Gay Representation

Joshua Rush Talks Playing Disney Channel's First Openly Gay Character

Disney Channel star Joshua Rush got some exciting news last year when he found out he’d be playing the first openly gay character on the kid’s channel.

Now, he’s talking to People Now to share how he felt during the whole process of his character coming out.

“I feel the pressure, and I also don’t,” said Rush, who plays Cyrus Goodman on Disney’s Andi Mack, “I think the most important thing for me when I got this part was to do it right.”

“I knew that I wanted to do it justice, because I knew that people were gonna end up seeing this and being like, ‘Wow that’s me, I identify with that [and] I can be who I am now,’ but I also wanted to make sure that it’s not all-encompassing. Like that’s not all of Cyrus’ personality,” he added.

But 16-year-old Rush wasn’t alone during his coming out scene (which we shared with you here). His costar Sofia Wylie, playing best friend Buffy Driscoll, was also a part of the scene and prep for it.

Rush says the two practiced the scene multiple times the night before, ““just brainstorming, how are we going to do this.”

“We put the work in, and I think it shows,” he adds.

Rush also shared that he’s happy to be that representation that LGBTQ pre-teens, middle schoolers, and teens need.

“I think this storyline is definitely going to help a lot of my peers,” Rush says. “I was the first person that one of my good friends came out to, and I think that if I had someone like Buffy on TV, I think I would’ve done a better job and had been a better friend in that situation. I’m glad that I can be a part of this.”

He adds, “I hope that more shows will follow in Disney’s footsteps with Cyrus’ storyline. Really, I look forward to the day that it’s not an unusual occurrence. I hope everyone can one day see that our differences are beautiful and that love is love.”

It seems that Joshua Rush has a good head on his shoulders and we’re happy he’s the one to present this important story on tv to the world.

Black Panther Actor Addresses Why The Film Left Out A Gay Romance

Its Black Panther’s opening weekend in most countries around the globe, and most are overjoyed to finally see the film.

Black Panther is being seen as a pop-culture event that’s a must watch for even the most casual moviegoer. On top of that, critics, and fans who’ve seen the movie within its first two days of release, agree that the film is just. that. good.

But, sadly the film has one note going against it, and that’s the lack of LGBTQ representation.

Of course, this isn’t a scream for representation where there originally wasn’t any. Within T’Challa’s inner circle are the Dora Milaje (his royal guards). Two prominent members of which are a lesbian couple.

Specifically, the character Ayo, played by Florence Kasumba in the movie, is in a lesbian relationship in the comic Black Panther: World of Wakanda.

Then last April, Vanity Fair reported that there was a deleted scene of Ayo flirting with Okoye, played by Danai Gurira. Shortly after, a Marvel representative quelled any talk about that by saying that the two were non-romantic.

Now that the film is out, we can unfortunately share the slight-spoiler that there is no romantic interaction between the two in Black Panther’s breakout film.

In addition, Vulture was able to speak to Kasumba and get her perspective on why her character’s sexuality wasn’t touched on.

The thing is, if the makers would have wanted everyone to see the scene, it would have been in the movie. The final result that we’ve seen, there were a few scenes that have been cut. Different scenes, also. They didn’t make it into the movie for certain reasons, and at that point, I have to say: What their reason is, I can’t tell you, because nobody told me about whether it’s in or not.

But at this point, I personally think people have no idea who T’Challa is, who are the Wakandans, what is Wakanda, where is Wakanda, what is their culture. There are so many important things that had to be told in these two hours. So the focus was on what is so important for T’Challa. What happens after the last movie that we saw. I know all the other scenes that we have also filmed that are not in the movie. People have their reasons why not.

Vulture also asked Kasumba if she would have liked to see her character’s sexuality explored in a future installment.

I’d love to, at some point. Not now, because it’s too soon. At this point, the focus is somewhere else. I started reading World of Wakandatowards the end of filming and I loved reading the comics. I loved reading about, Okay, how do the Doras become Doras? … That’s the whole reason why we had a boot camp [to train for the movie]: In order to be physically able to move as a unit. That was more important. That’s what I’m saying, right? Who is in love with whom and whatever — that was not important in this movie.

