By Colette Bennett Before April 2023, Dylan Mulvaney was simply recording the process of what the trans influencer calls her journey to “becoming a girl”. But then, she posted a video with a six-pack of Bud Light, and her world exploded, causing a conservative controversy so widespread that it’s led to everything from staff cuts to losing its long-held spot as America’s top beer to Modelo. DON’T MISS: The Bud Light Controversy and Its Impacts, Explained Meanwhile. Mulvaney became the subject of an onslaught of hate and harassment, both in person and online. She’s shared a bit about it on her I…
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ cheerleaders had high hopes for his presidential campaign, touting him as the GOP’s best chance to move on from former President Donald Trump in 2024. But in poll after poll, Trump has had considerable leads among Republican primary voters. Polls released in late July have found the Florida governor trailing Trump by 43 percent (Morning Consult), 36 percent (The Economist/YouGov), 44 percent (Rasmussen) or 40 percent (Harvard University/HarrisX). That isn’t to say that a Trump nomination is written in stone or that DeSantis doesn’t have plenty of time to turn things …
A federal judge in Montana has temporarily blocked a vaguely worded drag ban that could be interpreted to ban many types of performances, just in time for a Pride event.
The controversial bill – HB359 – was signed into law by Republican governor Greg Gianforte on 22 May and bans drag shows from taking place in public across Montana.
But it has come under scrutiny for its definition of drag being so loosely defined it could be interpreted “to ban many types of performances”.
On Wednesday (26 July), district judge Brian Morris heard a suit against the law and granted the plaintiff’s request for temporary restraining order against it, barring the state from enforcing it on Friday.
Following the hearing, Constance Van Kley, an attorney with Upper Seven Law, a nonprofit law firm representing the plaintiffs, told Helena TV station KTVH: “What today’s hearing really solidified is that nobody seems to know exactly what it says, and with regard to the First Amendment, that is in and of itself a constitutional problem.”
The temporary block comes ahead of Montana Pride, which begins in the state capital of Helena, the state capital, on Sunday (30 July) until 6 August.
Helena city officials said they intend to grant a permit for the event but wanted temporary restraining order as well, Advocate reported.
The law defines both drag queens and kings as “a male or female performer who adopts a flamboyant or parodic [male or female] persona with glamorous or exaggerated costumes and make-up.”
A lawsuit filed against the bill by a trans woman, an independent bookshop and other individuals and institutions in July said the law “is an unconstitutional content- and viewpoint-based restriction on free speech”.
The suit added that the wording of the bill is “vague and confusing” and could be construed to ban many types of performances.
It’s expected that Morris will schedule a hearing in late August where he may grant a longer-term injection against the law.
Welcome back to our queer film retrospective, “A Gay Old Time.” In this week’s column, we revisitMy Beautiful Laundrette.
What aspect of our lives gives us a sense of belonging? Is it our family; the people that raised us? Our group of friends; those who we share interests and passions with? The partner that we decide to marry and spend the rest of our lives with? Our local communities, our country of origin, our religion…? The answer is much more complex that just one or the other.
This week we’ll be diving into the seminal 1985 queer romantic drama My Beautiful Laundrette. The film explores the intersections of identity and belonging under the neon signs and shadowy street corners of 1980s London, where its two lead characters are aimlessly looking for a place in the world and find it in each other.
My Beautiful Laundrette follows Omar (Gordon Warnecke), a driven young man of Pakistani descent living in London, working under his uncle Nasser’s (Saeed Jaffrey) many businesses while taking care of his alcoholic father (Roshan Seth).
One night, a group of hooligan street punks attack his car, and he recognizes one of them as Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis), an old neighbor and friend—and implied former flame. Following the attraction that seemed to have always existed between them, Omar invites Johnny to get together.
Soon, the two start (or reignite?) a passionate affair as they renovate a laundrette owned by Omar’s uncle and face the various prejudices by each of their communities.
The main tension of the film comes from the two extremely different worlds that Omar and Johnny come from, and how their lifestyles and life goals have shifted since they last saw each other.
Omar comes from a displaced immigrant community that’s eager to prove itself in a new land, with capitalist ideals and money-making plans always at the forefront. Johnny, on the other hand, has placed himself in the margins of the same society. He has associated with a fascist hate group, and his friends constantly attack and vandalize on the streets. One is trying his best to be accepted into mainstream society, while the other is actively railing against it.
But at the same time, and despite their best efforts, neither of them feels they fit in. Omar soon discovers that associates of his uncle are running illicit drug trades, and he refuses to participate in them. He won’t let himself be married to the women his father sets him up with.
And, as soon as Omar is back in his life, Johnny distances himself from his hooligan lifestyle, feels guilty over past incidents, and tries to get himself back on a good path.
Behind Closed Doors
Omar and Johnny meet at a place in their lives where they are each trying to fit in with groups that clearly do not want them with them, or that go against what they want in their own lives. They want to find connection and purpose and meaning, and are only able to find it when they are together, while doing the seemingly simple task of refurbishing and running an old laundrette.
