This year’s stats weren’t too terribly out of the ordinary. Folks like Drake, The Weeknd, and BTS still have their stronghold on streaming charts worldwide (and somehow, K*nye managed to make his way up into the top five in the U.S.?).
In spite of the straight state of streaming, some queer artists and allies managed to hit it big this year.
Here’s your official Spotify Wrapped (Queerty’s Version):
Latin heartthrob and ally Bad Bunny continues to dominate globally, being the #1 streamed artist in the world and having the #1 streamed album, Un Verano Sin Ti. He’s hot, he’s talented, and he gives the people what they want. He’s also an amazing LGBTQ ally. If any one man has to have the musical world in a headlock, we’re glad it’s him.
Most Viral Global Artist: Taylor Swift
Ms. Swift may not be queer, but the overzealous You Need To Calm Down ally certainly has a dedicated fruit-flavored section of her audience. The Swifties were cross-linking tracks like no other fanbase this year — likely due to a million and a half live-tweeted Midnights listening sessions over on Twitter.
Most Streamed Throwback Song: “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush
While this Bush-aissance may be owed to Stranger Things‘ latest season, it’s been a long time coming. This iconic track saw an astounding 8700% play increase compared to past years. Hounds of Love was just narrowly beat out of the top spot on “Most Streamed Throwback Album” by Eminem‘s Marshall Mathers EP, but not everyone can have taste.
Playlist Princess: Megan Thee Stallion
Hot Girl Coach and resident rap bicon Megan Thee Stallion remains the queen of “___ Girl Summer” playlists. She has songs for every (upbeat) mood: lit, turnt, hype, and according to Spotify, “feral”.
Most Streamed Song in the U.S.: “Bad Habit” by Steve Lacy
Bi guitar hero Steve Lacy came through this summer with prime “not every TikTok-popularized song is bad” representation, and was immediately made to regret it. While his new clock app stans may have put him through the ringer on tour, hopefully his chart-topping royalties can make up for any emotional damages.
Most Shared Lyrics Globally: “Heather” by Conan Gray
Are y’all good?? Sadboy banner song “Heather” came out in 2020, but fans are still posting its lovelorn lyrics across social media with abandon. Just go talk to your crush, please.
Most Streamed EQUAL Artist: Ethel Cain
Lana stans got to breathe a sigh of relief this year when melancholic Americana artist Ethel Cain dropped her debut album Preacher’s Daughter and gave them something new to love. Lord knows they needed a break from the antics. Spotify’s EQUAL playlist is dedicated to boosting women’s voices globally, and a trans woman being among the top five in the world just feels right.
Between “Heather”, Ethel Cain, and “Running Up That Hill”, it’s clear this prediction was right on the money:
Leo Woodall was shocked into “silence” when he learned about his ‘White Lotus’ sex scene.
The 26-year-old actor stars as Essex boy Jack in the HBO comedy series set at a vacation resort and while viewers have been led to believe that the character of Quentin – played by ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star Tom Hollander, 55, – is his uncle, he was surprised to learn that that was not the case at all and the pair were actually due to film a sex scene together.
He said: “Well,[I didn’t know], not right when I signed on, but it wasn’t too long after that. I’d been told I might have a rumble and tumble with a couple of characters, but I didn’t know who. When I was told that Tom Hollander was playing my uncle, I was already elated. Then the news dropped about that moment and I just had about ten seconds of silence, digesting it. Tom and I were both a bit nervous, but Mike White was very light about everything, especially on the day. “
The ‘Cherry’ star went on to add that there was an intimacy coordinator on set and joked that the day was “definitely a bonding moment” but he just wanted to “mentally prepare” for going into the “best job” on television.
He told Vulture: “We were filming other things before, and he was like, “… Are you ready?” We had a really good intimacy coordinator, who took it seriously but also had fun with it. Definitely a bonding moment. The whole job was about mentally preparing to go into the best show in the world, so everything that came with it took some mental preparation. My first day of filming was actually that sexy scene with Haley. That was the introduction to this job. Quite rock and roll!
“But [Tom] is a gentleman and a true professional. There was a moment where he gave me a real boost because I was feeling very overwhelmed early on. On our second shoot day, he just sort of figuratively put an arm around me and was supportive. I’ve got a lot of respect for that.”
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It’s been such a thrill to follow the success of the Heartstopper stars. Now that the beloved Netflix series has made them all household names, they’ve been racking up massive new roles, one after the other.
