Road to ESC 2019: Australia & France

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Former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Courtney Act has lost the chance to represent Australia at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest with her song  “Fight for Love”. She was beaten on Saturday by Kate Miller-Heidke and her song “Zero Gravity” which you can see below.

Australia has been allowed to compete at the Eurovision Song Contest since 2015, and there is a huge fanbase for the competition in the country.

Meanwhile French contestant Bilal Hassani–who is apologetically queer– is facing a wave of hatred in his home country after securing the coveted spot to represent France at Eurovision. He has been the subject of homophobic harassment on social media, French LGBT rights groups denounced.

Wandering Son

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An effeminate boy who’d rather would have been born as a girl, a masculine girl who’d rather be a boy, and a student who comes to her first day at a new school dressed in a boy’s uniform just because. The number of anime titles dealing with gender identity in a realistic and non-comedic way are extremely few and far between. But Hourou Musuko (Wandering Son) does exactly that.

The plot of Hourou Musuko consists largely of what you might expect from a slice-of-life anime – a group of young teens attempting to carve out a niche for themselves amongst their families and peers while discovering the joys of navigating through puberty and school life.

What makes this series stand out from the countless other anime doing exactly the same thing are the characters themselves. Shuichi, a cute but unassuming male who begins to cross-dress with the encouragement of his friends is nonetheless still attracted to girls and worries about the physical changes his body will go through.

Yoshino, a tall and more emotionally charged girl prefers to dress and act like a boy but doesn’t like to draw attention to herself, and refrains from cross-dressing unless she travels outside of her home city. Then there are personalities like the outgoing and impulsive Chizuru, who occasionally dresses as a boy as a gesture of independence but seems perfectly happy just the way she is.

In short, everyone in this show is unique in his or her own way, yet also comes across as far more down to earth than many, if not the majority, of those presented in other slice-of-life titles. While Hourou Musuko does have its humorous moments, it avoids straying into primarily comedic fare as with other anime involving cross-dressing as a main plot point such as I My Me! Strawberry EggsPrincess Princess, and Ouran High School Host Club. At the same time, Hourou Musuko also miraculously steers clear of any real melodrama.

The artwork of this anime is reminiscent of watercolour; soft and almost fuzzy around the edges, which lends the series a very gentle tone despite the serious nature of its themes. You won’t find any unnatural hair colours or enormous eye size here, and in that sense it’s perhaps vaguely akin to the work we’ve seen come out from Studio Ghibli.

Hourou Musuko is not for everyone but for those after something touching and heartfelt but just a little off the beaten track, I strongly suggest giving Hourou Musuko a try. At the very least, you’ll finally be watching something that doesn’t stoop to using gender reversal as an oversexed plot device.

Giant Little Ones

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Giant Little Ones from writer-director Keith Behrman, explores the age-old story of the trials and tribulations of figuring out who you are. Franky and Ballas are best friends since childhood. They’re also “high school royalty” — handsome, stars of the swim team and popular with girls.

On the night of Franky’s 17th birthday party, something happens between the two young men that sets off a tumultuous chain of events As one character in the trailer states: ‘You and Ballas did something that straight guys don’t normally do.’ What follows is a test of friendship and beyond.

Coming-of-age stories have been told time and time again, both with queer characters and (more often) without. There is a universality about them, speaking to both teen audiences and adults remembering their own days of youth. Last year alone gave us both Love, Simon and Alex Strangelove. Based on the trailer, Giant Little Ones seems to strike a different tone than either of those.

Variety called it: “Polished and lively, with just enough fresh angles to avoid feeling like a rote recycling of gay cinema tropes” and Jared Mobarak said in his review, “Writer/director Keith Behrman knows exactly what he’s doing when introducing a variety of people along the sexuality spectrum. He’s intentionally flooding his canvas so that we have no choice but to accept them all rather than turn our focus onto just one.

There’s no room for token characters anymore, the real-life disparity between heterosexuals and homosexuals closing as each year passes. So Behrman looks to represent that change on the big screen by giving his lead a trans friend, a gay father, and a gay teammate on the swim team. He surrounds Franky with non-cisgender characters to love, resent, and accept each for different reasons that transcend compassion.”

Swan Song

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When Percy Katt left his small-town home at 17, the dream of being a fashion model for runway and print was enough. But once he dipped his toe into the pool of glamour and fantasy, he created a big glittery monster of outrageous self-expression.

Katt is one of a growing group of artist creators and collaborators who take transformation and performance to a new level. Katt plays with gender as a futurist as well as a historian, and also pokes at the culture and politics of narcissism by shooting past boundaries of “good taste.” Transformation becomes transmogrification.

Submitted by Brian 

Gay Goth Scene

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Gay Goth Scene is a sobering look at anti-gay bullying. In an interview  the band described Gay Goth Scene like this: “The song is in a minor key with an apocalyptic ending; was inspired by the idea of youth and forbidden love; and describes a fictional ‘scene’ that only exists in the mind of the protagonist’s paranoid parents. It’s told from the perspective of a mother and father, chastising their teen son about his newfound romance.”