Showing posts with label Gay Movies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Movies. Show all posts

August 21, 2018

Straight Actors Play Gay Characters But Gay Actors are Held Over For Gay Parts, What's Wrong With This Pic?

 Playing gay Jack together with girl friend

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

"It's complicated," sighs Peppermint. "Talented actors, casting directors, and everyone involved in the making of art should feel free to create in the way they see fit. In a perfect world, anyone would be able to play anything." 
I'm talking to Peppermint—the first transgender woman to create a major role in a Broadway musical, Head Over Heels—because, once again, the question of cis/straight actors taking LGBTQ parts has hit the headlines, this time sparked by English comedian Jack Whitehall reportedly being cast in Jungle Cruise(which apparently isn't a gay porno). He's set to play Disney's first major gay character, despite being a heterosexual man. 
It's not the first time such a decision has been made by Hollywood: Just last month it was reported that Scarlett Johansson was set to star in the upcoming film Rub & Tug, playing a trans man (she later dropped out of the project). Nearly all the lead gay characters in 2008 movie Milk—a biopic of legendary gay rights activist Harvey Milk—were played by straight men. In The Danish Girl, Eddie Redmayne played the lead, a trans woman. The list continues. 
There's often outrage from queer folk when such announcements are made, but to outsiders, the reason for the upset is not always so obvious. Acting, by definition, is about transforming into a character; it's not about who you actually are. Polling from YouGov this week confirms that many share this view, with 70 percent of the British public seeing no issue with a straight person taking the first leading gay role in a Disney blockbuster. 
"I do really think, ideally, anyone should be able to play a perfect part for them," Peppermint continues, "but right now, gay, trans, and queer people need to participate in the telling of their own stories. Hollywood has a terrible history of creating movies and making money off the experiences of marginalized people, without letting them have any input in the process."
To Peppermint, it's firstly a question of authenticity, not just in who gets to play a queer part, but how that part is written, developed, presented, and performed: "We need to recognize that art plays a role in how marginalized people are treated and viewed by society. A lot of the time, Hollywood makes these stories about queer, trans, and minority folks and they get it wrong: there's offensive material, tragic storylines, one-dimensional, stereotypical characters with little depth." (See 2015 flop Stonewall for evidence.)
Peppermint at RuPaul's Dragcon. Photo: dvsross / CC By 2.0
Actor Nick Westrate agrees: "There's such a wealth of behavior, cultural history, and experiences that, as a queer person, you just know. As a straight person, there's so much you might miss, which years of research won't ever prepare you for." Gay people grow up learning how to assume straight characteristics, says Nick, as for them, code-switching is often a means of survival. "Our entire lives are sometimes premeditated on playing a straight person," he tells me. "Straight people playing gay might well do their research and watch Ru Paul's Drag Race, but they just can’t access the same depth of knowledge."
There's clearly a worry about the way queer characters are portrayed on stage or screen, but each actor I speak to makes it clear their concerns extend beyond just making great art: LGBTQ characters are often some of the only queer people visible in media, and with that platform comes great responsibility. When Rebecca Root was cast as the lead in BBC Two sitcom Boy Meets Girl, both she and the show made history. When it debuted, in 2015, it was the first comedy/drama series on British TV with such a major role for a transgender character played by a trans actor. "I know the idea of being a role model doesn't always sit comfortably with everyone," Rebecca tells me, "but I'm not unhappy with that label. It's just about being seen—saying, 'That's me, and you too can do what I do.' Real representation isn't just about seeing a character you can relate to; it's about seeing real people working at the highest of level of the industry."
"Most people have never met a trans person, and many kids won't have knowingly met a gay person," says Peppermint. "There's immeasurable value in inspiring youth when you feel ostracized, outcast, or different. Seeing people like yourself thriving is huge, both for queer people, but also their friends and family." And, Peppermint adds, a cis man playing a trans woman, who then takes the wig off and appears at a premiere as a guy with a beard, only reinforces the dangerous narrative that trans women are men, not women. 
A gay actor could use the platform of a Disney movie to speak about their own experiences, advance LGBTQ equality and be a visible queer figure for so many young people. Jack Whitehall, through no fault of his own, just can't do that. 
While there's clearly rationale in casting queer for queer parts, there are practical realities of the industry to consider too. Casting directors are under pressure to hire who they see as the best fit for a part, and asking someone about their sexuality when they walk into an audition hardly seems a sign of progress. "My job is very much to get the right person for the right role," explains Amanda Tabak, a casting director based in London. "We would never ask someone's sexuality when they walk in the door—it's not relevant." 
Amanda is clear that if there's a part for a Chinese person, putting up someone who isn't Chinese would be pointless (although whoever castScarlett Johansson as a Japanese character in Ghost in the Shell clearly didn't see this as such a problem). "People's sexualities aren’t written on their chest," Amanda says. "It's not that which dictates whether you’re getting a job or not."
It's a perspective that actor Giovanni Bienne—the chair of acting union Equity's LGBT+ committee—can only half-sympathize with. Giovanni feels expectations of LGBTQ actors in auditions are different to those of their cis, straight counterparts. "I don't go out for a straight romantic love interests a lot, but my agent said they thought it would help—if I were to—for me to stay in character during the chat afterward," he says, adding that he's heard that casting directors like his readings, but ask if could he keep "it" up? "That just doesn't happen to straight actors. Sean Penn didn't audition for Milk, but if he had, they wouldn't have him blow the casting team away, and then be told that he couldn't keep the 'gay' up afterward."
Giovanni accepts that with lesser-known actors their sexuality might not be known to whoever is casting, but non-LGBTQ actors can, too, help level the playing field. "A friend of mine called me recently saying he was being seen for a gay part, but it didn't feel right," he says. "I said go out for it, this is how it is, it's about whether we get the same opportunities. In the end, in an effort to support us, he decided not to."
Another point raised time and time again by those struggling to comprehend the Whitehall rage is that, ultimately, entertainment is a business. "A-list actors playing LGBTQ roles brings awareness, but they also get people though the doors to see a film," says Amanda Tabak. But after a generation of gay actors were lost to the AIDS crisis, maybe the industry has a responsibility to help make those new stars in the first place, and to make Hollywood a less hostile place to be openly gay. "If we hear a straight person gets a queer part because someone is a bankable star, we've just lost another chance for that person to make a name as a queer person," says Nick. "It's simple."
Clearly, the casting of Jack Whitehall as Disney's first gay character isn't in and of itself the problem, however much of a missed opportunity, or a lazy choice, it might at first seem. The problems are that in casting straight actors in gay roles we're not benefitting from the experience that queer people bring to queer parts, we're not letting queer people tell their own stories, and we're contributing to the woeful lack of IRL Hollywood LGBTQ visibility. 
Not one actor I spoke to thinks only non-straight people should play LGBTQ parts, or vice versa, but that a conscious effort needs to be made by all to help level the playing field. That means accepting that some queer people get written off for straight parts in a way that is imbalanced. It means understanding that LGBTQ people are a minority who need role models. It means not simply saying there isn't a queer star to take a part, but making one. And it means that if Disney is going to make a big deal about creating a gay character, they probably need to make a big deal about casting a gay actor, too. 

