Tag: LGBT

Written in the Stars

She stood on the shore and watched a star fall down from the heavens towards her. The closer it came, the smaller it got. It burnt brighter as it entered her atmosphere and then dimmed. She almost lost track of it altogether until she heard the thud of it landing in a sand dune behind her. She turned and ran to find it, just a small, flat piece of rock that had once been a star.

She picked it up. It was almost too hot to hold. She turned it over in her hand and couldn’t believe what she saw. There, etched in the stone in shimmering silver were the words: hello. Is there anyone out there as lonely as me?

The words made her heart hurt. She turned the stone over and pulled out a black marker pen from her pocket.

Yes. She wrote back and threw it as hard as she could in to the heavens. It vanished. She stood alone for a while feeling how small she was in this big and empty universe.

The next night she watched as another star fell towards her. This one was much bigger and it said I have thrown my words to the universe for centuries and now it has thrown me back a friend. Who are you?

And so they began to write to each other. The girl on the shore and the girl in the stars had a conversation that spanned the cosmos. It travelled at lightspeeds through moonbeams. It dove in to black holes and bounced across galaxies. The universe was still big and they were still small, but no longer alone. They had fallen in love in the starlight.

One night, without warning, the girl in the stars stopped replying. The girl on the shore waited. For decades she threw words at the stars who stayed silent. Her hair turned grey, her hands hurt when she moved them but still she wrote. Still she waited.

I miss you, she wrote with a shaley hand and raised her arm to throw it. But then in the distance she saw something. At first she thought it was her old eyes failing her, but as she squinted at the sky she saw the light of a falling star. When it entered her atmosphere it did not dim. It grew brighter and brighter until she almost couldn’t bare to look. One last flash and then there in the sand in front of her was a beautiful woman made of stardust.

“My love,” she smiled at the old woman on the shore. “You are so beautiful.”

The old woman blushed. “I am old,” she said.

“Your age is nothing compared to the universe. Everything that is anything no once burned in the heart of a star. Your outer shell does not matter. Not when we are all made of stardust.”

Via Daily Prompt: Blush

Busking

Every day on his way to work James would pass a guy in the underground station playing a saxophone with his eyes closed. There were always three things that stood out to him- how good it sounded, how the music reminded him of a jazz band he’d been in at Uni and how very beautiful he looked when he played.

James would sit behind his desk and look at numbers and data and he would hum to himself. The sax player’s tune was improvised, but some version of it always ended up lodged in his head. He would sit at meetings and talk about sales targets, but his mind would be on jazz.

 This was a routine he fell in to. 
And it was a routine that sucked the life out of him. 
One grey and dreary Tuesday he stood in front of the mirror, trying to put on a tie but finding it impossible to move his hands. It was 07.36. He had three minutes before he had to leave his house if he wanted to get to the Tube station for work. He started to reach for his briefcase, but changed his mind and picked up something much larger in stead. 
That day, commuters saw not only their usual sax player but a man in a suit and no tie next to him, plucking and twirling and spinning a double bass. 
When the improvised collaboration was over the sax player turned to James and, with a smile, said, “Coffee?”

 

via Daily Prompt: Collaboration

Neutral

You were either pink or you were blue. Those were the only options, but could you even call them that when there was no manner of choice involved at all?

Ash was born a blue. There were certain things blues could do and certain things they couldn’t because those things were reserved for pinks. Ash always wondered why and wanted to try them out. How did they know a pink couldn’t do what a blue could and vice versa if nobody had tried?

One day it all got a little too much and Ash took all of the blue in the house and mixed it with pink. Ash found that the result was a pastel, neutral lilac and they felt much more at home.

Daily Prompt: Pink

Choices

The lifestyle you have chosen does not not exist in the republic. 

He heard those words as he was arrested. He heard them as he was locked away without trial. He heard them over and over again, although he did not choose to.

He did not choose the sleep deprivation. He did not choose the beatings. He did not choose the searing electric shocks that were passed through his brain.

The lifestyle you have chosen does not not exist in the republic.

He lay in pain and despair. Starved of more than food, he knew he would only get out if changed, but he did not know how. The way he loved Anton did not feel like a choice.  

He wondered where his family were. If the republic knew  how men like him were being treated.  They did. They chose not to listen. 

The lifestyle you have chosen does not not exist in the republic.

So neither do yo.

via Daily Prompt: Lifestyle

Opaque: The Unsculptable Man

The Glassmaker made figurines of everyone he met. Tiny, delicate statues that were so realistic many people swore that they had seen theirs move, or heard them whisper when their back was turned. There were some people who secretly felt that the figurine was a clearer image of the person they truly were than they were themselves.

Then the Glassmaker met a man he could not sculpt. He was the most charming and interesting man the Glassmaker had ever encountered. Try as he might, he could not persuade the glass to take his form. It couldn’t hold a shape so enchanting, or form a face so handsome. But most troublesome part of all was that, no matter what he did, the glass was opaque. This never happened. He could usually see so clearly.

It was on his twelfth attempt that the Glassmaker realised the problem. It was not the glass. Or the man. It was his own heart that was obscuring his vision, clouding the glass.

via Daily Prompt: Opaque

Unboxing

Everything was spotless and white. The light, cream carpet on the floor was immaculate and the white table surfaces didn’t have so much as a crumb or a ring of condensation from drinks without coasters. The walls were white and blank- no pictures, no photographs, no art. It could have been a show home.

