Commemorate Pride with these five multimedia suggestions


Maida Suta

June is Pride month, honor the month with these recommendations.

E.W. Park, Reporter

Queerness is beyond just pride — it’s happy, messy and above all else just living life. There’s many examples of queerness in media, but they’re not all great. Most of them, especially from large companies, are not. 

With June being Pride Month queerness is more visible than ever. Part of this visibility though, is sanitized to the point of being weak — think Target rainbow shirts or Disney placing a few rainbows on its products. Commemorate Pride Month in all its highs and lows with queer media. 

“Our Flag Means Death,” Season One

T.V. show “Our Flag Means Death” confirms that yes, pirates are very gay. 

The show focuses on Stede Bonnet, a dysfunctional pirate captain with an equally incompetent crew. The crew ends up meeting Edward Teach (Taika Waititi) — better known as the pirate Blackbeard.

There is a slowly developing romantic relationship between Bonnet and Teach along with plenty of other queer representation on the show. A spectrum of queerness is shown on “Our Flag Means Death,” ranging from gay to gender queer characters, talking about their experiences and portraying queer relationships on the show. 

There are three confirmed queer relationships in the first season, other queer characters, along with themes and plotlines that easily connect to the queer experience. Some of the storylines and moments connect directly, but others are more implied. 

This show isn’t a teenager romance, it isn’t focusing on discovery and coming out, but rather older queer people and their experiences. While there’s coming out and discovery, it’s from people who’ve already had full lives and experiences before. As someone who’s still a teenager, these experiences don’t completely resonate, but it’s nice seeing older queer people represented just living life, and being bad pirates too. The first season of the 10 episode show is available on HBO Max, and a second season was recently announced in early June.

“Our Bodies & Other Fine Machines” or “Beasts at Every Threshold” by Natalie Wee 

I love women. I mean in the way that one/chooses her own murder over men.” Natalie Wee writes in her poetry book, “Our Bodies & Other Fine Machines.”The book reflects her life and identity as a queer, Asian-Canadian immigrant along with her mental health. While it is a poetry book, the content is easy to read and understandable even for people not deeply interested in poetry.

It’s an honest, very intimate, and sometimes even harsh look into Wee and put in informal terms “hits like a truck.” With mental health being a strong focus on the book content warning, it has multiple poems dealing with mental health issues, including depression and suicide.

However, this book is hard to find, with the second edition printing being a limited run, and the first edition out of print. 

However, as an alternative, Wee has also published “Beasts at Every Threshold” earlier this year with very similar themes that is available at most major booksellers, including Barnes & Noble. 

“Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe 

“Gender Queer: A Memoir” is a graphic novel that’s an exploration of author Maia Kobabe’s gender identity, sexuality and coming of age. It’s honest to the point of being cathartic and looks at Kobabe’s life, including the messy moments. 

The book has fallen into controversy, being called “one of the most banned books in the US” by NBC, typically for its sexual content. However, part of the reason this book is banned is that it’s a very clearly queer story. There’s some merit to the book not being appropriate to teenage students. Not all of it is in good faith — some of it’s just homophobia.

The sexual content isn’t designed to be provocative, and it’s really up to the specific teenager if they’re willing and comfortable reading sexual content and often, the internet is home to much worse.

As someone who read this when they were 15 and starting to figure out their queer identity, this book served as a very good learning experience. Looking back as someone who’s figured more out, it has moments eerily similar to my own experiences. If I wanted to explain some of the minutia of my queerness to someone, giving them this book is a way I would do it. 

“This Hell” by Rina Sawayama 

“This Hell” makes a playful song out of homophobia, specifically the conservative Christian talking point that all queer people are, in the song’s words, “going to hell.”

Inspired by Shania Twain and incorporating electronic guitar and electronic pop, this song is very catchy and makes the idea of being eternally damned a proud, and happy statement.

While the song covers other issues with lines referring to media’s negative obsession with celebrities such as Britney Spears and Lady Diana, the key message of the song is directed at queer audiences. In the recently released music video for the song, it features Sawayama getting married, not in a traditional heterosexual pairing,but in a polyamorous relationship. In the video, Sawayama’s spouses are a man and a women, reflecting that the singer is pansexual.

Rowan Ellis

Rowan Ellis is a lesbian content creator who takes a wide look across media on multiple platforms, where she covers movie reviews, T.V. show media analyses and more with a focus on queerness. Her Youtube content ranges from serious video essays to lighter content such as “29 movie characters who should have been gay” and “exausted homosexual reacts to destiel.”

Her video essays go into complex topics, such as queerbaiting and the impact representation has on people. However, she typically covers the basic terms necessary in these videos, making them easily digestible even for people unfamiliar with them. She’s covered some content that’s on this list, such as “Our Flag Means Death: Analysing ‘The Gay Pirate Show.’”