August 15, 2018

Disney Is Playing A Bait and Switch with the Public by Putting Out a Straight Jack for The Jungle Cruise

  Jack Whitehall and His Girlfriend Gemma

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to position yourself when it comes to equality. When asked, most of us would say we believe in it, encourage it, expect it. But occasionally a conundrum comes along that seems to have been created only to catch us out or test our perception of what it means to be equal.

As a gay man, and thus an automatic member of the LGBTQ community, I see my right to exist be free questioned on an almost hourly basis thanks to the power of the internet, and I have a crick in my neck from reaching up to the breadcrumbs of equality society has deigned to offer from its withered hand. This is why when it was announced Disney was making The Jungle Cruise, a movie which would feature a character who was “openly gay” – a phrase that in itself makes the idea seem like a sideshow at a carnival rather than a long overdue wrong being righted – I was cautious. The 21st century has taught me to react to ostensibly good news slowly, to wait for the punchline. In this case, it came in the form of the casting of Jack Whitehall, a British comedian and actor well known for his campy, posh-boy routine, including his own sitcom Bad Education, in which he played an effete, unlucky-in-love teacher. Whitehall’s own sexuality is, as far as I know, not confirmed, but until recently he was in a relationship with fellow actor Gemma Chan, so unless he is bi, a default view here would be that he’s straight. And this is where problems begin.
The casting of non-cisgender, queer or LGBTQ roles has been a hot topic recently – Scarlett Johansson became a meme thanks to taking on, before pulling out of, the role of a trans man – and Whitehall’s casting has attracted a great deal of debate, some of it enlightening and considered but mostly witless and hysterical. In the hours after the revelation, knee-jerk reactions and delirious takes from both sides seeped into every corner of the internet like red wine on a white rug. Some say it’s fine for a straight man to play a gay character, while others claim it’s unfair on gay actors, and guess what? They are both right, when talking generally. But this is an exceptional case and much of the debate centring around the Project Fear-esque assertion that “soon only gay actors will be able to play gay characters, so does that mean they can’t play straight any more?!” comes from one key misunderstanding – the true meaning of equality.

