Dear Marvel, stop telling us about LGBT+ characters, show us.

Dear Marvel

I have a bone to pick with your movie studio.



With Thor: Ragnarok, we’re roughly 17 movies into Marvel Studios’s historic cinematic universe, and we’re set to get a culmination of this universe building with the arrival of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 not long thereafter.

Marvel Studios has given us exciting adaptations of it’s properties. This year, they’ve delivered with Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2, Spiderman Homecoming, and recently Thor: Ragnarok.

While the movies have been unending fun, something which isn’t necessarily the best in the long term, they have been methodical at building the cinematic universe, but it has ultimately paid off for the studio.

I do know the studio has had their three phase plan, and stuck to it with an impressive level of devotion.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) have given us a vast array of movies, choosing to go with quality over quantity, with 2017 being the first year they upped their output from two movies a year to three.

The thorough process, despite its successes, has not come without its failures – namely that the MCU has been slow on incorporating diverse voices and actors into it’s world.

While Marvel had a bigger head start over DC, it was Wonder Woman who made it to screen as the first female led superhero movie – overlooking Elektra and Catwoman – going on to become the top origin story of all time.


Marvel has its first female lead in Ant-Man and The Wasp, in 2018 before following that up with Captain Marvel, who will be the studio’s first solo female heroine in 2019.

The first black female lead character came with Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, and while her introduction was badass, it’s a little frustrating that it came now only.

The Marvel stable however, are forgiven for this slow delivery because they are in fact blessing us with a predominantly black cast in Black Panther – which is the first movie with a predominantly black cast to have a big action superhero blockbuster budget.


(The Blade trilogy did exist, but Wesley Snipes was always surrounded by predominantly white actors)

Black Panther is a pretty big deal because there will be disenfranchised and disillusioned young black boys and girls, who will get to see themselves represented on screens as heroes, and while to some this may seem trivial, it’s actually a huge deal.

Representation matters. Seeing yourself represented in the various media you consume matters.

Which is why as a member of the LGBT+ community, it’s frustrating when in interviews directors speaking about queers characters existing in the MCU but not showing that, or saying characters are bisexual, but having them acknowledge that on screen.

James Gunn, director of both Guardians of the Galaxy films was asked about this, in a previous interview, and then later again clarified his remarks saying:

“You know, somebody asked me will there by any gay characters in Marvel movies, and what I meant was there’s a lot of characters in the MCU and very few of them have we delved into what their sexualities are – whether it’s gay or straight or bisexual,” Gunn said.

“We don’t really know. So, I imagine there are probably gay characters in the Marvel Universe, you know. We just don’t know who they are yet.”

While his remarks seem harmless, it is frustrating when all you hear is about these fictional LGBT+ characters, but you never see them.

It’s an empty gesture. A form of tokenism to allow the studios to appear more queer friendly without having to put action to their words. It creates false hope.

Queer people don’t want to see ourselves represented as token characters because in our everyday lives we are the heroes of our own story. We aren’t tokens that exist for people to brag about showing off how accepting they are.

We battle our own demons, villains and face our own challenges. Sometimes we are the villains of our own story, but in reality we live complicated queer lives.

On film screens, we’re sorely lack the same level of complicated portrayal.

We’ve been so starved for on screen heroic representation, it’s why the #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend social media campaign galvanized so many people.

It was their way of expressing their desire to see the lead hero, Captain America get a on screen boyfriend.

The request, which isn’t unfounded or unreasonable when taking into account the high level of queer baiting which exists between Steve Rogers and James “Bucky” Barnes.

[Queerbaiting is the practice to hint at, but then to not actually depict, a potential same-sex romantic relationship between fictional characters. The potential romance may be ignored, explicitly rejected or made fun of.]

It’s also alarming when your lead character has more romantic chemistry with his best friend than that of Sharon Carter – whose romantic development was so rushed in screen it’s comical and not in a good way.


There is however a bigger picture to consider – global audiences and their conservatism…especially in big profit areas such as China and India.

Marvel is a movie studio, and movie studios need money to continue making more movies. The more money the better for them. It’s why they’ve started paying attention to releasing their films in the international markets.

Within some of these countries, they have restrictive guidelines about what may or may not be shown, and with Hollywood eager to captalise on the vast profit potential that these regions offer, they will certainly stick to these guidelines.

