Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Best lesbian websites

I used to do these website of the week posts over at eurOut every single week. Some weeks there were lots of great site to choose from and other weeks I had to search and search to find something halfway decent. Even though not all websites were that interesting or to everyone's tastes, together they make quite a nice collection of lesbian and LGBT websites.

Here are some of those lesbian websites linked to both their URLs as well as the original eurOut posts:

Lesbian (and LGBT) entertainment websites:

themostcake

The Most Cake

Garbo Amsterdam: Do you like travelling? Do you like dating? Do you like lesBians? If you answered yes to those questions, our Website of the Week might be just the thing for you! Read more here.

Kweens: Kweens is a lesbian entertainment website in German, which was created in 2008. Read more here.

Lesbisk On Screen: his time eurOut’s website of the week is Lesbisk OnScreen, the Norwegian website for anything that is lesbionic in entertainment. Read more here.

Lez on Life: This time eurOut features as our Website of the Week the Spanish website Lez on Life, a blog about the love and lives of lesBians in Valencia, Spain. Read more here.

Our Scene TV: This week eurOut's website of the week is that of OurSceneTV, an online television network that features original lifestyle and cultural programming catered to the LGBT community. Read more here.

Rosalie & Co: This week eurOut features as Website of the Week a new German lesbian entertainment website: Rosalie & Co. Read more here.

Stupenda: Stupenda is a Spanish magazine aimed at lesbians in Barcelona, Spain. Read more here.

The Most Cake: The Most Cake is a British lesBian website trying to represent young and hip lesbians. Read more here.

Velvet Park: Velvetpark was founded in 2002 and is described on their website as "an integrated social network for lesbians and queers featuring blogs, news, video content and an exclusive lesbian dating network." Read more here.

 

Lesbian (and LGBT) book and magazine websites:

boldstrokebooks

Bold Strokes Books

Avalon Media: The name Avalon Media might sound familiar to you, and that's because they are the publishers of Australia's number one lesbian magazine LOTL. Read more here.

Bold Strokes Books: This week eurOut features as Website of the Week that of LGBT book publisher Bold Strokes Books. Read more here.

G3 Magazine: This time we want to feature G3, a UK based online magazine for lesbians and bisexual women. Read more here.

Gay e-magazine: GAY e-magazine is one of the many online LGBT magazines available, but with a difference. Read more here.

Lamda Literary: Lambda Literary focuses on the written word, with everything related to writing and reading which they point out in their tagline “The leader in LGBT book reviews, author interviews, opinion and news since 1989.” Read more here.

LOTL: This week our Website of the Week is that of LOTL, the website of Australia's oldest lesBian publication LOTL. Read more here.

On Top Magazine: Our Website of the Week this week is that of On Top magazine, a website dedicated to gay & lesbian news and entertainment. Read more here.

Queered Fiction: This week eurOut's Website of the Week is that of Queered Fiction, a small press publisher that specializes in Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual genred books. Read more here.

 

Lesbian web series:

anyonebutme

Anyone But Me

Anyone But Me: This week our featured website is no other than that of the wonderful web series Anyone But Me by Susan Miller (the L word, Thirtysomething) and Tina Cesa Ward about “a new generation seeking love and belonging in the post 9/11 age.Read more here.

Plan V: This time eurOut’s website of the week is that of Argentinian web series Plan V. This 11 episode web series revolves around Ana, a 30 year old lesbian and her interesting love life. Read more here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Studying Lesbians: Studies show we are really all the same

Studying Lesbians is a monthly column about recent (and not so recent) research involving lesbians or the LGBT community as a whole. This time I want to discuss two very different lines of research that both show a similar thing: We are all the same.

The last few months there's been a lot of media attention about gay bullying, gay teens committing suicide, the It gets better project and lots of other initiatives focusing on how tough it is to be a queer teen and what can be done to improve things. Although no one is denying it's hard to be an LGBT teen, recent studies have shown that being a teen is hard for almost everyone!