Whatever the dictionary might tell you, equality is not about treating everyone exactly the same, at all times. True equality comes from amplifying, raising up and offering opportunities to those whose lives have been blighted by inequality. The ones who have been left behind, ignored, forgotten and have suffered prejudice, unfairness and stereotyping. Levelling the playing field would take centuries of renovations and it’s pointless to pretend otherwise, so instead we make sure those who’ve never felt equality are offered the same chances as those who have historically dominated.
Nobody sensible is saying gay actors can’t play straight any more, or that gay characters can never be played by a heterosexual, but what we are saying is every gay role needs extra consideration – yes, every single one. Whether we like it or not, we live in a world where any modicum of LGBTQ representation is scrutinised by everyone on the spectrum. Is the role doing enough? Is the right person playing it? What impact could this have – negative and positive? Straight roles are ten a penny, they are everywhere, the default. Go count the number of LGBTQ characters in your local multiplex or on TV tonight. You won’t run out of fingers, I imagine.
But it’s also important we give Whitehall a fair hearing. “You’re not gay so you can’t play the role” doesn’t cut it at all, I’m afraid. Instead, let me explain. This is the first major “openly gay” role in a Disney movie. Disney movies have a reach and influence we can barely imagine – it is huge, the Princess Diana of celluloid. Your favourite Disney films carbon-date you. They are part of your childhood, and your children’s, and beyond. Imagine the impact this casting could've had on children, and their parents, if it had been an actual gay or bisexual actor doing the promo trail and talking about the role in relation to his own experience. It’s a sad truth there are fewer gay roles, especially in family movies like this, and having gay actors play them can help normalise the gay experience to a guaranteed global audience. It’s important to acknowledge the impact gay characters, and the people who play them, can have. They’re not like other roles; there is more hope and responsibility attached to them, and this one in particular is a landmark.

There have been complaints the gay character in The Jungle Cruise is very camp and very funny. This I don’t see as much of a problem – camp gay men exist, deal with it. But there is an angle here that a straight man acting out stereotypically gay characteristics on screen while actual gay actors get turned down for roles for not being butch enough or being “too gay” – even for gay roles, by the way – is another sign of imbalance.

And that’s why the casting of Whitehall isn’t appropriate on this occasion – not because of him, or his acting skills, or his race, or any of the low-grade insults you want to pick out of the barrage of unnecessary abuse he’s received over the last two days. It’s because it perpetuates the lopsidedness of LGBTQ representation in an overwhelmingly heterosexual world. This isn’t a personal issue with Jack: he’s a self-confessed Disney nut and this role no doubt means the world to him, so who could blame him for taking the challenge? The problem lies with those making the decisions about the character, and his casting; whatever their background or their intent, their approach needs work. They must read the room.
This role, this chance, this potential for glory, all should have been offered to a gay actor. The character and the audience deserve it.

May 24, 2018

A Record Low of LGBT Characters in Homophobic Hollywood

The number of Hollywood films featuring LGBTQ characters plummeted nearly 40 percent in 2017 compared to the year prior, an annual survey of the major movie studios by GLAAD said on Tuesday.
The group found that just 14 wide releases from the majors, as well as offerings from their indie divisions, were inclusive of queer identities in 2017, a drop from 23 films in 2016.
Only 12.8 percent of studio films contained characters who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or queer — the lowest percentage of LGBTQ-inclusive major studio releases since GLAAD began tracking in 2012. Trans characters were absent entirely from wide releases (though the report does contain praise for the Oscar-winning trans story “A Fantastic Woman,” released by Sony Pictures Classics). 
“On screen, record-breaking films like ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Wonder Woman’ prove that not only does inclusion make for great stories — inclusion is good for the bottom line. It is time for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer stories to be included in this conversation and in this movement,” said GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a fiery introduction the survey, called the Studio Responsibility Index (SRI).
Now in its sixth year, the SRI applies a secondary test to the films that rate as inclusive. Called the Vito Russo Test, it’s a set of parameters that vets a given film for the quality of its depiction of queer people (often in mainstream commercial fare, gay people are used as punchlines or provoke anxiety in straight characters).
Universal Pictures got the highest score of any studio but was still labeled “insufficient,” by the SRI. Of fourteen wide releases. four of the studio’s films made the grade. The highest praise was for Jordan Peele’s “Get Out.”
It’s a blink-and-miss moment, but there’s a revelation that Allison Williams’ character Rose also recruited at least one woman (Betty Gabriel) to bring home to her family, who conduct a sinister procedure that implants the brains of white people into able black bodies.
Glaad charts
Behind Universal was 20th Century Fox (whose touching coming-out movie “Love, Simon” was released in 2018 and did not count for this survey) which merited inclusion for a gay male couple in “Alien: Covenant” and the creative and crucial deployment of Elton John in the plot of “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.” Fox was dinged for a portrayal of platonic female friendship in Amy Schumer’s “Snatched.”
Paramount received a “poor” rating, with just two inclusive films (Ruby Rose’s character in “XxX: The Return of Xander Cage” being one), along with Lionsgate.
Disney’s eponymous label and portfolio studios Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar tied for the last place with Sony Pictures — with both studios only releasing one inclusive film and both earning a “poor” rating.
There was a small silver lining — while depictions of queer people are still overwhelmingly stories of gay men, people of color counted for 57 percent of those characters last year. None among them were Asian or Pacific Islander, however.
Ellis and leadership from GLAAD hosted a breakfast at the Beverly Hills offices of agency WME on Tuesday morning, where they presented the SRI to industry players. Lena Waithe and TK sat for a panel discussion afterward to discuss how Hollywood can increase quality representation in film.

