Friday, March 24, 2017

LeFou and Trini and the Ghastly Gay Moment

©Disney 2017 Unless you've been on some kind of delicious social media free retreat for the last few weeks, you'll have no doubt heard about Disney's recent gay orgy sex fest that they had the gall to release under the sacred moniker "Beauty and the Beast". According to listicles and opinion pieces and one drive in movie theater entrepreneur in Arkabama, the film shows a grotesque display of forbidden love that dare not speak its name in the form of the character LeFou and his unnerving habit of existing. 

By now, if you've heard of this story, you've heard that a producer/director/movie person said that basically Josh Gad's internal monologue when playing the character would be deciding between wanting to be like Gaston (the muscle bound villain) or want to be with Gaston. You know..."be with" *wiggles eyebrows* in...*church lady southern voice* "that way". 

Immediately upon hearing this, I was of two minds:

  1. This was going to be nothing. The "exclusively gay moment" we were promised was going to be as benign as a lingering glance or an oddly enthusiastic grin. We all were going to make too much out of this, and everyone would be pissed that either we were robbed of our "first" gay Disney character (totally not the first) or that Disney was playing activist and baiting the gay community. 
  2. It was going to piss everyone off by having the first "exclusively gay moment" in a canonical Disney Princess film be represent one of the most problematic tropes in the gay community: hetero worship. 
Seriously, it's bad. From porn to films to the culture itself, the gay community prizes the muscle bound heterosexual guy that...somehow...turns gay for an hour to bang you into oblivion...but only after football practice and only because his girlfriend is out of town. This trope has led to everything from femme-erasure/hatred in the community to transphobia to an acknowledged-only-in-whispers hierarchy inside the community that puts "straight acting" muscular white men at the top of the heap and leaves everyone else sort of struggling with body dysmorphia and internalized homophobia. 

And, I was all set to hate LeFou. I had a blog post drafted about how LeFou was all the worst things about our community. That he was the lens through which the straight community views us, as latching on to straight men and thinking only of sex with the husbands of good Christian women. But, I had gone through that spectrum of emotions and done all that outrageous irrationalization before having ever seen the film. (Something I've chastised others for in the past.)

When I saw the film, I rolled my eyes at LaFou from the beginning. It appeared he was falling into the second category mentioned above: he fawned over Gaston in much the same way that I secretly lusted after the very same muscle bound jocks who tormented me in high school. He worshipped the town hero in a way that, for quite a while, meant he was blind to the reality that Gaston was a pretty shitty human being. And then...something happened.

*Warning: Mild Spoilery Stuff Ahead About Side Plots That Don't Actually Have Much To Do With The Main Story But Seem To Have Been Included In Order To Puff Up LeFou's Story*

Gaston ties up Belle's father and leaves him in the forest (which introduces the one puzzling new addition to the plot - Agatha - who is in the running as one of the most unnecessary characters to exist in a Disney film) and that right there appears to shock LeFou into a pretty clear bit of character development. He eventually turns on Gaston and comes into his own, realizing that a nice jaw and sculpted biceps don't mean a hill of beans if you're the kind of guy who would leave an old man to get eaten by wolves because he mildly inconvenienced your evil schemes. By the end of the film, LeFou is fighting alongside the furniture (which is a sentence that only makes sense in a blog post about Beauty and the Beast) and being admonished by Mrs. Potts as being too good for Gaston anyway. 

And, this is important. This is an important lesson that gay men everywhere had to (or have to, if they haven't yet) learn: straight worship is bad. Worshipping the hot straight guy because you long for the day when he'll suddenly turn for you is gross and it belittles your presence on this planet as someone who is worthy of the love of someone who can fully love you in the way you deserve to be loved. Appreciated by someone who can fully and outwardly appreciate you. 

And, in that regard, I saw much of myself in LeFou. I also am from a small country town. I also had some straight guys - one in particular - that I not so secretly pined for, and that confusion only added to my internalized homophobia. I'm quite glad that LeFou is out there and existing in all his overtly homosexual ways. I'm glad he ended up with a guy at the end. I'm glad his arc from straight worshipping sidekick slave ends with his awakening that he doesn't have to denigrate himself by doggedly following a villain.
©Saban Entertainment 2017 
What I'm most glad about is that within a week of Beauty and the Beast's release, yet another iconic property (though, admittedly, to a lesser degree) is including another member of the LGBTQ community. Power Rangers, according to reports, represents Trini - the Latina Yellow Ranger - as having a girlfriend. I don't know whether the character presents on the spectrum of sexuality - lesbian, bi, pan, some as yet unnamed level of fluidity - but this kind of representation is important. Disney, Power Rangers...these properties are beloved by many generations of folks. Kids will see these films. Teenagers will see these films. Adults will see them with each other. Parents and Grandparents will be taking their kids. This is a level of elevated visibility that's desperately needed by the LGBTQ community in a time when that community is being specifically targeted by members of the political Right. 

