Protected: For the Both of You

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Gay subtext in films from the 60s and 70s, and what that has to do with the new X-Men franchise.

•April 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment


(All the paragraphs in quotes- unless stated otherwise- are taken from the Wikipedia page History of Homosexuality in American Film. There are *several* sources to pull from regarding homosexual subtext, but I’m not writing a senior thesis here, so I used only this source for this post. It’s well written and well researched. I also pulled from my own knowledge of the subject.)

For those wondering why X-Men First Class presented the relationship between Charles and Erik entirely through innuendo, long drawn out gazes, and blatant subtext:

First Class puts Erik and Charles, and the rest of the mutants, in the real world. They’re affected by World War II and the Cold War, and even take an active role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Hank (Beast), in the story, is the designer of the Lockheed supersonic plane, the SR-71 Blackbird. Charles is a genius scientist specializing in genetics. Erik is…

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Why I’m doing what I’m doing…

•April 19, 2015 • 1 Comment

Do you want to know why I’m so obsessed with dissecting the subtext in X-Men?

Because, simply put, something big is happening here.

For too long, stories of love between same sex couples have been hidden, buried in innuendo or symbolism. It’s the only way they could be told in intolerant eras, and were only recognizable to those who’d experienced same sex attraction, or those who were well versed enough in queer subtext to know it when they saw it.

But the times we live in now are changing. Tolerance and understanding are spreading like wildfire across the country and across the globe. People are experiencing a second sexual awakening, and whole, new worlds are being discovered.

I follow every news story I can get my hands on in regards to these changes. I’m smitten. In love. Obsessed beyond description. This is the start of a world I’ve always wanted to live in for as long as I can remember.

But, as an artist, I tend to naturally veer more towards the reflection of these social changes in the art world, and no other form is more reflective right now than fiction. Since Brokeback Mountain, which was the first big film to showcase two male leads in a same sex relationship, there has since been an influx of this on the big and small screen.

For me, and for many others I’d imagine, it’s intoxicating. I cannot take my eyes away from it. The only other time I’ve felt this kind of transformative love, this kind of power, was during my musical era.

This change in our world, this piece of evolution that I’ve been given the gift to watch unfold in the moment, has set me aflame. Watching the arts reflect this, even more so.

When I slowly began to realize what was happening with Sherlock, I…was dumbstruck. Taking a story of same sex love and burying it deep in subtext only to spend the entire show digging it back up with the intention of exposing it, turning it into actual text, is the most perfect and profound symbol of what is happening/has happened/will continue to happen in our time. It’s immensely important. It’s art doing what it was made to do.

But when I started seeing similar themes in the X-Men films, and realized there were no sites dedicated to dissecting its subtext, I decided to do it myself. Though I’ve intentionally started opening it up and sharing it bit by bit, the journey is entirely mine– I’m doing this for myself. Diving deep into how the stories were pieced together, crafted, and studying the history of queer subtext alongside this, has been deeply, deeply rewarding.

I feel as though I’m walking this entire historical path of subtext to text, of intolerance to tolerance, through a three film story. Through the symbolism in the films, I am actively observing these social changes and awakenings, and their effect on us as a species. I’m learning how to put together these elements into a coherent story of my own. And I’m doing all of this through the eyes of my own characters as well because this is also their history in the making.

Something is happening here. Something big. Worlds are merging, secrets are being exposed. Putting my energy into becoming a part of that through the X-Men (and Sherlock) subtext is walking the pathway of evolution. Sherlock and X-Men are about to change everything. When Charles and Erik are finally able to express their love openly, when Sherlock and John can do the same, the echoes will reverberate everywhere. Art reflects life, and life reflects art.

These stories will be legend.

To discover this, to know this moment is coming, to watch the idea gestate from seed to child, and then to see the moment of birth- what other experience could be so beautiful? What other force is more powerful than love?

