Victorian-era power lesbian Anne Lister show gets season two

Suranne Jones as Anne Lister in Gentleman Jack.

It looks like we haven’t seen the last of Gentleman Jack yet and thank goodness.

BBC has just ordered a second season of the lesbian tale while the series is still airing both in the UK and in the US on HBO.

This should be enough to get a taste of the relevance of this Victorian period drama on the real-life industrialist, gender non-conforming lesbian Lister.

Set in 1832, the show created by Sally Wainwright speaks right to the hearts of older and younger generations of queer women.

‘Where the series ends is just the beginning,’ the showrunner said at the London premiere earlier this month.

And the beautifully directed eight episodes are indeed barely enough to contain larger-than-life Lister.

Known as Gentleman Jack, Lister is a life-affirming, charismatic, sex-positive heroine who paved the way for the LGBTI community. The best part is she didn’t even realize how groundbreaking her desire to share her life with a woman was.

Gentleman Jack will return

Sophie Rundle as Ann Walker.

Sophie Rundle as Ann Walker. | Photo: BBC

Led by English actress Suranne Jones in a brilliant performance, the show was praised by critics and viewers alike.

Despite her nearly superhero-like persona, it’s when the audience enters Anne’s own world through the cracks in that unapologetic appearance that Gentleman Jack speaks volumes.

This happens in the form of several fourth wall breaks. A Victorian Fleabag, Anne Lister winks at the camera, dragging the audience to 19th century’s Halifax.

‘I’m so thrilled that I will be joining Sally Wainwright on the second part of Anne’s journey,’ Jones said about the renewal.

‘We always dreamed there would be more and now we get to play it all out.’

A power lesbian

Gentleman Jack

Anne Lister won’t let any man look down on her. | Photo: BBC

Lister’s diary is a precious document she kept throughout her life which served as a main primary source for the show.

27 volumes of 300 pages each, mostly written in code as being openly LGBTI wasn’t an option at the time. Quite an ambitious endeavor to condense that in a suitable format for television, but Wainwright managed to do so in a compelling way.

Gentleman Jack mixes queer romance and business talk in an exquisite countryside microcosm à la Jane Austen. In this seemingly perfect little world, landowning issues tie in nicely with a broader conversation about gender roles, sexual consent and mental health.

Because, unlike Austen’s characters, Anne Lister is also a woman who isn’t afraid to take the reins of a coal-mining business.

She fast-walks her way through a male-dominated world she isn’t scared to rock to the core. Even if this means facing homophobic, heteronormative abuse.

Several characters gravitate around Anne, including Aunt Lister played by Gemma Jones, who reprises her role from a 2010 film.

Game of Thrones‘ Gemma Whelan plays Anne’s snappy, more traditional sister Marian. And their sassy bickering is among the finest moments on the show.

LGBTI representation

Gentleman Jack

Ann and former lover Vere Hobart (Jodhi May). | Photo: BBC

Business aside, the show focuses on the passionate buildup to Lister’s relationship with Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle). The two will go on to live together as a married couple.

‘Lister was so convinced that she wanted a relationship in the same way she looked at straight relationships,’ Jones said at the premiere.

‘Anne wanted marriage, she wanted to live with a woman, she wanted all the things that a straight relationship could bring her and find happiness in that.’

Unlike her female lovers, Lister had no intention to cave to a straight, unhappy marriage.

‘She could’ve got married, could’ve had more money, and yet she didn’t want to do that. All she wanted was to live with a woman and find happiness in 1834, it’s unbelievable,’ Jones continued.

Anne Lister’s romance with Ann evolves continuously. Started off with Anne being interested in fair-haired Ann’s fortune, their love gets real as the show unfolds until Anne proposes to her in episode three.

Introduced as a fragile creature, Ann blooms thanks to the empowering energy of her love for Anne Lister. Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of her new side in the second season.

Sex scenes

Gentleman Jack

Photo: BBC

Gentleman Jack surely doesn’t mince its same-sex love scenes.

To add to the remarkable realism of those moments, an intimacy coordinator helped choreograph the scenes. And the quality of sex is different each time.

Viewers get to see Anne tangling to past and present lovers. Tender moments, but also voracious, eager sex which dismantles the idea of women being too delicate to like it rough.