We shrieked with delight when Yasmin Finney signed on to Doctor Who opposite Ncuti Gatwa. We gasped when it was announced Joe Locke was heading to Marvel’s Coven Of Chaos—possibly as a Young Avenger. And, now, Kit Connor is joining the all-star cast of a major literary adaptation from an Oscar-winning director!
But… there’s a catch: You won’t actually see Connor in it. Or anyone for that matter. Because it’s a podcast. Or, an audiobook, rather.
It was earlier this morning when we came across the exciting news that the Heartstopper actor was cast in an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist from Oscar-winning filmmaker Sam Mendes.
Admittedly, we hadn’t had our coffee yet. But, if we had, we would have spit it out in excitement as we read the starry list of names joining Connor in the ensemble: Succession‘s Brian Cox, Nope‘s Daniel Kaluuya, and Bridgerton‘s Nicola Coughlin. It was almost too good to be true! And it was—at least the movie adaptation we had imagined was.
And that’s not to besmirch the name of podcasts! We love a good podcast—our queue of downloads is ambitious and unwieldy. We just got excited about the idea of seeing Connor dressed as a 19th century pickpocket roaming the streets of old London. And from the award-winning director behind 1917 and Skyfall, no less! Alas.
The news comes from Deadline, who reports that the Mendes-produced Oliver Twist is available now via Audible, a streaming service that has really cornered the market for scripted and serialized audio series featuring A-list talent.
Connor voices the supporting role of Noah Claypole, a young servant who, at one point, comes to blows with his peer, Oliver (The Man Who Fell To Earth‘s Emilio Villa-Muhammad).
The story—if you’re not familiar—concerns itself with the eponymous orphan, born into poverty and forced to live in a dreadful English workhouse. Once he’s kicked out, Oliver goes to fight for a life on his own, eventually banding together with a group of young pickpockets headed up by the Artful Dodger (T2 Trainspotting‘s Elijah Wolf) and their guardian, Fagin (Cox).
The cast also includes Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You), Julia Davis (Love Actually), Nick Mohammed (Ted Lasso), Patricia Allison (Sex Education) and Diane Morgan (a.k.a. the hilarious “Philomena Cunk,” who you’ve likely seen a lot of on TikTok lately). Audible’s Oliver Twist also boasts an original score from Everybody’s Talking About Jamie composer Dan Gillespie-Sells.
The audio series marks Connor’s first major casting announcement since coming out as bisexual in late October—something he says he felt forced to do amid queer-baiting allegations from so-called fans of Heartstopper. “I think some of you missed the point of the show,” he tweeted.
Next, Connor can be seen as one of the romantic leads of YA adaptation A Cuban Girl’s Guide To Tea And Tomorrow, which is expected to release in 2023. And, as of earlier this fall, he was back on the set of Heartsopper with Locke, Finney, and the whole crew, so fingers crossed we get to see the next chapter of Nick and Charlie’s romance sooner rather than later!
You can hear Kit Connor and more in Sam Mendes’ Oliver Twist audio series, now available on Audible.
It’s almost December, which means ’tis the season for frantically trying to get everything done before the end of the year.
But don’t let the holidays turn you into a Scrooge—we’re here to help keep you organized in our own Queerty way with this handy list of all of our favorite queer movie and TV trailers to hit the internet over the past few weeks.
Throughout November, we saw new previews for all sorts of exciting, up-and-coming, gay entertainment—everything from international Oscar contenders to strip-teasing crowd-pleasers to a movie where *checks notes* Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field all go to the Super Bowl. Sure, why not?!
To help you stay ahead of it all, we’ve assembled this rundown the best and gayest trailers that hit the internet throughout November, and when you can watch them. Check them all out below and mark your calendars accordingly!
In honor of Native American Heritage Month, we premiered the trailer for the documentary, Being Thunder, which focuses on Sherenté, a Two-Spirit genderqueer role model for LGBTQ+ youth within their community and across the world. Directed by Stéphanie Lamorré (Iraq Oil And Fire), the intimate film encompasses Sherenté’s coming-of-age story, starting with their teen years as they fought for their inclusion in traditional Powwow dance competitions and stepped into their power.
Now available via VOD and digital platforms.
