The other F-Word

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Queer people have a complicated relationships with the word “faggot.” While we’re at a moment in time where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are slowly gaining rights and visibility, that doesn’t mean the stigma surrounding queer identity has dissipated. And, for some, the words that have historically been used to inflict pain on our community still hold a lot of power.

Some find power in taking back or reclaiming words — like “queer.” I use the word queer because I find it the best way to describe the vast spectrum of experiences and identities that receive visibility in our community — and because I think the word is the most inclusive. However, the word “faggot” still inspires a mixed response within the community, and that response is often due to context and intent.

Cut Video made similar videos about the word gay and the phrase being a man.

Large US charities secretly funded anti-queer hate groups

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Several large charities in the United States have been secretly giving millions of dollars to hate groups for years. They funnelled money to white supremacists and anti-queer groups. The Donors Trust, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, Schwab Charitable Fund, and Vanguard Charitable gave nearly $11 million to 34 groups classified as hate groups. These funds have supported 12 anti-queer groups, 12 anti-Muslim groups, eight anti-immigrant groups, one white nationalist group, and one radical traditional Catholic group according to Sludge.

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an anti-queer hate group that masquerades as a Christian legal charity, was the biggest beneficiary of the anonymous donors. The group raked in $2.7 million from mid-2014 through 2017.

ADF is the group behind many of the largest court cases opposing queer rights. They have argued in favour of ex-gay conversion torture and banning transgender people from bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. They also argued against marriage equality and nondiscrimination laws. The Family Research Council, one of the most vociferously anti-queer groups in America, has also benefited from the secret funding and received $548,000.

Read more…

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

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At age 15, Ari is a loner who has never had a friend before — until he meets Dante at the swimming pool. When Dante offers to teach Ari how to swim, the boys discover they make each other laugh, which seems more important than the fact that they have little in common.

Dante’s love of books and art, as well as his open appreciation of his parents, makes Ari look at his own family differently and inspires him to try to uncover the mystery of his dad, who rarely speaks. Over two summers and the intervening school year, the boys share laughs, secrets, and philosophies. As Aristotle tries to figure out his role in the universe, the importance of Dante’s friendship both bothers him and keeps him going — and, ultimately, changes the course of his life.

The story is narrated by Ari and it’s his point of view that colours the narrative. Ari is a loner who likes to wallow in its loneliness and who is in a state of constant anger: at the secrets his family keeps from him, at his father for not being open and talkative.

Dante is in a way, his opposite: quick to laugh and play, an artist and philosopher as well as a crier. Except as it turns out, they are not so different after all – and soon Ari learns to love poetry and philosophy and words whilst still being the same questioning, angry Ari (it takes him some time to learn that boys can cry too). The letting go of this anger (for a myriad of reasons) is one of the driving points of the novel and one that comes with a series of moments of self-discovery and life-discovery.

It’s interesting how Ari’s narrative is somewhat unreliable although not on purpose because it is very clear that Ari represses his feelings and don’t tell us how he truly feels about certain things because he doesn’t know them either – but his actions speak more than a thousand words.

Aristotle and Dante is a smart, intelligent, engaging coming-of-age story and a deep, thoughtful exploration of identity and sexuality. It turns out that both Ari and Dante are gay although it takes Ari the whole book to come to terms with it, whereas Dante is much more conformable in his own skin when it comes to his sexual identity. But there are other sides of who they are that are also thoughtfully examined here.

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How OnlyFans changed sex work

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“With a G-string and a strobe light, he could make as much as $1,000 on a good night.” Sounds like a line from a bargain-bin paperback at an adult bookstore? It’s actually printed in the New York Times.

The paper took a deep dive into the very profitable (for a select few) world of OnlyFans, the service that lets users subscribe — for a monthly fee in the $10 range — to their favourite thirst traps. In return, subscribers get access to models’ photos and videos. As part of its report, the NYT spoke with Matthew Camp, the go-go dancer turned OnlyFans entrepreneur who’s been doing very well for himself.

“If the four main quadrants of the gay approval matrix were daddy, twink, bear and boy next door, [Camp] seemed to sit smack in the center, not falling neatly into any of those categories but appealing to the potential audiences for each.”

With his broad gay appeal, Camp quickly began receiving offers from adult film companies to appear in scenes. “Having sex for money is appealing,” he said. But $1,000 seemed low for something that would sit on the internet and brand him for life as [and adult film star].

So he turned them down and instead used a PG-13 feed on Instagram to build a following of more than half a million. About a year ago, as the club scene continued its slow death, he moved to Hudson, N.Y., and signed up for OnlyFans. Weeks often went by without him posting a single picture or video. He didn’t show a full penetrative sex clip for the first nine months, yet he still regularly took home more than $10,000 a month.

Camp wagers that his success with the platform comes down to a human desire for intimacy. The irony, of course, is that the intimacy he and other OnlyFans models offer comes fully synthesised. Which isn’t very intimate at all.

“Tumblr was filled with the most extreme sexual experiences you could see and I think a lot of people were turned off by that. It’s not what they’re looking for. They want more intimate experiences. They want a boyfriend experience. They want to fantasize about someone that they want to have sex with and not feel disgusted by it.”

Read the whole NYT piece here…

For the first time ever, a Disney character said “I’m gay”

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Andi Mack‘s Cyrus has become the first Disney character to say: “I’m gay.” During a recently aired episode of the Disney Channel show about teenagers, Cyrus finally worked up the courage to tell his friend Jonah that he’s gay.

The 13-year-old revealed his sexuality at a Jewish mourning ceremony for his grandmother, introducing Jonah to his family’s different foods before adding: “That’s gefilte fish—skip that—and I’m gay.”

Cyrus had previously come out to his friends Andi and Buffy in season two, but held off on revealing he was gay to Jonah—who he used to have a crush on—until Friday’s season three episode “One in a Minyan.”

Joshua Rush, the 16-year-old actor who plays Cyrus, wrote on Twitter after the episode aired, saying: “Every day is a blessing working on this show. This milestone is just another stitch in a rich and vibrant tapestry that is Cyrus Goodman.”