Week of Geek: Pride Month Part 2! LGBTQ Characters in Film and TV!

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Hi again Geeklings!  How’s it goin’?

So, continuing with the theme from last week, I thought this week I’d talk about LGBTQ characters on screen, a la movies and TV shows

Note: As with last week and with future editions, I am only including characters that have been confirmed as LGBTQ, either onscreen or from the creators.  So no speculative pairings or slash fiction.  That’s a whole article in and of itself.

So let’s break it down…

Anime:  As I mentioned last week when talking about manga, anime has a long, colorful history of featuring non-binary and gay characters.  Examples?  How about Grell Sutcliff from Black Butler, a grim reaper who’s a guy but not really.  Or Puri-Puri-Prisoner from One Punch Man.  Attack on Titan fans will know about Ymir and Christa.  And of course, we cannot possibly speak of anime LGBTQ characters and not mention Yuri!!! on Ice, not just with power couple Yuri and Viktor, but possibly Yurio and Otabek.  (Time will tell on that one, don’t rush them!)

Animated Programs:  The creators of Adventure Time have confirmed that characters Marceline the Vampire Queen and Princess Bubblegum used to date, hence the frenemy vibe they currently have on the show.  The Avatar: The Last Airbender spin-off The Legend of Korra famously ended with the title character and her female best friend getting together.  And in the show Steven Universe, having all of the alien species known as gems be female has led to some interesting questions about what it means to be female, as well as how they relate to and love each other, like with Ruby and Sapphire or Pearl’s devotion to Rose Quartz.

For the Adult Swim show Rick and Mortytitle character Rick Sanchez is pansexual, as the creators confirmed and as was on display in the episode “Auto Erotic Assimilation”.  Other more ‘adult’ cartoon shows like Family Guy or Archer have featured LGBTQ characters.

Live-Action TV Shows:  Wow, so many to choose from.  Let’s see, shows like Orphan Black, Teen Wolf and Supergirl have all featured rainbow characters.  Glee had no shortage of characters that ran the gamut, from gay to lesbian to bi to trans (and all set to music).  Though it’s left somewhat ambiguous in the show itself, the creators of Hannibal have confirmed that the main characters, both male, are in love with each other.  More DC shows with LGBTQ characters include Lucifer (the devil himself swings both ways); Arrow and Legends of Tomorrowwhere White Canary is bi; and Gotham, which has bucked supervillain convention this last season by having longtime bad guy the Penguin crushing on fellow longtime bad guy the Riddler.  Wha?

Across the pond, long-time British export Doctor Who has worked hard in it’s revamped series to include LGBTQ characters, starting with pansexual Jack Harkness and then bringing in married couple Madam Vastra and Jenny, all the way up to current companion Bill, who’s a lesbian.

And for more old-school fandoms, you can’t leave out Willow on Buffy or Charlie on Supernatural.  Much love!

Movies: There are A LOT of movies out there with LGBTQ themes, but for mainstream movies it can be hard to find LGBTQ characters.  There’s quite a few reasons for that, not many of them legit, BUT there are some characters to look to.  Of course, one of the most famous is Dumbledore, but I’ll talk more about him next week.  Disney recently made headlines by confirming that LeFou is gay in their live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, and as you’ll read in that link people are still divided over that.

Animation studio LAIKA hasn’t had too much trouble showing gay and trans characters in their films.  And… yeah, I’m kind of drawing a blank otherwise.  Let’s hope that doesn’t stay like that.  Can anyone else think of any?  Post away in the comments section.

So that’s it for this week.  Next week we’ll look at characters in books, and there is a lot to talk about there.  Hang in there as you wrap up the school year, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Pride Month Part 1! LGBTQ Characters in Comics!

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Hiya Geeklings!

It’s June!  Summer is pretty much official, though it probably won’t seem that way until after school’s over (hang in there, it’s coming!)

But you know what else June is?  Pride Month!  That’s right, a whole month for everyone on the rainbow to celebrate love in all it’s forms, how far gay rights have come and who we all are as people.  And I thought I’d take the opportunity to, over the next few weeks, celebrate the characters in books, comics, TV shows and movies that have inspired us and have represented the real-life struggles and triumphs the LGBTQ community has endured.  And today I’d like to start with comics.  I like comics.

