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The Q Agenda showcases Latino images in Queer Media

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In doing the research for this article on the success of season 2 and renewal of LATV’s Queer talk show, The Q Agenda, one quote stood out at me from a press release announcing its concept and launch in 2019. Pose actor, Johnny Sibilly, used the word, “Finalmente”. He nailed it. 

As a Gay Latino, I too feel like I have been erased from time to time and that representation in Queer media has spent decades being skewed away from POC – Person of Color stories and points of view. It feels like we are playing catch every single day. So, when Sibilly says that “finally” it happened, he’s right and it is something to celebrate and make sure we do our part to keep it going.

The Q Agenda comes into your living room every Thursday night and I like to refer to it as the Queer version of “The View”, but with way less conservatism from Meghan McCain. Weekly guests from facets of the LGBTQ+ community stop by for a fun and informative chat and you get 4 different co-host viewpoints from every slice of the rainbow – Enrique Sapene, Reality TV Personality, Comedian Lianna Carrera, Juliana Joel, Transgender Actress and Activist, Celebrity Makeup Artist Victor Ramos.

There is something magical happening for the LGBTQ+ Latino community when we can turn on our television and see people who look like us discussing current topics that directly affect us. You feel represented and that you matter, that your opinion matters and also that what drives you doesn’t exist in a vacuum. LATV has put a stake in the ground that some of us never thought would happen.

“LATV is the only platform catering to Latinos that has taken the bold step to start a conversation about issues pertaining to the LGBTQ+ Latin community. I am thankful to them for giving us a voice and a seat at the table that is truly inclusive and full of love,” Host and Co-Producer and Creator, Sapene commented.

The Q Agenda season 2  guests have taught us everything from casting hit television shows on ABC’s Freeform network to why having Gay Latino podcast hosts matters as in the case of The Homo Homie Podcast and also a taste of the delicious career life of drag super star and AJ and The Queen standout, Kay Sedia. Politics, LGBTQ+ representation in television and a visit from an original “Queer Eye” personality, Jai Rodriguez are additional examples of recent episodes.

Joining the party are top tier companies and organizations. LATV’s current roster of sales clients include Nissan, Tide, and Proctor and Gamble while McDonald’s doubled down and partnered with The Q Agenda for an integration centered around their McCafe advertising push.

On the community side, two of the panel hosts were nominated for the Blade’s Best of LA awards with Sapene picking up the award for Best Local Media Personality.

It appears that in such a short time, LATV has seen a return on investment. The Q Agenda has a greenlight for additional episodes and possibly going right into season 3 for June Pride timing. This year Los Angeles will see 50 years of PRIDE and since the yearly festival has been postponed due to the Corona virus pandemic, members of the LGBTQ+ community might be looking for additional ways to take pride this year, including enjoying images on their small screen in the comfort of their own home. Enter The Q Agenda. Finalmente.

Catch the last episode before The Q Agenda goes on hiatus, Thursday April 2, on LATV at 9pm, Check your local listings. To enjoy previous episodes please visit LATV.com. (CLICK THRU)

 

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Celebrity News

British Olympian Tom Daley knits his way to success with a new enterprise

A journey for me that started when I first picked up my knitting needles- fast forward 18 months & I’m so proud to introduce these kits

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Photo courtesy of madewithlovebytomdaley Instagram

LONDON – During the entire course of the Olympic games in Tokyo 2020 this past summer, audiences following the diving competitions were certain to see British Olympian Tom Daley quietly and intently focused in-between matches- on his knitting.

The Gold medalist diving champion only picked up his first set of knitting needles in March of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic first spread across the globe, strangling normal daily routines in its deadly grip.

Now, the 27-year-old British athlete has launched a company to encourage others to take up the hobby.

Photo courtesy of madewithlovebytomdaley Instagram

“It’s been a journey for me that started when I first picked up my knitting needles in March 2020. Fast forward 18 months and I’m so proud to introduce these kits to you all so that you can experience the joy I found learning to knit,” Daley said on his newly launched website.

“I designed these knit kits to help encourage you to pick up those needles, learn the basics, and fall in love with knitting at the same time – all whilst creating something to show off or pass on.

Ready? Pick up your needles, learn the basics and let’s have some fun!”

 

The website offers various kits for beginners, intermediate and experienced knitting and crocheting enthusiasts. One of the kits, a winter warmer hat already sold out but the collection ncludes a vest, scarves, cardigans, jumpers, stockings, and a blanket.

Kits include needles, biodegradable yarn made of Merino wool, and knitting patterns. 