To showcase a flawed gay man and empowered Queer Woman of Color in two of the year's most anticipated releases, in fact, the first superhero that outwardly identifies as LGBTQ on the big screen, is a big deal. A BIG deal. It's a pretty powerful way to show a sign of solidarity that representation means everyone and that we are all made better when all of our stories and identities can be told. Moreso, it's a big deal that these characters are more than eye rolling stereotypes; that they can be perfectly flawed and perfectly human simultaneously. It means perhaps we are coming to a point when LGBTQ folks can be more than best friends and sidekicks and clowns and Home Depot shopping stereotypes. It means that little girls and boys around the world will have two more characters with which to identify. If successful (which, according to box office numbers, they are) it means that more might be on the way. 

I am glad I get to see the day when we can give no fucks about showing a gay Power Ranger fighting Rita Repulsa. I am here for this. 

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Monday, March 6, 2017

Today in the War on Christianity

 Every year there is a rise and fall of discussion surrounding the supposed "War on Christianity". This war alleges that the culture at large is attempting to silence and marginalized the country's largest religion. Usually this discussion happens around Christmas, and it follows instances of Christians having to stomach the fact that...gasp...they're not the only religion with a winter holiday that might like representation and visibility. 

This morning as I was watching CNN, it struck me how they have an entire television show that allegedly documents the "real life" of Jesus Christ called "Finding Jesus". It's a documentary. On a major news network. That starts off with the assumption that Jesus was real; he's a historical figure, and you can research his real life. 

Shows like this aren't new, but I had a little moment where I finally woke up to their reality, their pervasiveness in culture. Search around streaming sites like Netflix or Hulu or YouTube, and you'll find a plethora of accompanying "documentaries" and series devoted to the assumption that Jesus was a historical figure. And, here's the thing: I'm fine with it and I'm so not fine with it. In your faith Jesus was real and a majority of people in this country believe in him and his teachings - allegedly - and it makes sense that the overculture would carry on like this is no big deal.

But this goes to the weird and incredibly problematic line of thinking that assumes a default. It assumes the default that people are white, straight, Christian, cisgendered, have financial means, are not disabled...and so on. It assumes a default, and that sucks. It sucks that our culture is so forgiving of said default and so accepting of it that even our news networks put out documentaries which assume a mythological figure was real...that he really walked the earth. 

Yes, every now and then you get the one off documentary discussing Vikings or buddhists or something, but nothing of the caliber that begins with the deeply felt assumption of veracity. The documentarian does not assume Thor went fishing and caught the world serpent. The overculture would not accept the assumption that Prometheus gave us fire. This is not a default truth for the overculture, and it is therefore relegated to myth and must be discussed in the context of the uneducated masses of a time long, long ago. 

Gosh, if they'd only known about the very real Jesus. 

I have no answers here. I am not even really sure this is much of a discussion. But, I think it was an important personal awakening. I, for the first time, realized that even our news media of record makes the default assumption that the gods I worship are myths, the magic I practice is lore, and the zombie who walked on water and got mad at a tree is real. It helps me to further understand why people are so confused when they meet a pagan. There are so few of us, and this default of being a varying shade of Christian is ingrained in our culture. I almost forgive it. Almost. 

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Sunday, February 26, 2017

I did the Trump Hex, and I don't apologize for it.

I wasn't going to participate in the magical assault  on Donald Trump. It wasn't because I have some moral apprehension when it comes to binding or banishing or cursing. (And if you're one of those folks who was decrying the use of magic against Trump, you're probably all sorts of privileged and don't understand the palpable fear from the marginalized communities targeted by his ilk.) It was because it felt a little too...I dunno... Familiar  Sensationalized? And, if I'm being honest, I have begun to resign myself to the fact that this is reality and we haven't been punked by the universe and we aren't going to wake up and find out we get a do over.

