Queer Geek News Roundup: March 5, 2017

  • A new teaser announces the June return of the much-loved Orphan Black for its fifth and final season.

  • The developers of the acclaimed retro-throwback video game Shovel Knight have detailed their efforts towards gender inclusivity with their game's new Body Swap mode, which allows players to chose genders and pronouns for all of the game's major characters.

  • Speaking of video games, a [new study](http://venturebeat.com/2017/02/28/76-of-game-developers-work-crunch-time-without-paid-overtime/_ indicates that game development is a surprisingly queer field... but less surprisingly, it's still overwhelmingly male:

...respondents were predominately male (72 percent), with 23 percent describing themselves as female. About 1.8 percent of respondents identified as transgender, with an additional 3 percent selecting “other.” This contrasts with a recent study from the University of California that estimates 0.6 percent of U.S. adults are transgender... Statistics estimate 2.2 percent to 3.0 percent of the U.S. population is gay, lesbian or bisexual, but these figures were higher in the DSS sample: homosexual (4 percent), bisexual (10 percent), other (7 percent).

  • The biggest queer geek news of the week came from Disney, as Bill Condon, the openly gay director of the studio's upcoming live-action Beauty and the Beast remake, revealed that the character LeFou—the dimunitive sidekick who memorably sings "Gaston"—will be overtly gay in the new film, getting a "nice, exclusively gay moment". Homophobes from Alabama to Russia are particularly aghast at this news, but it hasn't pleased queers everywhere, either. As Ryan Houlihan, writing for Teen Vogue, puts it:

It’s nice to hear the words “gay” and “Disney” used in a sentence by the director of one of the company’s films — and especially regarding the massive remake of one of their most universally adored projects, no less — but this fails in some basic ways. They made the gay character a villain, relegated him to being a sidekick, gave this explicitly queer role to a straight actor, and then muddled the issue by making him sexually “confused” – just to hedge their bets... Whether or not LeFou and Gaston get together at the end of the film, the henchman’s unrequited love for the villain is, in and of itself, not a great message. Sure, crushes on straight guys is an experience that some gay men struggle with, but it’s a dynamic that is wildly overrepresented in pop culture. Gay men are often made out as either hopelessly in love with their straight friends (the myth is often couched in a straight person’s assumption when a friend comes out to them) or preying on unsuspecting straight people. Both stereotypes need to stop.

You can likely expect that Geeks OUT will have more to talk about after the film opens.

Aaron Tabak's picture
on March 5, 2017

Comics, video games, general geekdom. Living in Philly, formerly of Portland, OR and NYC.