Bleats

Gay Conversion Therapy Gets The Prestige Drama Treatment In Joel Edgerton's New Film Boy Erased

The film stars Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, Lucas Hedges, and Troye Sivan, and features original music written by Sivan, Leland and Jónsi.

The trailer for Joel Edgerton’s second feature film, Boy Erased, just dropped, and it looks like it’s going to be intense and emotional and leave me a sobbing wreck, so that’s great.

The film stars Lucas Hedges, of Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri fame, as the child of Russell Crowe, who plays a Baptist pastor, and Nicole Kidman, who send him to gay conversion therapy after admitting he thinks about men.

Australian pop star Troye Sivan also features in the film, and contributed the original song ‘Revelation’, a collaboration with Leland and Jónsi, to the soundtrack.

The film is based on a memoir by Garrard Conley that was published in 2016 to widespread acclaim. The trailer shows that the film will cover some pretty heavy content, and inevitably be quite upsetting, but there are positive moments too. 

Everyone’s favourite lesbian aunt, Cherry Jones (who you might remember from Transparent or her recent appearances on Handmaid’s Tale), appears in the trailer, telling Hedges’ character, Jared, that he is a “perfectly normal, very healthy teenage boy”, and thank god for her, tbh. 

Jared meets a boy (played by a delightful Sivan) at conversion therapy, and Sivan’s character encourages Jared to “tell them what they want to hear; play the part. Unless you really think you can change.” Thank you, Troye, for being the antidote we all needed.

Boy Erased is the follow-up to Edgerton’s feature film debut, The Gift, which was released in 2015. It will be released in US cinemas in November, but the Australian release date has yet to be confirmed.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post, starring Chloë Grace Moretz and released earlier this year after winning the Grand Jury prize at Sundance in January, also tackles the issue of gay conversion therapy. Cameron Post is also based on a book, albeit a fictional one, by Emily M. Danforth.

I for one am ready to feel all the feelings, and I truly hope Edgerton has done Conley’s story justice. The fact that gay conversion therapy is still taking place in 2018 is abhorrent, and if this film does his story justice, it could go a long way to raising awareness of the brutal realities of conversion therapy.

Homophobic Jokes About Trump And Putin Were Never Funny, So Why Is The New York Times Still Making Them?

You aren't fighting them by being homophobic, you're just harming actual gay people.

The New York Times is facing a backlash online after publishing a frankly bizarre animated video that depicts Trump and Putin as lovers who are going on a date that turns into a unicorn ride, and also they’re shirtless, and they kiss, and their tongues are entwined, but it turns out it was all just a fantasy in Donald’s mind.

No, I don’t know what you just watched either.

Eleven people were involved in the creation of this video, which means at least eleven people, if not more, saw nothing wrong with this level of homophobia if it meant getting in a few cheap digs at Trump and Putin.

I can’t believe that this still needs to be said, but implying that Trump and Putin are gay is homophobic regardless of your intention.

If your defence is that both men see being gay as a bad thing and that’s why it’s okay, you’re getting right into the gutter with them and buying into their belief that it is bad.

If part of your defence rests on the idea that it’s 2018 and homophobia is basically dead so it’s fine to use it to upset Trump, boy have I got some news for you.

Otherwise well-meaning people who support same-sex marriage seem to think they’re incapable of perpetuating homophobia because they have gay friends, or they voted yes in the plebiscite, or whatever – but I see these kinds of jokes from this demographic more than any other, and they have always been and remain homophobic.

It’s incredibly jarring and disappointing to see America’s paper of record releasing a video that amounts to little more than schoolyard insults. It’s hardly the incisive political analysis you’d expect from The Times, is it?

And again: eleven people were involved in making this. That’s more people than are in attendance at my family’s Christmas lunch.

Franchesca Ramsey’s thread, linked above, makes a great point: these jokes don’t exist in a vacuum, they contribute to the normalisation of homophobia that already makes life difficult for gay people, and your intentions being harmless doesn’t negate the negative impact your actions have.

Being gay is not shameful or inherently humorous, and things like this video only reinforce those harmful notions. When otherwise supportive people – and when generally reputable outlets like the New York Times – make jokes like this, the only people they’re hurting are the gay people around them.

From Hannah Gadsby And Queer Eye To Pose And Love, Simon: LGBTQ+ Pop Culture Has Been Killing It This Year, And Here's The Proof

And almost all of it is by women, sorry 'bout it.

We’re only halfway through 2018, and it’s already been a banner year for pop culture and art made by and about LGBTQ people. It’s here, it’s queer, and it’s better than basically everything The Straights are doing.

