Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Its the end of the world as we know it.


Well I am breaking out of hibernation for this one people. As always I hope this finds you well and safe in your little corner of the world. It’s been a little while I know. I was a little busy getting married and neglected my writing. Now with that done (happily) I am back and will aim to write more for you.

Over the years I have told you about my coming out, I’ve recapped shows with fantastic LGBT characters and I have ranted, oh have I ranted, about our portrayal (or lack thereof) in mainstream media. When trying to understand myself I remember looking to TV and film to find people like me. People who were going through the same thing as I was. People facing the same reality as I. When I was a wee baby dyke with nowhere to turn I fell on a website that changed my life.  Afterellen.com (or TV and Film girl as it was called way way WAY back) was my Mecca. It was the place of my dreams. Back then it followed the few gay characters that existed for us to live vicariously through as well as provided an interactive message board that allowed like minded people to meet, share experiences and bond over the constant death of our most cherished characters (a trend that hasn’t slowed sadly.) Through Afterellen.com we grew with the characters we saw in movies and TV. When they came out it helped give us the courage and comfort to do the same.  We bonded over loss, celebrated victories, some small and some not so small and became friends, all within the hallowed digital walls of Afterellen.com.

Over the years Afterellen has grown from a small communal website to an entertainment powerhouse. It became the place for entertainment information. It launched the careers of comedians, vloggers, bloggers and introduced us to queer characters from around the world. We own Afterellen for Bridget Mcmanus and Julie Goldman amoung many others. In one site we could learn about the latest TV character, read a piece on a political movement and vote for our favorite celebrity. It covered every possible subject you could need.

Today, it was announced that as of this Friday it would be shutting down and closing. A site that has run for more than 12 years and had changed so many lives is saying goodbye. We have mourned so many lesbian character deaths this year that this only seems like a fitting, albeit sad, end for us to face. We are all in shock. What’s worse is that it’s being shut down because it’s not making as much money for the company that now owns it would like. Sadly it’s the end of an era.

Afterellen will be gone soon, but what it’s leaving behind is a true testament to the power of this site. On top of the fact that it helped me discover myself all those years back, it’s left me some amazing friends that I still talk to today. We have all grown so much since that site first launched. We have seen one another get married, have kids, move across the world, come out and so much more. We have been there to witness one another’s achievements and been able to celebrate each and every one in time. Thanks to Facebook we have been able to stay close when the message boards stopped working years back and have been able to stay connected all these years.

I cherished this friendship so much. With the exception of two people in Toronto I have never had the honor of meeting any of my Afterellen friends in person, something I hope I can change in the future. These are people I value so much and appreciate their friendship in turn. Life would not be as fun without them.

So Kirsty, Sharon, Sonia, Kris, Kel and Rachelle here’s to life Afterellen.


Cory A.K.A Soupie

 (The only Afterelleners I have had the pleasure of meeting.)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Rage against the dying of the light

RIP

  • Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34.
  • Stanley Almodovar III, 23.
  • Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20.
  • Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22.
  • Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36.
  • Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22.
  • Luis S. Vielma, 22.
  • Kimberly Morris, 37.
  • Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30.
  • Darryl Roman Burt II, 29.
  • Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32.
  • Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21.
  • Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25.
  • Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35.
  • Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50.
  • Amanda Alvear, 25.
  • Martin Benitez Torres, 33.
  • Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37.
  • Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26.
  • Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35.
  • Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25.
  • Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31.
  • Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26.
  • Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25.
  • Miguel Angel Honorato, 30.
  • Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40.
  • Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32.
  • Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19.
  • Cory James Connell, 21.
  • Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37.
  • Luis Daniel Conde, 39.
  • Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33.
  • Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25.
  • Jerald Arthur Wright, 31.
  • Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25.
  • Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25.
  • Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24.
  • Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27.
  • Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33.
  • Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49.
  • Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24.
  • Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32.
  • Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28.
  • Frank Hernandez, 27.
  • Paul Terrell Henry, 41.
  • Antonio Davon Brown, 29.
  • Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24.
  • Akyra Monet Murray, 18.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Their tears are filling up their glasses/No expression, no expression/Hide my head, I wanna drown my sorrow/No tomorrow, no tomorrow

Well I've been working on some nice happy stuff for you gentle readers but to be honest the world right now has me far too upset to write about happy things. What's going on in the United States has made me angry plain and simple. So much so, that I needed to get my thoughts out today.

When the United States passed marriage equality in 2015 I, like many of you, felt that this would usher in a new era of acceptance for the country. I didn't expect it to happen right away (we all expected there would be kickbacks) nor did I expect it to go as smoothly as us Canadians handled it over 15 years ago. However what’s happening now is both sickening and frightening. In case you are unclear of what I am talking about let me shed some light.