February 6, 2018

Circumcision and Gay Love Sparks Controversy On Movie"The INXEBA/The wound"

Secrets brought to the big screen. (AP Photo/Obed Zilwa)
The creators of Inxeba/The Wound always knew the film would be controversial. A hidden gay romance set in the secretive world of a traditional initiation school for Xhosa boys, the film sparked outrage long before it was re
Secrets brought to the big screen. (AP Photo/Obed Zilwa)

The creators of Inxeba/The Wound always knew the film would be controversial. A hidden gay romance set in the secretive world of a traditional initiation school for Xhosa boys, the film sparked outrage long before it was released.

The film’s weekend release on Feb. 2 in cinemas around the country led to protests and some cinemas pulling the film after staff members were threatened. The producers persevered, with no major incidents taking place, except for the public debate on masculinity, cultural appropriation and the lengths communities have to go to protect their traditions. The knee-jerk response to the film, the first South African film  available on Netflix, is mostly linked to media coverage describing it as a gay love story among initiates, but the film is much more than that. The film’s producers argue that anyone who actually sees it and engages with its subject matter would immediately understand this. It follows the story of Xolani, played by musician and author Nakhane Touré, a lonely factory worker who also acts as a caregiver to initiates while they are isolated from society in the bush.
An openly gay city boy is Xolani’s charge this season, threatening to reveal Xolani’s own unspoken truth. Kwanda’s expensive sneakers and his insistence on wearing a nose ring along with his traditional initiates garb challenges notions of traditional masculinity in this rural setting, while his constant clashes with the other initiates openly question what it means to be a Xhosa man. Among the complex set of characters is Vija, a man trapped by his own traditions and social expectations of who must be as a man.
Critics argue that the film threatens to reveal the secrets of ulwaluko, Xhosa initiation rituals that are purposely shrouded in mystery. Each year, thousands of South African boys undergo circumcision as a rite of passage across several different cultures.
The age-old practice has come under modern scrutiny for initiate deaths at the hands of unscrupulous practitioners. While there have been attempts to regulate the practices, and modernize the tools and aftercare used, the vast majority of South Africans know few details of what goes on in the mountain. Most proponents of initiation believe that’s exactly how it should stay.
While the film is set among the temporary huts of the initiates (which will be burned down once they are men), it depicts little that is not already known by the public. The circumcision that marks the initiation process is dealt with sensitively, but it is not the center of the film, neither is it fetishized as those outside of the culture have done before.
Instead, its questions about manhood and being gay in South Africa are what drive the story in a country where same-sex marriage may be legal, but homophobic murders are rarely adequately prosecuted. This is also not the first time LGBTQI rights have been discussed within this rite of passage. It isn’t even the first time the process has been publicly discussed, as former president Nelson Mandela described his own experience in his bestselling memoir Long Walk to Freedom.
Critics of the protests have further questioned the selective outrage of the demonstrators. Protestors, including the Xhosa king, say it reveals the jealously guarded secrets of a tradition that has managed to endure oppression and modernization. If a story like this is to be told at all, whose right is it to tell that story, argue critics who see the film as the appropriation of Xhosa culture.
“It is not okay to subjectively delve into traditions and practices you are not a part of under the guise of sparking debate and engagement,” write Lwando Xaso and Zukiswa Pikoli, directly addressing John Trengrove, the film’s director. “It is not your place because you are not speaking as a member of that society.” Trengove is a white South African.
In what is one of the more sound criticisms of the film, the two Xhosa women writers argue that it was not the place of a white man to tell this story. That Trengrove wrote the screenplay with author Thando Mgqolozana, a black man who also happens to be the founder of an all-black literary festival, is seen as a “cheapening of our people,” they argue. 
Inxeba/The Wound has sparked a lot of conversations that is prompting more publicity than the low budget film could have hoped for, but it has been a painful experience for the producers and stars, who have endured death threats. In spite of this, it has managed to do what good art should: evoke uncomfortable but necessary conversations. Preventing screenings of Inxeba/The Wound won’t silence those questions.