Yes, a little teeny tiny part of me that's covered in glitter and likes hot chocolate and Disney movie marathons was holding out hope of some kind of magical deus ex machina. Don't laugh. I'm desperate.

By now you've seen the news stories that a group of witches, non-religious folks, Christian mystics, and Lana Del Rey all decided to hex the ever loving shit out of our (sorry...choking back bile saying this) President. It started with a call to bind Trump and all those who abet him and turned into a worldwide call to magical arms. February 24, set your wands to "curse" and aim them at the White House.

I wasn't going to do it, because, if I'm most honest, I didn't think for a second it would do anything. And I don't know what that says about me or my relationship with magic or my relationship with the divine. I think it says that I think whatever energy was created by his followers and those that put him in power is mightier than mine. And...again...I don't know how to feel about that.

It was my husband, my most non-religious-but-technically-Catholic husband, who heard about the movement and cheerfully decided we were participating. He's a gay Mexican immigrant. He's angry and scared and a spectrum of unnamable emotions of which I can only guess. It was his unabashed enthusiasm for the event that moved me to action.

Now, I'll admit, I didn't really care to read up on the binding that was going around or to adapt it to my needs. I'm sure it was a fine spell. I figured if I was going to participate, I was going to do the kind of spell I wanted. I called up my friend Vinna Harper (literary maven here at the Riot) who decided she also needed an outlet for her fear and anxiety and that magic was as good a form of protest as any.
That's what I felt this was. Magical protest. Magical psychology. Working through the complex knot work of trepidation and rage and despondency by working magic, because when you have nothing else to cling to you can still cling to your inner spark of divinity. The bit of your heart that never stopped being starfire before it transmuted to flesh and bone.
We decided to make a simple cloth poppet, fill it with paper messages and ideas that embodied Donald Trump's actions and ideologies, as well as our own reactions to them. We colored the poppet to look like him, pants unzipped and penis exposed because of his known history of sexual assault and because of his pride. We named it. And then we stuck pins in it while stating what we wished would happen.
Then we spat on it, burned it to ash, dumped the ashes in the toilet and...well...fiber and coffee was involved before we finally flushed him down the drain. (Note: we saved the pins and did not flush those down our plumbing system... Just saying, before someone freaks out about fish eating our spell ingredients.)
It felt good. It felt like release. It felt like protest. It felt holy. And I have no clue if it "worked" in the sense that I have no idea whether we will be seeing Trump impeached and removed in the near future, or suddenly afflicted with maladies unknown, but I know for damn sure it made us all feel better and more secure and more united, which is magical in and of itself.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Episode 108: Inciting A Women's March Riot

Episode 108 of Inciting A Riot: the Podcast features around a dozen women voices from around the United States that all attended the recent Women's March on January 21, 2017. They provided their reasons for attending, experience at their respective location's march, reactions to the intersectional representation and speakers, as well as their views on future protests. 

My eternal gratitude to these women for speaking up. 

I would like to say a very special thanks to Katelyn Burns for being my guest today. You may tweet her @Transscribe. 

If this episode was of value, please consider giving a small, monthly donation to help support ongoing costs at

This post will be updated throughout the week as more responses, photos, and videos are submitted. To submit your experience at a Women's March, please email to the contact info provided. 

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

@IncitingARiot on Twitter
Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes:

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I am here for Imperfect Advocacy.

Donald Trump will be the President of the United States at this time next week. Not even that long. 5 days. Tensions are running high as we build up towards this...well...for lack of a better term..."historic event". Nowhere do they seem to be running higher, post-election, than on progressive social media. No, I'm not talking about some new, secret social media platform that you haven't been invited to yet. I'm talking about the social media you're already on that's already blinding you to the reality of what is actually going on in the world.

Left, right, or center, social media algorithms - Facebook especially - have been learning what you like, dislike, and, more importantly, what keeps you engaged and using their service. If you comment on pictures of animal rights issues most often, then that's what will continue to propagate in your feed. This "Filter Bubble" has helped to further drive a wedge between folks with slightly differing opinions into people with diametrically opposing world views, because we can no longer look at the same information and see it how it happened. We see it in the context of all of our neighboring progressive or conservative leaning material. We see it commented on by like-minded liberals or conservatives who help skew our view.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Episode 107: Inciting A Feminist Riot

Episode 107 features interviews with two bad ass feminist voices: Dr. Leah Torres and author Meg Elison.

Dr. Torres will be discussing the recent election and what women should be doing to prepare for a Trump administration in regards to access to healthcare, birth control, and abortion.