The most striking thing about their relationship, however, is the way they communicate. Anne asks for consent before initiating the sex and the two women have an open, honest conversation about intimacy in the same way they’d do it with any other topics.

‘Love needs a language to express itself,’ says Anne Lister in the third episode and that surely applies to sex as well.

Her wife-to-be Ann Walker’s sexual awakening is crucial in this regard. And, just like her, we can’t help being a bit in love with Anne Lister, too.

Gentleman Jack airs on Mondays in the US on HBO and on Sundays in the UK on BBC One.

See also

A look behind the luscious sex scenes on LGBTI tale Gentleman Jack

Britain’s ‘first modern lesbian’ Anne Lister honored with rainbow plaque

What is correctional catcalling? Queer women open up on street harassment

Author: Stefania Sarrubba

The post Victorian-era power lesbian Anne Lister show gets season two appeared first on Gay Star News.

Santa Clarita Diet actor Liv Hewson: ‘There isn’t one way to be non-binary’

Liv Hewson and Drey Barrymore in Santa Clarita Diet.

If you love zombie comedies – or rather just comedies about modern times where people incidentally enjoy the taste of human flesh – chances are you’ve watched Santa Clarita Diet.

As the Netflix show starring Drew Barrymore as undead Sheila was canceled last April, we had to say goodbye to those beloved characters, including Sheila’s daughter Abby, played by non-binary actor Liv Hewson.

Abby was set for an interesting character arc, finally being more involved in the bizarre family routine of gruesome yet hilarious murders. But all things come to an end.

Santa Clarita Diet was axed in April

Hewson, Barrymore and Timothy Oliphant in season 3 of Santa Clarita Diet.

Hewson, Barrymore and Timothy Oliphant in season 3 of Santa Clarita Diet. | Photo: Netflix

‘It’s bittersweet, obviously. I’m very grateful for the three years that we’ve spent making the show,’ Liv Hewson told GSN.

‘I’ve loved the experience of making it and I’ve loved playing Abby. It’s hard to say goodbye but that’s okay and that’s what happens sometimes.’

Now that many are campaigning to save shows such as One Day At A Time, it isn’t unlikely to see zomcom fans to create a Santa Clarita Twitterstorm.

‘It’s been really beautiful and nice to see people express how much they’ve loved the show and much it means to them. That’s rewarding for me as a performer and for all of us behind the show and it means a lot to us, but sometimes things end and that’s okay.’

Non-binary representation

Canberra-born Hewson has a few tricks up their sleeve. The 23-year-old has just finished shooting an indie movie where they play a non-binary character, a first in their career.

‘That’s been wonderful. It’s something that I’d definitely like to do more often,’ they said, despite being tightlipped about the project.

‘That’s part of the reason why we tell stories in the first place, to articulate different human experiences and explore how different things feel and look,’ they continued, opening up on the importance of representation.

‘Storytelling is about empathy in a lot of ways, so I think it’s very important to see as many different kinds of people on screen and in fiction as possible and that includes non-binary people.’

Coming out as non-binary

Hewson and Skyler Gisondo as Abby and Eric. | Photo: Netflix

Hewson identifies as gay and came out as a non-binary when they were 16. However, it took them a while to come out in professional milieux.

‘I’ve only started to talk about my gender identity publicly within the last year or so,’ they said.

‘That wasn’t for any specific reason. I wasn’t quite sure how to, I wasn’t quite ready and it’s been very gradual. Me being more expressive with my pronouns, that’s something that happens in very small steps. And that’s okay. You know, I’m figuring it out and I’m happy that it’s something I’m starting to feel more comfortable with now.’

They had advice for whoever is struggling with their gender identity.

‘Everything should be governed by what makes you comfortable and safe. If that means taking your time, experimenting for a while or telling everyone… as long as you’re prioritizing yourself and what makes you feel comfortable and recognized in a way that’s healthy, just trust yourself.’

There isn’t one way to be non-binary

Asked about pressures to conform to what non-binary should look like, Hewson made an interesting point.

‘One thing that I want to make very clear to people is that there’s not just one way non-binary people are supposed to look,’ they said.

‘When we talk about androgyny, I think that people have a very specific idea of what androgyny means and what it looks like.’

They went on to talk about how certain physical features, such as being thin or flatchested, are usually associated with androgyny.

‘People have a sort of preconception as to what being androgynous means and what non-binary people have to look like. There just isn’t one way to be non-binary. There isn’t one way to play around with gender and there’s no wrong way to look and be non-binary.’