They go on long walks at night and steal kisses in the shadows of an alleyway. They reintroduce each other to their friends and family. They have sex in the backroom of the laundrette in what has to be one of the sexiest scenes in cinema—including a moment where the spit champagne into one another’s mouths.
When they stop trying to be accepted, they are simply able to be.
It All Comes Out In The Wash
The movie can also be seen as a metaphor for the overall racial relationships between the Pakistani immigrants and the local British community in the 1980s under Margaret Thatcher, and how their attempts at assimilation, societal rebellion, and pursuit of British ideals worked both for and against the people.
But it’s only because the film works so well as a small, intimate character drama that these larger themes are also able to resonate.
However, what’s most refreshing about My Beautiful Laundrette is that it never once puts its two lead characters in true jeopardy or question over their queerness. Omar and Johnny never have to come to terms with being attracted to each other. They don’t have to fight it. They don’t have to hide it. It’s the one part of their identities that they don’t have to question or fight to have validated.
A Refreshing Spin
Omar’s family may have unrealistic expectations of him. Johnny may belong to a group of hateful vandals. The tensions between their racial groups may be at an all-time high in the history of the United Kingdom, and their social class may be a constant struggle to get out of. But they are able to find comfort and release in their queerness.
They jump back at it the moment they see each other again. It’s never hard, or threatening, or confusing, or painful. It’s the one thing that helps them survive in a world that is against them in every other regard. It’s beautiful, and—just like the laundromat they’re renovating—they’re able to turn it into a space that is new, safe, and completely their own.
My Beautiful Laundrette is available to stream on Max, and can be rented or bought on Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, and VUDU.
While Barbie and Cheyenne Jackson’s thirst trap took up everyone’s entire social media feeds this week, the power players over in Washington, D.C. were busy doing all sorts of things while you weren’t looking. Here’s just a few of the political stories that you need to know about it.
CRAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH: Ron “Don’t Say Gay” DeSantis took a break from his imploding 2024 campaign to suffer a humiliating rebuke at the hands of Disney. [Read all about it on Queerty]
NURSE!: 81-year-old GOP Senator Mitch McConnell appeared to suffer some sort of medical episode as he completely froze midsentence and stared off into space for several seconds during a press conference.
GET HER: Homophobic right-wing loon Marjorie Taylor Green is facing being censured for close to 40 grievances, including showing nude pics of Hunter Biden, by out lesbian Rep. Becca Balint (D-VT). [Read all about it on LGBTQNation]
RIGHT-WING QUEEN: Fabian Basabe, a reality star-turned-problematic state rep from Florida who courted the LGBTQ+ community and then voted for the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, gets called out in a hilarious video set to the tune of ABBA’s ’70s hit “Dancing Queen.”
TRUMP EFFECT: The one-term, twice-impeached, twice-indicted (and counting) ex-president got a heaping scoop of bad news that has him seeing red. [Read all about it on Queerty]
BITING COMMENTARY: Biden’s Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the reason the president’s dog has bitten seven people in the last four months is because life in the White House can be “very stressful.”
Queer Britons are far more likely to include trans people in any acronym they use to describe their community, despite what anti-trans groups might have you believe.
A survey of 969 LGBTQ+ Brits, published by the highly regarding research company YouGov, found that just three per cent use the acronym LGB when referring to the community.
The shorter acronym, which refers to lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals, is often used as a way to exclude trans and queer individuals and is typically used by anti-trans groups.
One in nine (11 per cent) people use the more extensive LGBTQIA+, with the “I” standing for intersex and the “A” for asexual, aromantic or agender, while eight per cent use LGBT+.
Combining the results for the acronym with and without a “+” shows LGBTQ(+) to be by far the most common, at 42 per cent, followed by LGBT(+) at 29 per cent, and LGBTQIA(+) 13 per cent.
Twenty-four per cent of gay or lesbian respondents were more likely to use the acronym LGBTQ+, while 34 per cent of bisexual people also use the term. Heterosexual Britons were far more likely to use the term LGBT.
Women also predominantly used the term LGBTQ+ (35 per cent) compared with men, who were slightly more likely to use the phrase LGBT, the research showed.
Of those who predominantly used the term LGB, just three per cent identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, while nine per cent identified as heterosexual.
Additionally, men were more likely to use the anti-trans acronym (four per cent), while only two per cent of women used it.
Age-wise, respondents aged between 45 and 54 were most likely to use the short acronym, at seven per cent, while just one per cent of 16 to 24 year olds used LGB.
Meanwhile, usage of LGBTQ+ is particularly prevalent (41 per cent) among the youngest queer Britons surveyed: those aged between 16 and 24. Overall, 56 per cent of this age group use either LGBTQ or LGBTQ+.
The findings seem to disprove claims by groups such as the LGB Alliance and The Lesbian Project, as well as several “gender-critical” pundits, that including the “T” somehow erases the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
Lesbian Project co-founder Kathleen Stock has previously said that trans women should be banned from women’s single-sex spaces and that the prospect of self-ID – by which trans people would be able to change their gender markers without underlying medical requirements – would threaten a “secure understanding of the concept ‘lesbian’.”