adamfoxie🦊 Celebrating 10 years of keeping an eye on the world for You brings you the important LGBT news others ignore. Does not repost from gay sites [except only when importat athlete comes out].Will post popular items with a different angle or to contribute to our readers🦊 

February 4, 2018

Why Do Most Gay Movies Have Sad Endings?


 "Call Me by your Name"

Over the past couple of years, there has been an increase of LGBT stories in filmmaking, including the recently released Call Me By Your Name and Oscar-winning Moonlight, which famously won Best Picture at last year’s Academy Awards after an envelope mix up. However, it’s worth noting that the vast majority of these releases either take place in an utterly depressing setting or conclude on a tragic note. 
This trend in LGBT filmmaking is so abundantly clear that it is worth asking exactly why LGBT movies always have a sad ending – because while it’s important to tell the stories of LGBT people and relationships in movies, it’s also important to tell all parts of those stories instead of focusing on just the negative aspects.

 One reason for the many sad or negative stories seen in LGBT cinema could be due to the stereotypes about LGBT people, which are driven by a society that accommodates many who disapprove of LGBT people. The discriminatory views of LGBT people is of course nothing new. However, its impact on filmmaking is something that has largely not been considered.

In my view, the systematic discrimination of LGBT people ultimately derives from religious and institutional ideologies, including past laws that restricted gay couples from marrying or even existing without criminal charges. Influential political and religious voices who have promoted this type of rhetoric have a teaching effect on society as a whole, so it’s not a big stretch to think that LGBT cinema could have been negatively influenced.

 Ultimately, movie studios’ main concern is profit. Andre Holland and Trevante Rhodes in Moonlight (Picture: David Bornfriend/A24) A film that displays an LGBT story as an entirely positive one will no doubt be considered risky for alienating the wider heterosexual population – and it’s interesting to ponder how this affects the content of LGBT movies. One quite drastic theory is that this trend in LGBT cinema comes from some kind of anti-LGBT agenda, whether it be obvious or subtle. There is a notion that this agenda could be behind what drives some filmmakers and movie studios to ensure that LGBT stories often end in tragedy, which in turn reinforces the notion that an LGBT lifestyle is somehow wrong. 

Do I buy into this theory of there being an discriminatory agenda, which has influenced films such as Brokeback Mountain and Call Me By Your Name? Absolutely not – because the makers of these more recent releases have been overtly pro-LGBT and in many cases part of that community. I do, however, believe that historically, film and television releases have been affected by a kind of anti-LGBT agenda, though this has come from society as a whole as opposed to a distinctive group. 
Perhaps one form of an anti-LGBT agenda within the film industry can be seen during awards season.

It’s fairly obvious to anyone with some form of social awareness that even the biggest award shows in Hollywood are renowned for rarely including LGBT cinema, and although there have been exceptions to this rule, it’s not often that LGBT films and actors actually go on to win the biggest awards. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain (Picture: Focus Features) We saw this with Brokeback Mountain’s monumental snub at the 2006 Academy Awards. Movie experts and bookies had been forecasting its Best Picture victory for the weeks leading up to the ceremony only for a much less deserving film to scoop the top prize. The shock result left many questioning if there was a discriminatory factor behind the Academy’s decision, and in my opinion they were right to do so. Another element of potential homophobia found within the Hollywood elite can be seen in the choice of casting in front of, and behind the camera. 

It appears to be the norm that many of the biggest LGBT movie productions either include heterosexual actors playing the lead role, or have a heterosexual director – or both. Surely a film that attempts to tell an LGBT story can’t be completely authentic if the perspective is coming from people who don’t have a perspective in that area? And surely that will have an effect on the outcome of a film’s direction? 

MORE: LGBT Girl suspended from high school for asking her girlfriend to prom Welsh Assembly is the best place to work for LGBT staff Trans woman almost raped on her first date as a woman 'Does your dad sleep around?' 5 things not to say to someone with gay parents This isn’t to say that any movie which is largely LGBT can’t have creative input from heterosexual actors and directors, but it’s worth asking how the dominance of non-LGBT influence in gay cinema has affected the way in which the stories are told. 