This is why I’m doing what I’m doing. If I want to translate this into my writing, I need to know it intimately. I have to be there when the idea is finally born. For immortal beings like Eros and Anteros, this would be a microcosm of how they’ve seen the definition of love change over thousands of years. I’m living their experience.

And that moment of release… after so much tension built up in the millenniums that have passed by?

My God.

And I’m going to see it. I’m seeing the build to climax now.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more grateful to be alive.


•April 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

“What the rest of society doesn’t realize or see is that trans people are often stuck in this conundrum to receive any medical treatment. If a trans woman wants to be “taken seriously,” she better show up to her appointments in a dress and demonstrating her societal role. If a trans man wants to be seen as serious enough to get surgery, he better not paint his nails. The gatekeeping standards set upon our shoulder is a concentrated version of 50s gender roles we have to bend to in order to get help.”

YES. ^^^^^^

FANTASTIC article. Eye opening, honest, beautiful.

Brain Pickings: Greatest Queer Love Letters

•April 9, 2015 • 1 Comment

Greatest LGBT Love Letters of All Time

This article brought me to my knees, and added a entirely new list of books to my must reads… Oh how wonderful, these letters, these love stories. The article covers some infamous couples such as Virginia Woolf/Vita Sackville-West, Allen Ginsberg/Peter Orlovsky, Eleanor Roosevelt/Lorena Hickok, and Oscar Wilde/Sir Alfred “Boise” Taylor.

I highly recommend reading. Things like this always set me on fire, and I can never get enough.





The “Cure.”

•April 9, 2015 • 2 Comments


It’s my theory that the story of Hank’s cure is the subtext story for Charles’ cure. What do I mean by this? Hank has been trying to invent a cure from the word go to change his mutation in order to not be, as he calls himself, a “freak.” He tries to get Raven to take it with him, but she decides against it (thanks to Erik’s constant influence on her to accept herself.) I’ve already detailed that scene, but here it is again (top picture.) And, of course, this is also the scene where Hank and Raven split up- he can’t accept her as she is, and she is heartbroken by that.


Cue the following scene of Erik and Charles in the middle of their chess game and their intense conversation. They’re also splitting up, physically and ideologically. Charles cannot accept Erik as he is, he’s telling him “we need to integrate, you need to not let your anger control you, and you and I need to stop fucking each other because it’s not normal”, and this breaks Erik’s heart- he doesn’t care about the world or its humans, he cares only for their mutant family, and killing Shaw finally to avenge his mother, and he’s in love with Charles. However— where we get to see Raven’s reaction to Hank’s rejection of her right away with her tears, we don’t see Erik’s until much later- why? Because his anger is *always* a delayed reaction. He spent years tracking Nazis, he takes his time capturing Shaw, so he’s got practice in patience, big time. But he’s angry as HELL at Charles– I’ll show that later.

Now– the cure.

The scene that directly follows this? Hank in his lab, shooting the syringe containing the “cure” right into his mutated foot.


We all know where that leads, don’t we? It doesn’t cure him, it turns him into even a bigger mutant– a blue skinned, yellow eyed hairy Beast. (It’s not a coincidence that his skin and eyes resemble Raven’s, he got the cure from her blood sample, remember?)

But, all Hank/Raven scenes are subtextual mirrors for Erik/Charles, right– absolutely. This scene is directly followed by this one:


Raven, sickened and heartbroken by Hank, finds solace in Erik. He’s never once asked her to hide- rather, he calls her true form “perfection.” And though Erik rejects Raven physically, he gives her a chaste, passionless kiss. He can’t have Charles, so he goes for the next best thing– his extreme mutant sister. She becomes Erik’s “right hand woman” in place of Charles, and Erik becomes her substitute for Hank.

From this point on, Raven never changes back into her blonde facade- she stays blue. And when she goes to confront Charles in the kitchen, where they first met, she is completely naked. Charles is really taken aback by this, and asks her to find some clothes and put them on. (He doesn’t like mutations that can’t be hidden or aren’t “pretty.”) He and Raven have their falling out, with her telling him:

“You know, Charles, I always thought it would be you and me against the world, but no matter how bad the world gets, you don’t want to be against it, do you? You want to be a part of it.”