Whether or not Black Panther gains a sequel depends on how well the first film does in its opening weekend. Though, with the rabid hype and hysteria circling around the film, we aren’t so worried.

This Show Featured A Gay Date Had Completely Through Sign Language

Irish tv showed a gay date that was made up entirely of sign language.

The tv show First Dates Ireland is a reality show that depicts the awkward, funny, and charming moments that can happen when people go on their first date.

The latest episode of the series not only showed a date between two gay men but those men also talked entirely though Irish Sign Language.

In the scene, we see John Charles, saying that dating as a deaf man can be frustrating. Not only that, but everyday life can be hard too. For instance, Charles hates it when people decide to talk louder in his ear after he tells them he’s deaf.

Conversely, his date Stephen (more on him down below) says that as a hearing person he can have his struggles too.

Don’t believe him? Check out a clip from the episode down below.

If you watched the clip you’re probably thinking, “That was adorable, relatable, and yet sweetly foreign to me.” (Or is that just me?)

If you agree, we’re not alone. Several people on twitter praised the show for including this date and sharing what dating with hearing disabilities can be like.

Also, while writing this post we realized that the hearing man is none other than Mr. Gay Ireland Stephen Lehane (who we've talked about last year for our post about 2017 Mr Gay Europe).

Sundance Is Premiering A Series About A Deaf Gay Man

Sundance always sees a few LGBTQ film projects on the rise. Many of which, later become big names like Moonlight, God’s Own Country, or Call Me By Your Name.

As for this year’s Sundance Film Festival, I’ve already talked about hopefuls The Miseducation of Cameron Post and We the Animals. Now, there's another project for us to look out for.

The specific project is a series called This Close. This Close actually aired at Sundance last year through the festival’s Short Form Episodic Showcase. Then, the series was celebrated so much that Sundance itself decided to back an expansion, which is being viewed this year.

The story follows two best friends named Kate and Michael and stars series creators Shoshannah Stern and Josh Feldman respectively.

The two main characters are deaf, but they don’t let that get in the way of engaging with live. The two join together to explore their late 20s and early 30s as Kate embraces her new engagement and Michael deals with his failed one.

Back in November, when Sudance Now gave its first straight-to-series order for This Close, they talked to Deadline to share their excitement.

“When Sundance Now made the decision this past spring to forge into originals, we had two goals in mind,” said Jan Diedrichsen, General Manager of SundanceTV and Sundance Now. “The first was to extend the Sundance legacy by uncovering storytellers and auteurs who had a distinctive vision. The second was to find talent that would truly connect with our engaged audience on Sundance Now. With ‘This Close,’ we’ve completely hit the mark on both fronts. We knew we had something special when we discovered Shoshannah and Josh’s work at the Sundance Film Festival. They are masterful storytellers and terrific actors, and this narrative, both charming and relatable, is the perfect fit for our service.”

 

 

And why are we talking about this series here on Instinct, because Michael is not only deaf but he’s gay. This is an intersection rarely explored in entertainment media.

“We realized that we should write something that’s very ‘us.’ Something we know best: friendship between a woman and a gay man,” said Feldman to Out.

Feldman also says that this series will be a true depiction of what it’s like to be deaf.

“Most deaf characters in other shows speak because it’s easier for hearing audiences to access the dialogue,” Feldman explains. “I don’t speak at all. So when I meet a hearing person, they expect me to speak for myself because that’s what they’ve seen on TV.”

But being deaf isn’t the only part of Michael’s story. Feldman wants to present Michael’s experience in as a dynamic and true way as possible.

“During my twenties, the periods of biggest personal growth happened after breakups,” he says. “And that includes bad decisions. I wanted him to make those because eventually they lead to growth but not for a while.”