Meg Elison discusses her novel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, and its upcoming sequel regarding a dystopian future in which women are endangered and access to proper healthcare is a thing of the past. (I promise this was written to be fiction.)

News: Michigan HB 4643, update on the DAPL Standing Rock "victory", and a restauranteur that's ensuring transgender people have a safe place to work.

Word of the Day: Salient

Inciting A Riot is now a Patreon supported podcast. If you'd like to support this show, as well as my joint show Inciting A Brewhaha, please consider giving a small, monthly donation at

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte 

@IncitingARiot on Twitter
Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes:

Friday, December 9, 2016

Grammar Police: In defense of 'Fleek'

Ahem... Let me explain why this meme is bullshit: Shakespeare. Shakespeare wrote his plays in the language of the common person; street speak. He wrote the way people spoke using words - many being neologisms - that common, everyday folks used. Slang. Colloquialism. Idiom. Shakespeare would have TOTALLY used Fleek, Turnt, etc. in his plays, because it is how people in the real world talk. Like it or not. There is the kind of speech one uses when writing or presenting in a professional or academic setting, and then there is the language one uses in the every day. I don't say 'y'all' when writing an academic paper on the sociological impact of racial tension in politics. I wouldn't give a presentation to a client at work filled with the phrases "throwing shade" or "I'm feeling busted". But, I absolutely use them in common, verbal speech with friends, acquaintances, and during daily interpersonal discourse. The other issue with this meme is that it is, technically, false equivalency. It is not that the words "you're" and "your" are misunderstood; it is that they are misspelled frequently. This is not the same thing as the person being unable to understand the term. If you were to aurally experience the sentence, "Your going to the grocery store," you wouldn't notice the missing possessive 'you're'. You would understand that the person is going to the grocery store. It is only in writing that the difference is noticeable and grating. It may belie a difference in education, using the incorrect spellings, or it may imply laziness or a haphazard autocorrect or a simple lack of care in ensuring that your hastily tapped out reply to a Facebook meme during your coffee break is grammatically sound. Either way, it isn't a judgment on a person's character. Except... When someone is being needlessly pedantic on social media, needling away at some factual inaccuracy or obscure detail mistake in order to make themselves look morally and intellectually superior because they pointed out that SOMEONE WAS WRONG ON THE INTERNET, and they misspell one of these common words. Then, absolutely, troll that motherfucker...grammatically. Love and Lyte, Fire Lyte

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Episode 106: Inciting A Ghost Hunting Riot

Episode 106 of Inciting A Riot: the podcast meets Annie Weible of COPS Paranormal Investigations. We learn all about ghost hunting in the real world as it differs from what we see on TV. 
We also discuss debunking ghostly claims, how to cleanse yourself and your fellow investigators after a hunt, and how you can get started doing your own investigations!
Also, this episode features a (mostly) comprehensive guide to the Standing Rock protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline. Many of you have written in and requested that I cover this topic in depth, and I encourage you to please continue to remain engaged in this ongoing story. 
COPS Paranormal info:
Twitter @COPSofWV
NoDAPL Protest Resources:
Inciting A Riot is now a Patreon supported podcast. If you'd like to support this show, as well as my joint show Inciting A Brewhaha, please consider giving a small, monthly donation at
Love and Lyte,
Fire Lyte
@IncitingARiot on Twitter
Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes:

Today, find light.

There was a point last night when I physically felt hope leave my body.

When I started seeing the results in placing like Florida and Pennsylvania returning a hefty surge in Republican votes and the conversation began to shift to the so called "Blue Wall". When Her path to the presidency became contingent on the possibility of a few voting districts in Maine. When we were hoping for upsets in Georgia.

The polls...all the polls...were wrong.

From the information I can gather, as our nation begins the post-mortem analysis, a few things seem to have occurred:

  • Voter Apathy - Our country already has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the developed world. Nothing about yesterday's numbers seems to have changed that fact. People saw polls that universally favored Clinton and either didn't show up or otherwise felt comfortable not voting for her.
  • The divided Democratic base and the fact that the margin of victory in many of these states seems to correlate with improved numbers for Johnson and Stein. I have seen no state that she lost where the difference in Trump's lead to her wasn't dwarfed by the number of people who voted third party. 
  • White men and self-described Evangelical voters had a massive surge for Trump. Massive. He won them in nigh-unprecedented numbers. 
  • The data seems to indicate - based on reports I've heard on NPR and seen on CNN and Bloomberg - that the Comey letter regarding Clinton's emails caused just enough doubt and wiggle room in the "Blue Wall" and other Rust Belt areas of the country - as well as, of course, Pennsylvania and Florida - that Trump was able to successfully sway voters in recent weeks. 
I think historians will be parsing out just how Trump won this - I hate to say it, but it's true - historic victory last night for years to come. It all mattered. All of it. 