A pre-MeToo movie and a queer Christmas romcom, finally

Liv Hewson

Photo: Courtesy of Aran Michael Management

Hewson will star in two big movies, set to premiere later in the year.

Drama film Fair And Balanced has a star-studded cast, including Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Kate McKinnon. The movie will focus on the sexual harassment scandal surrounding Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who resigned in July 2016.

‘We’re finally at a point culturally where we can talk about things like workplace harassment and workplace power dynamics frankly and without fear and shame. That’s how change happens, talking about those things. That’s why is important,’ said Hewson, who will play a fictional character.

‘Before shooting, Jay [Roach, director of the movie] sent us a documentary about the intricacies of what happened. I realized I didn’t know as much as I thought, I didn’t realize the power this man had and it was really interesting and upsetting.’

Hewson will then play gay in an upcoming Christmas queer movie, Let It Snow. The ensemble cast also features Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’s Kiernan Shipka and bisexual YouTuber Anna Akana.

‘There are several different love stories and holiday tales and I get to play a lesbian, which is great. Lesbians have Christmas too!’

See also

Nonbinary activist Jamie Windust petitions Parliament for gender-neutral passports

Netflix won’t let CBS save LGBTI-inclusive show One Day At A Time

King Princess to bring some non-binary visibility to San Diego Pride

Author: Stefania Sarrubba

The post Santa Clarita Diet actor Liv Hewson: ‘There isn’t one way to be non-binary’ appeared first on Gay Star News.

What is correctional catcalling? Queer women open up on street harassment

Two women holding hands while walking in NYC city. |

It wasn’t our first date. It wasn’t our first kiss either, but I nearly felt like it was.

We were standing awkwardly at the corner of the street waiting for the lights to go green when she leaned over to kiss me. It was quick, just a peck kiss, which I didn’t really understand as we were kissing hard in a pretty crowded movie theatre just ten minutes before that.

As I had only been with guys until that moment, I never had to think twice about ‘public displays of affection (PDA). Being afraid of kissing or even just holding hands with someone never crossed my mind. Therefore, I didn’t read much in her very wary attitude.

But that perfect albeit cautious moment was just a few seconds away from being ruined forever.

I noticed she was looking over my shoulder in shock. I didn’t realize it at first, as I was giving my back to whatever it was that turned her pretty face into a disgusted grimace.

And then I turned around to lay my grossed out eyes on a guy in his car.

He had stopped at the lights and he was wanking, aggressively making eye contact.

I can’t remember exactly what we did. Years after, I just clearly recall I had never seen her freeze like that.

I must have engaged somehow, perhaps giving him the finger, because he leaned over to shout something at us.

He rolled down his window and yelled, ‘That’s what you should like’ without taking his hand off his dick. That’s some serious multitasking there, my friend.

What is correctional catcalling?

Two women holding hands while walking.

Screengrab: YouTube

That wasn’t the first time a complete stranger masturbated in front of me, because of me.

However, it was the first time a presumably straight man did so because of my sexuality, because of the person I was with, a woman. And it only added an annoying heteronormative layer to that already pretty horrible incident.

Sure, this is an abusive behaviour not only women have to deal with. Certain straight women fetishize gay and bisexual men in LGBTI clubs with inappropriate touching often being a consequence.

Nonetheless, there is an eerily systemic element in the way straight men interact with queer women which makes it worse. I like to call it correctional catcalling, but it’s really just street sexual harassment aimed to silence our queer identities.

Lesbian and bisexual women and enbies are constantly fetishized by the male gaze. It feels like their same-sex love isn’t valid unless there’s a straight man watching, assuming that must be a show put up for his own enjoyment. An invitation.

When men realize this is never the case, that’s when the abuse comes in. When women and enbies don’t walk the straight line, some heterosexual men feel they should or can change them by invading their personal space, catcalling them, hurling abuses or flashing their penises.

As if the sight of a dick could suddenly remind women of what they’re missing out. We’re surrounded by phallic iconography, chances are even gold star lesbians know what a penis looks like.

‘Hey! This is what you should like. A penis. Specifically, my penis.’ That’s what that pathetic wanking really meant.