Ultimately, the most plausible reason for those tragic endings could be down to the personal experiences of the people behind the story. Due to centuries of discrimination against LGBT people in society, it’s common for LGBT people to have suffered some form of discrimination or sadness in their lives, so it’s not surprising that their personal experiences may filter into their storytelling. As society becomes more and more comfortable with LGBT people and their relationships, the films that aim to tell LGBT stories will most likely become more and more positive – especially after so many countries made same-sex marriage legal in recent years, which for some has arguably been one of the biggest ever victories for the LGBT community. 

An example of positive LGBT storytelling is the BAFTA-nominated film God’s Own Country, which depicts the story of a gay relationship without pandering to negative themes. Alec Secareanu and Josh O’Connor in God’s Own Country (Picture: Picturehouse Entertainment) In fact, one of the stars of the film, Josh O’Connor, recently stated that ‘it’s good for the industry to know there is a hunger for films like this and the narratives like these’. It should also be made clear that this acknowledgement of LGBT movie stereotypes is not to say the stories that happen to be sad or end on a depressing note are deprived of their quality. Many recent releases including Moonlight have been cinematic triumphs and widely celebrated within the movie industry. 

The issue is that there simply aren’t enough of the positive stories out there. Many would argue against this notion by pointing out that many heterosexual love stories also include sad or tragic endings – but this point of view becomes unfounded when considering the sheer amount of straight love stories that have been told throughout cinema history compared to LGBT. The reason why it’s important to make sure positive elements of LGBT life is represented more often in movies is because persistently focusing on the negative will only reinforce the idea that LGBT stories are somehow lesser than, and that’s a viewpoint we as a society need to change.  

(Twitter: | Facebook:

November 15, 2017

If You Don't Recognize Her Name You Will Her Gay Films, Debra Chasnoff Dead at 60

This is a page from The New York Times

Debra Chasnoff in 2008. She was said to have been the first female Academy Award recipient to thank a same-sex partner from the Oscar stage.

CreditByron Gamarro/Getty Images 
Debra Chasnoff, an Oscar-winning documentarian whose educational films promoted greater tolerance for gays and lesbians, died on Nov. 7 at her home in San Francisco. She was 60.
Her wife, Nancy Otto, said the cause was breast cancer.
Ms. Chasnoff’s first film, which she produced in 1984 with her companion at the time, Kim Klausner, was titled “Choosing Children.” It profiled six households headed by same-sex parents who were raising children through adoption, foster parenting, previous relationships and donor insemination.
The film was said to have inspired many gay and lesbian couples to start raising families of their own.
“I think that very first film has done more to change the world than anything else I could possibly do,” Ms. Chasnoff said in a 2013 interview on “It’s no longer assumed you can’t be a parent if you’re gay.”

Ms. Chasnoff won the Academy Award for documentary short in 1992 for producing and directing “Deadly Deception: General Electric, Nuclear Weapons and Our Environment,” which explored that company’s role in making bombs and its impact on public health.
At the awards ceremony in Hollywood, she praised In fact (now called Corporate Accountability), an advocacy group that had organized a boycott of General Electric products to protest the company’s involvement with nuclear weapons.
In fact credited the film for influencing G.E.’s decision later that year to divest itself of the division that made bomb triggers. A G.E. spokesman said, however, that the sale was made solely for financial reasons as military budgets had shrunk.
Ms. Chasnoff made Oscar history at that ceremony by acknowledging Ms. Klausner as “my life partner.” It was said to be the first time a female recipient had thanked a same-sex partner from the ceremony’s stage.
“When I did it, I thought, this is really astonishing to me that this hasn’t happened before,” she told Lesbian News magazine in 2009. “We all know plenty of gay people who have won Academy Awards, but we’re all just quiet about it. I couldn’t imagine having that profound of an honor and not acknowledging my partner.”
“Deadly Deception” was only Ms. Chasnoff’s second documentary, after “Choosing Children,” which she had also directed. She went on to produce and direct documentaries on other social issues, including middle-school bullying and generating affordable housing.
Deadly Deception—General Electric Nuclear Weapons and Our Environment - TRAILER Video by GroundSpark
But she was best known for films like “It’s Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in School” (1996) and “That’s a Family” (2000). Shown in classrooms, “That’s a Family” has exposed students to diverse relationships, including households headed by single mothers, multiracial families, and same-sex couples.
Ms. Chasnoff said that each film was intended to be a catalyst for discussion in an age-appropriate curriculum.
“Our approach in making the film is giving young people a chance to know what’s going on in their lives,” she told The New York Times in 2007. “There are some things that all loving families share.”
But “That’s a Family” provoked a backlash from conservative groups and parents who considered the subject matter unfit for younger children.
A New Jersey school district banned the film from its third-grade classrooms. A district in Marin County, Calif., north of San Francisco, gave parents the option of withholding consent for their own fifth-grade children to view it.
Ms. Chasnoff was president of GroundSpark, a nonprofit company whose Respect for All Project distributes films and companion educational guides for classroom discussion. She was an owner of New Day Films, another distributor.
Her other producing and directing credits include “Straightlaced: How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up” (2009), about sexuality conflicts faced by teenagers; “Let’s Get Real” (2003), about name-calling; “One Wedding and a Revolution” (2004), about the legalization of same-sex marriage; and “Celebrating the Life of Del Martin” (2011), about a leading lesbian-rights activist.
Andrea Levere, the president of Prosperity Now, whose programs provide financial stability for poor people and with whom Ms. Chasnoff made two films, said in a telephone interview that Ms. Chasnoff had “combined an artistic sensibility with the ability to tell stories that promote understanding, activism, and justice.”
Debra Hill Chasnoff was born on Oct. 12, 1957, in Philadelphia and was raised in a Maryland suburb of Washington. Her father, Joel, was a lawyer and a Maryland state legislator. Her mother, the former Selina Sue Prosen, was a psychologist.
Ms. Chasnoff earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Wellesley College in Massachusetts in 1978 and worked briefly as a rate analyst, with companies involved in nuclear weaponry among her clients. She and Ms. Klausner moved from Boston to San Francisco in 1985 and had two sons together. They later separated.
In addition to Ms. Otto, Ms. Chasnoff, who was known by friends as Chas, is survived by her father; her sons with Ms. Klausner, Noah and Oscar Klausner, her sister, Lori Langford; and her brother, Jordan Chasnoff.
At her death, Ms. Chasnoff, who learned she had breast cancer in 2015, was working on a documentary that, according to her website, “could help shape how people with cancer, their families, caregivers, healers and medical practitioners approach life-changing diagnoses.”
Ms. Otto and Ms. Chasnoff’s colleagues at GroundSpark hope to complete the film. It is tentatively titled “Prognosis.”
New York Times