No matter who you voted for, I hope that your conscience still allows you to happily and proudly look your fellow man in the face today. I hope you're just as confident in your candidate this morning when millions of Americans are quaking in fear. When a rush to find out how to move out of the country led foreign government's websites to crash. When those of us that are contemplating when our rights will be rolled back, not if but when. I hope you are still settled in your conscience today. 

Racism won last night. Xenophobia won last night. Homophobia won last night. Misogyny won last night. Fear won last night. Anger won last night. Privilege won last night. 

Privilege. Won. Last. Night. 

But it doesn't have to win forever. 

Sure, we have to accept that we live in a post-fact world. A world where a man can win the Presidency without having experience, a plan, or any measurable qualifications. We have to face the fact that we fostered a culture of mistrust in the media and in facts in general. We uphold feelings and gut reactions as superior to what can be proved, and that culture helped create the pathway to the White House for a bankrupt businessman that brags about sexually assaulting women. A world where fear can be injected into a populace of non-college educated White voters and pull out a victory. 

There are a few things you need to know, when you feel level-headed enough to know them. 

  • You are not, we are not, moving to Canada. At best your citizenship would take 18-30 months to get through, and by then it'll basically be time to elect another president. At the very least, mid-term elections will have happened, and we will have the chance to change the House and Senate blue. The real power is in Congress, and it is there we need to aim our efforts for the time being. 
  • Speaking of, Congressional Republicans don't like Trump either. They, by and large, don't have a big problem with marriage equality or freedom of religion. (No I'm not trying to polish a turd, here. I recognize the chasm between the left and right when it comes to minorities.) The Congressional Republicans are the kind of fiscal conservatives that make it difficult to create new social change, but don't bother much with actively rolling back rights once given. We are going to have to place our faith in moderates like Marco Rubio and company. 
  • Obama can still make sure that the final Supreme Court seat is filled during his tenure. This will help to stymy the damage from last night and ensure that any further madness is reduced to the next 4 years and not the next 4 generations. 
Folks, there is no sugar coating this. There is a new world order as of last night. Everything we prided ourselves on and took for granted in regards to the way our country operates and who sits in the Oval Office has been changed. We have a lot to process. For many, we have a lot to grieve. At this time, it appears that Clinton did, indeed, win the popular vote. So, a discussion of the electoral college and how voting works in this country is likely in our future. 

There are a lot of things I thought I knew about my country. One remains true: no matter who you are, you are not alone. Whether you're the obviously gay kid in a tiny nothing of a town in rural east Texas, or you're a trans woman in a New England suburb, or you're an immigrant who came here for something better and safer, or you're anything other than the default mentality of white, straight, cis, Christian, and male... YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are others like you. There are millions of others like you. And we are not vanishing overnight. We are not evacuating. We are not going to sit here silently. We are going to embrace you and then do the work to truly create social and political revolution. 

Today, find light. 

I'm serious. Physically go find some light. Sit in the sun. Light a candle. Be in the light. Not only do we all need some fresh air, but we need some purifying energy. And sunlight is a pretty good combatant against depression and anxiety. 

Find light, and then be light. 

I am here. I will remain here. The Riot continues. 

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Episode 105: Inciting Lasara Firefox Allen's Riot

Episode 105 is an interview with feminist witch Lasara Firefox Allen, author of Jailbreaking the Goddess: A Radical Revisioning of Feminist Spirituality
Lasara introduces us to a new way of thinking about Paganism, Goddess worship, and feminism. She discusses marrying her passion for social justice with her spiritual work. We discuss her previous work, Sexy Witch, and how modern Pagan publishing is evolving to suit a next level of education for the community.
You can purchase her book by visiting her page on Amazon here:
Register now for her upcoming class:
You can follow Lasara on Twitter @Lasara_Allen or find her on Facebook

Inciting A Riot is now a Patreon supported podcast! If you'd like to help build Pagan media, consider giving a monthly donation at!

