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Challenging Fashion Boundaries and Showcasing Minority Creators

The December issue of Vogue US saw Harry Styles grace its cover, making him the first solo male to front the magazine in Vogue’s 128-year history. Whilst it may not be surprising that Styles was chosen for the cover of Vogue magazine considering the success that 2020 has had in store for him, the shoot instantly became a defining moment in fashion history. The cover photo shows Styles wearing a classic double-breasted black Gucci jacket over a custom-made baby blue, lace Gucci dress (designed by Gucci’s Creative Director and Styles’ close friend, Alessandro Michele). Naturally, an image of a man wearing a dress on the cover of the world’s most notorious fashion magazine drew headlines and ruffled a few feathers. The most famous quote that this image bore was Candace Owens’ tweet “bring back manly men.” This controversial quote lead to an onslaught of praise in support of Styles, as well as some right-wing commentators supporting Owens. Whilst it is evident that 2020 has proven that masculinity is no more than a concept formed by societal norms, it is also worth considering if Styles deserves the praise that he has been given. Continue reading Challenging Fashion Boundaries and Showcasing Minority Creators

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Harry Potter and the Author Who Won’t Stop Tweeting

During lockdown, a time already fraught with fear, anxiety, and literal and emotional isolation (particularly for members of the LGBTQ+ community who may have found themselves locked down with families who don’t accept their identity), J.K. Rowling wrote an essay about her notorious anti-trans views. In the article, published on her own blog (but summed up much better on other sites, so you do not have to give her page clicks that she presumably profits from), Rowling explains her defence of tax specialist Maya Forstater, a woman who’d claimed that a distinguished non-binary CEO was “a white man who likes to dress in women’s clothes”, and later lost a tribunal debating whether the philosophical belief that sex is determined by biology is protected by the law. She then went on to similarly defend her support of Scottish activist Magdalen Burns, who had compared being transgender to being in blackface. In the rest of the essay she uses tired, offensive arguments to defend what Andrew J. Carter called her ‘half-truths and transphobic dogwhistles’. These statements included pointing out the risk trans activists apparently pose to children who may be questioning their identity (‘I have deep concerns about the effect the trans rights movement is having on education and safeguarding’), the risk trans women apparently pose to cisgender women, (‘When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman, then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside’), and the erasure of free speech that apparently occurs when laws are enshrined to protect trans people. Continue reading Harry Potter and the Author Who Won’t Stop Tweeting

The LGBTQ+ Guide to Dating Apps

As a woman who has sifted through the depths of Tinder and Bumble, it really doesn’t take long to notice that the majority of mainstream dating apps remain directed towards straight folks; typically offering restrictive experiences for LGBTQ+ people. The examples listed below offer a refreshing experience for those wanting a break from heteronormative algorithms. Continue reading The LGBTQ+ Guide to Dating Apps

Strategic Essentialism and Queer Identities: Validation or Exclusion?

From general terms like queer, to gay slang like cishet, there are so many labels now that the majority of people, both inside and outside of the LGBTQ+ community, have no idea most of them even exist. And yet, queer people often find that their label, or lack thereof, defines them both within and outside of the LGBTQ+ community. Of course, in many ways, this can be empowering, giving queer people validation and an opportunity to express their identity. However, the minefield of personal opinions, ignorance, casual homophobia and exhausted indifference which surrounds the concept of strategic essentialist queer identities means that the topic becomes a lot more complex. Despite being proud of their identities, a lack of understanding and even homophobia can lead to strategic essentialist views of LGBTQ+ people that are deeply problematic. Continue reading Strategic Essentialism and Queer Identities: Validation or Exclusion?

Taylor Swift & Pride Anthems

Until recently, Swift’s decision not to make political statements and attempts to appear politically neutral have caused some controversy among her fans in an increasingly politically divided America. In the past year, however, Swift has started to make moves towards revealing her own political views, supporting her local Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen in the 2018 elections, and releasing her change.org petition in June 2019 to campaign for the US Senate to pass the Equality Act, a bill aiming to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination. Continue reading Taylor Swift & Pride Anthems

Five LGBTQ+ TV Shows to Binge Right Now

RAZZ have collated together five shows available to stream right now that centre LGBTQ+ stories. Get bingeing to celebrate the end of Pride Month!

Tales of the City – Netflix
For fans of: Alex Strangelove, Easy, All in my Family

Tales of the City is a celebration and evaluation of queer communities. With a stellar cast, this Netflix limited series assesses the trials and tribulations of a family that transcends bloodlines. For queer family-making 101 give this a watch. Continue reading Five LGBTQ+ TV Shows to Binge Right Now

RAZZ Pride Icons: Arsham Parsi

Currently 38 years old and living in exile in Canada, Arsham Parsi is an Iranian queer refugee activist working to help his community in Iran. Parsi says that he came to terms with his sexuality early on and after a transgender friend ended her life, he decided he must begin to discreetly help the situation for Iranian queers. This work included helping a local doctor carry out research on HIV among gay and bisexual men in their city, before he turned his efforts to covertly advancing queer civil rights. In 2003 he started a Yahoo group chat called “Voice Celebration” which gained a total of 50 participants who could establish connections and lean on each other for support; all operated under a false identity (including Parsi) due to the dire legal situation for LGBTQ+ people in Iran, which still operates the death penalty. Unfortunately, in 2005, he found out that the Islamic authorities had begun to unravel his identity and were looking for “a gay activist named Arsham,” so he was forced to flee to Turkey where he registered as a refugee and lived for three months before being relocated to Canada. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Arsham Parsi

RAZZ Pride Icons: The Salsa Soul Sisters, Third World Wimmin Inc Collective

The Salsa Soul Sisters, Third World Wimmin Inc Collective was the first “out” organisation for lesbians, womanists, and women of colour in New York City and is now the oldest black lesbian organisation in the USA. They grew out of the Black Lesbian Caucus of the Gay Activist Alliance, officially splitting in 1974 and inviting Latina women to join (they would also later include Native American and Asian members). Original collective member Candice Boyce said that there “was no other place for women of color to go and sit down and talk about what it means to be a black lesbian in America”. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: The Salsa Soul Sisters, Third World Wimmin Inc Collective