Apparently, it's not just queer teens that are being bullied, but up to 77% of teenagers in high school report getting bullied. Teens get bullied for being a geek, or fat, or Asian, or small, or tall or anything else you can imagine. In other words, being a teenager sucks!

Other studies show that it might be hard to be a gay teen, but on average gay teens are just as (un)happy, with the same number of friends and just as many/few problems as their heterosexual peers.

These studies were all conducted in the United States, but one can assume it's sort of the same over in Europe. I like to think on average our bullying percentage is lower, but I could be biased. The point of all these studies is that they are basically saying that the teen years are (equally) hard on all teens.

A totally different line of research was pursued in a study that was published this month that looked into the kind of regions in the brain that are involved with being in love. They came to the very surprising (!) conclusion that the same regions of the brain are involved, regardless of someone's sexual orientation. Can I get a collective DUH?

What they did in this study, conducted at the University College of London and recently published on PLoS One, was do MRI scans of people using special markers, while they were looking at pictures of either their romantic partner or of pictures of their close friends. The regions of the brain that were active while looking at these photos would light up, showing exactly what part of the brain was used.

They found that different parts of the brain were activated when looking at a romantic partner than when looking at a close friend, and this had nothing to do with either the sexual orientation of the perceiver, or with the gender of the person in the photo.

These kind of studies are interesting, mainly because of figuring out how the brain works and how activation in different parts of the brain are connected to our every day feelings and actions. However, as far as showing that we're all the same I can't say it's very earth shattering. After all, had the researchers really expected that gays use different parts of their brains when they are in love?

On the other hand, I guess any research showing the world that we are just the same as heterosexuals, even if it's to say that our feelings of love are caused by the same chemical reactions in our brains, is a good thing.

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What do you think of these studies? Do you think they contribute in any way? Do you think it's a good thing studies show we are just the same or is it better to emphasize how we differ? Let us know in the comments.

This post was first published on eurOut.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Latest Rainbow Duo comic: New Year's Resolutions

Our latest comic is out! If you want to find out what happened when the Rainbow Duo decided to get some exercise, go over to Rainbow Duo.com to check it out.

I hope your New Year's resolutions are working out a little better...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Book review: The Mermaids singing by Val McDermid

I'd already read a number of books by Scottish author Val McDermid, which I all enjoyed a lot. I'm a big fan of crime novels anyway, so there's already a lot to like about McDermid's books. Add to this the fact that I loved the Wire in the blood TV series, so when I came across The Mermaids singing (1995), the first book in the Wire in the blood series, I just had to read it.

Reading a book after you've seen a TV or movie adaptation is always hard, as you already know the general plot and what the characters are like and look like. However, it is so much better than the other way around: seeing an adaptation after you read a book. This is because a book can give you so much more detail and let's you use your imagination to make the story your own.

In this case, the fact that I had seen the TV series did not really affect my reading much. I did already know what was going to happen, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book's detailed descriptions of the story.


The story in short is about the police in Bradfield being confronted with a serial killer, one who gets their rocks of by torturing victims with ancient torture devices. To help them solve the case, the police bring in Tony Hill, a very good, but very odd, clinical psychologist, who is very experienced in profiling.

Of course, the police are reluctant to let him in, but soon they realize that they are in over their heads. Together they spend day and night trying to catch the killer, while he keeps killing man after man in the most brutal ways.

I love Tony Hill, he's such a weird, conflicted, socially awkward, but intelligent and interesting guy, that gives the story a kind of debt it would've lacked without him and the glimpse into his mind. The other main characters are great too, well not the dumb ignorant cops, but the slightly more intelligent ones, especially the female detective whose name I seem to have forgotten.

I would say it's a good crime novel, not a great or outstanding one. Even though it's good, I've read better. Then again, I wouldn't say it was average either. The main criticism I have is about the plot.

With the risk of giving away too many spoilers, the story is set in the gay area of Bradfield, and consequently, a lot of the novel deals with homophobic police, which isn't always that fun to read. In addition, a screwed up transsexual serial killer is a bit over the top, very Silence of the lambs. Then again, McDermid being gay and all, we can assume she had no intention to make the LGBT community look bad or anything like that.

