Bleats

Tinder Has A New Warning System For Travellers Because Sadly We Can't All Date Safely

Yes, it's good and responsible; and yes, it's terrible that it's necessary

In a move that’s both a really responsible move by a major online service and a heartbreaking indictment on the state of the world, Tinder have introduced a new service to warn you if the love you’re seeking is illegal in your current location.

Of course, here in Australia you’re free to date and marry folks of all possible genders but this is obviously not the case all over the planet.

And now Tinder will use data from the International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association to keep track of the state of the law in different jurisdictions, and tie that to location data.

And thus if you identify in-app as being part of the LGBTQI+ community, this service now automatically hides you when you land in one of the 69 nations in which being non-straight is a criminal offence.

“Once the alert is activated, users will have the choice to remain hidden while in that location or opt into making their profile public so that they can connect with new people. In the latter case, if a user has added sexual orientation or gender identity to their profile, the app will automatically take the step to remove this information to safeguard users from law enforcement agencies and individuals who may target them.”

Statement from Tinder

And sure, it doesn’t sound great that an app automatically closets people but given the habit of law enforcement in certain places to use the service to entrap people it’s become depressingly necessary.

Elie Seidman, CEO of Tinder, was quoted in a statement as saying “We serve all communities – no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation – and we are proud to offer features that help keep them safe. This alert is an example of the many steps that we are taking to protect our users around the world.”

It’s smart, it’s responsible, and it’s a goddamn shame that it’s even slightly necessary – but at least you should know if you’re safe for hooking up on Tinder wherever you are.

And take care of each other out there, team.

While You Slept, Politicians Crafted A Bill Against Same Sex Marriage

Get ready for No Campaign II: The Revenge

There’s a new “omnibus bill” heading for parliament in the coming months which is being interpreted, correctly, as vengeance for the passage of same sex marriage last year.

You might recall that there were a few people who were not entirely happy about marriage equality winning a landslide victory in the hearts and minds of Australians, despite the deliberate attempt to make the process as difficult as possible.

Ahhhh, postal surveys. What a cool idea.

Among those who advocated for a hetero-only version of marriage, and then scurried out of parliament so as not to have to vote on the legislation, was our current Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.

And the new law – scheduled for the winter/spring parliamentary session and separate to the anti-discrimination legislation being worked up by the Attorney General – would reportedly enshrine the right for religious organisations to advocate against same sex marriage without putting their charity status at risk, among other things.

When you have to ask if you can be a bigot, you already know the answer.

The problem, as LGBTIQ+ advocates are pointing out, is that whacking the old definition of marriage into law opens the way for motivated governments to “undermine marriage equality by stealth, using technical legal detail”.

And if that sounds like a long shot, the issue is that the mere existence of such a law offering a way forward for discrimination gives grounds for others to argue that they too should enjoy similar freedoms.

And the entire point of changing the Marriage Act was to ensure that there wasn’t a tiered situation with marriage, where gay couples had the basic package and straight ones enjoyed platinum Discrimination Free cover at no extra cost.

Still perfect.

Can it get through the senate? Well, maybe.

If Labor and the Greens oppose something – as they likely will with such a law – it needs four of the six crossbenchers to support it.

Ex-Liberal independent Cory Bernardi is a definite yes, One Nation’s two senators will probably back the government, and Jacqui Lambie is a wildcard. Centre Alliance’s two senators would probably lean toward opposing it but it would depend on the details of the legislation.

In any case: don’t think that legislating marriage equality means things are settled, friends. There are more entirely avoidable fights to come.

The Little Mermaid’s Ursula Was Inspired By A Poop-Eating Baltimore Drag Queen

It's the spicy back story of one of the greatest characters to grace a family favourite.

Disney have started work on the inevitable live action adaptation of The Little Mermaid and the big casting announcement for Ariel has already hit the interwebs.

Sadly the perfect actor to play the might sea-witch Ursula – Harris Glenn Milstead – is no longer with us. And that’s not just a subjective opinion either: Disney literally based the character on him. Or more specifically, his drag queen alter ego, Divine.

That’s a LOT of eyebrow.

Yes, friends: Disney based Ursula on a drag queen. In fact, a drag queen best known for literally eating dog poo.

Milstead was a friend of fellow Baltimore countercultural weirdo John Waters – the man who christened him Divine – and when Waters started making no-budget films in the late 60s it was a given that Divine was going to be his star.

Waters kept upping the ante on the “bad taste” quotient of his many works and in 1971 informed Divine that the starring role of Babs Johnson in his next film – Pink Flamingos – would involve eating dog poo.

And Divine did so. As he explained, “it was in the script.”

Yep. That happened.

And it was a smart if disgusting move too.

Pink Flamingos became a cult hit, and Divine’s career in more mainstream cinema followed, thanks to Waters and his first (relatively) accessible films Polyester (aka “The Film From Which The Avalanches Sampled Heaps Of Lines For ‘Frontier Psychiatrist'”) and the box office hit Hairspray. And Divine’s non-drag acting career was starting to take off too: he even auditioned for Blade Runner, which would have been amazing.

Alongside that was his drag disco career, including the classic ‘You Think You’re A Man’.

It’s a classic for a reason.

So how did he become Ursula? That happened because of another queer Baltimore kid.

Howard Ashman had known Divine vaguely through the local amateur theatre scene when he was a teenager. Years later he was tapped to save Disney’s floundering animation department along with his co-writer Alan Menken after the surprise success of their musical version of Little Shop Of Horrors.

The pair were tasked with writing the songs for The Little Mermaid in 1986, but Ashman did a lot more than that: he had a hand in casting, he helped develop the storylines, and he signed off on character designs; one of which was Ursula as “a vampy overweight matron who everyone agreed looked a lot like Divine.”

And under Ashman’s direction, that was how it developed.

And they were not wrong.

The film came out in 1989 and was a massive, Disney-saving hit. And this story should have a happier ending for both Divine and Ashman.

Millstead never saw himself become an indelible pop culture figure. He died in 1988 of a heart attack on the night before what could have been a career-changing guest spot on the wildly popular sitcom Married… With Children.

He was only 42, which is insane.

Fade to black.

And Ashman, who also pitched the concept for and wrote songs for Aladdin, was two years younger that Glenn when he died in 1991 from complications due to AIDS.

However, in the iconic figure of Ursula, at least they leave one hell of a joint legacy. Rest well, gents.

Pop-up Channel

Follow Us