May 15, 2017

American God..Series Had Gay Sex Never Seen or Done Before by Anyone Gay, even drunk

 This is almost as sexy as it gets on the gay sex scene. The top guy with fire on the eyes looked like he could not see too well and was having problems finding the stuff from the right distance.

When I fist saw the third episode of this series which was the one that was supposed to have the ‘great gay scene’, According to what I read and saw the writers and actors on cable describing how this was going to be something out of this world, it was going tot be something it had never been shown because it was so explicit gay sex.  When I actually saw it my first expression was to laugh because it was out of this world but not because it was an explicit gay sex scene out of this world but because it was a weird gay sex scene.  I thought if this scene was written by a gay guy then he never had receptive gay sex or may he never had gay sex period.  Now I find out the job was given to a hetero to direct and set the scene 躕

 I was happy to see that at least one of the gay writers thought so too and made changes but even the changes were not enough. Certainly I have seen episodes of gay sex on Showtime of all places and was many times longer and it showed what the guys were doing just like when they show straight sex. You can try and get into the scene but then it was so short your mind was just beginning to process it and it was over. It was a great idea to show something different  which had a certain spirituality to it (to me sex has a certain spirituality to it, two bodies sharing each other) and they could have done so much more if it was a little more honest on how things are between two men that are with each other not for a quickie but for serious sex. I wonder how come they could not have done it like on the first episode on the hetero sex in which the woman god swallows the man. This is what happens here on the gay one but you never see it. Again it happens on the straight but not on the gay one. They figure because there is only one gay sex scene on the series gays should be sending them kudos on tweeter for trying o be fair. Not so!

When American Gods showrunner Bryan Fuller first saw a cut of the epic gay-sex scene in Sunday’s episode, he didn’t mince words. “I was like, ‘Okay, unless he has a 12-inch, candy-cane cock and can fuck around corners, his dick’s not getting in him,” Fuller recalled. “So you guys need to go back and figure out where holes are.”

Chalk it up to straight-guy naïveté. Every decision-maker in the room for the initial shoot was hetero: actors Omid Abthai and Mousa Kraish, and director David Slade. They meant well, really. All of them were veterans of the screen trade and had been tasked with bringing to life one of the most tender and erotic sections of the Neil Gaiman novel upon which the Starz series is based. In it, an Omani salesman and a djinn — a supernatural entity whose roots lie in pre-Islamic Middle Eastern spiritual traditions — make love in a New York City hotel room.

