Persisting

The season finale of Supergirl  was last night, and to no one’s surprise, I have a lot of feelings about it. Also to no one’s surprise, I do not have a lot of time. So I’m just going to touch on two sets of women very, very briefly. 

Obviously, spoilers are ahead

Alex & Maggie

I have loved this relationship since the beginning. I know some people feel their story was rushed, but I am not one of them. Please keep in mind, though, that I technically moved in with my now-wife after our fifth date. There was a year of long-distance dating and ten years of friendship before that, but still. Date five was a cross-country road trip moving her back to the Burgh.

A lot of people feel that the marriage proposal feels rushed, and if it felt like an actual proposal to me, I’d agree. But it wasn’t. Everyone almost died, Kara lost the man she loved (barf, but whatever), and it had been an intense, action-packed couple of…days? Weeks? Hours? Seasons? Whatever. Shit was crazy. And baby gay Alex looks at her girlfriend and is filled with this euphoria of finally being happy and this terror of almost losing the person who helped her realize said happiness. So she, in true queer-lady fashion, jumps ahead 17 steps and says “marry me.” But. ..it’s one of those things you blurt out in the moment, like when my first girlfriend did the same thing…a fact which my wife had no idea about and led to a great morning conversation. 

Anyway, it didn’t feel real to me. I think Maggie will set her “straight,” so to speak, maybe they’ll move in together, we will see a fight or breakup towards the end of next season, and then this topic will get revisited. So, yes, it would have been too soon if it had been “real.” But I don’t see season 3 opening with Winn at Kleinfelds helping our girls say yes to some dresses. 

Also, eternally hopeful Monica refuses to believe the writers would build up this love story and them have a proposal less romantic than gay prom Valentine’s Day. 

Cat & Lena

Oh, Cat Grant. How I’ve missed you. You stepped in where Eliza couldn’t and mothered the ever-loving fuck out of sweet Kira. Most touching may have been where you admitted you had read all of her articles from your yurt (with or without Rob Lowe) and that her prose was…decent. And then you gave a speech that I want to tattoo on my body so I can reference it at all times. Not as “so say we all” as the previous episode’s, but more “you spoke directly to my heart and I love you.”

 It just feels like this pain isn’t gonna go away. 

Ah, well, that’s what I said about childbirth. But it did. And it will. Now , see, the thing that makes women strong, is that we have the guts to be vulnerable. We have the ability to feel the depths of our emotion, and we know that we will walk through it to the other side. And by the way, you have accomplished great things this year…

But you, my dear, are on a hero’s journey. Like Joseph Campbell would say. And yes, you have hit a bit of an obstacle, but you will soar right over it. Just like I would. Except, of course, you won’t be wearing Louboutins.

Cat telling Kara exactly what she needed to hear, giving her the strength to fight another day — That’s what strong women so. We build each other up. 

What we don’t do is take credit for saving the world when it was actually our genius scientist/CEO daughter who did it. And it’s because of things like that that Lena looks towards evil old-school Lois Lane — ahem, I mean Rhea — for validation. 

Kara is a strong, amazeballs woman because of the women who helped shape her; Lena, in spite of them.

I’m looking forward to what the writers have in store for us next season. Be a Cat, guys. Not a Lillian. Build us up, not make us sad. 

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Angry Lesbian

I am angry. I seem to be that way a lot lately, for varying reasons. Yesterday (and this morning), it was because of TV.

You’re shocked. I know. I hope you are sitting down.

Specifically, it was because of Supergirl. No, not because they killed another queer lady (they didn’t). No, not because of my distaste for Kara’s storyline this season (I do have that, but that wasn’t the case). No, not because of the lack of Cat Grant on my TV (next week!).

It was because of a response to an article that the always-insightful Bridget Liszewski wrote over at The TV Junkies. The article was about queerbaiting and the relationship between Kara and Lena. Just go read the damn thing. It also has a definition of queerbaiting, should you be finding this article because I posted it on Facebook (family/hometown friends) and not on Twitter (my people) and not know what that is.

Someone tweeted a response to her that said a Kara/Lena relationship would “take away” from the already-established, canon queer relationship of Alex and Maggie. This is not the first time I’ve heard a version of that argument, and to say it makes no sense to me is like me saying I’m not a big fan of the current administration. Minor understatement. 

