Time for “Stuff That I Actually Learned About On BuzzFeed.” Sorry if that sounds like a backhand slap against the website, but I’ve never really gotten a thrill for BuzzFeed when they have headlines such as “21 Ways [insert celebrity name here] Went Crazy on the Red Carpet” or “This One Shopping Trick Will Save You Tons of Money” (complete with a stock photo of someone with a look of shock on her face). But that’s not to say that BuzzFeed puts out some worthwhile work. In fact, these two LGBTQ-related articles I want to share are worth the read (even with the big font and the GIFs slowing down your browser). Let’s start with a photo exhibition that this BuzzFeed article highlighted:
The above promotional poster is for an exhibition called Transcend – Portraits of Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth, and just as the name suggests, it features transgender or genderqueer teens and pre-teens in Australia. They were photographed by Emma Leslie, a Sydney native who launched her own Sydney-based photography business after spending a few years in the Los Angeles area as a photography student and maker of short films.
Emma’s interest was piqued after reading articles about trans children and wanted to do a project that featured them in a comfortable environment. That was the genesis of Transcend, for which Emma snaps portraits of trans or genderqueer youth, each of whom wearing outfits and being shot in locations of their own choosing (since the photos are about them, of course). The photos range from an 11-year-old in a mermaid outfit standing in the water to a 17-year-old who’s also a budding photographer (and who has a lot of great words in the BuzzFeed article).
Judging from the portraits included in the article, Emma does a great job of capturing these young people in a natural, comfortable light. She hopes Transcend will open up people’s eyes about trans youth; as she also told the web site ATTN, the early response to the show has been “overwhelmingly positive” despite a few trolls giving her flack. She wonders (and I agree) if those cruel trolls have ever met a transgender person or have taken the time to learn about them. Here’s hoping that those trolls will take the time to see these children should be understood and not feared, and that they deserve to be loved and nurtured in a happy and supportive environment.
Transcend is scheduled to open this Wednesday (April 27) at Tacit Contemporary Art in the Melbourne suburb of Abbotsford and run through May 15; there is mention of a showing later this year in Sydney. Emma is not done with the subject of trans youth just yet; as she mentions in her website’s bio page, she’s currently filming a documentary short about a 6-year-old transgender and her supportive family.
Okay, time to make you do a double take:
Notice something different? Yeah, that’s the release poster for the 2014 film The Fault in Our Stars. The one on the left is the 20th Century Fox original that featured Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. The one on the right, however, is a BuzzFeed recreation, featuring Stephanie and her girlfriend, Taylor. They were two of several LGBT people who took part in a BuzzFeed project (detailed in this article from April 13) that placed the participants in 5 memorable movie posters from the past quarter century.
These recreations aren’t the first time BuzzFeed has turned the table on the unfortunate reality that most film characters are male, white, and straight (as reported here and here). In early March, BuzzFeed posted a separate LGBT-people-in-famous-movies session (complete with replacing a couple of above-the-title credits), while last summer they recreated movie posters by replacing white characters with minorities.
As in the earlier sessions, these new recreations really capture the spirit of the original posters. No, they’re not quite perfect recreations (seriously, how could they get every light and pose exact?), but they do let you consider the highlighted movies in a whole new light. I included the Fault in Our Stars recreation above as it’s my favorite among the 5 recreations. As the article notes, Stephanie and Taylor are indeed a couple, and you get the sense of their love for each other while recreating the love the original characters had for each other in the source material.
That’s not to say the other recreations miss the mark. Far from it, actually, for they also include:
- Two men posing as Lois and Clark in a recreation of a poster for Superman Returns.
- A trans male showing his great physique in recreating Magic Mike XXL.
- A trio spoofing Cher Horowitz and her friends for an all-male Clueless (they can really rock a feathered hat, boa, and leather skirt).
- And, in what’s my runner-up for favorite, two men stepping in to Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore’s positions in the steamy poster for Ghost. (Oh, was that a scintillating poster. I mean… uh, did it suddenly get hot in here?)
All in all, these and the previously featured BuzzFeed recreations are pretty awesome. And, yes, they do you make you think… hey, it really wouldn’t hurt if a major movie had LGBT actors (or at least LGBT characters) in leading roles. Yeah, how about it, Hollywood?