “pull a fast one.” It was just who I was comfortable with, when I was comfortable with it.

Coming out is YOUR journey. It is YOUR identity. You can come out to whoever you want, whenever you want, and deciding not to tell someone doesn’t make you deceitful or manipulative. This is about you. No one is entitled to know about something so deeply personal if you don’t want to share it.

No One Can Define Your Identity but You

Do you identify as a lesbian even though you like boys sometimes? That’s fine.

Are you bisexual but you’ve only ever dated girls? No problem.

Are you pansexual, asexual, demisexual, genderqueer, nonbinary or something else altogether? That’s all right!

Just because you may not be learning about sexual orientation and gender identity at school doesn’t mean your identity isn’t valid. After all, things like gender and sexual orientation are strict categories made up to classify and organize a part of the human experience that, in actuality, includes grey areas.

The only person who truly knows your sexual orientation or gender identity is you. Don’t let anyone force you into a label that doesn’t feel like the right fit. Some people never pick a label at all!

Give It Time

Coming out is not a “one and done” endeavor.

Coming out is a process. Most people are assumed to be heterosexual and cisgender, so you’ll probably come out to lots of people over time.

The idea of coming out as this perpetual journey can be daunting, even exhausting. But it will get easier. Your family might be taking it harshly, your friend might be acting awkward. But if they genuinely love and care for you, they will hopefully overcome that.

And though you may lose some people, there will always be others who love and accept you as you are.

Just keep searching. You’ll find each other.



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LGBTQ TV—a Great Escape



By Gillian Hatcher, 18, Staff Writer


March 10, 2017

What’s going on in the world has many people feeling afraid, stressed out, overwhelmed and just all around not good. I for one am not immune to those feelings. One thing that I find a lot of comfort in during hard times is TV shows. I look to them to escape reality for a while and to enter a seemingly easier world where problems can be cleared up at the end of an episode or a season. Personally, as a queer woman, I like to watch very LGBTQ+ positive shows, and I have complied a list of the best ones I have come across in my travels.

Sense8

Since its release, this Netflix sci-fi series has gotten both viewer and critical acclaim, and I think it’s well deserved. Sense8 is the story of eight strangers who realize that they are all mysteriously connected after each experiencing the same vision. The characters are all from different backgrounds and parts of the world and are diverse in race, sexual orientation and gender. To top it all off, the show was written by the Wachowski sisters, who are both transwomen. You can watch season one plus their Christmas special on Netflix now.

Take My Wife

This sitcom is about the lives of real-life married couple and comedians Carmen Esposito and Rhea Butcher. The show is a dramatized version of things that actually happened to them as they work their way to becoming famous comedians. I love and recommend this show because it feels like any old sitcom you would watch. Carmen and Rhea deal with money troubles, finding jobs, relationships and all the normal sitcom stuff, but there is a fresh take on it since they are a lesbian couple. It is also wonderful to see a lesbian couple portrayed like, well, a normal couple in a TV show. Oh, and it’s pretty funny too. Take My Wife season one is available on Amazon.

Yuri!!! on Ice

This anime series is so good that someone like me, who doesn’t watch anime, fell in love with it. It’s about a young Japanese figure skater, Yuri Katsuki, who isn’t doing so well professionally until his idol (Victor Nikiforov, the world’s top figure skater) shows up one day and offers to be his coach. This show portrays a loving gay relationship flourishing in an environment free of hate. The creator, Mitsurō Kubo, has stated that the world she created has no hate in it and that everyone is supportive of different sexual orientations. With loveable characters, a great plot and even an adorable dog, there is nothing to not love about Yuri!!! on Ice. I highly recommend it. Season one is available on Crunchyroll.

I’ve always been someone who used TV shows to escape, and I find the most comfort in the worlds that shows like Sense8, Take My Wife, and Yuri!!! on Ice create—worlds that are so full of diversity and celebrate that diversity. Maybe it’s just the dreamer in me that likes to watch these shows because I think that one day we could have that kind of world and that with a lot of work and love we could all celebrate the diversity that makes this world what it is. Even if it’s not like that now, for the next thirty minutes while I watch Yuri skate, it is.



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Four Great Sexual Health Apps



By Gillian Hatcher, 18, Staff Writer


February 14, 2017

We all have our phones on us most of the day, and we all use at least five apps a day, so why not add a few great sexual health apps?

Recently, Answer—the organization that publishes Sex, Etc.—published a report in which they asked teens to use and review apps and other web-based digital tools related to sexual health. The report looks at what is working in the world of sexual health digital tools and recommends how organizations in the field of sexual and reproductive health can do an even better job of using technology to provide us with accurate sexual health info.