He continues, “Our goal was to make sure that the biggest moments in the show were done in sign language because in our lives, our biggest moments are in sign language.”

If you are interested in this series, it will be available for streaming through Sundance’s new Sundance Now program. This Close will be available to watch on February 14th.

Star Wars Actor Oscar Isaac Says He's Open To A Finn-Poe Gay Romance

Yes, there’s apparently still more to say about the all-so-desired Finn Jones and Poe Dameron gay romance.

If you didn’t know, after seeing the quick and close bond that the two characters formed in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans on the internet want to see the two enter a romantic relationship.

The executives over at Disney and LucasFilm have shared the typical response to such a request, “We’re talking about the possibilities in meetings.”

Now, actor Oscar Isaac, who plays the confident pilot Poe Dameron, is sharing that he’d be down for the idea.

In an interview with Collider, Isaac shared that he’s not ruling out the possibility and is open to playing a part of a gay couple (should writers, producers, and corporate executives allow it).

“As to actually seeing how that manifests itself in Poe in this film, that isn’t necessarily going to be a clear story point,” Isaac told Collider about his character’s love life. “But as an actor, I’m very open to those storylines.”

He then shared what playing as the first gay or bisexual man in the Star Wars film franchise would mean to him.

“What it means to me is that people can see themselves in a hero like this, in a movie like this, which I love,” the actor said. “Not only LGBT, but Latinos. There’s representation out there.”

As for the other half of the couple, we’ve already shared what John Boyega thinks of the potential gay couple.

Boyega shared that he thinks Isaac is the real reason that these gay romance requests first popped up.

“I think that Oscar is always looking at me with love in his eyes, and I guess that the fans saw it. And then they realized that either he needs to chill or come out.”

In addition, he thinks that the relationship is still possible in a future film.

“We’ve talked about it, but I think you’re not going to see it in The Last Jedi. In the next six or eight months, we will have some meetings about the stories that we will develop next.”

Russell Tovey Shares Story of A Boy With Two Dads Reaction To Gay Superhero Kiss

Openly gay actor Russell Tovey is sharing his thoughts on playing a gay superhero on television and how it’s already affected some viewers.

In an interview with the New York Times, Tovey shared the story of a family who sent a message to him after seeing the gay kiss he had with his on-screen lover Citizen Cold (played by openly gay actor Wentworth Miller).

“Someone sent me a message… they are gay parents.”

“Their son was watching the show and ran in to them and said, ‘There are two superheroes who do what you do’, when they kissed each other.”

“He was so happy about it. So many people have been so supportive of seeing two superheroes who are gay played by two actors who are out.”

“It seems like it became a bit of a moment. I couldn’t be prouder to be one half of that moment.”

Tovey also shared that he’s proud to play a gay superhero character, and he's happy because his childhood dream of wanting to be a superhero has actually come true.

“So when this came up, it was an easy yes — especially for what the character stood for. It magnified my excitement in portraying him.”

He added: “Most of my acting mates — everyone wants to play a superhero. It’s definitely one of the boxes you want to tick. It feels wonderful to be ticking that box in a big way and with a big, pink triangle.”

He also added: “I’m just so happy that it’s out in the world.

“On prime time TV, you’ve got two superheroes that are gay kissing and who are played by gay actors — hopefully one day that will be normal.

“I want the Ray to become someone that gay kids watching TV — who might feel a bit out there and not accepted or who don’t understand themselves — can relate to.”

After taking part in the cross-over event between the four “Arrow-verse” tv shows, Tovey’s character The Ray will lead his own tv show, though this time in animation, called Freedom Fighters: The Ray.

Magic H8 Ball, A Comedy About A Distraught Gay Man And A Demonic Kid's Toy, Needs Your Support

Dan Haas / Screenshot via Kickstarter

It is always good to support LGBTQ representation in our entertainment media.

If you want little boys, girls, and those in flux who are growing up with queer identities to have LGBTQ role models on their screens, stages, and pages, you have to support the people who try to get those kinds of stories out there.

