Headspace

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For some not affected by it, it’s probably hard to visualise the type of discomfort and small acts of discrimination transgender people face on a daily basis.

Public bathrooms are an easy one to identify because of the months-long controversy surrounding them, but the potential danger also extends to places like locker rooms and doctors’ offices. In the short film Headspace, trans individuals think through day-to-day obstacles that can arise.

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The Non-Binary Band Gaylord fights Nazis with Black Metal

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Unfortunately, black metal — the genre of metal known for heavy distortion, fast tempos and growled vocals — has a bit of an image problem. A lot of the best-known bands, like Burzum, are known for being murderous white supremacists. But thankfully, there’s been a backlash growing.

Recently, the band Neckbeard Deathcamp went viral for song titles like “Incel Warfare” and “The Fetishization of Asian Women Despite a Demand for a Pure White Race.” But they’re not alone, and the metal band Gaylord is making what it calls an “enby black metal assault” (enby stands for N.B., as in non-binary or genderqueer).

In a new interview with Noisey, the lead creator behind the metal band Gaylord stepped out of anonymity. It turns out Gaylord is the project of Richard Weeks, a non-binary person known for their label, Blackened Death Records, and other bands Olivia Neutered John and Suicide Wraith.

“I knew when I was a young teenager that I didn’t fit in my skin very well. I always felt like I was meant to be born a woman. And now, at 36 years old, I am only discovering the right words to describe who I am,” Weeks says. “I identify now as non-binary. I had no idea this term even existed when I was a kid. I just felt … different.”

Gaylord often uses humour in their songs, even though Weeks takes the music and politics very seriously. We particularly like the lyrics of “Summoning Krieg Facebook Legions”:

“We rule this kingdom / Glorious unchained white race / Only listen to NSBM [National Socialist Black Metal] / And J-pop from my Japanese animes.”

Weeks says, “I think that there are multiple angles to tackle fascism and hatred. You have the ‘serious’ bands like Dawn Ray’d and Underdark writing very serious songs about destroying fascism — which is great. What you have with Neckbeard Deathcamp and Gaylord is a different approach. There is a bit of comedy rolled in — absurd comedy. I mean, I don’t think we’ll ever get to drown Richard Spencer in Baja Blast, but seeing that man get punched so hard he spiralled into the land of obscurity is equally as lovely.”

You can buy Gaylord’s album for any price you choose over at Bandcamp or listen to it on Spotify.

No Love (Like First Love)

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Nearly eight years ago, a timid 12-year-old walked onto the audition stage of Britain’s Got Talent and stunned the nation by belting out his cover of ‘Feeling Good’. Now 19-years-old, Ronan Parke is back with his comeback single, No Love (Like First Love), and it’s impressive.

The new single has all the hallmarks of a successful release, but no-one saw just how good it would be. The teenager’s voice has matured a lot since his first steps in the industry, but the youthful power is still very much there, and it is glorious in No Love (Like First Love).

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Will Albus Dumbledore be gay on the big Screen after all?

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In January, David Yates, director of the Harry Potter spinoff sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, said his film will “not explicitly” show the homosexuality of Albus Dumbledore, the crossover character from the original Harry Potter book series who appears as his younger self. News that the upcoming film wouldn’t definitely make Dumbledore gay made some queer fans very upset.

But now Jude Law, the actor playing Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts, has hinted that future films might reveal Dumbledore’s sexuality. Of course, considering there’s five more films left in the Fantastic Beasts series, it’s unclear when this Jude Law gay prediction might ever prove true.

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Law says, “As with humans, your sexuality doesn’t necessarily define you; he’s multifaceted.” He continues, “What you’ve got to remember is this is only the second Fantastic Beasts film in a series, and what’s brilliant about J.K. Rowling’s writing is how she reveals her characters, peels them to the heart over time.”

Law adds, “You’re just getting to know Albus in this film, and there’s obviously a lot more to come. We learn a little about his past in the beginning of this film, and characters and their relationships will unfold naturally, which I’m excited to reveal. But we’re not going to reveal everything all at once.” Law adds that his film’s character doesn’t even have any scenes with Grindelwald, the evil wizard who we know Dumbledore eventually develops feelings for.

In October 2007, J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, revealed she had long envisioned Dumbledore as gay. According to Rowling, Dumbledore — headmaster of the series’ wizarding school, Hogwarts — hadn’t been explicitly gay in the books because his love for his wizarding associate Grindelwald ended so tragically. Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald in a duel to stop him from becoming a magical Hitler, basically.

Since his one romantic attraction had ended tragically, Rowling claims, Dumbledore lived a solitary life for the rest of his days, free of any outward romantic or sexual attractions.

Queer fans have long felt divided about Rowling’s claim. While some were happy to have a major character in a massively popular fantasy book series be gay, others claim Rowling “queer-baited” queer fans by claiming Dumbledore is gay without providing anything explicit to back that up.

After all, is it really queer representation if a character is never actually shown to be queer, only said to be so offhandedly by his or her creator? Especially considering that Rowling pulled the same stunt on several other characters, making them bi-curious, black and otherwise diverse after the fact.

Talent Show Drag Act is illegal, School tells Teenage Boy

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A school has been criticised by a teenager and his family for blocking his participation in its end-of-term talent show because he wanted to perform in drag. Lewis, who is 14, said that he was left distraught after spending weeks perfecting a lip-sync dance routine only to be told on the eve of the event that he could not take part.

“I’m heartbroken and confused. After all the effort I have put into it, it has knocked my confidence a lot,” said Lewis, a student at an visual arts college in Dudley, England. “When I’m in drag I feel I’m truly being myself,” said the teenager, who has always loved dancing and decided he wanted to be a drag performer after watching the television show RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The school’s principal maintains that its decision was entirely made on the basis that it was not “age appropriate” for young people to perform drag acts. Lewis’ mother claimed the school’s legal team said that it was illegal for people under 18 to take part in drag act competitions and accused it of inventing the law because they “don’t accept him for who he is”.

Lewis has performed in drag at home, and his family say his new hobby has helped him overcome a lack of confidence. His performance, which was to have been his first in public, was a dance to a medley of tracks he mixed with his stepfather, including songs by Little Mix, Ariana Grande and RuPaul, and he was planning to wear a blazer, skirt, a silver wig and high heels bought for him by his grandmother.

Michelle King, the principal, said the school was inclusive and celebrated diversity. “We made the decision that it was not age appropriate for either the learner and for the intended audience, his peer group, for Lewis to appear as a ‘drag act’,” she said.

“We understood Lewis wanted to appear in the style of RuPaul, whose style of performance is characterised by strong language and sexual innuendo. We invited Lewis to appear in the show as a singer and were happy for him to dress in any manner he wished.”

Meanwhile Lewis was invited to perform at DragWorld UK, “Europe’s largest celebration of drag,” alongside some of the biggest names in drag like Violet Chachki and Courtney Act. The convention’s website promises that Athena Heart will perform “the very routine his school banned” in London this August.

“I’m very excited about my DragWorld invite to perform and get my name out there so others just like me know that it’s ok to be different,” Lewis said. He’s the only drag performer on DragWorld UK’s front page who didn’t compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

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