Hmmm. That sounds a hell of a lot like Erik, doesn’t it?

Of course it does. It’s drawing a parallel to Erik and Charles and their “split.” Check it out:


There’s the fight. Charles tells her in this scene “I hear Hank has found the answer to your cosmetic problem.” Wow- Dbag much, Charles? He and Hank reject her in the same night for the same reasons? They mirror one another, that’s why. And…

Looks a lot like Erik and Charles’ fight, doesn’t it?:


Charles tells Erik here, while completely understanding and *feeling* where Erik is coming from, and *knowing* killing Shaw is the only way to stop him, that “killing Shaw will not bring you peace.” (wow, Charles, really?) And Erik tells him: “Peace was never an option.” Charles could change that, he could help him, but he doesn’t. He rejects Erik. (And honestly, Erik’s quote could be the damn tagline for their entire relationship from this point on.)

Back to the “cure.”

But, wait a second, if Hank and Raven are the subtextual mirrors to Charles and Erik, where is Charles’ mirror? We’ve seen Erik with the whole Raven/Erik scene, but where’s the one for Charles? Ah- in the *deleted* scenes. I understand why they cut this, but I wish they’d left it in the film because the subtext feels incomplete without it. Nevertheless, here’s Charles’ “cure” to help fix his “mutation.”

(I had to take a picture of this on the TV, so forgive the quality.)


Lol. Charles’ cure to fix his love and attraction to Erik– Moira. A woman. Not a mutant. Normal. Why is this scene so fucking hilarious to me? Because instead of taking Moira back to his bedroom, or meeting her in her own bedroom, he takes her to the study– but not just any study, the EXACT SAME STUDY where he and Erik had their intense game of chess and relationship breakup just a few hours before:


Lol. Lolol. Who does that? Charles. Why? Because he cannot get turned on unless he thinks about Erik, so he has to be in the room in which they were last together so he can see Erik, feel and sense him. And not only that, he’s sitting on the couch that is directly next to Erik’s chair (as evidenced by the same background plant in both scenes.) Yeah. This is Charles trying desperately to inject himself with the “cure”– the cure that is filled with memories and all things Erik just like Hank’s cure is filled with Raven’s DNA.

Oh, subtext, you beautiful fucking creature, how I love you.

After this scene ends? It flows into the scene where the mutant family is suiting up in identical uniforms to take on Shaw. They enter Hank’s lab and it’s *wrecked.* Erik asks Charles: “The hell happened here?” Charles just gives Erik a frustrated look. Hank finally shows up, walking towards them, only his dark outline visible, but it’s obvious something has changed physically:


Boy, Charles looks…nervous and terrified. And Erik…is looking at Charles, not at Hank like everyone else is. There’s more proof of the correlation right there between Hank and Charles’s cure. But, while Hank’s cure has already backfired on him, Charles’ cure has yet to do the same, but it does- I’ll show that a bit later because it’s also where we finally get Erik’s delayed anger at Charles breaking them up.

So, Hank finally comes out from the shadows, and we get this interaction between him and Raven:

Hank: “It didn’t attack the cells, it enhanced them. It didn’t work.”

Raven: “Yes, it did, Hank. Don’t you see? This is you. This is who you were meant to be. No more hiding.”

(This entire conversation is very carefully watched by Erik.)


And what does Erik say to Hank? He *teases* him by saying “Never looked better man.” Hank can’t stand being teased. (who else HATES it when Erik teases him? Charles.) So, Hank tries to choke Erik, telling him “Don’t mock me!” and eliciting a rather calm reaction from Charles when he says “Hank, could you put Erik down please? Hank!” Notice the only four visible in this scene are Hank, Raven, Erik, and Charles. The others are out of the line of sight.


Ah, yes.