In China, the biggest film market outside of America, the The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) board pulled and banned LGBT related shows, which were successful as these shows went against what they perceive as normal.

An example of this was a show I have watched called “Addicted” – which deals with the development of a relationship between a teenage same sex Chinese couple.

To quote a Guardian article the show was banned as:

“The government said the show contravened the new guidelines, which state that “No television drama shall show abnormal sexual relationships and behaviours, such as incest, same-sex relationships, sexual perversion, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual violence, and so on.”

The ban also extends to smoking, drinking, adultery, sexually suggestive clothing, even reincarnation. China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television told television producers it would constantly monitor TV channels to ensure the new rules were strictly adhered to.
The clampdown follows an increase in cultural censorship in China since Xi Jinping came to power in November 2012

The same goes for it’s films.

In India, another big film market, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) besides, having banned a gay film, Ka Bodyscapes – they also had Oscar winning film, Moonlight allegedly recut removing pivotal scenes from the film which directly reveal it’s handling of homosexuality.

In India, homosexuality is still seen as a taboo.

It is for this very lucrative reasons that one can understand why Marvel has been so slow and been dragging its feet when it comes to LGBT+ representation, and giving vague answers, trying to appease those who want to see LGBT+ representation.

It’s also maybe for this reason why the Valkyrie scene in which it was suggested that she was bisexual was removed.

So in closing…


Dear Marvel, If you’re not interested in tackling or adding LGBT+ characters then please say so.

It’s your prerogative to do as you wish, and decide if you will tackle LGBT+ characters or not, it’s also our prerogative to decide what movies I am going to spend my money on.

Who knows…maybe DC will be the first movie studio to do that too…



The Lion Mutters.

PS: I know your TV shows have been delivering some LGBT representation, but let us not get started on how TV and film differs. Also how they had to separate y’all because you couldn’t place nice.


Killing who you used to be…


This blog post was originally published on 6th September 2016.

It is often that moment when you realise that the person you are becoming is different from who you used to be, and not in way that leaves you fulfilled.

It’s a heartbreaking realisation but it is the price of admission you pay for adulthood.
For the price of adulthood I’ve had to repeatedly sacrifice the sweetness I once had because people take advantage.

For the price of adulthood I’ve had to restrict that level of enthusiasm I use to have because everyone made me feel like that was out of place for someone like me.

For the price of adulthood I’ve had to sacrifice the gentle manner I used to have because it is not appropriate for a man.

For the price of adulthood I’ve gained a large dose of cynicism because people deceive and lie so regularly that you will pay dearly for  accepting something at face value.

For the price of adulthood I’ve had to learn to protect my heart to the hatefulness of other. To shield myself from those who seek to do me harm for no good logical reason.

For the price of adulthood I’ve had to watch people hurt each other and all I could do was watch, because sometimes the ways they hurt each other are intangible.

For the price of adulthood, you learn about the grey:
– where black and white blur
– where good and bad aren’t defined
– where right and wrong both harm and hurt.

The price of adulthood is costly, but it’s a price you have to pay.

It sucks to look at the person you were and the personality traits you love in yourself that no longer have a place in your life, all for the price of adulthood.

I’ve been watching myself kill off the parts of me that can’t exist all for the price of adulthood.

I miss the me I used to be.

Fuck adulthood.

Theo. Over and Out.

Things said in anger…


Originally published on: Wednesday, 25 November 2015

You’re seething with anger, and you aren’t thinking clearly, so there you go and say something so cruel you don’t even recognise yourself…

It happens, and it is something that you have to learn to deal with – no matter what side of the argument you find yourself on.

I became very interested in this following a big argument that I had with my mother.

I won’t get into the details but following the argument, my mother then not only launched the dustpan, but she also aimed and threw her ceramic bowl, which had been half-filled with cereal, at me.

It didn’t hit me, but the point was to intimidate me.

I left shortly thereafter to go to work, but needless to say that it was a day that I don’t want to experience again.

The whole day I felt this knot in my stomach, and I had also gotten stuck on this notion of things said in anger.

Some people get aggressive when angry, not just physically but verbally too.

Swear words are quickly thrown at you, and things are said with the intent to hurt you.

What I found interesting about it, well interesting is bad word but it was something that caught my attention, was how issues from years ago suddenly reared its head.

Things that you thought had been dealt with were once again laid bare, all with the intent to cause guilt and hurt.