Music

Hayley Kiyoko, Expectations

Known as ‘Lesbian Jesus’ to her fans, former teen Disney star Hayley Kiyoko released her debut album, Expectations, in March. The songs, and their accompanying music videos, are unapologetically gay, and often refer to her own experiences as a lesbian growing up. Hayley is currently touring the US with Panic! At The Disco, so here’s hoping there’s even bigger things for her in the second half of 2018.

Song recommendation: ‘What I Need’ (feat. Kehlani)

King Princess, Make My Bed

Mikaela Straus, aka King Princess, is Mark Ronson’s extremely talented protégé, and she released her debut EP just last month after releasing her debut single, ‘1950’, to critical acclaim in February. She was approached by Virgin Records at the age of 11, but turned their offer of a record deal down. We’re lucky she took the extra time to hone her sound, and Harry Styles is a fan too.

Song recommendation: ‘Holy’

Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer

Janelle Monáe effectively broke the internet when she released the video for the third single from her third album, ‘Pynk’. Many saw it as Monáe confirming the rumours that she was some flavour of not-straight, especially when viewed alongside the video for ‘Make Me Feel’. By the end of that month, she’d come out as pansexual in an interview with Rolling Stone. 

It’s still relatively rare to see a queer black woman celebrate herself, her body, and her sexuality the way Monáe does in ‘Pynk’, and it’s refreshing and invigorating.

Movies

Rafiki

Rafiki, which means ‘friend’ in Swahili, is a Kenyan movie about Kena and Ziki, who are forced to choose between their relationship and safety. The movie was banned in its home country, but screened at film festivals around the world to critical acclaim, including at the Sydney Film Festival, where I saw it last month. It’s beautifully shot, and Kena and Ziki’s love story is heart-wrenching and life-affirming all at once.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Based on the book by Emily M. Danforth that I devoured in one sitting earlier this year, this film also premiered at the Sydney Film Festival last month. While some of my favourite parts of the book have been removed to keep the film’s runtime down, it still does justice to Danforth’s story.

Think of this as But I’m A Cheerleader without the satire, but with the same amount of hopefulness.

Love, Simon

Love, Simon is an adorable gay romcom for whatever the generation younger than millennials is called (I can’t keep up). It premiered at Australia’s own Mardi Gras Film Festival in February, and stars not one but two hometown heroes – Katherine Langford and Keiynan Lonsdale.

I saw this movie on my own, and I’m relieved I did, because I really didn’t need any of my friends seeing me ugly cry in a movie I wish had existed ten years ago.

Television

Vida

Vida premiered on Stan in May to what felt like minimal buzz, at least in my corner of the internet. Don’t let the lack of conversation around it fool you, though – this show is excellent. It’s about two Latina sisters who grew up in East LA and return after their mother’s death, only to find that their mother was married to a woman and heavily in debt. The first season follows Emma and Lyn as they try to understand their mother through the loved ones she left behind, and as they try to protect their family’s bar in the face of gentrification.

Pose

Ryan Murphy’s latest show focuses on late-80s ball culture in New York City, and it’s been praised for its diverse cast that includes several trans women of colour. Its produced by Janet Mock and Our Lady J (of Transparent fame) and includes appearances from James Van Der Beek (aka Dawson), Evan Peters (Murphy’s fave), Trace Lysette (Transparent), and Christopher Meloni (Elliott Stabler, obv).

We need an Australian release date ASAP! (Foxtel confirmed to Junkee this week that it would be here sometime this year, but come ON.)

Queer Eye

I know it’s hard to believe, but please believe me when I tell you that the all-conquering Queer Eye reboot only premiered this year – in February to be precise. It feels like the new Fab 5 have been brightening our days forever, but that tragically has not been the case. After an astoundingly successful season 1 in February, Netflix released season 2 last month, and followed that up with a special filmed in Australia’s very own Yass.

If you’re as starved for Fab 5 content as I am after binging season 2 in 24 hours, check out their episode of Nailed It!, enjoy Jonathan pitching us his Harold Holt true-crime series for Netflix, and follow them on Instagram (they update their stories religiously).

It’s not quite the same as a new season, but it helps ease the ache.

Nanette

There was a lot of buzz around this live show last year – if you’re Australian, you probably had a friend tell you to see it, and luckily for me, I listened to my friends, and saw it in January of this year.

Despite being thoroughly impressed with the show, as well as appropriately moved, nothing could have prepared me for the level of attention it would get after debuting on Netflix last month. The entire internet is obsessed with Tassie’s own Hannah Gadsby now. I’m beyond excited for her, and thrilled that the rest of the world now loves her as much as we do.

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