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Online Culture

Critics call gay Santa ad ‘creepy’ accusing it of ‘sexualizing’ Christmas

The ad was posted to Youtube on November 22 to pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of Norway’s decision to decriminalize homosexuality 

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Courtesy of Norway’s postal service, Posten Norge

OSLO – A Norwegian Christmas ad for Norway’s postal service, Posten Norge, that depicts a gay Santa struggling to balance his Christmas day duties and a male love interest has sparked an online debate with critics saying it “sexualizes” the holiday figure. 

The ad, titled “When Harry met Santa,” shows a burgeoning romance between Santa and Harry that starts when the two meet one Christmas Eve. As leaves the house through the chimney that night, fireworks fill the night sky. 

Over the years, the two continue to see each other on Christmas Eve and fall in love. Frustrated with only getting to see his lover once a year, Harry pens a letter to Santa that says, “Dear Santa: All I want for Christmas is you.”

At the end of the nearly 4-minute ad, Santa and his lover engage in a seconds-long kiss. During their embrace, the camera pans out and a message that reads, “In 2022, Norway marks 50 years of being able to love who we want,” appears. 

The ad, posted to Youtube on November 22 to pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of Norway’s decision to decriminalize homosexuality, has garnered over 1 million views. 

“In addition to showing the flexibility of our services, we want to put it in a socially relevant setting,” Posten Norge said in a statement, according to Reuters

“Everyone should feel welcome, seen, heard, and included. This year’s Christmas ad embraces this,” it said.

Many have responded positively to the ad. 

Canadian Member of Parliament Randall Garrison called it “strong and moving,” saying the ad caused him to break his “no Xmas before December rule.”

Former U.S. ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford tweeted: “Oh man I love Scandinavia. Imagine if the US Post Office put out an ad like this.”

Others have voiced issues with the ad, calling it “creepy” and arguing that it “sexualizes” Santa.

English journalist Dawn Neesom, a columnist for the Daily Star, said as much on TalkRadio with James Max. 

“This is an advert for the Norwegian postal service celebrating 50 years of being able to love who you want. However, they have sexualized Santa,” Neesom said.

Max interrupted her, saying, “No they haven’t sexualized Santa, this is a nonsense and you are jumping on a tabloid bandwagon. If Santa came in and kissed Mrs. Claus, you wouldn’t say a word.”

Neesom pushed back and maintained her point, adding that it was different because Santa married Mrs. Claus. She also argued that Harry was cheating on his spouse, but there is no indication in the ad that he has one. 

Commentator Melanie Blake made a similar argument, tweeting: “If #Santa is gay these days then good for him but should we be seeing him getting off with anyone in Christmas adverts?! Seems a bit of an odd concept to me – if he was snogging a woman, it’s still sexualising a figure that’s mainly around for children which looks creepy to me.”

In response to such comments, the Independent published an article that said, “Really? I mean … really?! Now, I know that woke-bashing has become de rigueur, and that, after the backlashes against the #MeToo and BLM campaigns, we’re supposed to protect our precious and delicate cultural icons from the clutches of the baying woke mob – but are we really saying that the heartwarming romance between Harry and Santa is a woke step too far? Has Posten sexualised Santa? Oh, go and stuff your face with a selection box and give it a rest!”

It continued: “The truth is that Christmas and Santa have been sexualised for years already, and few people have batted an eye.”

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Theater

Broadway gathers to honor Sondheim in Times Square

They were gathered to pay homage to legendary Tony, Academy Award, and Grammy Award-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim

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Broadway gathers to honor Stephen Sondheim (Screenshot via YouTube)

NEW YORK – Light snow flurries swirled around the stars of theatre and stage of New York City’s ‘Great White Way’ as they gathered Sunday in Times Square- members of every Broadway company assembled singing in a powerful chorus “Sunday,” the powerfully emotional act one finale to “Sunday in the Park with George.”

They were gathered to pay homage to legendary Tony, Academy Award, and Grammy Award-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. That piece being performed had garnered Sondheim a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1985.

Broadway’s best were joined by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sara Bareilles, Josh Groban, Kathryn Gallagher and Lauren Patton at ‘Sunday’ Performance in Times Square.

The man who was heralded as Broadway and theater’s most revered and influential composer-lyricist of the last half of the 20th century died at 91 Friday at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut.

“This felt like church,” Bareilles told Variety after the performance on Sunday. “In his remembrance, we did what theater does best. We sang and raised our voices and came together in community.” 

Variety also noted that during the celebration, Miranda offered a sermon of sorts. Foregoing a speech, he opened Sondheim’s “Look I Made A Hat,” an annotated anthology of the composer’s lyrics, and read from a few passages before the crowd.

“Sunday” from Sunday in the Park with George memorial for Stephen Sondheim

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