Here are four apps that received all-around high praise!

Bedsider’s Birth Control Reminders

This is an app for people like me who always need a reminder to take their birth control. The cool thing about this app is that each day you get to learn a weird fact, get a beautiful quote or some new reading material, all while being reminded about your birth control of choice. Some of my favorites have been a link to a women’s literature list, the quote “There is a moon, that rests in the quiet corners of a lover’s lips” and insight into Cleopatra’s signature lipstick.

Circle of 6

I personally had all of my friends download this app. Circle of 6 allows you to keep in contact with your friends and family anytime: while you’re out and alone, feeling uncomfortable at a party or not feeling safe while on a date, for example. You can send a text to your “circle” with the press of a button, asking them to “Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.” You can also easily send texts like “I’m home safe” and “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely” with your location. Circle of 6 makes it that much easier to have the support and help of your family and friends when you need it most.

Eve

Eve is not your normal period tracker app; it’s actually a lot more. Just like other period trackers, there are reminders when your period should start and a log to track all of your symptoms. But it also has a bunch of articles, quizzes and an active community you can participate in. Here you can talk to other people about their periods and share advice and tips to get through your period. It might be weird to call a period tracker app “fun,” but Eve is definitely a fun app to have on your phone.

Planned Parenthood Chat/Text

While Planned Parenthood Chat/Text isn’t an app, it is a great digital tool that you can access on your phone. Go to the Planned Parenthood website and click the “Chat Now” button. Through the chat, you can have your sexual questions answered by a professional. This tool is beyond valuable and something that you should use if you ever have a question about your sexual health and need a quick answer.

I hope that these apps make it onto your phone to stay. Are there other sexual health apps or digital tools that you love? Leave a comment below.



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Protesters March on Washington and All over the Globe



By Ashley Fowler, seventeen, Workers Author


January 27, 2017

On January twentieth, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States of The usa. The following working day, millions of persons throughout the globe—in Washington, D.C., Sydney, Berlin, London, Paris, Nairobi, Cape Town and lots of more—gathered to protest. What started as an idea on Facebook grew to become a little something worldwide and unifying, as both equally gals and adult males gathered in solidarity. But what exactly had been they marching for, and how does it have an affect on teens?

The Women’s March on Washington’s web page has a person crystal clear information: women’s legal rights are human legal rights. Good reasons for marching consist of ending violence in direction of gals, preserving and bettering reproductive legal rights, LGBTQ legal rights, civil and disability legal rights and additional. Trump’s presidency has not been reassuring to all gals. His electric power to appoint a Supreme Court docket justice, alongside with his vocal disapproval of abortion and want to repeal the Very affordable Treatment Act, are just three of the stances that threaten women’s legal rights to wellbeing care. Quite a few gals are concerned about obtain to abortion and delivery command. LGBTQ legal rights are also in jeopardy, as Vice President Mike Pence opposes relationship equality and supports various anti-LGBTQ procedures. The protests also had lots of Black Lives Subject supporters and persons opposed to Trump’s concepts, like the proposed border wall.

“It’s so empowering to see gals collectively like this,” Alyssa, 19, of Philadelphia, PA suggests about the protest she attended in her hometown. “During the election and inauguration, it was quick to be discouraged, but coming to the protest nowadays was a palate cleanser from that. It is all peace and all like, but also a little little bit of struggle is in all of these gals. They are listed here to say they will struggle.”

Eyes are on Trump as he tends to make decisions about women’s legal rights. He could have an affect on wellbeing providers that teens rely on—like Planned Parenthood funding, obtain to delivery command and secure, authorized abortion. Just this week, Trump reinstated the ban on giving relatives planning funding to any world-wide wellbeing group that offers abortion providers or counsels gals on exactly where they can get abortions providers abroad. Quite a few of these corporations not only present relatives planning providers, but also condoms and HIV/AIDS counseling and instruction. Trump also expanded the arrive at of this ban so that it now applies to any world-wide wellbeing group, which includes these that also present wellbeing care for little ones. Legislation now exist to avoid the use of federal funding for abortion in the U.S. and abroad, so by reinstating and growing the “gag rule,” Trump is cutting funding for lots of other wellbeing providers as very well as delivery command, which helps avoid abortion.

It is vital that whichever you feel as a teenager, you stand up for these beliefs and help what you assume is appropriate. If the women’s marches confirmed the world anything, it is that gals and their allies are prepared to struggle. Now we should extend that struggle and use the enthusiasm of the march to get motion.



