Category Archives: Queer Creations

Queer-Representation from Across the Pond: BBC’s Sherlock.

There is a history of Queer-representation on Western airwaves, and it has evolved as the years have rolled by. Recently though the community is getting a good deal of support from an unlikely source: BBC’s Sherlock – a modern reimagining of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series – comes off as more Queer-friendly that you would imagine upon first watching. Though the series isn’t based on relationship drama and exploring sexuality, the message is positive nonetheless.

Sherlock Holmes (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), is written and played as asexual. True to Doyle’s oringal, Sherlock seems to be indifferent to romantic and sexual entanglements. Behold a breath of fresh air; in nearly every other modern adaption of the tale, Holmes has found himself entangled (usually with Irene Alder) so it’s nice to see a series where Doyle’s characterization is respected and run with.

Shelock’s asexuality isn’t just in my head or brushed aside by the writers in favor of crime fighting and mysteries. At one point in the first season, Sherlock says over dinner with John Watson that he considers himself “married to his work,” as well as that when it comes to relationships they “aren’t his area.” In the unaired pilot, the statement was furthered by the declaration that “everything else is transport,” referring to the fact that he believes his body as merely support for his brain. The trend continues when Sherlock spurns John’s attempts at dating a woman named Sarah as “Dull. Predictable. Boring”; instead focusing all his attention on solving the cases he loves.

Upon further examination, he seems to spurn romantic attraction in general. A secondary character, Molly Hooper, has something of a schoolgirl crush on Holmes and thus lets him get away with murder at her workplace (St Bartholomew’s Hospital’s mortuary): flogging fresh cadavers with a riding crop, stealing body parts to help solve his cases or complete his experiments, as well as using technology he otherwise wouldn’t have access to. He, on the other hand, deliberately misunderstands when Molly asks him out for coffee (as asking for a coffee order) and puts her under his microscope, as it were, by pointing out her flaws and motivations in a dick-ish manner, often in front of other people for maximum effect.

However, in the second season episode “A Scandal in Belgravia,” it is proven that Sherlock is not completely immune to attraction, asexual or not. This is the episode where Irene Alder (in this version a wealthy dominatrix) is introduced, and it is quickly apparent that Sherlock is fascinated with The Woman (the title that he bestows on her – as in she’s the only woman that stands out, the one person he things of when the word “woman” comes up in conversation – as he did in Doyle’s work). But it is an intellectual attraction – she bests him, plays him like a violin, gets him to commit an act of treason, and he still rescues her from her own execution thousands of miles from London when it would have been safer and easier for her to die. The attraction, however, is never consummated, and it is said that Alder doesn’t flirt with Sherlock, so much as at him, as he never responds.

While relationships, sexual or otherwise, are not the focal point of Sherlock, they do feature in it. John dates Sarah in the first season, and one episode is centred on Sherlock crashing their date. John goes on to date three more women off-screen, with the last of which dumping him in the second season premier, affecting his behaviour for the rest of the episode. Molly, the woman who was interested in Sherlock, briefly dated Jim, a man from her work in an attempt to get over Sherlock. Jim turned out to be a violent psychopath named Moriarty, that is to say, Sherlock’s infamous nemesis, but the fact remains that the relationship happened. Greg Lestrade, Sherlock’s ally from the police department, has an ex-wife that he’s trying to get back on friendly terms with, and Lestrade’s minions are shown to be having a sexual relationship. Sherlock, on the other hand, has never hinted through action, word or subtext, to have been involved with anyone. He keeps himself separate from that aspect.

Sherlock is not a show based around sexuality or finding yourself, coming out or making a statement, its two men being awesome and solving crimes, tearing round London and laughing like loons. It’s about the growing, platonic relationship between a modern-era Holmes and Watson. But it gets at an interesting, rarely-touched on aspect of the Queer community. And that’s worth a look, in my books.

–Jenna Gordon, from Peterborough

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Queerism: The OFFICIAL Definition

What’s up, Queer Ottawa?