North Carolina:
Thanks to bigoted and dangerous legislation aimed to keep the population "safe" from perverts and child molesters, a law has been passed forcing people to use the bathroom of the gender depicted on their birth certificates. To some of you this may seem logical as you think transgender individuals have birth certificates that represent the correct gender, if only that were really the case. Realistically, to obtain an updated birth certificate, a transgender person is required to have gone through the physician process of changing genders. Which, in reality, comes down to either top surgery, bottom surgery or both? Couple that with extensive hormone treatment that takes a doctor to sign off on (something that can take months or even years) and you have a very expensive bill. Realistically this isn't always something that is affordable and in some cases even wanted. These people are now forced to use a bathroom that is the opposite of their outward gender. And this is law!! Honestly! To make matters worse it's opened the doors to further acts of discrimination where pride flags are now being burned infront of churches that perform gay marriages. I’d hate to think of what comes next...

Mississippi:
Thanks to yet another law from a backward state, businesses are now allowed to refuse service to
LGBT individuals. Yep you read that right. Mississippi just took a giant leap back into the 50's with this one. Who knew they could time travel! Gay, straight, bi, trans, male, female... Can you imagine someone refusing to serve you because of it? It's nothing short of inhuman. It wasn't that long ago that we fought to abolish the same laws based on race. That wasn't okay, why is this?

We find ourselves in a time of great upheaval. It's sickening that a country like the United States can even entertain the notion of discriminatory and homophobic laws that are then voted into existence.

What are we going to do when the first transgender or non-binary person is beaten in North Carolina? Or dies? What's it going to take to turn these laws around? How many people have to speak out? How many businesses have to leave these states? Or cancel concerts and shows? What's it going to take to save lives?

If you think you can't make a difference, think again.  Keep what you have read in mind, talk about it and make sure that no one forgets what's happening in the US and around the world. The minute we "ignore" what’s going on we open the door for such behaviors to spread. Remember that you have no way of knowing how a small action can change the world.


As always, thank you for reading. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

You can't do that on television

Like most of you television has been a huge part of my life. Similar to music, a specific show, episode or moment can transport you right back to the moment it happened and remind you of the feelings felt right then and there. We grew up learning our ABC's from big bird, wanted to be a hero like He-man and never thought you would be as cool as Zach Morris and the gang from Bayside. No matter the generation we all had our favourites that we never missed. As we got older VCR tapes changed into PVR and a whole world of shows became available at the simplest touch. Now we can find out anytime how to get away with murder and who gossiped on gossip girl.

Part of my coming out was thanks to television and the amazing (all be it minimal) queer characters. At the time there were so few gay characters on tv and I soaked up every moment I could. From Williow's endearing and subtle coming out, to the layers of sub-text that needed to be peeled back week after week on Xena, I couldn't get enough of these gay (or gay-ish) characters. When you can't find role models in your everyday life, you look to a place that has always been comforting: the make believe world on television.

And this is why when we ship a character and/or a relationship, we ship hard. We tweet and blog about it. We write fan fiction and create fan art. We not only PVR but we save episodes for months and months and rewatch the 30 seconds worth of tv that represents US! That's what it comes down to, we want to see ourselves and our relationships depicted on tv.

And that's were things get tough. Healthy, well written gay relationships are like the blonde haired virgin in a slasher flick... He or she is destined to die. In the same way you yell at your tv in the hopes that she doesn't go into the house, we all see our queer characters deaths (or breakups) weeks before it happens. And it never fails to happen at the same moment too! That point where the characters are content with each other and you finally feel like you will see a "happily ever after." What it comes down to is, queer characters don't generally last.

Don't believe me? Let's go through some examples. From Tara's death at the hand of a magic bullet (although I think Whedon tried to make it up to us with Kennedy in the final season) on Buffy, to the disastrous love life that surrounds Callie on Greys (Arizona was her soul mate I'm telling you,) to the now cold hearted ending to Lexa and Clarke on the 100 and the now sudden and unexpected death of Denise on the Walking Dead (I quite literally yelled at my tv last night.) Very few shows have done anything good by its gay characters.

There stands a few very small exceptions that belong to canadian programming actually. Lost girl, Being Erica (a must watch really) and Bomb girls (set during World War Two and still did a better job representing the LGBT population than shows today) are just a few shows that have graced the small screen and represented us well.