You just need a dick in you’

Two girls kissing

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

‘I was walking through the centre of Harrow [northwest London, England] and holding hands with my girlfriend, and a man literally crossed the street to confront us and shout at us, in our faces “you’re not lesbians… you just need a dick in you,”‘ Eve Hartley says.

‘He then continued to follow us down the road until for the next ten minutes, hurling abuse like “nasty dykes.”‘

That wasn’t the only instance in which Eve, 24, felt unsafe while out with a girl.

‘Another time, I was on a first date with a girl and we went for some drinks in a bar and had a really nice time, so we walked back to Piccadilly Circus tube station to say goodbye and go our separate ways,’ she also says.

She furthermore adds: ‘We went into the station and downstairs just before it splintered off into the different directions and we kissed goodbye. At the very moment, we kissed a group of rugby lads, around 20 of them, surrounded us, leaving us in the middle of them with no way to get out, and they started chanting “lesbians, lesbians, lesbians”. They started asking us for threesomes and this went on until we managed to push our way out of them and literally run towards our different tubes.’

‘Fair to say homophobia ruined that really great first date,’ she says.

‘The beef in your sandwich’

Two girls hugging

Photo: PxHere

‘I was on a date once a few years ago in a pub garden and some middle-aged man came over and said something about being “the beef in your sandwich”. We asked him to leave several times but he didn’t until the girl I was with slapped him,’ Stef Extence, 23, recalls an incident happened when she was 20.

‘I identify as a lesbian and I present as butch. At the time I was only recently out and new to navigating the world as a lesbian. I’d never been on a public date with another woman before, and I was terrified, to be honest. I always thought if it happened to me I would stand up for myself and say something but I just froze, and all I could manage to say was asking him to leave.’

She also says: ‘I’m an optimist and try to be positive about most things so I refuse to hide my relationship in public and I’ll always hold my girlfriend’s hand, but it’s tiring looking out for glances from men and wondering what they’re thinking or if they’ll say or do something.’

‘Is this a one-on-one thing?’

Closeups of two women kissing

Photo: Pexels

‘At the time we were 21 and 19. We went to a sports match followed by a marquee with a bar, live band, and dancefloor put on by my dad’s company,’ Pip Williams says.

Pip is 24 and they identify as non-binary but are often read as a cis woman. They are in a relationship with Ronan, who wasn’t out as a trans man at the time of the incident.

‘We were a few drinks in and we were dancing together. It was one of the first times we’d been out as a couple since I’d come out to my family and we shared an extremely chaste kiss on this dancefloor,’ they recall.

‘A man who must have been in his thirties or forties came up to us. I can still remember his exact words: “Is this a one-on-one thing, or can anyone get involved?”‘

They add: ‘ I actually felt sick and stunned. My partner, who is usually the shy one, told him where to go, but we left pretty quickly afterwards. I felt so dirty and sexualised and embarrassed! The worst parts were the age thing, he was nearly twice our age. And the fact that this man worked for the same organization as my dad. The fact of us being there meant we had to be connected to the organization in some way, yet he still felt emboldened to creep on us.’

‘We’re not a very PDA couple and for me at least, that played a factor for several years. We wouldn’t hold hands walking past groups of men in public. Even now my partner has transitioned and we are much more obviously a different gender couple, it’s hard to shake that feeling that our relationship is being voyeuristically consumed without our consent.’

Correctional catcalling is where misogyny meets homophobia

Two women walking down the street

Photo: Pexels

The implications of correctional catcalling and abuse are incredibly sad.

Do queer women exist to be sexual objects to fulfil straight men’s heteronormative fantasies? Would men dare act like that if women were with a boyfriend rather than a girlfriend? They might, but as disheartening as it sounds, it’s way less likely.

Such episodes where misogyny meets homophobia are often the norm for many queer women and non-binary femme people.

Catcalling and abuse with a disciplinary intent are a not-so-subtle form of violence to shed a light on this IDAHOBIT.

Judging by the shocked, defensive attitude some straight men adopt when confronted with the reality of correctional catcalling and street harassment, this is an uncomfortable yet much-needed conversation.

See also

Being a lesbian in a man’s world is lonely: Find your own tribe to survive

Seven things gay and lesbian people should stop telling bisexuals

A look behind the luscious sex scenes on LGBTI tale Gentleman Jack

Author: Stefania Sarrubba

The post What is correctional catcalling? Queer women open up on street harassment appeared first on Gay Star News.