Annaliese had been surprised to be invited for dinner, Jane was not known for mixing with anyone from the office outside of work. Jane was even more surprised by the invite, it had slipped out of her mouth during a coffee break. She had wanted to take it back, but the invite had been spoken and accepted and now here they were- standing in her bright, white hallway.

Annaliese had seen the kitchen, the livingroom, the bathroom and even the bedroom. All of them were white and empty of anything that wasn’t purely functional. The only room she hadn’t seen was the one hidden behind a door marked ‘Life’. Before Jane could stop her, she had opened it. The room was cluttered with many boxes of different shapes and sizes, all stacked up against one another.

She had two boxes of about equal size labelled ‘Likes’ and ‘Dislikes’. ‘Family’ was wooden and solid. Jane found this one easy to organise- her mum, dad, siblings, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles all fitted well inside this this box.

A box labelled ‘Friend’ was pretty sturdy too, but sometimes things would fade from it and others would appear unexpectedly.

There was another box labelled ‘Colleague’, Annaliese saw herself in there and noticed with a smile that she was beginning to spill out in to it’s neighbouring box- ‘Friend.’

There was a box labelled ‘Lover’ that was almost in tatters. Jane knew it couldn’t hold anything for more than a few weeks.

In the corner was a large, closed box that was bursting  at the seams. It was dusty and covered in a few cobwebs. At some point, someone had moved it in here, labelled it ‘Jane?’ and ignored it. Annaliese walked over to it and dusted it off. Jane watched apprehensively as she began to unbox things. She handled everything inside with such care that in just one evening Annaliese took up space in the ‘Colleague’, the ‘Friend’ and the ‘Lover’ box. The boxes broke. Became one.

When she was done she took a pair of scissors and cut Jane’s name from the front of the box that had been ignored for so long. She took it and stuck it over the word ‘Life’ on the door. The door stayed open. Colour and comfort and warmth spread in to the house.

They sat back to drink tea without coasters and Jane wondered if one day she and Annaliese could start a ‘Family’ box of their own.

via Daily Prompt: Label

Film Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

The 2017 remake of Disney’s animated 1991 Beauty and the Beast- was it worth it? Is it different? How does that LGBT plot-line affect the story?

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Recently Disney have been putting a lot of focus on live-action remakes of their animated classics and when it comes to films like Beauty and the Beast I can understand why. Live-action mixed with modern animation and CGI adds a level of magical realism to these classic tales that were not possible before.

In terms of how it compared to the the original, the level of detail that went in to the props, set, costume was perfect. It was like seeing the classic we all loved step out in to the real world. Emma Watson was absolutely stunning as Belle, Dan Stevens was a suitably misunderstood Beast and Luke Evans did a great job of playing Gaston, a terrifyingly realistic misogynist. Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson did not disappoint in their roles as the Beast’s cursed staff. The music was gorgeous- from the underlying score to the musical numbers we all know and love. My only complaint is that Ewan McGregor could have sung more (but that is a complaint I have about every film Ewan McGregor is in).

The plot did not differ too much from the original either- with many lines lifted almost directly from the original script. Belle’s character is strong- her rejection of Gaston’s advances and the patriarchal norms of the society around her is refreshing for a Disney Princess. The moment where Belle takes her father’s place in the Beast’s castle appropriately frames her as a brave girl making a sacrifice and not a damsel in distress. She shows much greater strength of character than her male counterpart (who is, let’s face it, the most emo of all the Disney Princes).

There were two ‘groundbreaking’ elements of this film that should not have been regarded as groundbreaking. The first one, is that this is the first major live-action Disney feature film to show an interracial kiss. The first interracial kiss on television was aired in 1968, it is absurd that Disney is 49 years behind in this.

The second, and far more controversial was the announcement that this would be the first Disney film to feature an openly gay character. I thought that Gaston’s side-kick LeFou was played well by Josh Gad and he and Luke Evans made an excellent double-act. I did not, however, think that the plot-line was as explicit as the marketing for the film made it out to be. Because of the controversy around it I kept waiting for it to become more than a hint- a conversation, a kiss, an explicitly stated declaration of love, but that never came. In stead, we got one small shot of LeFou dancing with another man at the end. I feel like, if Disney had not announced that LeFou was openly gay I would have left the cinema quietly questioning this interpretation of LeFou’s sexuality and the way that this was subtly explored. I would not, however, have left the cinema thinking ‘Yes, that character was 100% openly and explicitly gay’. If you have to announce a character’s sexuality before the release of a film in order for anyone to really notice it then it is not explicit.

Another reason that this was controversial was that LeFou is really just a gay side-kick pining after their straight, villainous friend. There are many more compelling and interesting suggestions for more major Disney characters who could be LGBTQ+ floating around the internet- Hades, Ursula, Genie, Elsa and Timone to name a few. For Disney to make any of these characters a part of the LGBTQ+ community would be huge, showing that LGBTQ+ characters can be heros, villians, side-kicks and everything in between and are as multi-faceted as they seem to think straight people are.

Disney made a strong statement in the press releases that announced LeFou’s sexuality but did not seem to follow through in the film. I can only hope they are testing the waters for more genuinely explicit gay characters coming soon. Because if you’re not going to update your fairytales to show the social advancements we have made as well as the advancements of CGI then are you really ‘updating it’? Would that money, cast and talent not be better spend on new originals?

And, let’s face it, if you were going to ever so slightly change Beauty and the Beast in the name of representation, the far more obvious choice would be to let Lumiere and Cogsworth stop bickering and release their obvious sexual tension. Are Disney more likely to show a kiss between two men, or between a clock and a candlestick? Sadly, we’ll never know.

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