Trans Girl speaks about brutal Hate from her Schoolmates’ Parents

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Maddison, a 12-year-old girl living in the U.S. state of Oklahoma was the target of extremely hateful and violent comments from adults in her town.  The disturbing comments on Facebook drew national attention a couple weeks ago because of their casual brutality.

“If he wants to be a female make him a female. A good sharp knife will do the job really quick,” one parent wrote. “Just tell the kids to kick ass in the bathroom and it won’t want to come back!” wrote another. It got so bad that the whole school district had to shut down.

Now Maddison is speaking out against the hate, while her family gets ready to leave the town. But her trouble in the small town started well before that discussion. Maddison’s family moved to Achille, Oklahoma, several years ago, and she presented as a girl. In fifth grade, a teacher outed her after looking up Maddie’s old school records, and then the whole town knew.

School administrators called in her parents and told them that their daughter would have to use the staff bathroom. “To be honest, Maddie didn’t care,” her mother Brandy said. “They had already shown Maddie the staff bathroom and she was like ‘Oh, it’s bigger, it smells better.’ She was happy.”

But people in the town talked and the issue went beyond bathrooms. Maddie had a confrontation with Burney Crenshaw, a adult man, when she attended a father/daughter dance with her stepdad Cory this past April. Crenshaw asked her repeatedly if she was a boy, and she kept on saying that she was a girl, until her father intervened. “My personal opinion is when you’re asking somebody if you’re a boy or a girl, you’re asking what their genitalia is,” her dad said. “My daughter’s genitalia? None of your business.”

When she started middle school, no one showed her where the staff bathroom is, so she went to the girls room. Crenshaw heard about it, posted about it on Facebook, and that’s when the violent comments started. “Who would do that? To a 12-year-old?” Maddie said in an interview with Vice News Tonight on HBO. “They can be hateful and rude about it, but they ain’t dragging me down.”

Despite her brave front, the family is too scared to stay in Achille. Even during the interview, someone in a truck slowed down in front of their house and the police warned Vice about doing an interview in their town. “This is why we’re moving,” Brandy said.

After the threats, the family started a GoFundMe page to move away from the town where they no longer feel safe. They have raised almost $54,000 so far and the family said that they have found a new home in Houston.

41% of Americans who are transgender tried to kill themselves at some point in their lives, compared to 4.6% of the general public. 

Reinventing Marvin

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Reinventing Marvin, winner of the Queer Lion award at the Venice International Film Festival, explores the painful relationship a young gay man has with his past. Marvin grows up amid a gruff and boorish family in a French village. Artistically inclined, with a nascent attraction to other boys in his class, he’s the victim of aggressive bullying at school and home.

When he gets into a Parisian drama school and meets a more welcoming peer group, he has the opportunity to craft a completely new identity. He changes his name and meets a wealthy older man who introduces him to Oscar-nominated actress Isabelle Huppert, whimsically playing herself. But his childhood experiences still haunt and call to him, leading him to write a theatre piece that brings him into the public eye but causes recriminations back home.

Director Anne Fontaine creates a scenario that fluidly drifts between Marvin’s past and his present, revealing the frequently fraught moments from adolescence that make the man.

Watch the TNT Boys slay in Drag

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Competitive music reality shows have become a staple pop culture. But with shows like Britain’s Got TalentAmerican Idol and The Voice, it seems like we’re just consistently recycling the same idea with different judges.

A Philippino game show called Your Face Sounds Familiar has pulled us out of that funk. The show has contestants impersonating celebrities and performing their hit songs. Sing them, mind you, not lip-sync. This season, their contestants are all children, and  this week’s winners sure were something else.

TNT Boys are a musical trio who took on the the Nicki Minaj/Jessie J/Ariana Grande bop, “Bang Bang.” And they pulled it off flawlessly in full drag. After taking home the grand prize, we’re ready to see them master a Drag Race Philippines spin-off.

CupcakKe’s Crayons

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CupcakKe, a fresh new voice in rap, expands her sex-positive mission on Crayons, a queer anthem that takes on homophobia and transphobia head on while celebrating love, desire, and identity.

CupcakKe has always boldly brandished her sexuality in her raps, but now she widens her scope to include every stripe of the rainbow flag. This song embodies true allyship, representing the experiences of others without centering their proximity to CupcakKe’s own: “Boy on boy, girl on girl/Like who the fuck you like/Fuck the world,” she bellows defiantly.

Gaybusters

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United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of a “religious liberty” task force for the U.S. Justice Department  The purpose of the task force is to ensure and implement broad religious liberty guidelines issued last year.

Numerous people and queer groups condemned the task force. They said religious liberty is often used as an excuse to justify discrimination against marginalised groups.

Comedian Stephen Colbert mocked the task force in the opening of his show with an animated segment about the Gaybusters.

We the Animals

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Jonah crawls beneath the crowded bed he shares with his brothers, his flashlight suspended between the pages of a journal. His legs splay half into the room as the camera flickers over the scrawl of his pencil beginning to draw. A blank page envelops the screen like a promise.

In We the Animals, a vivid and restless queer coming-of-age film in theaters August 17, the raw feelings that Jonah spills onto the page aren’t the sort he’s able to articulate aloud. In fact, Jonah hardly says much at all as a 10-year-old growing up in a small, volatile home with two older brothers and combative parents. Based on Justin Torres’ semi-autobiographical novel about his childhood in upstate New York, the film plunges into the mind of its young protagonist through his frenetic and expressive drawings.

It’s more than a stunning visual technique; Jonah’s escape into the blank pages of his journal illustrates the particular value of artistic expression for queer youth. “Art assists with identity formation,” says Daniel Blausey, PhD, a practicing art psychotherapist in New York City. “It is a safe place free from social judgement.” Jonah’s empty journal offers freedom from external rules and expectations that attempt to set limits on who he might imagine himself to be. If self-determination outside of social strictures is the basic liberty that all queerness demands, We the Animals demonstrates that sometimes, art can be one’s only means to achieve it.

Read on…