Lost Girls Transgender Fail

The cast from season two

The following post comes to us from the blog “Geeky Girls Rule” in which a member rightly criticizes the show’s horrid transphobic treatment.

By: Danielle Ni Dhighe

The Canadian supernatural drama Lost Girl, which recently returned for a third season on Showcase in Canada and Syfy in the US, has consistently had positive portrayals of bisexual and lesbian cis (meaning non-trans) women. Its main character, Bo, is a bisexual succubus who is part of a wider community of supernatural beings known as Fae, and the show has handled her sexual and romantic relationships with both men and women very well, even groundbreaking at times.

However, the first episode of the third season, “Caged Fae,” demonstrates that there’s a difference between being cis women-friendly and trans women-friendly, with a story that was the most blatantly transphobic one I’ve seen on television recently.

The episode, written by showrunner Emily Andras, revolves around Bo going undercover in a Fae women’s prison run by Amazons to investigate the disappearance of her female lover’s mentor, who was the prison doctor. The Amazon warden is eventually revealed to be male-bodied but female-identified, half-Lidérc (a being from Hungarian folklore) and half-Amazon, and to have been impregnating prisoners without their consent (i.e. raping them). When the warden’s physical status is revealed, she’s sexually assaulted (violently groping someone’s genitals is sexual assault) and then dragged off by an angry mob of Amazons to face retribution, and the warden is subsequently referred to by male pronouns.

After the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation criticized the episode’s portrayal of a trans woman, Lost Girl‘s producers issued a weak apology saying they were sorry for any offense but they were simply following the established mythology of the Lidérc and the character shouldn’t be read as a trans woman (despite her dialogue in episode clearly demonstrating her to be female-identified–”I’m one of you!” she screams to the Amazons as they drag her away). The thing is, the three varieties of Lidérc in Hungarian folklore aren’t very similar to what we see in the episode, especially not the idea that they go around raping women to impregnate them.

Some have tried to defend the characterization by arguing that the “I’m one of you!” line merely shows that the warden identifies with the Amazonian half of her heritage, but since Amazons are all women, that actually supports reading the character as male-born but female-identified, i.e. as a trans woman.

Is there anything out there similar to the episode’s transphobic narrative? Why, yes, there is. So-called “radical feminism,” a small feminist tendency noted for its transphobia, routinely claims that trans women are men who want to disguise themselves as women in order to gain access to women’s spaces and rape women. Whether this narrative similarity was deliberate or merely a coincidence born from ignorance, it’s still problematic.

Lost Girl has been a show I’ve loved since the first episode. I love the characters, the mythology, Bo’s romantic entanglements, Kenzi’s adorableness, and the positive portrayal of bisexuality (as a bisexual, I appreciate that). When this episode was over, I felt numb, like I had just been emotionally assaulted. That’s not how I want to feel when I sit down for an hour’s entertainment with a favorite television show, but as a trans woman, that’s how it made me feel.

I’ll continue to watch Lost Girl despite this negative episode. Hopefully, the criticism generated will give the showrunner and other producers food for thought, and we will see positive representations of trans people in the future. A fantasy show like this has opportunities for inclusivity, and subverting the dominant paradigms of gender and sexuality, that other shows don’t. I hope the people who make Lost Girl learn from this and accept that challenge.

New Kasama Site

“Walk the revolutionary road with us”

On the 21st of January a new website was launched by comrades at the Kasama Project. The new site is a radical departure from their old format. Incorporating more modern web-layouts as well as integrating a social-networking aspect (which has been described as Facebook for communists) the new site, while not without some significant launch problems, is shaping up to be a powerful new medium.

Logging on early in the morning I found the site had been redesigned from the ground up. In the place of the WordPress blog format was a sleeker re-work; gone were the stilted outlines of conventional blogging and in were a format more akin to that of a newspaper. Easy to navigate and simply to browse, I quickly found my way to the social aspect of the site.

Dubbed Kasama Social, or Kasama Threads, this dynamic of the site was the bit which has been described as “Facebook for Communists”. It is here that participants could make a profile, upload an avatar, and start sharing just as if they were on Facebook proper. Indeed the atmosphere, the looks and aesthetics, are so similar that one might think the Kasama Admins took Facebook and made it better, more radical.

Registering a profile for use on this social site was easy. Taking no more than a few minutes of one’s time I had a shiny new profile in moments. From here it was but moments more where I had uploaded my own in-site blog entry. This feature, called Open Threads, is an open blogging platform. Members can publish entries and comment much in the same way Facebook’s “Notes” feature works. Designed as a source for in-depth discussion Kasama Threads operates as so: members upload blog entries and the most detailed and mature entries win a spot on the “main” website. In addition to this there is also a “Groups” feature which allows members to create discussion groups which will assist the movement in re-conceiving. Finishing off the re-design with an in-built chat feature, the new site has more communicative properties than a smart-phone. One can easily be overwhelmed.

Nevertheless, after I had slated my momentary urge to add a bunch of friends and respond to various comments, I turned my attention towards the actual mechanics of the site proper, namely, the articles.

While the layout is fine enough and the major categories are there (world events, liberation, theory, etc) once one clicks on the tab of interests the loaded screen is simply that of endlessly scrolling articles. It is here that I have my only true compliant. I believe that a more finely tuned search system could be created.