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LGB Olympians Out and Proud at the Rio Olympics



By Ashley Fowler, seventeen, Workers Writer


August 31, 2016

Eyes from all over the globe are on the Olympics just about every two decades, and 2016 was no unique. What was unique, on the other hand, was the number of overtly lesbian, homosexual or bisexual (LGB) individuals at this year’s Summer months Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Outsports.com, a web-site focusing on LGBT athletes and difficulties, estimates 55 homosexual, lesbian and bisexual athletes took part, which is 32 additional than the number of overtly LGB individuals in the London 2012 Summer months Games. This is not to say that the number of LGB individuals has risen fairly, this bigger number probable displays additional folks prepared to be out so publicly. These kinds of a dramatic improve displays positively on acceptance of LGB folks. Their visibility, much too, is noteworthy. For case in point, soon after taking part in a rugby game, Brazilian athlete Isadora Cerullo was proposed to by her girlfriend on the field. Cerullo reported certainly and then shared a kiss with her fiancée for all the world—gay and heterosexual—to find lovely.

Like I reported, it isn’t as even though LGBTQ folks have not been participating in the Olympics now! But this would seem to signify a cultural change. As some nations make strides towards acceptance and equality for all sexual orientations, individuals may experience safer sharing who they are. For occasion, the United States took a large action towards acceptance and equality just final yr, when the Supreme Courtroom ruled that the Structure guarantees the correct to marry to similar-intercourse partners. As visibility and acknowledgment of LGBTQ folks will increase, it can be safer and additional cozy for some folks to appear out.

Regretably, there are nevertheless individuals who are hateful and inconsiderate towards LGB folks, and this was no unique in the course of the Rio Games. For occasion, at an opening soccer match, supporters yelled homophobic slurs directed towards users of the U.S. women’s soccer staff. Perhaps the most important waves were being built by a journalist for The Each day Beast, who applied the homosexual courting application Grindr to find homosexual athletes for a story on partying and hookups among the Olympians. This careless, insensitive act had very an impact on closeted Olympians who applied the application, like some from nations where it is unsafe or unacceptable to be out. The printed report, which some reported built closeted athletes plainly identifiable, was taken down soon after folks objected, and there was a lot of backlash towards the journalist and The Each day Beast.

Although there is nevertheless surely a long way to go towards total acceptance and equality of LGBTQ folks, the number of out Olympians this yr is something for the LGB group to celebrate! Let’s hope that as additional folks appear out, figuring out as LGBTQ can 1 working day be so normalized that article content like this will no extended need to be written. Until eventually then, we can understand the Rio Olympics as becoming an brilliant milestone for international LGB representation.

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Pictures



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David Bowie: Gender & Sexuality Groundbreaker



By Gillian Hatcher, seventeen, Team Writer


February one, 2016

On January ten, 2016 all over 3rd period examine hall, I identified out that David Bowie experienced shed his battle with most cancers and died. It took me a moment to method what transpired, and I went household that working day and performed Changesonebowie on vinyl for a when. When I took to Twitter, an onslaught of LGBTQ individuals ended up mourning his decline and telling tales of how he experienced inspired them.

It was in the course of a 1972 job interview with the now defunct British tunes newspaper Melody Maker that David Bowie came out, stating, “I’m gay, and I always have been….” Interestingly, when he mentioned that, Bowie experienced been married to a girl (Mary Angela Barnett) for two several years (they ended up afterwards divorced), and 20 several years right after that job interview, Bowie married a different girl: model and entrepreneur, Iman.

This is what was so great about Bowie—he continuously broke the strict boundaries all over sexual orientation and gender. In a time when remaining gay experienced only recently been decriminalized in England, he showed the entire world just how fluid sexual orientation could be. In a 1976 job interview, Bowie instructed Playboy, “It’s true—I am a bisexual.” Bowie’s achievement and openness about his sexual orientation brought a large amount of interest to this difficulty. It need to be acknowledged that as a white cis-male—a famous one particular at that—Bowie experienced specific benefits and options that quite a few of individuals in the LGBT local community, together with individuals of colour, didn’t have then and never have now. But it is admirable that as a celeb he was so open up about his sexual orientation.

Bowie also broke boundaries in terms of gender expression. Most notably, Bowie’s persona Ziggy Stardust assisted problem the gender binary of the tunes entire world and over and above. Ziggy was an androgynous alien rock star Bowie portrayed on stage, sporting a deal with full of make-up and a overall body hugging jumpsuit. Taking part in with gender was not anything that was viewed as frequently in musicians ahead of Bowie. Quite a few musicians of now openly engage in with their gender and inspire their enthusiasts to do so as properly this can be traced back to Bowie’s influence.

So, no matter if or not you’re a supporter of The Skinny White Duke (a different Bowie persona), it is harmless to say that he assisted the tunes field be a very little more open up about gender and sexual orientation, which paved the way for us now.



