Homosexuality is more than just pride – it’s happy, messy and above all, it’s just living life. There are many examples of homosexuality in the media, but not all of them are great. Most of them, especially those from larger companies, are not.
June being the month of pride, homosexuality is more visible than ever. Some of that visibility, however, is sanitized to the point of low – think Target rainbow shirts or Disney placing a few rainbows on its products. Commemorate Pride Month in all its ups and downs with queer media.
“Our flag means death”, season 1
The TV show “Our Flag Means Death” confirms that yes, pirates are very gay.
The show centers on Stede Bonnet, a dysfunctional pirate captain with an equally incompetent crew. The crew ends up meeting Edward Teach (Taika Waititi) – better known as the pirate Blackbeard.
There is a slowly developing romantic relationship between Bonnet and Teach as well as many other queer portrayals in the series. A spectrum of homosexuality is shown on “Our Flag Means Death”, ranging from gay characters to gay people, talking about their experiences and portraying same-sex relationships on the show.
There are three confirmed homosexual relationships in the first season, other homosexual characters, and themes and plots that easily connect to the homosexual experience. Some of the scenarios and moments connect directly, but others are more implicit.
This show is not a teenage romance, it does not focus on discovery and coming out, but rather on older queer people and their experiences. While there are outings and discoveries, it comes from people who have had fulfilling lives and experiences before. As someone still a teenager, these experiences don’t fully resonate, but it’s nice to see older queer people depicted just living and being bad pirates too. The first season of the 10-episode show is available on HBO Max, and a second season was recently announced in early June.
“Our Bodies & Other Fine Machines” or “Beasts at Every Threshold” by Natalie Wee
“I love women. I mean in the way one/chooses one’s own murder over men. Natalie Wee writes in her poetry book, “Our Bodies & Other Fine Machines”.The book reflects on her life and identity as a queer Asian Canadian immigrant, as well as her mental health. Although it is a poetry book, the content is easy to read and understandable even for people with little interest in poetry.
It’s an honest, very intimate and sometimes even harsh look at Wee and said in informal terms “it’s like a truck”. With mental health being a strong warning focus of the book’s content, it contains several poems dealing with mental health issues, including depression and suicide.
However, this book is hard to find, the second edition being a limited edition and the first edition sold out.
However, as an alternative, Wee also released “Beasts at Every Threshold” earlier this year with very similar themes available from most major booksellers, including Barnes & Noble.
“Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe
“Gender Queer: A Memoir” is a graphic novel that explores gender identity, sexuality, and coming of age from author Maia Kobabe. It’s honest to the point of being cathartic and looks at Kobabe’s life, including the messy times.
The book fell into controversy, being called “one of the most banned books in the United States” by NBC, generally for its sexual content. However, part of the reason this book is banned is that it is a very clearly weird story. There is some merit in the book not being appropriate for teenage students. It’s not all good faith – some of it is just homophobia.
Sexual content is not designed to be provocative, and it’s really up to the specific teenager if they’re willing and comfortable reading sexual content and often the internet is home to far worse.
As someone who read this when she was 15 and beginning to understand her queer identity, this book was a great learning experience. Looking back as someone who understood more, there are moments that are eerily similar to my own experiences. If I wanted to explain some of the minutiae of my homosexuality to someone, giving them this book is one way for me to do so.
“This Hell” by Rina Sawayama
“This Hell” makes a playful song about homophobia, particularly the conservative Christian talking point that all gay people are, in the words of the song, “going to hell”.
Inspired by Shania Twain and incorporating electronic guitar and electronic pop, this song is very catchy and makes the idea of being eternally damned a proud and happy statement.
While the song covers other issues with lines referencing the negative media obsession with celebrities such as Britney Spears and Lady Diana, the song’s key message is aimed at a queer audience. In the newly released music video for the song, it features Sawayama getting married, not into a traditional heterosexual couple, but into a polyamorous relationship. In the video, Sawayama’s spouses are male and female, indicating that the singer is pansexual.
Rowan Ellis is a lesbian content creator who takes a broad look at media across multiple platforms, where she covers movie reviews, TV show media analyzes and more with a focus on homosexuality. His Youtube content ranges from serious video essays to lighter content such as “29 Movie Characters Who Should Have Been Gay” and “Exhausted queer reacts to destiel.”
Her video essays tackle complex topics, such as queerbaiting and the impact of representation on people. However, it generally covers the basic terms needed in these videos, making them easily digestible even for people who are unfamiliar with them. She covered some content that is on this list, such as “Our Flag Means Death: Analysis of ‘The Gay Pirate Show’.”