This is what I mean: say you want to find out more about Queer Liberation. Fine enough, simply go to the “Topics” tab, go to “Liberation” and select “Feminism and Sexuality”. At this point the system breaks down. You are taken to a list of articles which have even remotely to do with the topic you selected. There is no break-down or sub-topics. The site demands that you simply scroll until you find an article with a title that might be of interest to what you are looking for.

I maintain that this can be steam pressed into a much more compact, helpful, system. By this I propose that instead of the articles being strewn around haphazardly everything can be sub-divided into sections much like how on the original site ”Reading Clusters” were used to educate newcomers on some basic Kasama theory.

In the same way articles in the old Reading Clusters had simply their title in-fixed with a link to the article itself, I am thinking such can be done for each section’s results. This would require some more administrative responsibilities, admittedly, but in the least I think that if this approach wasn’t adopted than a brief “Recommended Reading List”, composing of relevant Kasama articles, before the endless scrolling would be greatly beneficial to guests and members alike.

Other than this complaint, and the expected host of bugs and technical details which are implied with the launching of any major interactive site, the new Kasama site is a promising accomplishment. More members are needed to truly make it a powerful tool and all the features must work properly, but with some refining and support, the new Kasama experience is one not to be missed.

Alliance for the Common Good

The organizations pose for a picture as Native People speak.

Within our highly stratified society there exists two trends inside the activist movement: those who advocate for revolution and those who advocate for reform. Sad to say that despite over a decade of Imperialist war, corporate profiteering and increasing levels of income disparities, the latter trend is still predominant. This is not surprising, of course. It takes time for any kind of alternative to present itself and develop.

On the eighth of January the beginning of a possible alternative, the fetus, took shape in the form of the Alliance for the Common Good. Highly reformist and class collaborationist, the alliance was a self-described united front. Environmental, anti-war,  pro-youth, pro-queer and more were represented. The goal of the alliance is to promote an agenda which benefits “one and all” or, as otherwise stated, the common good.

Coordinating with the indigenous population of Maine the organizers of the rally stood in solidarity with the Natives and the “Idle No More” movement; locales from the Penobscot Tribe spoke and sang native songs before and after speakers bellowed slogans and brief speeches against the East-West Highway.

The chosen location for the first alliance rally was in the city of Augusta. Outdoor chanting and co-mingling outside of the state house soon developed into rekindling of friendships from the progressive past. I took part as well. Chatting with some Occupy colleagues, that encased a discussion on my facial fair and organic food preparation,   the atmosphere was warm and friendly. After chatting I wandered some to meet other activist friends and while doing so was ensconced by a reporter from the Free Press. After a brief interview as to why I was there, where I represented the Kasama Project, I listened to the first of many speeches prior to moving indoors.

Once indoors, and done with the lengthy security procedure, I snacked on a doughnut and waited for all the participants to file in. In short order (15 or so minutes) everyone was gathered. Songs began and the natives spoke. Hearing their wonderful chanting was what I considered the highlight of the day.

While there were other activities before my leaving, such as petitioning the newly returned legislators on various progressive causes, the kind woman who I relied on for transportation needed to leave early, so I couldn’t see how that turned out. Yet through it all the event was an auspicious start to what could be a bright future for progressive, and hopefully radical, activism.

Some thoughts from queer comrades in Nepal on the history of their struggle for acceptance.


Ben Peterson, of Australia, is currently traveling in Nepal,  writing reports of what he learns about the revolutionary movement and the people of Nepal on his blog, Lal Salam – Revolution in the Himalayas. We will be sharing some of his reports. Posting them on Kasama does not mean we endorse his analysis. We do applaud the revolutionary enthusiasm that shines through his decision to dive right into Nepal’s revolutionary turmoil![Kasama has made minor editorial changes for clarity — mainly fixing typos and few missing words.]

Interview with Subash Pokharel, coordinator of the Blue Diamond Society

[March 17, 2009] Interview with Subash Pokharel, co-ordinator of the Blue Diamond Society conducted by Ben Peterson  Lal Salam blog interviewed Subash Pokharel of the Blue Diamond Society last week. The Blue Diamond Society is the largest LGBTI (lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender and intergender people- I think that’s the correct terminology- apologies…

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An older story which reveals some of the struggles comrades in Nepal face in regards to sexuality…


This article originally appeared on Counterpunch, April 23, 2007

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), leading what many have considered the most advanced Maoist movement in the world for the last decade, has recently been accused of attacks on gay people and of indulging in anti-gay rhetoric. Unfortunately the reports seem valid. In January a senior party leader, Dev Gurung, now Minister of Local Development in Nepal’s transitional government, was quoted in the press as stating: “Under Soviet rule and when China was still very much a communist state, there were no homosexuals in the Soviet Union or China. Now [that] they are moving towards capitalism, homosexuals may have arisen there as well. So homosexuality is a product of capitalism. Under socialism this kind of problem does not exist.”

The statement seems quite un-Maoist in its description of any twentieth-century socialist experiment as truly “communist.” Mao broke from Stalin…

View original post 1,224 more words

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