It’s one of the more memorable bits of the novel, and a remarkable bit of queerness in an otherwise mostly heterosexual narrative. In Gaiman’s recollection, it had been a bit of a challenge. “I simply went, Okay, well, I’m about to be writing gay sex without ever having had gay sex, but I’ve read an awful lot of books by an awful lot of people, I think I can do this,” he told Vulture. The result was brief but vivid: “It is an hour or more before the ifrit comes, thrusting and grinding into Salim’s mouth. Salim has already come twice in this time. The jinn’s semen tastes strange, fiery, and it burns Salim’s throat.”

Those sentences left a searing impact on Fuller — a gay man — and co-showrunner Michael Green. “When Michael and I first sat down and started talking about the adaptation, our first conversation was ‘Okay, without reading the book again, what are the things that you remember that stood out to you?’” Fuller said at a recent press event for the show. They both instantly remembered Salim’s tryst with the djinn.

“We felt like for Salim, as a man coming from a country that throws you off the top of buildings if you’re gay, a blowjob in an alley is probably his only sexual experience,” Fuller said. “We felt like the djinn, in this romantic gesture, wanted to give him a more intimate sexual experience. We wanted it to be incredibly visual and gorgeous. We wanted those things not to be lurid, but to be beautiful and captivating and for heterosexuals to watch the love scene between these two men and not go ‘Ew,’ but go, ‘That’s gorgeous.’”

Nevertheless, even though Fuller and Green wanted to eschew luridness, they still wanted to be frank about how men have sex — something rarely depicted on television screens. Fuller wanted to challenge hetero viewers. He remembered seeing relatively tame same-sex love in movies like The Color Purple and Prelude to a Kiss and seeing straights in the audience cringe, and he wanted to get in people’s faces, to a certain extent.

Related Stories

Your Guide to the Gods of American Gods
Neil Gaiman Thinks American Gods Is Frighteningly Relevant in Trump’s America
American Gods Is a Bizarre, Dazzling Show
That meant penises. That meant multiple positions. That meant a money shot. That also meant a little negotiation with Starz, though not as much as one might think. “I think the only thing they said was, ‘He can’t be walking towards him with a fully erect penis because then it starts to appear as pornography versus just being pornographic,’” Green remembered.

Getting a network on board was one thing, but getting two straight men to accurately and passionately portray a sex act they’ve never performed in their civilian lives was another. Abthai and Kraish both said they were nervous about the scene, but that their nerves were calmed by friendship. The pair had known each other for a decade, thanks to being at auditions together and just generally being in the acting hustle. “Omid’s a genuine, real-deal, good-hearted human being, so that made it easier,” Kraish told Vulture. Abthai concurred: “I think that friendship helped a lot with our comfort zone and the connection aspect of it.”

That said, it was still a bit of a struggle to pull it all off. The script had very little in the way of detail about what, exactly, the two men were supposed to do once the come-on dialogue was over. “We kind of winged it,” Abthai said with a laugh. “We kind of loosely talked about it, and as actors, you talk about your comfort zone and ‘This is what I’m comfortable with and within these parameters, I’ll give you 110 percent.’ Then the director would be like, ‘Action,’ and you would have four orgasms, expecting a cut after any one of those, and it just didn’t happen.”

The men — who were concealing their privates in little pouches during the shoot; any penises seen mid-coitus are CGI — began to sweat and heave. “This felt like an action movie,” Kraish said. “We wanted it to be real and we both wanted it to be about two men who are in love with one another.” For the concluding portion of the scene, when Salim and the djinn transform into bodies that look like ebony statues and enter some kind of spiritual realm, there was a bit of CGI background work (as well as CGI semen), but their darkened skin was real: They had been covered in a combination of baby oil and charcoal to achieve the look.

Many faked orgasms later, the camera stopped and the dailies were sent to Green and Fuller, the latter of whom made his “candy-cane cock” criticism. (“That was the direct quote from the editing room, by the way,” Green hastened to earnestly add.) A reshoot occurred, the positions were nailed, and the end result was what aired in Sunday’s episode: Arguably the most erotic and explicit guy-on-guy sex scene ever aired on a mainstream American television show.

“This, by far, is the actual love story of the whole show,” Kraish said. Although the central sexual relationship of the story is that of protagonists Shadow and Laura, their pairing is fraught with depression and confusion, whereas, as Kraish put it, “There’s a pureness to this about the djinn and Salim and what the djinn gives to Salim.” And unlike the novel, this scene isn’t a standalone: Everyone involved promises that there will be more of both characters before the season is through.

For his part, Fuller is just glad the whole thing ended up being as hot as it is. “It’s about a communion of sorts,” he said. “I hope there are Middle Eastern young men masturbating to that scene.”

Featured Posts

Behind The Back of The Vice-Cheney Family

The Cheneys at former Vice President Dick Cheney's swearing-in in 2005   EMILY DAVIES People ...