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I think many adults (and I am among them) are trying, in our work, to keep faith with vividly remembered promises made to ourselves in childhood: promises to make invisible possibilities and desires visible; to make the tacit things explicit; to smuggle queer representation in where it must be smuggled and, with the relative freedom of adulthood, to challenge queer-eradicating impulses frontally where they are to be so challenged.
I think that for many of us in childhood the ability to attach intently to a few cultural objects, objects of high or popular culture or both, objects whose meaning seemed mysterious, excessive, or oblique in relation to the codes most readily available to us, became a prime resource for survival.
–Eve Kosovsky Sedgwick, "Queer and Now"
A few weeks ago my friend and colleague Candace Hansen wrote a guest post here for us, responding to Fat Wreck's attempt at Pride merch. More recently, they wrote a critique of The L Word: Generation Q for the LA Times. 🤯
Candace's response to the new series is in line with my own feelings, and we're both disappointed in many aspects of the show. So many things could've been improved had writers listened to widespread criticism of the first series, but of course, we are left with representation that still sides with mainstream and normative characters full of negative stereotypes despite the "Generation Q" moniker. We both still watch the show, and I'm just as happy as your next queer to have something to watch with your friends that makes you yell at the screen, but still.
Things like this get to me, mostly because I try hard to elbow my own views of gender expansiveness and queerness into larger spaces, and I'm disappointed when an institution like The L Word continues to miss the mark. It wouldn't take hitting viewers over the head with a crash course in gender studies, I just want to see an androgynous and/or butch character be a likable, thriving person on television.
Like the Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick quote at the top of this, I want to bring my queerness with me "to make invisible possibilities and desires visible" in the spaces where I couldn't see myself growing up. The interview with Daniela Sea (who plays Max in the original L Word) hits close to home in terms of what I'd like to see for queer representation, communities of care, gender expansive characters, etc. I had such high hopes for that storyline that didn't quite pan out, but not for any lack of trying on Daniela's part, certainly.
What's worse is that had a better story been told there, it could have offered a broader vocabulary of queerness, more options of gender presentation, just more options, to folks like me when I needed them at that time. It's sad to think about, and makes it all the more important that network television do a better job.
Last night, I met a couple of queer folks who hadn't known who we were or that we were playing the show. They were surprised and psyched to see queer representation on the tour and really enjoyed our set, which means a lot. I love just showing up, playing our set like SURPRISE! YOU DIDN'T EXPECT THIS, DID YOU! LET'S HAVE FUN! It's one of my favorite thing about doing this.
In other news:
- Megan Seling published an interview with me in her new newsletter Snack and Destroy. We talk about international snacks, my love of Veggie Percy Pigs from the UK, and a mysterious chocolate bar that feels like it has Pop-Rocks inside. Some quality content, right there.
- I joined my partner, Cassia on Instagram Live for a halloween drawing challenge she's been doing called Monster Mash. We roll some dice to see what we had to draw, and it turned out pretty cute!
- Worriers has a new pin set (what I like to think of as Friendship Pins) now available at shows. Two little enamel pins, one that says HAVE FUN and the other says DON'T DIE. Wear 'em both or give one to a friend!!