The Dish: Lesbian Polar Bear Dies After Separating From Partner, Anna Friel Goes Gay Again

The saddest headline ever.

Good morning!

I had the fun experience of watching myself on “House Hunters Renovation” over the weekend because my good friends Jamie and Mary were the featured couple buying (and renovating) their new home. After receiving a barrage of text messages from friends I realized I had no idea how many lesbians stay home to watch HGTV on Saturdays at 10pm, but it makes sense.

Same-sex couples are still not given the same considerations and support from insurance companies when it comes to fertility treatments, and it largely has to do with the definition of “infertile.” “[Lesbian couples] will never be treated ‘equally’ because there will always be an additional financial burden to prove they are infertile,” said Emily Hecht-McGowan, Esq., the chief policy officer at the Family Equality Council. “To expect a lesbian couple to get pregnant on their own — it’s not going to happen.” The American Society for Reproductive Medicine defines infertility as “failure to achieve a successful pregnancy after 12 months or more of appropriate, timed, unprotected intercourse or therapeutic donor insemination,” and state law requires insurers to cover that treatment, which doesn’t yet extend to same-sex couples. Clearly, these definitions need to be expanded upon.

The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project is mapping important places from the city’s queer history because the National Register of Historic Places only lists a handful, and that ain’t cool. Sites include Alice Austen‘s house on Staten Island and the 1860s’ “Angel of the Waters” statue at Central Park, “sculpted by Emma Stebbins, who lived in Rome with her lover, Charlotte Cushman, and was part of a group of lesbian artists known as ‘female jolly bachelors.'”

via CentralPark.com

The BBC will present a new four-part docu-series, “Prejudice And Pride: The People’s History Of LGBTQ Britain” in celebration (?) of the 50th anniversary of The Sexual Offences Act, aka when Great Britain changed the laws surrounding homosexuality. Out comics Susan Calman and Stephen K. Amos will host the two-hour long specials, which the BBC says is a “crowd-sourced collection of some of the rarest, most personal, most heartbreaking and inspiring artefacts in our history: a banned book, a nun’s habit, a passport, an original Heaven Gold card, naval discharge papers, George Michael‘s autograph and the long-lost panels from the AIDS memorial quilt.”

This series is actually part of a whole “gay Britain” celebration, with out “Great British Bake-Off” host Sandi Toksvig narrating a documentary about lesbian artist Hannah “Gluck” Gluckstein.

Speaking of queer British history, I’m a huge Anna Friel fan (mostly from this indie film she made with Michelle Williams about obsessive friendship in 2001 called “Me Without You,”) and I am even more psyched she’s going to star in one of my favorite series from the last year, “The Girlfriend Experience.” Anna is quite famous for participating in one of the first lesbian kisses on British TV on the series “Brookside,” which she talks about in a new interview.”‘I don’t think I had any concept of how that kiss would change my life,” she said. “For a very long time I was defined by that kiss. And I didn’t want to be. I spent years turning down other lesbian roles because it felt like going back to Beth. But it did also make me want to take on parts that showed extreme sides of women. I tend to go for difficult, dangerous and damaged characters – I’m always attracted to extremes.” And her new role will have her hooking up with a call-girl, which she touches on in the same interview: “I find it fascinating that my 11-year-old daughter’s generation will never even think there’s an issue with being gay, straight, bisexual, whatever, but my own generation still sees a stigma in being a lesbian. The next generation is already educated and maybe this is something I started. I’ve played enough heterosexual partners since Beth and now seems like a good time to go back.” FINALLY.

Straight women, please stop calling your friends your “girlfriend.” It’s making queer women having an even more difficult time discerning who is gay or not, which is our ETERNAL STRUGGLE. We let you borrow asymmetrical haircuts and flannel, just give us our girlfriends.

If you ever felt tricked into watching a TV show because you thought there would be a lesbian relationship and then there wasn’t (or it flickered and flamed out quickly), you, my friend, were queerbaited. Don’t feel bad: It happens all the time, because too many networks and showrunners are loathe to treat queer characters with the same respect and care they do heterosexual ones.