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David Bowie: Gender & Sexuality Groundbreaker



By Gillian Hatcher, 17, Employees Writer


February one, 2016

On January 10, 2016 all-around 3rd interval research corridor, I identified out that David Bowie had lost his struggle with cancer and died. It took me a moment to method what transpired, and I went dwelling that working day and performed Changesonebowie on vinyl for a even though. When I took to Twitter, an onslaught of LGBTQ folks have been mourning his decline and telling stories of how he had impressed them.

It was during a 1972 interview with the now defunct British music newspaper Melody Maker that David Bowie came out, declaring, “I’m gay, and I generally have been….” Curiously, when he stated that, Bowie had been married to a girl (Mary Angela Barnett) for two many years (they have been afterwards divorced), and twenty many years just after that interview, Bowie married a different girl: product and entrepreneur, Iman.

This is what was so fantastic about Bowie—he continuously broke the rigid boundaries all-around sexual orientation and gender. In a time when being gay had only recently been decriminalized in England, he showed the globe just how fluid sexual orientation could be. In a 1976 interview, Bowie instructed Playboy, “It’s true—I am a bisexual.” Bowie’s success and openness about his sexual orientation brought a large amount of interest to this concern. It ought to be acknowledged that as a white cis-male—a famed a person at that—Bowie had particular rewards and prospects that quite a few of these in the LGBT community, including folks of color, did not have then and really don’t have now. But it’s admirable that as a celeb he was so open about his sexual orientation.

Bowie also broke boundaries in conditions of gender expression. Most notably, Bowie’s persona Ziggy Stardust helped challenge the gender binary of the music globe and past. Ziggy was an androgynous alien rock star Bowie portrayed on stage, donning a confront whole of makeup and a entire body hugging jumpsuit. Taking part in with gender was not anything that was found as usually in musicians just before Bowie. Lots of musicians of now overtly participate in with their gender and inspire their admirers to do so as nicely this can be traced back to Bowie’s impact.

So, whether or not you’re a enthusiast of The Slim White Duke (a different Bowie persona), it’s secure to say that he helped the music market be a minor more open about gender and sexual orientation, which paved the way for us now.



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Why I’m Thankful for My School’s Homosexual-Straight Alliance (GSA)



By Jordan Chester, 17, Personnel Author


November 16, 2015

With Thanksgiving coming up, I required to share anything I’m grateful for: my school’s homosexual-straight alliance (GSA). Many educational institutions across the state have GSAs or other forms of corporations that are meant to unite the LGBTQ and heterosexual/cisgender communities in the struggle for queer legal rights. My university has one particular, and I am incredibly appreciative of it for these motives:

one. It’s a area for me, other queer people today and our allies to speak about queer stuff with no judgment. The GSA is meant for speaking about LGBTQ matters, as nicely as providing a risk-free area for LGBTQ learners. Folks exterior of queer-pleasant spaces aren’t normally accepting. I have gotten quite a few negative comments and filthy appears to be from friends exterior of my GSA when I mention just about anything queer. Realizing that there is a area the place I can speak about LGBTQ matters with no currently being judged helps make me (and others) additional snug at university.

two. It lets me to see who my allies are and meet up with other queer people today. Folks do not walk all over with both “phobe” or “ally” tattooed on their foreheads, so obtaining a room complete of people today who you know won’t decide you based mostly on your sexual orientation or gender identification is genuinely handy. And in advance of signing up for my school’s GSA in excess of two several years in the past I knew only one particular other queer man or woman at my university now I would need to have various sets of hands to rely the fellow LGBTQ learners I know at my university.

3. My GSA helps make a distinction, both of those in university and out. My GSA has carried out a ton of items in university to elevate recognition of LGBTQ issues, like participate in Ally Week and GLSEN’s Day of Silence. Alongside with that, we partake in AIDS walks and this year we also system on web hosting fundraisers for corporations that enable the LGBTQ local community, like the Trevor Job and Human Rights Campaign. Certainly, identical-sexual intercourse marriage is now legal in all 50 states, but there’s even now a ton of stuff that can be carried out to enable LGBTQ people today. It’s up to us, as an corporation of younger people today, to elevate our voices and use our resources to struggle for correct equality.

GSA meetings are the emphasize of my 7 days and I’m exceptionally grateful that additional and additional educational institutions are starting off GSAs or university student corporations like it!

Stop by GLSEN.org and GSAnetwork.org for additional details on starting off your possess GSA.



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Troye Sivan’s Blue Neighbourhood Displays Men in a Genuine Connection



By David Guirgis, sixteen, Staff members Writer


Oct 9, 2015