It's hard to not feel manipulated when your people are represented in such a stereotypical manner and always with a similar pattern to their story. Writers know the impact of a queer pairing can be on ratings. As I said, when we follow something we follow it to the end, which sadly comes way to soon for most couples. We are destined to break up or die (and sometimes break up and then die.) Our road is always the same. What worse is that we fall for this every single time! Without fail we hear or a queer character or couple and rush to see what it's all about. I n the back of our minds we know we shouldn't get our hopes up for that happy ending but we jump in anyway. The possibility of a different outcome is enough to create that bond that brings us back every week. And after our favourite couples demise, we continue watching hoping for new couples to form to fill the gap left from the previous loss. It's a tangled web of tv pain people!

I'm hoping that things get better but reality is we are not likely to see any new changes any time soon. So until then I am going to hang on to my nerdy fanfic where everything always works out.

Until next time, stay safe and happy

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I could make you happy/I could make you love me/I could disappear completely/I could be your love song/I could be long gone

Image result for enough is enough



Morning gentle viewers, I hope that this finds you happy and healthy and that life continues to take you to the places you dream of. Thanks as always for staying with me on this journey.

I will preposition this post by telling you I am a little touchy these passed few days and I have no doubt that that will bubble over into my writing. So this is my formal apology to you all. I hope you know I still love you all.

Life isn’t always rainbows and puppies and it’s often much more razors and barbed wire. It often doesn’t really show us the big plan until we are waist deep in it. No matter what it leaves us asking why we were put there in the first place.

I can put on a good front most of the time; I can keep my cool, look and sound like the most positive person alive and no one would know any different. People always come to me for advice or to vent and I am always the one to drop everything for them. I notice at the drop of a hat if something is wrong with them, if they have had a bad day or are upset. I give 110% to take care of them, even spend my own money on things that I know will make them feel better. I believe in chivalry, genuine caring and support. But what do I get in return? I am always the one to start conversations, lead the friendship and take care of things. If I don’t message first… radio silence. If I don’t go visit… its days if not weeks before I see them. What it comes down to is that when I need someone, no one is there. And I am tired of it. Every time I give a little of myself to someone it hurts all the more when they let me down. And every once and a while when someone comes along and I think, “Hey they might be different,” well they crash and burn into a fiery oblivion, taking a piece of my heart with them.      

Why do we continue to put ourselves out there only to be pummeled by the universe? What is the point of the pain and the disappointment we feel over and over again? I really wish I knew. I wish I understood what possesses me to care anymore. I just want to leave people to fend for themselves and see just how hard it actually is out there. And after all this I know the reality. I know that I am going to go right back to being their puppet the minute they throw a bone my way. I am inevitably going to continue to be their punching bag because atleast that means I have them around…. Pretty fucked up if you think about it.

So in the end I sit here angry and alone, really tired of all the bullshit. I hurt a lot of late and no one really looks passed the jokes and the forced smile. I kind of wish I was worth that atleast.


Later all. Hoping life is being a bit kinder to you right now. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

"I want you to notice/When I'm not around/You're so fucking special/I wish I was special/

Afternoon gentle viewers. As always I apologize for the time between posts. Life continues to be busy. But fear not, inspiration is always lurking around the corner.

It's been an amazing few months. I have had the opportunity to be featured in the Montreal Gazette, have helped lead 250 employees (friends and family) down Rene Levesque Boulevard in our annual pride parade (in 40 degree heat so I may have been hallucinating and really marched up and down my living room, no one will ever know.) Outside of my awesome little bubble the world continues to turn and I hope for the best. As marriage equality has finally hit the United States I am glad that my queer counterparts now enjoy the same rights we have for the last 10 years. Although they may have a few kinks to work out, they are well ok their way.

Despite the advances in LGBT rights that we have seen it's disappointing to see the lack of education and awareness around two of those lovely letter of the LGBT rainbow: bisexuality and transgender. Both very different, one considered the "invisible" member of the pack and the other (more often than not) quite visible but not accepted. Both of these touch my life quite closely, in different ways, and it hurts to know that pain people under these umbrellas face. As someone who is very out, so much so I can't hide my sexuality, I literally wear it on my sleeve I feel for those who have to come out over and over again. Bisexuality isn't a faze yet there are those who treat it as such - a stop on the way to boy/girl town. It's viewed at times as a not really existing. Coming out for me was a proud moment and one I don't shy away from, but I don't have to do it every day, my outward appearance does it for me. I feel for you my friends who have to...

Trans rights are something I am passionate about. Despite not being trans I do for on the more "out there" gender scale so I get a taste of their reality. You are strong souls who are often misunderstood. There is still so much education that needs to be done in their field. People die daily for just being themselves. As someone that has had to defend my use of a woman's bathroom on occasion I don't know how I can't handle that 24/7. Standing with you to fight and educate is an honour.

I consider myself lucky to be surrounded by such a strong support system, both in and out of work. So if you are someone in that circle, thank you for letting me be me!

Until next time, be safe and be well.