Nigerian real estate mogul Moji Solar married her partner in New York over the weekend, and shared this heartfelt message of gratitude on her Facebook page: “Today I woke up in a cold sweat. I was drenched with fear, for a moment. I forgot where I was. I ask you all to close your eyes, imagine what would have happened Saturday at our wedding if we were in Nigeria. Even though we went to great lengths to make sure we had security, the thought of the police barging in and arresting all our guests, my wife and I to be carted off to jail, the women defiled and beaten, the men brutalised, and my children beaten along with everyone else. When I got my bearings, I got on my knees and thanked God for his grace of living in the US . Then I remembered all the people that could not do what we did with grace and class. To all of you (gay ) all over Africa, #westandforyou. May all our days be filled with blessings and grace.” Congrats to Moji and her new wife.

Best-selling author Emma Donoghue‘s novel turned feature film, “Room,” is now becoming a stage play, with music (but she wouldn’t call it a musical). She also just published a new children’s book, “The Lotterys Plus One,” which features a pair of gay dads and lesbian moms, and is hard at work on television adaptations of her other works, including “Frog Music,” which has totally queer characters and themes. (If you’ve never read Emma’s work, now’s a good time.)

Queer comic book artist Tana Ford worked on Marvel’s “Silk,” which she said will surely delight lesbian readers: “In my Marvel comic, which is a female solo title, we have a woman of color as the lead, her two best friends are out lesbians in a biracial, happy, healthy relationship–where neither of them gets murdered. And in the final pages of ‘Silk’–SPOILER–they get married! I get to show a close up of a lesbian kiss, at a lesbian wedding, with two awesome amazing women on page. So this is like dream come true stuff.” Sadly, still revolutionary in comics, and something that hasn’t quite made its way onto the big screen adaptations.

A group of eight lesbians were brutally by 15 men in Portsmouth, England on Easter Sunday. The women were leaving a bar, singing a song, when the men began shouting homophobic insults and “kicking, punching and stamping on them.” Three men have since been arrested on “suspicion of assault occasioning actual bodily harm” and another on “suspicion of affray.” They have been released but remain under investigation. The authorities better not drop the ball on this horrific hate crime.

Jill Soloway said that Season 4 of “Transparent” will be “more political,” and I don’t know what that means, exactly, but I’m here for it.

This is the SADDEST HEADLINE I HAVE EVER READ: “Polar bear dies after SeaWorld separates her from same-sex partner of 20 years.” Szenja and Snowflake had been together for more than 20 years before Snowflake “was relocated to the Pittsburgh Zoo to be mated with male Polar bears.” Soon after, Szenja died from what PETA says was caused by “a broken heart.” 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

Queer black writer Rahawa Haile penned a beautiful piece about hiking the Appalachian Trail by herself for Outside magazine, and you should read it. An excerpt:

Who is wilderness for? It depends on who you ask. In 2013, Trail Life USA, a faith-based organization, was established as a direct response to the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to allow openly gay kids into their program. A statement by the group made the rules clear: Trail Life USA “will not admit youth who are open or avowed about their homosexuality, and it will not admit boys who are not ‘biologically male’ or boys who wish to dress and act like girls.”

Roughly two years later, news outlets profiled the Radical Monarchs, a group for children of color between the ages of eight and twelve, intended as a Girl Scouts for social activists. Headlines like “Radical Brownies Are Yelling ‘Black Lives Matter,’ Not Hawking Girl Scout Cookies” highlighted what an intersectional approach to youth activism could look like. Organizations such as Trail Life USA and Radical Monarchs show opposite ends of the outdoor spectrum. For conservative Christian men, religion is used as a means of tying exclusionary practices to outdoor participation. For people of color, the wilderness is everywhere they look. They don’t need mountains. Wilderness lives outside their front doors. Orienteering skills mean navigating white anxiety about them. They are belaying to effect change. And even then, their efforts might not be enough.

Shout out to Willa Cather for being super queer and subversive in her writing.

Fader details South Africa’s popping music scene, which includes “queer feminist rapper and producer” Dope Saint Jude who is, indeed, dope AF.

via Fader

Until tomorrow!