On one end, Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale is a celebrated Oscar contender featuring a transformative performance from beloved actor Brendan Fraser as a lonely gay recluse, taking a major step back into the spotlight and finally getting his due. On the other end, it’s a wildly controversial film that’s already been criticized for its reliance on a “fat suit” and the voyeuristic way it depicts binge-eating and body shame. Either way, this is only the beginning for what will surely be one of the most talked about films of the season.
Opens in limited theaters on December 3, and will expand nationwide throughout the month.
Look, no one can blame you if you feel you’ve met your quota of Drag Race for the year, but there’s been an exciting selection of non-franchise drag series popping up recently to give you a different taste of what the art form has to offer. Among them is the upcoming Drag Den, presided over by “Drag Lord” (and veritable “All Star) Manila Luzon, which pits eight fierce, Filipino queens against each other in a thrilling new competition.
Premieres December 8 on Amazon Prime Video.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody
Whitney Houston’s story has already received the biopic before, and “from the writer of Bohemian Rhapsody” isn’t necessarily a selling point, but neither factor can stifle our curiosity for I Wanna Dance With Somebody: Will this finally be the film to address the legendary pop star’s queerness in a real way? If you watch the trailer closely, you’ll catch a few glimpses of Houston (Naomi Ackie) dancing with Robyn Crawford (Nafessa Williams), so color us intrigued!
If your idea of a gay night out is watching a movie about the wacky misadventures of fabulous older women with a full glass of wine in hand, then 80 For Brady is the movie for you. Apparently based on a true story, the film reunites Grace And Frankie besties Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, and then throws icons Rita Moreno and Sally Field into the mix, as group of spinsters who throw caution to the wind and head to Houston, TX to watch their beloved Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
One of our horniest and most unexpected trilogies comes to a close next year with Magic Mike’s Last Dance, reuniting dancer-turned-movie star Channing Tatum with Steven Soderbergh for one last “Pony” ride (shout-out to that timeless Ginuwine classic). While we’re sad to report that the killer ensemble of XXL—Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, etc…—looks to be MIA, Last Dance does gift us with Salma Hayek Pinault who is definitely having the time of her life here.
Opens in theaters everywhere on February 10.
Though it was nearly blocked from screening in Pakistan, Joyland has been making big waves in the film world, and was even selected as the country’s official submission for the Oscars’ Best International Feature. The boundary-breaking feature follows the lives of a middle-class family in the bustling Lahore, particularly the youngest son, Haider (Ali Junejo), pursues his dream of becoming a dancer and ends up falling in love with a trans woman named Biba (Alina Khan).
Now playing in select international markets, with U.S. release details yet to be announced.
After years of living in the closet, a Moroccan Dutch man named Karim (Fahd Larhzaoui) decides to open up to his family about his attraction to other men. As Karim begins a series of frank conversations with his brother and parents, they’re all forced to confront harsh truths that have gone unspoken for too long. But even as he navigates these tough talks, writer/director Shariff Nasrmaintains a darkly hilarious sense of humor that brings a welcome levity to this singular family drama.
El Houb has been playing the film festival circuit throughout the year; further release details are yet to be announced.
Miriam Margolyes has given some dubious dating advice to a caller on ITV’s This Morning, including telling her to “go line dancing”, “lose a bit of weight”, and use apps “like Grindr”.
The actor made several suggestions for those seeking romance during an appearance on the show after a caller named Leanne asked how she could become more confident while dating.
The 81-year-old admitted that she wasn’t up to speed with the dating scene, having been with her partner Heather Sutherland for 54 years – and had been faithful “for most of it” – but suggested using the dating app Grindr.
After host Philip Schofield interjected that Leanne might not be “interested in that one”, Margolyes confirmed that Grindr is “the gay one”.
“Sorry, I don’t want you to go gay,” she said.
Schofield added: “That may certainly be an option, but I’m still not sure that’s the right one for Leanne.”
Margolyes then suggested: “What you should do – lose a bit of weight, darling, if you think you’re too fat to have sex, lose a bit of weight. Don’t eat too much for Christmas, because we all do.”
She also recommended finding a hobby like line dancing, or to “go volunteer at a centre for disadvantaged, poor people and cr***les.”
Several social media users criticised the actor’s appearance after she used the outdated slur for disabled people, with one claiming the word is “downright rude and offensive”.
Others loved her unconventional dating advice, however, with the actor being dubbed a “national treasure”.
Margolyes has been admired for her hilarious TV appearances after she swore live on ITV while talking about the #MeToo movement.