Naming is a creative endeavour, and often the best names come from the blending of multiple concepts into a cohesive whole. However, the exact mental process is something that only the namer themselves knows. So, something I’ve had a lot of questions about regarding the blog is the title. Namely, how did Queerism come about as a name, and what exactly does it mean? Well, I’ve finally gotten my act together for long enough to answer that question.

Queerism was honestly not my idea or my first choice. I sat down with PTS’s executive director, Claudia Van Den Heuvel, and the executive assistant, Kayla Miller, in Claudia’s office to discuss the name of the project. We ended up throwing our four best options on a piece of paper and conducting a mini focus group. Claudia’s name of choice, Queerism, was unanimously preferred. I blame it on the fact that I was the only person in the office wearing a tie. Other tie-wearers would have appreciated the sleek professionalism in my name. My objections aside, I eventually did the smart thing—shut the hell up and did what my boss told me to. So the name was Queerism.

My initial reaction to the word was the same as many of yours: what does it even mean? I couldn’t just leave a giant loose end like having a name that doesn’t mean anything. That would be entirely unprofessional, which is clearly not how I want to operate… well, anything. Ever. So I set upon hashing out a definition.

The struggle was finding out where to start. This was the name for a major component of PTS’s web presence, an all important part of any organization’s public image. Or at least I like to think it’s important. The point being, I needed somewhere to start, and there were way too many options. There are so many different areas of queer life, so many different avenues and side streets of queer culture to explore. How could I come up with a definition that encompasses everything that is intrinsically queer?

Then it hit me like a linebacker blitzing up the middle.

What about a definition that, rather than highlighting the actual content, highlights its queerness? Something that describes those little things that we do that makes the rest of the world do a double-take. That’s who this blog is for: every gay man who drops a “that’s what he said” joke; every genderqueer person who has to explain “ze” or “they” as a pronoun; every bi or pan teenager who’s been told it’s just a phase. This blog is for you, and I want the name of this blog to describe all the little things that each of us go through on a daily basis.

So I came up with this:

Queerism: The little intricacies of life, history and social interaction that differentiate queer people from the rest of heterosexual, cisgendered/sexual society.

I think it’s the perfect definition to bring us all together and set us apart from everyone else. As much as we’d like to fit in sometimes, I think it’s even more important to be proud. It’s my little way of making the blog say “we’re here, we’re queer, fucking deal with it.”

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Yours entirely,

–Riley Evans, head writer/moderator of Queerism

What up, Ottawa?

Ottawa is the capital of Canada, one of the most diverse and tolerant countries in the world, and the city itself goes a long way in reflecting the country over which it governs. This is also evident in the makeup of Ottawa’s queer community—there are people in this city of every conceivable category of gender, sex, and sexual orientation, as well as those who reject labels and categories altogether. These people all come together to form a queer mosaic that is an integral factor in making Ottawa the city that it is today.

That’s why we’re here today.

We are PTS – A Centre for Ottawa’s Queer Community. Our mission: As a centre for the celebration of sexual orientation and gender diversity, PTS serves a vibrant and diverse community through support, education and advocacy services. We strive in our work to empower all Queer people in greater Ottawa and encourage their well-being and prosperity.We want to keep you up to date on all the cool things happening in Ottawa’s queer scene, as well as call out anyone who is doing the community a disservice. We here at PTS have a zero-tolerance policy for bullshit, and if anything is happening that will affect queer people in the Ottawa area, we’re here to let you know about it.

Not to mention random hilarity and occasional book reviews.

We want you, the readers, to get involved too. User-generated content is always welcome. If it’s queer-related and Ottawa related, our fabulous copy-editors will consider it. Submissions, along with questions, comments, concerns and complaints, can all be directed to our e-mail address (queerism@ptsottawa.org) our Facebook (facebook.com/PTSOttawa) and our brand new Twitter hashtag (#queerismOtt). We highly encourage you to get involved, because the more eyes and ears that we have in the city, the more effective this blog will be.

–Riley Evans, head writer/moderator of Queerism

 

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