It just goes show that sometimes we say we’re past an issue, but sometimes that is a lie.

I never get angry, and a large part is that I am scared of what I might do or say…

I have this huge fear of getting violent, but more so of hurting someone with words – of saying something so full of vitriol and malice that you just want hurt this other person’s feelings as much as you can.

It is frightening, and people sometimes underestimate just how much damaged can be done with words.

Sure, you can argue that things said in anger are not thoughts of a sober mind, but they are things that you feel without any filtering or editing because they are purely instinctive.

Some can forgive, but if you are someone like me, you will always be aware of those things somewhere in your mind. Even if things were said in anger, they came from a place within the person where they thought or felt like that at a particular point.

However not all things said in anger can be a bad thing…

Sometimes things said in anger reveal a hidden part of ourselves that we didn’t want to deal with. By revealing that hidden part, it may lead us to processing things that we weren’t aware of.

Not all anger is a bad thing, because sometimes anger gives us courage to say the things we may be afraid to say.

Things said in anger sometimes reveal more than what we would like to. It puts us at our most vulnerable but also at our most volatile.

It reveals all the baggage that we carry with us, moments and experiences we’ve collected – all of which have left an indelible mark on us – and then depending on which person we are angry at, these moments and experiences come bubbling up. Sometimes when they do come up, we may choose to use it as a weapon.

Weaponised aggression.

Anger is a valid emotion, but it a dangerous one. People have committed murders in anger because they were consumed by the emotion.

You have every right to feel angry, because it is a natural human emotion that you will feel at some point, but you have to be careful of what you do with that anger. The words you say when angry may cause irreparable harm, and the physical manifestations of that anger present a greater hazard.

There is no tried and tested method to deal with anger but we all have to find our own quirks because if we don’t that very anger may just consume you from the inside out.


Theo. Over and Out.

PS – What the whole experience with my mother had also revealed to me about myself was that all I wanted to do was speak to one specific person, but it was someone who I couldn’t speak to. It proved to be an informative experience of how to do deal with a matter when you can’t speak to the person you would like to.

The Power in Silence


It is very easy to think that I’m someone who speaks a lot because I’m a journalist, and we’re characterised as mouthy self-important people who don’t care about the feelings of others because we only care about the story.

Sure, not going to lie but there are definitely a few in the industry but I’m not one of them.

News is something I really enjoy and I like speaking to people for the most part but I’m also someone who loves the quiet.

Once I leave work every day, I pretty much don’t say a word, it was something I hadn’t even known about myself until recently but I really like being quiet.

I came to realise just how much I appreciate the quiet and silence after we moved. Currently my mom and I are staying with my grandparents while we find a place.

While it isn’t the first time we’ve been in this situation but it is for the length of time that we’ve been there. Also it’s my first time working while being in Mitchell’s Plain and it is an adjustment.

The long bus rides, the crampedness we find ourselves in and just the constant noise.

My goodness is it a lot of noise.

Coloured people don’t know how to be quiet, and it is definitely where I got my loudness from (it comes out when I’m with friends or when it wants to but for the rest of the time it’s mute).

Anyway, I really have come to learn that I love the stillness of silence.

No one is in your space making conversation out of a sense of obligation to talk to you, no one is speaking to you when you’re busy typing your novel or watching series. No one is asking you things you don’t want to answer, no one is playing music on top of you when you just want to listen to nothing.

Just silence and quietness.

I had gotten home from work one day when I came in and I was just naturally quiet. I didn’t feel the need to speak.

My grandparents with varying degrees of Alzheimer’s disease kept asking me if I was okay because I was quiet and I just nodded. My aunt then asked if I was fine because I was so silent, and eventually my mom had to speak up and say that sometimes I just don’t have anything to say.

It took her while to understand that initially, but I’m thankful that she has learned.

A lot can be understood when you’re watching what is going around you, and not feeling da47b0582836795829a5b6b716a314f1like you have to say anything.

There isn’t a drive to fill the noise, to contribute for the sake of it, to speak up just because it is what you have to do. Silence can be a remedy when you least expect it.

One of my favourite times is when I’m with friends and we’re doing nothing and saying nothing, and just being.

It usually happens after we’ve caught up with each other and then we fall into that lull where we can sit still, enjoying each other’s company and saying things only when we feel we have to, not because we’re obligated to.