This rhetoric derives from an underlying belief that trans women are not women. Stock has said in the past that she believes “many trans women are still males with male genitalia.“
Many pro-trans activists also took the figures as a chance to debunk myths that there is a “civil war” within the community over the inclusion of trans people when, not only have they always been included, but their role has been pivotal in gaining LGBTQ+ rights.
The poll proved that the community “overwhelmingly see trans people as part of their community”, gay journalist Owen Jones wrote.
“Stop pretending there’s a civil war,” he continued. “There isn’t.”
Trans rights group Bristol Leading Against Transphobia wrote in a post: “Don’t be fooled by right-wing media and [gender-critical] anti-trans groups that claim there is a split between LGB and the rest of our community.”
And EuroPride board member Steve Taylor agreed that, despite gender-critical pundits being “good at making lots of noise,” the reality proved a divide between cisgender lesbian, gay and bisexual people and trans individuals simply doesn’t exist.
“The vast majority of LGBTI+ people are #LGBwiththeT,” he said.
Welcome to your weekend streaming recommendations, a.k.a. the Weekend Watch, a handy guide to the queerest film and TV content that’s just a click away!
Did you enjoy Barbenheimer? If you watched Oppenheimer and thought, “Wow, I like watching messy real-life people’s lives unfold over the course of three hours,” we’ve got you covered this week. These biopics are based on historical figures that have all contributed in one way or another to the LGBTQ+ world we live in today.
Read on for five queer biopics to stream this weekend…
This 2008 Gus Van Sant movie tells the true story of gay political pioneer Harvey Milk from his 40th birthday to his assassination by Dan White in 1978. Sean Penn plays Milk as a sensitive but strong and defiant man who will stop at nothing to enact change in the world around him. The film shows Milk move to San Francisco from New York with his younger lover, Scott Smith (played by James Franco), run for and win a seat on the San Francisco Board of Electors, find heartbreak multiple times, and ultimately die at the hands of the weak White (Josh Brolin). For younger gay folks, this movie is an informative, fascinating look at how queer people were viewed just a few decades ago.
Now streaming on Max. Rentable on all major services.
Set in Yorkshire in the 1830s, Gentleman Jack follows Suranne Jones as Anne Lister, a landowner who inherits her uncle’s dilapidated estate. While Lister runs into conflict with the locals, she falls in love with Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle). What makes Gentleman Jack so fascinating is Anne’s proud butch persona in the 19th century, and the fact that the series is based on her real-life diary, which contained 4 million words (!!!) and was mostly written in code to protect her lesbian identity. There are two seasons of Gentleman Jack so far, and while HBO wrote the show off, co-producer BBC has expressed interest in finding it a new home.
Now streaming on Max and Spectrum.
Tom Of Finland
He’s the original Deviant Art, y’all. Based on the life of iconic gay artist Touko Laaksonen (a.k.a. Tom Of Finland) and directed by Dome Karukoski, Tom Of Finland explores the controversial artist’s sexy work and how it created community in a time where queer men had to hide their perceived deviance. While Laaksonen’s (played beautifully by Pekka Strang) work was sexually charged, with muscular men bursting out of their tight leather pants and harnesses, the film doesn’t shy away from the fear and repression Laaksonen experienced in his home country.
Now streaming on Hoopla and Kanopy. Rentable on Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, Apple TV and Kino.
Kill Your Darlings
Did you know that Allen Ginsberg—the sensitive poet and one of the faces of the peaceful Beat Generation—was once involved in a murder case? Kill Your Darlings, directed by John Krokidas, recounts the story of Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) and his emotionally and sexually charged relationship with Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), who is charged and eventually convicted of murdering David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall). Ginsberg learns of the strange, toxic relationship between Kammerer and Carr, and writes a controversial paper about the killing called “The Night In Question.” Kill Your Darlings will definitely surprise fans of Radcliffe who are used to his squeaky clean Harry Potter persona, but kill your darlings and enjoy this dark, psychological ride.
Now streaming on Roku. Rentable on all major services
Queen Latifah plays Blues singer Bessie Smith in this movie directed by Dee Rees. Smith, who is taken in by the legendary singer Ma Rainey (Mo’Nique), falls in love with Lucille (Tika Sumpter), but marries the unstable Jack Gee (Michael K. Williams). Bessie follows Smith’s turmoil-filled life through the Great Depression to her eventual comeback in the 1930s. In addition to a terrific performance by Latifah, Bessie has phenomenal music and strong supporting turns from Sumpter and Mo’Nique.
Now streaming on Max. Rentable on Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube and Vudu.
“My mother and father died before I was born,” says a lesbian in this VITAL trailer for “Lesbian Period Drama,” starring Carey Mulligan…and the cast of Saturday Night Live. Kate McKinnon does some of her most hilarious, on-point work in this sapphic sketch.