Anyway, when I read this (in the parking lot of a Dunkin’ Donuts, because it was doughnut day and I only bring the very best to my coworkers), I immediately saw red and almost rage-licked the frosting off of a metric shit-ton of doughnuts.

This is a watered-down, fandom version of the argument that gay marriage will take away from “traditional” marriage. (News flash — it hasn’t, it didn’t, and it won’t.) Also, anyone who attended my wedding would agree that it was pretty fucking traditional, except for the fact that no one signed the marriage license with their penis. Or whatever it is men do. I don’t know.

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It really doesn’t get more basic than this.

So, I apologize if this is new information, but in real life, there can be more than one queer couple in any group, and more than one queer person in any friend group. Or at a party. Or at a restaurant. Or basically anywhere except maybe the RNC. But probably even there.

I’m just going to wait to let that sink in.

Next, if there are more than one of us, it doesn’t take anything away from anyone else’s existence, no matter their sexuality.

Okay, now that I’ve dropped those shocking facts, I’m going to move on.

I have written a lot about representation and the value of seeing people like myself on TV, and it’s great. We have come such a long way even if there seems to be an unspoken, unwritten rule about not making a show “too gay.” And then comments like this come along, and I’m reminded of how far we have to go.

When several thoughtful, articulate responses were given to the original dissenter, they eventually (metaphorically) threw up their hands and said, “Whatever. I guess my opinion isn’t valid” or something like that, mentioning that they “had rights, too.”

EQUALITY AND REPRESENTATION AREN’T ABOUT TAKING SOMEONE ELSE’S RIGHTS AWAY.

EQUALITY AND REPRESENTATION ARE ABOUT EQUALITY AND REPRESENTATION.

IF EQUALITY AND REPRESENTATION FEEL LIKE OPPRESSION, LOOK IN A FUCKING MIRROR, BECAUSE THE PROBLEM IS YOU.

So LGBTQ+ representation is okay if it’s just a little bit, huh? It’s okay if there’s just one person/couple? Is that how it works? Do you only have one gay person/couple in your life? If you meet a new one, does the old one have to leave? If this applies to you, I’d love to know because I think it’s time for me to leave your life and make room for the next one. 

Do you have any idea what it’s like to walk into a room and immediately feel out of place because you stick out like a sore thumb? If not, might I recommend being gay, nerdy, and fat in a small Catholic high school in West Virginia? Just kidding, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. And then you think, “Oh, it will get better,” because high school is the Hellmouth and it gets better, right? And then you go to a fall festival with your wife in Ohio in 2016 and everyone fucking stares at you and you think, “Better not hold her hand, because I don’t want to get beaten up.”

Do you know what it’s like to hear, “Oh, my kid remembers your wedding because of the doughnuts and the centerpieces. And not because it was…different”? It hurts. A lot. Because in my mind, the doughnuts and the centerpieces were the things that stuck out, because the two people getting married were just two people in love and who cares about our gender (because gender is a social construct anyway).

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Way more memorable than lesbians.

There is a constant undercurrent of low-key, casual homophobia that queer people encounter in their everyday lives. A handful of examples:

  • people wondering “who the guy is” in a queer-lady relationship (neither of us is the guy)
  • assuming that I would like an episode of something just because it features a same-sex couple, especially reality TV (FALSE)
  • assuming I would like someone just because they’re gay (just because you’re queer doesn’t mean you’re not an asshole)
  • a man making a casual comment about my appearance and how it’s…causing an excited reaction (uncomfortable on so many levels and has happened more times than I can count)
  • Chris and I being treated like we are literally just “gal pals” and not a regular married couple who are more than just friends (this manifests itself in A LOT OF WAYS)
  • having to explain why going to a country with anti-gay laws doesn’t really work for us, vacation-wise
  • explaining why saying something is “gay” in a negative way is bad, and then having to defend yourself when you do 

So, another same-sex relationship on a show wouldn’t take away from the one that’s already there. If anything, it gives it even more validity, because it’s approaching the normalcy of the everyday life we lead. We are still fighting homophobia every single day. It’s just more subtle than it used to be. 

In conclusion, don’t be a dick, people. Think before you speak.

And watch Supergirl. Sanvers is magical, but if I looked at my “friends” the way Lena and Kara look at each other, Chris would immediately drag me to couples’ therapy to repair our marriage, and rightfully so. SuperCorp is real, and the writers have a responsibility to its gay following not to jerk us around.