Plus, I went and saw Wonder Woman this last weekend (YOU GUYS!  DC FINALLY MADE A REALLY GOOD MOVIE!  WW WAS AWESOME!)  And did you guys know Wonder Woman is queer?  WHA?

People had long suspected that she may be a lesbian, or maybe bisexual.  But recently in the DC Rebirth storyline Year One, it was confirmed that the Amazons of Themyscira are completely open to same-sex relationships.  Which totally makes sense when you think about it.  They’ve lived without men for centuries.  Why wouldn’t they be open to coupling with each other?  For them it’s a non-issue.

So that’s huge!  Wonder Woman is one of the most iconic superheroes in comics, and to have her represent the Kinsey scale, even in a small capacity, is great for representation as a whole.  But she is definitely not the first LGBTQ character in DC comics, as this video they released a couple of years back points out…

Batwoman, Midnighter, Apollo, Catwoman, Renee Montoya, John Constantine, and now Wonder Woman, plus many more.

Not to be outdone, Marvel has it’s share of LGBTQ characters.  Characters like Hulking, Wiccan, Miss America (all Young Avengers), Rictor, Shatterstar (X-Factor), Northstar, Iceman, Karma (all X-Men), Mystique, Daken, even Loki… they’re all on the rainbow.

But it’s not just superheroes either, not by a long shot.  For instance, while Kevin Keller has long been the first LGBTQ character in Archie comics, longtime character Jughead recently came out as asexual.  Many fans were disappointed when the live-action show Riverdale seemed to veto this, but, thus far, the comic version of Jughead has remained one of the few ace characters in fiction.

 

And lets not forget Manga!  Yaoi and Yuri fiction have long portrayed same sex relationships, but some of those are a little… adult.  For a more teen friendly look, try Ouran High School Host Club, that features a gender fluid main character, or Sailor Moon, where Sailors Neptune and Uranus are a canon couple…

Side Note: I recently discovered that in the original anime series of Sailor Moon that I watched when I was younger, one of the villains named Zoisite, who had been portrayed as a woman in the English dub I saw, was actually a man in the original Japanese series, which puts the romantic relationship the character had with fellow villain Malachite in a whole new light.  This was a 90s kids tv show, so it does not surprise me that the North American dubs would’ve switched things around. End Side Note

…or Azumanga Daioh, which features a gay character.  I’m still feeling my way around manga, so if I’m missing any post away in the comments section.

So there’s a very brief overview.  Anyone I left out?  Anything I’m missing?  Post away!

Stay tuned during the next few weeks for more of our favorite geeky and proud characters, series and titles.  If you’re looking for Real Life info about LGBTQ issues and questions, we’ve got a list for that

Also check out Rainbow Youth York and York Pride Fest.

Thanks guys.  Good luck with final exams and projects, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Reporting from the front lines of my first Anime Con

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Hiya Geeklings!  How’re exams going?  Ready for summer?  We all are!

I’m just popping in to report that, in my ongoing mission to seek out new fandoms and experience the full roster of feels, I just experienced my first Anime North, which, as their website states, is “Canada’s premier fan run Anime convention”.  As I’ve mentioned before, my relationship to manga and Anime has always been part-time, rather lukewarm, though Yuri!!! on Ice recently fanned the flames somewhat.  I thought I’d try out an Anime convention and see what it’s like.

What did I think?  Just…wow!

It was quite a bit different than other conventions I’ve been to.  It was over several buildings, which is new for me.  The main building was the Toronto Congress Centre near the airport, and then four of the nearby hotels.  I only went to 3 out of the 5 buildings due to things that interested me (ie.  one building was strictly for BJDs, and I had no idea what those were until I looked them up).  We found out that the Conservative Party of Canada was choosing it’s new leader the same weekend and in the same building while we were running around getting our geek on.  Small world.

I went to a great panel on Yuri!!! on Ice and participated in some Black Butler related fun.

BTW, not all but a lot of programs were 18+.  And they carded.  Just forewarning.