Actor Billy Porter revealed last year he was HIV-positive. He’d been living with the virus for 14 years. Porter said one of the reasons he didn’t talk publicly about it sooner was that he didn’t want his mom to know.
“I didn’t want to put her through that,” he explained.
Porter say he was “Embarrassed … ashamed … I was the statistic that everybody said I would be.”
HIV infections have fallen in recent years. In the US, they declined 73% between 1984 and 2019. This is largely due to PrEP use and the wonders of effective treatment ensuring people become HIV undetectable. Once undetectable for the virus, HIV-positive individuals can’t pass it on.
However, it means some folk now forget that HIV is still an issue or that people are still acquiring the virus and having to grapple with how to tell loved ones.
Porter finally decided to tell his mom while he was shooting the third season of Pose. His character, Pray Tell, had HIV. He said playing the role helped him work through some of his feelings of shame.
Porter recalls the conversation and how it played out.
“She said, ‘You’ve been carrying this around for 14 years? Don’t ever do this again. I’m your mother, I love you no matter what.’”
Porter’s hesitation is one that many people with HIV relate to. Of all the people one chooses to share one’s status with, telling parents can count among the hardest.
Alex Sparrowhawk, 37, knows this all too well. He lives in Manchester, England, and was diagnosed with HIV in 2009.
The news came as a shock to the then-24-year-old. He said it took him some time to get his head around it. He told some close friends soon after.
“And then, about three months after my diagnosis, I met someone who, luckily for me, wasn’t fazed by HIV and was really understanding. We were together a number of years, so I had his support.”
However, telling his parents was another matter. Alex says he waited two and a half years before informing his mom.
Alex said he worried about “letting [his parents] down” and not wanting them to worry. He says his sister was also due to get married, “and I didn’t want to throw this bombshell into the family.”
His parents lived in the London suburbs. His mom arranged a visit to Manchester. Alex says not telling her was eating away at him. He decided the time was right to tell her.
“It had got to a point where it was really playing on my mind,” he says. “We made an excuse to go to my boyfriend’s flat. And he just kind of left us to it. I said, ‘There’s something I want to talk to you about.’ And then I just explained the situation.
“By that point, what was worrying me more and stressing me out was I had waited so long to tell her. I think that was playing on my mind more so than the virus itself.
“At the same time, I was worried mum was going to over-worry and stress about me. But I’d had a couple of years of living with HIV, and I knew my health was in a good place.”
Offering reassurance and information about HIV
Alex says telling his mom was inevitably emotional. However, after reassuring her that HIV is now a manageable condition and that he would likely have a normal life expectancy, her main concern was the length of time it took him to tell her.
“Mum was worried I hadn’t told her sooner, and whether she had done anything to stop me telling her. But it was all my decision and my concerns. Mum’s always been there for me, and she was worried I’d been dealing with it on my own. Obviously, I hadn’t because I had people around me.”
Mom’s side of the story
Lorraine says she knew Alex was gay from a young age. It was no surprise to her when he came out, a few months before heading to university.
Alex was born in 1987. At the time, the AIDS epidemic was prompting a moral panic in the media. The UK government launched an infamous, rather grim campaign, urging people not to die of ignorance. A TV advert featured the word “AIDS” engraved on a giant tombstone.
Lorraine remembers it well. She says that when Alex shared the news of his status, some of her knowledge of HIV was still rather rooted in the 80s.
“When Alex did tell me, I suppose I was quite shocked. It wasn’t what I was expecting him to say. I suppose [HIV] had been there in the background but it wasn’t in the forefront of my mind,” she recalls.
Lorraine says she was aware that progress had been made with medication.
“Alex’s dad had worked in the pharmaceutical industry, so I was aware of the improvements in drug therapy, so I suppose I was more aware than some people would have been.”
Nevertheless, her initial reaction was shock and fear.
“I was frightened for Alex,” she says. “As in ‘how is this going to affect his life? Will he be unwell?’ Although Alex, one of the first things he told me was, ‘It’s OK. I will have a normal lifespan. I have medication. I’m going to be alright.’
“It took a while for it to sink in. I started doing a little bit of investigating myself. Alex pointed me in the direction of places I could go for information.”
Telling the rest of the family about his HIV status
Neither have any regrets about having the conversation. After his mom, Alex told his younger sister and his dad. Both were supportive. Alex says his dad (who died a couple of years ago), drew on his pharmaceutical knowledge.