In sum, this book has got everything a got crime novel needs: a serial killer on the lose, and interesting, intelligent and conflicted characters to try and catch the bad guy. Add to this the fact that it's all well written, and fast paced, which I always appreciate. The Mermaids singing is a good crime novel I would recommend to anyone who's a fan of the genre.

This review was written as part of the LGBT reading challenge over at Book after Book and the GLBT Reading challenge 2011.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lists are hot: Lesbians on YouTube

Lists are hot is a monthly column for all those who love lists as much as me. This time I want to share with you some of the lesbians of YouTube.

YouTube is not only a great place to find music videos and movie trailers, it's also a gay Mecca. Ok maybe not quite, but there's lesbians all over YouTube, trying to entertain you. However, because simply searching for things like "lesbians" usually doesn't give you the results you are looking for, I have selected some YouTube lesbians for you that I think are worth checking out.

1. It gets better

You have probably all heard of Dan Savage's It gets better project and the great response it has gotten. On the It gets better YouTube channel you can find clips from anyone and everyone telling LGBT teens it gets better. Since this week, there's something better than people talking: The It gets better theme song!

Rebecca Drysdale (who some of you might know from her web series Time traveling lesbian or her L word serenade), has recorded a music video for It gets better, which has some great lyrics and is also very catchy. If you want to play this song again and again, it's now also available through iTunes.

2. Lizzy the Lezzy

Lizzy the Lezzy is the only (at least I think so) virtual lesbian comedian on the internet. On her YouTube channel you can find a whole range of sketches, songs and things that fall sort of in between. Some might say it's a little offensive, although I think it's rather funny. Having said that, it does seem to be all about sex most of the time, but I guess to some that's a good thing.

3. The Beaver Bunch

The Beaver Bunch was created in 2008 and features a number of queer young people who make vlogs, in which they talk about stuff that happens in their lives or events from the media. I used to check out their videos when they first started out, and I  was happily surprised they are still making videos. The one person I always enjoyed watching was Michelle (who also had a vlog on AfterEllen a while back).

4. Any scene from TV or movie featuring two women

YouTube is also great for finding all those lesbian storylines from TV and movies. No matter how small the part or storyline, if someone spotted it, it's likely to end up on YouTube, even with English subtitles. If you don't care about specific storylines, there's also some great fanvids available, like this one about Pepa and Silvia from Los Hombres de Paco.

5. Unsigned artists

Many singers and other artists these days rely on YouTube to get their songs heard. Just like everywhere else in media, there's many lesbian singers out there, trying to catch your attention. This is how we first found out about all women band Greymatter, but it's also how British singer Sharon Levy was first discovered: because of all the great cover songs she posted on YouTube. Here she is with her rendition of Lisa Loeb's Stay:

6. Vlogs by established artists

It's not just unsigned artists who use YouTube, even more established artists like to connect with their fans through this media. For example, Billie Myers used to do her Unscripted videos (that we also featured on eurOut), but also Sam Fox has a vlog she updates regularly. Here you can see her while she was on holiday in Morocco.

7. Cute lesbian short movies

YouTube is also a great place to find a number of very cool and/or cute lesbian short movies, you wouldn't really find anywhere else. One of those I came across was the short Blow, which I thought was both cute and cool. The short is from Australia and directed by Marie Craven.

8. Lesbian commercials

One place they love to use lesbians (or just two women pretending to be lesbians) is advertising. On YouTube you can find a whole range of very good and very bad commercials starring two women. One that I actually like is the lesbian wedding Johnny Walker commercial. I think it's good because it uses two women together not to shock or entertain, but just as fact.

That's my selection of lesbians and lesbian videos you can find on YouTube. What do you think of these selections? Is there anything lesbionic that you watch on YouTube that I've missed?

This post was first published on eurout.