Plus, it’s nice to have someone writing a story for the adults too.

As such, when kickstarters for LGTBQ media come along, its always good to at least check them out.

And what new kickstarter do I have for you today? Magic H8 Ball.

MagicH8Ball is a project that a group of LGBTQ creatives are trying to get together.

The story follows Adam, a young man who’s just broken up with his boyfriend after finding out he cheated (by getting chlamydia from him).

As Adam wallows in post-breakup misery, he discovers a Magic 8 Ball and asks if it’ll make all his decisions for him. The ball says yes, and sets Adam on a fun filled journey of self-discovery. But, soon he’ll realize that the Magic 8 Ball might be discovering an (evil) identity of its own.

While the story seems quirky in just the right way with the use of this Magic 8 Ball, what’s really interesting is that the ball is being used as a tool of actualizing the real conflict in the story. That real conflict being the difficulty after a breakup.

As the Kickstarter page states:

Usually, there’s no easy answer. We don’t get that kind of satisfaction or closure. So when Adam finds a loophole—a magic ball that has all the answers—it’s no wonder he gives it free reign over his increasingly messy life. What we’re left with is a slightly-drunk gay kid against the world, armed only with a sickly schlong and a sadistic kid’s toy. What could go wrong? 

via Kickstarter

If you want to find out just what can go wrong, you’ll have to back this project on Kickstarter to help it become a reality.

And if you do, you’ll get to see the love child of a primarily LGBTQ cast and crew come to (hopefully non-demonic) life.

This includes the director Dan Haas who has written ad campaigns for Harley-Davidson and Jack in the Box while having a comedy musical running in Chicago, and lead actor Nathan Mohebbi who’s acted in Masters of Sex, Chasing Life, and James Franco’s Child of God. Plus, there’s Jason Stamey who has been the casting director for several Marvel movies and Ramy Romany who’s directed and produced for tv channels such as Discovery, History, and National Geographic.

There’s a lot of magic behind and in front of the camera, but we’ll see if the magic will extend to the completion of this Kickstarter and to the project overall.

Creator of Gay Athlete Love Story Wants To Expand it Into A Full-Length Film

Credit: Screenshot from Original "In the Dark"

Every now and then, I like to check out Kickstarter and GoFund me to see what kind of cool LGBTQ+ stuff people are making. What new movies and web series are on the horizon? What gay themed comics are waiting to be made? What can I put my money behind?

And every time I go on those sites I am pleased to find that there is always some new LGBTQ+ themed project waiting to be funded. And there are always good ones that deserve to exist.

Just think about it, Beth David and Estaban Bravo would not have created “In a Heartbeat” if it weren’t for its Kickstarter campaign. And, Physique Pictorial, one of the original Beefcake magazines that built gay history by doing things like introducing us to Tom of Finland, is coming back because of a Kickstarter campaign.

This is all to say that we should all regularly check in on these crowdfunding sites because you never know when the next Moonlight will popup.

And as such, I, and my fellow Instinct writers, love to point you all in the direction of new Kickstarters that have gotten our attention. The one kickstarter that I’m directing you towards today is one that we’ve already touched on, but now we have a little update.

In the Dark was a short film that hit earlier this summer. The film’s description goes as follows:

“A gay college student, Austin, is hiding his sexuality from everyone in his life, until he meets Eric. Austin is instantly attracted to Eric's comfort in who he is. When they start a relationship, Austin may have to choose between keeping Eric in his life or keeping his secret.”

As for the creator, named Ryan Beene, the recent Texas Lutheran University grad saw a need for more LGBTQ+ representation. While certainly there is some good representation out there, Hollywood still needs work on making true, honest, and impactful stories and characters with an LGBTQ+ context.

So, Beene decided to be the change he wanted to see, as he told Outsports.com.

“I’d recently watched Moonlight and Certain Women, both movies with queer characters. They inspired what I wanted to do with the film and the internal struggle that some of these characters faced. I wanted to tell the truth about what it's actually like for many people to come out, with the added layer of playing a sport and trying to be in a relationship.”