Sometimes I just turn to them and I notice something about them and our relationship, that sometimes I take for granted or haven’t really paid attention to, and usually that comes out of moments of quietness.

There is a power in silence, you just have to take the time to recognise it.

Call Me by Your Name – Twitter Book Review


Read “Call Me by Your Name” and I was frustrated. At the start it was just another gay romance being about how characters don’t even get to enjoy the romance.

I did a live-tweet reaction to the book which I will post here:

After finish reading Call Me By Your Name, I realized that it was a beautiful piece of text. Plot got iffy in the middle but the way it was written was beautiful.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experienced.

Loved the touch of melancholy and “the better to have loved and lost than never loved at all” thing was sweet. I still am tired of this type of narrative though…where all queer men just get unhappy endings but Aciman gets a pass because the story that he told was beautifully done.

At least no one died for the romance to end. It was just life.


Film adaptation review:


CEA Writers without Boundaries – Part 4

CEA Writers without Boundaries, the debut volume for the general fiction anthology from Celenic Earth Publications has been released, and along with that comes stories to exciting, scare and thrill you.

Seven writers and myself from the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) group in the Western Cape Region have been hard at work putting stories together for you to enjoy.

For the next few days, I’ll be revealing the short interviews that I had with the writers of each story to give more insight into not only their story but the writers themselves.

Next up we have Fiona Tanzer and Shameez Patel Papathanasiou:

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The Smell of Roasting Meat

by Fiona Tanzer

Question: What did you enjoy about writing it?

Fiona: I enjoyed having this story just flowing out and onto the page quickly and without a great deal of conscious thought. I suppose that this is because the story premise comes from my long-standing fascination with people’s beliefs (ever since I can remember!) and something that I have frequently ruminated over for many years.

Q: How did the inspiration for your story come about?

Fiona: My inspiration was in one sense my abiding interest in how would a person’s beliefs appear in practice? – and in the more immediate sense, the title phrase just popped into my mind one day and sparked my thoughts on people’s beliefs – and I just sat down to write without any planning.

Q: What do you want people to take away from it? If there is anything you want to get across?

Fiona: I would like people to take away from my story the reality that whoever we are as people, we all share the same love of family and care for one another, however different our beliefs may appear on the surface. After all, we developed our beliefs and practices ultimately as a sign of our spiritual care for one another.

Q: What was the most challenging aspect of the process?

Fiona: The most challenging aspect in this case was the notion that I am writing about another cultural belief system and while I believe that I have done so respectfully, I hope it came across well. I also wanted to make the story general to Africa rather than particular to one specific locality in South Africa, and to give no indication of historical period so that the generality of the belief system comes through. I chose my characters’ names according to names that I happened to like – but unwittingly I chose names from different traditional groupings in Southern Africa. Ms Masobeng pointed this out to me (for which I am grateful) and I gave it some more thought but decided in the end to keep the different names in token of the intended generality of this belief system. So the name choice ended up adding to the story theme. Obviously, it would have been too much of a stretch to use East and West African names as well.

Q: Anything else you’d like readers to know?

Fiona: I’ve chosen the story to be loosely set in Southern Africa because that is where I live and have grown up, but the basics of this old traditional spiritual belief system in Southern Africa is shared not only throughout much of the rest of Africa, but indeed throughout most of the rest of the world at one time and another – both today and throughout history. And that, I find fascinating.


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by Shameez Patel Papathanasiou

Question: What did you enjoy about writing it?

Shameez: I love writing about smart, strong women

Q: How did the inspiration for your story come about?

Shameez: I have experienced the anxiety of having an intruder in my house and it was a different situation, but inspired it nonetheless

Q: What do you want people to take away from it? If there is anything you want to get across?

Shameez: Someone, somewhere will read your story and enjoy it. If you don’t, that’s okay too

Q: What was the most challenging aspect of the process?

Shameez: My story is anxiety-inducing and I am easily frightened, so basically, I frightened myself

Q: Anything else you’d like readers to know?

Shameez: Keep writing, regardless of recognition and money, as long as you enjoy your own work

If you would like a copy of CEA Writers without Boundaries, then click here.


The Lion’s Tunes #13


Welcome to another edition of The Lion’s Tunes.

At the suggestion of a close friend, I decided to put my love of music to good use.

She pointed out to me that since I love music and listen to so much of it, I should share what songs I’m currently jamming to at the moment.