Friday, January 7, 2011

TV shows I can't wait to have new episodes

I love watching good TV series, preferably in marathon fashion. If that's not possible, then at least a few in a row, without any commercials or other interuptions.

Unfortunately, some of my favourite shows are on a break right now and I am in desperate need of some other good shows to watch. Any suggestions? I'll give you an idea of some of the stuff I've been watching lately:

Dexter
When I first heard about this show about a "good" serial killer I wasn't very enthusiastic. It sounded like a very bad show. How wrong I was. I have thoroughly enjoyed all 5 seasons of this show and can't want for Season 6.


Nurse Jackie
Nurse Jackie is so wrong, it's right. I love medical shows and shows with weird main characters, so this is definitely a show for me. I didn't think Season 2 was as good as the first, still I am looking forward to a third season.


Lost Girl
At the start of the season I wasn't much of a fan of this show. I thought the story was kind of lame and the show so over the top. Having seen the entire season I still think it, but I also feel it's a really good show. The lame and over the top stuff is presented and acted so well.

Identity
I'm a fan of crime series, and the British usually do a pretty good job with crime shows. Identity is no exception. Even though some of the storylines were a bit unbelievable, I loved the general feel of the show. Another good show that should hurry up with its second season.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The most popular Because you're hot posts

It feels like forever since I used to do my Because you're hot posts, even though in reality it's only been a year or so.

I find it interesting and amusing that despite the number of different topics I blog about, those Because you're hot posts remain the most popular ones (this is closely followed by any other kind of post featuring hot women or the L word).

I guess people are just very shallow. There's nothing wrong with that. In case you too enjoy looking at pics of hot women, here's an overview of my most popular Because you're hot posts:

01. Because you're hot: Erin Kelly.

This post has almost 3,000 page views, which is crazy since all it contains are a few photos of Erin Kelly.

Slightly less popular, but still in high demand are:
02. Because you're hot: Clea Duvall.


03. Because you're hot: Christina Cox.


04. Because you're hot: Lena Heady.


05. Because you're hot: Carly Pope.

I'm not sure why these posts are the most popular. It could be they are the most popular women I featured and/or that the most people find hot. It could also simply mean they don't get written about that often so my posts stand out more. Either way I'm glad you're all visiting my blog, even if it's just to ogle at pretty ladies.

For a look at all the Because you're hot posts, click here.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Making versus doing to-do lists

I love making lists, regardless of whether they're to-do lists, lists of favourite things, or even grocery lists. It's such fun to do and it makes life easier. Fun and efficient, that's a combination I love.

During last year's Christmas break I read The to-do list by Mike Gayle. I was so inspired by this story (it's fiction and the main character is a big slacker btw) I decided to make a to-do list of my own.


I wrote down everything and anything I wanted to do and should do, ranging from tiny stuff like "pay bills" and "clean cupboard", to bigger stuff like "get life insurance" and "learn to be nicer and think before you speak". In total I wrote down 106 things (the initial list was a little shorter but I added a few entries during the year) that I should do.

Without trying too hard, this year I actually managed to cross 63 off things of that list and there's another 14 things I couldn't quite cross off yet, but I have started on. The latter include things like "read all unread books" and "learn how to drive a car".

So that's around 75% of the list that I at least attempted to do. Not too bad for a slacker like me. I actually think I am not that bad, but I do like to put things off.

Some of the stuff I didn't get around to this year are "learn Spanish" and "go canoeing". Maybe I will next year.

For 2011 I have started another to-do list. So far it contains 43 things, and I am looking forward to adding many more. I am not so much looking forward to doing all the stuff on the list, but then again, the doing part has always been secondary to the fun part, the creation of lists.

Making an annual to do list is so much more fun than a traditional list of New year's resolutions. Although of course, it all comes down to the same thing.

2011 should be the year I will do more of the following stuff: write, save money, excercise, be social and punctual. But the list also includes lots of fun stuff like go canoeing, go bowling and go see movies more often.

How about you? Do you enjoy making lists? Do you have any new year's resolutions or don't you believe in that stuff?