“He came about it in a more clinical, slightly medicalized way,” remembers Alex. “We were having conversations and we were talking about private healthcare and things like that, and I was saying, ‘I’m fine, the care I’m getting from the [NHS] clinics is all working, I’m healthy.’ But that was his way of approaching it.”
Alex went on to make a public announcement on Facebook, so everyone in his extended family found out. He now works for the Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s largest sexual-health charity.
Is Alex’s HIV status something Lorraine worries about on a day-to-day basis?
“I’d say at the beginning it was more on your mind,” she says. “Now, I don’t think about it so much. I mean, Alex has always been Alex. It makes no difference.
“It’s the little things. If I know Alex is not well, and during Covid, I was a little more worried. Those things still play on my mind a little bit.
“But it’s not on my mind constantly, and when I see Alex on the TV or on the radio, I’m just hugely proud of who he is and what he does.”
How best to reveal your HIV news to loved ones
There’s no rule stating you have to inform your parents you’re HIV-positive. However, there is research that points to the benefits of sharing information.
“Some studies noted that disclosure was positively associated with the access to healthcare, medical adherence, safer sex practices, and most positive social outcomes,” says Emma Jackson, a licensed counselor and President of Unicorn Health, LLC, based in Washington DC.
All sexually active gay men are advised to have an HIV test at least once a year, or more often if they have multiple partners. Some insurers will require you to have a test every three months to obtain PrEP.
In 2020, almost 21,000 men in the US were diagnosed with HIV acquired through gay sex. Many then faced the dilemma of when or how to tell those close to them.
What advice would Alex have for anyone who wants to tell their family?
“I think it’s about trusting your gut and the relationship you have. Make your decision based on that. I think it’s also good to have a plan in your head: If it goes well, great. But if it doesn’t, how do I react?”
Justin D’Avella (PsyD) is a Senior Clinical Director at Two Chairs, a therapy service treating clients in California and Washington.
“Share in person, in a setting where you feel comfortable,” D’Avella suggests.
“Use simple language and be direct. Minimize factors that can contribute to a negative response, such as alcohol consumption or stressful family holidays.
“Have a check-in scheduled with your support system after you speak with them. Consider having a supportive family member present.
“Be explicit in what you are hoping for (for example, “I have something I want to share. I am hoping you will listen and tell me you love me afterward.”),” D’Avella adds.
“Be prepared to address urgent concerns and correct misconceptions. Ask them to keep your status confidential. Lastly, remember this is first and foremost your diagnosis you’re sharing with them. Set boundaries that are important for you and your mental health. You can say, ‘I am not open to answering any more questions today but we can make time soon to answer your questions.”
Alex notes, “There’s that added awkwardness that 99% of us likely got HIV through unprotected sex, and there’s all that added layer of talking about that. No one wants to talk about sex with their parents.”
Mom and dad may well want to know how you acquired HIV. If you don’t want to discuss that, don’t feel pressured to do so.
Emma Jackson says a face-to-face conversation is best. However, if you have concerns it could go badly, “other forms of communication can offer their own benefits”, such as sending a letter first and then following it up with a face-to-face or video conversation.
Alex has spoken to many people with HIV, many of whom have struggled to talk to their families.
“Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you want to share that information,” he says. “Some people can process it in a very practical, medical way. They see it as a condition that’s not greatly impacting their life” and not something they need to share with their family. “That’s perfectly fine as well.”
However, for some, “not telling loved ones will eat at them.”
“I try to tell people, try not to treat it as a secret,” says Alex.
“I think when you’re keeping something from your family, it can play on your mind, and it can feel like you’re not being honest with them. That’s really what led to me eventually having that conversation with mum.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Senate bill that would protect federal recognition of same-sex marriage secured enough votes to pass on Tuesday, in a measure taken up in response to worries the Supreme Court could overturn a 2015 decision that legalized it nationwide.
(Reporting by Moira Warburton; Editing by Chris Reese)
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By Xinghui Kok and Chen Lin SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Olivia Chiong and her wife feel like the Singapore government has made clear to them and their two children that they don’t belong in the city-state. So this week’s vote by Singapore’s parliament to decriminalise gay sex changed nothing about the family’s painful decision to leave rather than see their children denied schooling – because their legal status remains the same. Though Indonesia-born Chiong lived in Singapore for decades as a permanent resident, married a Singaporean citizen abroad and gave birth to their first child in Singapore, h…