Daniel Saunders (left) and Ryan Beene / Credit: Screenshot from Original "In the Dark"

The short film was a modest success with coverage from gay sites across the internet, not just Instinct, but Beene wants more. He wants to turn it into a full-length film.

As such, Ryan Beene has started up a Kickstarter, which you can find here, to help make that dream a reality. All of the money collected will go towards paying for equipment as well as paying the cast and crew.

In addition, we were lucky enough to get a word in with him and to ask a few questions about this new Kickstarter and his hopes for the project.

What is it about this particular story that resonated with you?

RB: I don't think we get the young first love story told from the gay perspective, and that is something kids should get to see. I think it's something everyone should see. We, as LGBT+ people, often don't get to experience first love as young as others do, because most aren't out or are afraid to search people out. So a sweet, gay, first love story is something I really want to see, so I thought I'd make one.

How do you think the story can connect with a gay and, more widely, LGBTQ+ audience?

RB: I think so many gay people will resonate with Austin, the main character. He's an athlete, which we know there are more and more gay athletes coming out. He is afraid to tell his parents, which every LGBT+ person can relate to.

And then you get to see a first love story, and there are other LGBT+ characters in the story. There are three lesbian/bisexual women in the script. The majority of the cast are people of color. I just think everyone should see a story like this.

How will turning the film into a full-length feature help and enhance the story?

RB: The plan was always for this to be a feature length. There is so much more to tell about Austin and Eric's personal lives and their relationship. From Eric's very complicated relationship with his father, to his life as an athlete, getting to see Austin and Eric just get to be happy and flirt and fall in love. With a short, it felt rushed.

But now you really get to watch this relationship unfold in a really sweet and more realistic way. I also think the layer of him being black is very important.  Not only for representation, but it also changes the story. Because we do have different experiences of coming out varying throughout the different races. And masculinity is more important in other cultures.

But should you support this full-length project? Well, Beene spent only $300 dollars to make the 35-minute short film that became In the Dark. Imagine what he could do with all the money collected through the Kickstarter. Or better yet, instead of imagining you could click over to the Kickstarter and see for yourself.

Watch: The Creators of "In a Heartbeat" React to Elders Watching "In a Heartbeat"

Screenshot: Fine Bros Entertainment

We should support LGBTQ content and media by supporting and celebrating the people who make them.

And that’s just what Youtube Channel the Fine Brothers decided to do. They’ve already recorded a video of Elders reacting to the short film animation “In a Heartbeat,” and are working on a kids react this very moment, but they also decided to celebrate the creators by inviting them to the studio.

That’s right, you can watch the video of “In a Heartbeat’s” creators Beth David and Estaban Bravo reacting to the Elders as they watched the video for the first time.

Check out the video below:

 

But who are Beth David and Estaban Bravo? Well, just a year and a half ago, the two were simply animation students at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Florida.

At that time, they were working on a joint college thesis project. At first, they weren’t crazy over the idea and didn’t know how to approach it, but that soon changed.

“The original pitch was a story between a boy and a girl,” David told NBC News. “But it wasn’t until we made it about a same-gender crush that the idea really started to take form and resonate with Esteban and I. We realized that we had something that could potentially be really special to us.”

From there, the two decided to go further than fulfilling a class project and moved on to creating an actual short to release out into the world. In order to do that, they crowdfunded for the project and successfully raised more than $14,000 on Kickstarter back in December.

From there, it’s been hard work for the both of them to make the project come alive and they did that while continuing their lives. The two graduated from college and began working their way into the animation field, but with viral hit “In a Heartbeat” under their belts, they’ve got a leg up on the competition.

Plus, they have promised each other to not only continue working with together for future projects, but to leave the possibility open of making “In a Heartbeat” a larger story.

We look forward to seeing their dreams become a reality and we at Instinct will continue to support and celebrate them every step of the way.