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte
@IncitingARiot on Twitter
Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes:

Friday, October 14, 2016

Episode 104: Inciting A Fluffy Riot (and a day at Chicago Pagan Pride)

Episode 104 of Inciting A Riot Podcast is a day at Chicago Pagan Pride 2016. 

I also spend the episode meditating on our community, and specifically the term Fluffy Bunny.

Special thanks to Twila York, Michael Greywolf, Mike Indovina, Cheshire Moon, Selena Fox, Veronica Daylight, Vinna Harper, Katrina Ray-Saulis, Jay, and Greenwolf for sharing your thoughts with me and the Riot audience. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

What can I do to change? (Gary from C-Span is 2016)

There is a story this week you have likely not heard about unless you're a political news junkie and your drugs are NPR and C-Span. It began with these words:
I am a white male, and I am prejudiced.
It's a conversation starter that immediately sends up innumerable reactionary responses. Defensive retorts from the right, jaded hissing from the left. It's a conversation some of us have had before. I'm grateful that my first conversation about my own prejudices did not happen in public, but I'm glad I've had public conversations about prejudice.

What followed after the above statement, said by a guy calling in to C-Span and identifying himself as Gary, was a pause and then a brilliant response from a woman named Heather McGhee. She discussed the disproportionate coverage of minority crimes in the media. She discussed systemic, endemic, unconscious bias. She thanked him for admitting he knew he was prejudiced - because, these days, many don't see themselves as prejudiced; they see themselves as "truth tellers".

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

We need to talk about Asatru

For years now - longer than I have called myself Pagan - there have been a few issues that rise and fall as assuredly as our seasons. There's the "Silver Ravenwolf is a terrible author" thing and the "Is a wand/athame associated with fire/air" thing and the "What does 'Pagan' mean" thing and so on. These topics come up, get everyone all hot and bothered for a bit, and then disappear waiting to go unsolved another day. There are a few topics, though, that don't come up very often because they're less fun to debate online. Things like consent and sex and homophobia and racism. One of those topics is back, and it's time we stopped avoiding it. 

There is an uncomfortable correlate between Asatru and racism, homophobia, and xenophobia.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Episode 103: Inciting An Unforgiving Riot

Episode 103 finds us Inciting An Unforgiving Riot. I throw it back to a discussion from 2012 regarding forgiveness and discuss not only my personal issues surrounding the cultural notion and impetus to forgive, but whether forgiveness should be the final result in all situations.

News: Private Prisons

Word of the Day: imprecation

Sociology: Safe Space

Poetry: While I wait to be a god again

Spirituality: Unforgiveness  

Feedback: War Room

More information about Chicago's Pagan Pride can be found at!

Big thanks to Nicole Youngman for reaching out and being a resource. To learn more about how YOU can help the victims of the recent flooding, please visit Together Baton Rouge:

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

@IncitingARiot on Twitter

Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes:

Monday, August 15, 2016

Not Your Safe Space

Right now the Olympic games are happening in Brazil, and they're all anyone can talk about. Michael Phelps has now earned enough gold medals that I think he gets one free. Simone Biles is absolutely everything. So many stories have come from the games. Alongside the usual emotionally stirring tales of personal triumph have been headlines causing stomachs to turn all across the globe. From the sexism to the racism to the poverty porn, there's been almost as much to denigrate as to celebrate about these games. However, one conversation that sparked this past week has really grabbed at my core.

Gay Safe Spaces

This all started with an article from The Daily Beast that I cannot even link to because The Daily Beast took it down. However, I'll link to an article from Slate discussing the article from The Daily Beast, because it does a pretty decent job of telling you what the article said and why it is problematic. Here's a quick summary of the facts, quoting from the Slate article:

On Thursday morning, the Daily Beast published an exceedingly gross and bizarre article by a straight, married male writer who lured in gay Olympians through hookup apps for no particular purpose. The entire piece is an astoundingly creepy exercise in Grindr-baiting, which involves a journalist accessing Grindr in an unlikely setting and … seeing what happens. But the Daily Beast piece, penned by Nico Hines, is a uniquely disgusting and irresponsible entry into the tired genre. Hines entices his (often closeted) subjects under false pretenses; effectively outs several closeted athletes who live in repressive countries; then writes about the whole thing in a tone of mocking yet lurid condescension.
Cutting to the chase, this article has set off an astonishing level of conversation on the topic of straight people's desire to treat the LGBT community as some kind of zoo.

The Gay Zoo