Another thing I hadn’t expected was the HUGE LGBTQ component to the proceedings, courtesy of Yaoi/Yuri North.  They had a lot of LGBTQ themed panels and programs.  I learned about the history of Homosexuality and got an introduction to Yaoi fiction.  I went to panels where people who identified as asexual, and then people who identified as bisexual, answered questions from attendees who wanted to learn more about those orientations. The info desk there even sold buttons you can wear that state what pronouns you’d like everyone to use.

I learned a lot about myself, I learned a lot about Japan (especially the food, there was a great panel on that).  I learned a lot in general.

And my goodness, the cosplayers were in top form.  I wasn’t in costume myself (just Anime-related tanks, tees and hoodies), but the cosplayers I saw roaming the floor and out on the lawns were really putting their all into it.  Brava!

Am I a hardcore Otaku now?  Nah, still not there yet.  BUT I have a broader appreciation for the genre.  I’ve recently read my first manga, and got a lot of great suggestions for things to read and watch.  I’m glad I went, and I may go again.

In the meantime, you know we have you covered.  Our pal Guillaume (you know, the French Guy?) made a couple of great lists full of suggestions.

First Manga…

Then Anime films…

Then Anime series…

Give ’em a try and see what all the fuss is about.  I know I’m going to keep going.  Here’s to new (or new-ish or ‘new to me’) things!

Have a great week, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: HAPPY GEEK PRIDE DAY!

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It’s that time again!  The day when fanboys, fangirls, fanpeople and everyone with nerdy inclinations can shout it loud and proud and show their pride, no matter their fandoms or passions.  A day for Bronies (and Pegasisters), Potterheads, Jedi, Sith, Trekkers, Hamilfans, Browncoats, Whovians, Otaku (click here too), Gamers and fans of all stripes to come together and celebrate as one.

It’s Geek Pride Day!

May 25th was chosen because it coincides with the anniversary of the first Star Wars movie, and it’s also Towel Day for fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  Both of those fandoms are celebrated today, and Star Wars deserves a special shout-out, as it’s officially 40 years today the first movie came to theaters in North America.  Here’s to another 40 and beyond!

People online figured since two epic milestones were happening on the 25th, why not make it a day for all fans?  And the day stuck.

I’m sure you’ve got your own fandoms (or list of fandoms) you can embrace today.  But one thing I like to celebrate about today is the Fandom Life.  The hobbies and activities that come with declaring yourself a Geek, Nerd or Fan.  I always like to tell people that it’s not just a hobby, it’s not just a passion, it’s a lifestyle, one that fits me like a glove.

Because one of my passions in life is books (natch!) I’m going to throw a whole bunch of them at you today, courtesy of our online catalogue.  They cover characters that live the fandom life, books that tell you more about the fandom life, and books you can use to get your craft or chef on.  These are titles you can sign out or put on hold to make this the best GPD EVER!

First, The Fandom Life.  These are non-fiction books and documentaries on conventions, resources, studies and musings on living the geek lifestyle.

Next is Fiction for Fans, a list of YA novels that feature geeks with lots of different passions and different issues.

Next is Geek Crafting.  Want to make something based on something you love?  Or work on that cosplay?  We’ve got books for that.

Lastly, but not leastly, Geek Cooking.  For all the noms from so many fandoms.  Yum!

Click on any of those titles and you’ll be redirected to the catalogue, where you can check availability or place a hold.  Easy peasy.

For all the hardcore fans, casual fans, soon-to-be-fans, and everyone looking in, no matter what you’re a fan of, have a Happy Geek Pride Day, and until next time, End of Line.

Volunteers Needed!

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Are you looking for a meaningful volunteer experience this summer that will also get you volunteer hours? The Dufferin Clark Library will the hosting a captivating exhibit from the Anne Frank House in the Netherlands. The exhibit is available for viewing during the library’s open hours but we need volunteers to help run guided tours and staff the space.

The exhibit runs from July 3 to August 31; depending on your availability, you would be scheduled for “shifts” during this period.  You have the potential to get a huge amount of volunteer hours!  You would also be required to attend training sessions to make sure you are properly prepared.

If you are going into Grade 10 or higher and are interested in this opportunity, please email dina.stevens@vaughan.ca