I usually tweet or Facebook about what music has got me all caught up and catching feelings, but putting it into one space really allows me to savour the music.

I’m by no means a music expert and I won’t pretend to be. Most of what will be written here is information I’ve learned on the net and just my personal opinions on the songs.

Since it has been a while since I have updated this will be quite long… There is a playlist for this edition that can be found of the end of this post.

· Song: Grigio Girls
Artist: Lady Gaga

This came off of Joanne, and I really really enjoyed it. It was from the deluxe addition, but it’s just such a great fun jam, while still being country.

Understandably there was a lot of Gaga fans who while enjoyed the country vibe of Joanne, they missed pop Gaga.
Much to the delight of Little Monsters, Lady Gaga delivered a new pop jam when she performed at Coachella Music Festival.
(Tidbit – While at the festival, she was filming with Bradley Cooper for their new movie “A Star Is Born”)

· Song: Rooting For You
Artist: London Grammar

There is something so beautiful and haunting about this song.

Lead singer Hannah Reid’s voice is so achingly beatiful with depth and emotion.

It was a great decision to leave the first verse half of the song as only her vocals.

· Song: 1000x
Artist: Jarryd James ft Broods

· Song: Stranglehold
Artist: Kevin Garret

There is something intriguing about the lyrics that this man writes.  He just taps into the deep emotion and I’m able to resonate with him.

Something I recently discovered was that he actually wrote Pray You Catch Me which is a great ballad on Beyonce’s Lemonade album

· Song: Issues
Artist: Julia Michaels

When I first heard this song, I became so enchanted with it, and it just stayed with me.

There was just something so truthful about the lyrics and vulnerable, which I completely find brave because writing something so revealing can be so daunting.

This was echoed when I heard her perform the song live, because this version of it, it is something that gave me goosebumps

· Song: So High
Artist: Doja Cat

It’s a vibe

· Song: Say Something Loving
Artist: The xx

· Song: Sleepover
Artist: Hayley Kiyoko

I am in love with this song and vibe. Especially after watching the video. This song made me want to be lesbian. Women are really beautiful creatures.

· Song: Phases
Artist: Howling

I discovered Howling when I came across him/she/them after watching a Taken movie. Yes, the ones with Liam Neeson. There is just soemthing so cool about the atmospheric music that they create.

· Song: Crowded Places
Artist: Banks

· Song: Stoned On You
Artist: Jaymes Young

I just really love the song and it’s so hypnotic. It really is.

I heard of Jaymes young before, but this was something different that really made me take note of him.

Also this other song of his is not too bad either.

· Song: Quit
Artist: Cashmere Cat ft Ariana Grande

What I love about this song is how Ariana Grande’s vocals sounds on this track. It also doesn’t hurt that Sia wrote the lyrics, and that if you listen closely enough you can also her here background vocals.

This is honestly such a smooth jam though

· Song: Lust For Life
Artist: Lana Del Rey ft The Weekend

This is the second time that the weekend has collaborated with Lana Del Rey, but the first time I have heard a song of theirs. This is so wonderful and their voices really complement each other so impressively.

· Song: Whatever It Takes
Artist: Imagine Dragons

This newly released song from Imagine Dragons is quite catchy actually. I thoroughly enjoy it. It is really quite a dope ass track. They’re a bad slowly settling into being under the radar, but that seems to be okay for them because they get to make the music they want and still have a loyal fan base.

If it means they keep putting out tracks like this then that is something that I’m okay with

· Song: There’s Nothing Holding Me Back
Artist: Shawn Mendes

I am so here for this new Mendes track. If this is what his next album is going to be like, then I am definitely excited. I really love this vibe.

· Song: Young and Menace
Artist: Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy is back with an new single, and it is quite the unexpected sound from the band.

It might not be for everyone, but there is definitely something here that has my attention, and is keeping it.

· Song: Reminding Me
Artist: Shawn Hook ft Vanessa Hudgens

I came across this because of Vanessa, it had been a while since she released music following her High School Musical Days and now to hear something new, it made me interested to hear what music she was lending her talented voice to.

Also the male artist she is singing with, has a nice voice that contrasts hers.

· Song: Amsterdam
Artist: Nothing But Thieves

· Song: Regret in your tears
Artist: Nicki Minaj

As much hate as Nicki Minaj gets, she is really talented.


Playlist for all this edition of “The Lion’s Tunes”