So, following this is the entire battle scene, pulling the sub out of the water (which, by the way, is the LAST time Erik and Charles are in each other’s minds, working together, creating beautiful musical themes and making massive subs move– which is why, I believe, Erik throws himself over Charles to protect him when their plane crashes on the beach):


(by the way, if flipped around and viewed from above, they’d be forming an X)

We move onto the scene of Charles guiding Erik telepathically through the submarine in order to locate Shaw. Up until this point, Shaw has always been used as obvious subtext for Erik because Erik basically becomes Shaw in the end. However, when Erik finds Shaw in his mirrored nuclear room, Charles loses telepathic communication with Erik, and when Shaw starts talking to Erik, his words are his style, but then halfway through, they start to sound suspiciously like a blend of Shaw AND Charles:

Shaw: “Erik, what a pleasant surprise. So good to see you again. May I ask you something? Why are you on their side? Why fight for a doomed race who will hunt us down as soon as they realize their reign is coming to an end? I’m sorry for what happened in the camps. I truly am.” (He presses Erik’s forehead, sending Erik flying back into the mirrors, cracking them. Charles can now feel Erik again, and Erik hears Charles tell him: “Erik, whatever you’re doing, keep doing it, it’s starting to work.”)

Now, all of a sudden, Erik is angry as hell. And this is when Shaw starts to sound like Charles rather than himself:

Shaw: “But everything I did, I did for you. To unlock your power. To make you embrace it.” Shaw reaches out in a seemingly loving gesture, touching Erik’s face like a lover would, but the touch sends Erik flying across the room.

Charles to Erik: “it’s working. I’m starting to see him, but I can’t yet touch his mind.”

(So, here, a mirror is being established that connects Charles to Shaw. And that’ll become literally true in a bit.)

Shaw (still sounding like Charles): “You’ve come a long way from bending gates. I’m so proud of you.” Erik tries to bring the entire room crashing down on Shaw, but it doesn’t phase him. “And you’re just starting to scratch the surface. Think how much further we could go, together.” Shaw pins Erik to the wall. “I don’t wanna hurt you, Erik, I never did. I wanna help you. This is our time, our age. We are the future of the human race. You and me, son. This world could be ours.”

(hmm.. Now, hold up, didn’t Charles say those words in his thesis at the beginning of the film? Yes. And Erik repeats them to Charles during their chess “breakup” scene as well. “You said it yourself, we’re the next stage of human evolution.” So, basically, Shaw is reiterating Charles words and Charles’ empty promises to Erik. Erik believes Charles lied to him, used him just like he used Raven, and now Shaw and Charles are about to represent the same person):

Erik to Shaw: “Everything you did made me stronger, made me the weapon I am today. It’s the truth. I’ve known it all along. You are my creator.”


Erik moves a metal arm, and removes Shaw’s helmet, and yells “Now, Charles!” Charles enters Shaw’s mind and freezes him. Erik looks at the helmet and realizes it’s the barrier that’s been keeping Charles out of Shaw’s head. Erik puts on the helmet with the words “Sorry, Charles, it’s not that I don’t trust you…” Charles is yelling at Erik “Don’t do this, Erik, please, be the better man, there will be no turning back..!”

So, if it’s not that Erik doesn’t trust Charles, then what is it? Why is he shutting Charles out? And here is Erik’s delayed anger towards Charles over breaking up their relationship:


Oh, isn’t that beautiful? Erik steps forward to Shaw/Charles, and leans into Shaw’s/Charles’ touch, echoing Shaw/Charles touch earlier. Erik’s words in this scene are to Shaw AND Charles:

Erik: “If you’re in there, I want you to know that I agree with every word you said. We are the future. But…unfortunately, you killed my mother.”

Shaw killed Erik’s mother, yes. And Erik equates his mother with love and with family, both of which he lost. And who finds that and pulls that back out of him? Charles:


Oh, yes, that infamous satellite scene. Charles gave Erik love, they fell in love, and he gave Erik a family, and then he takes it away from him. “Unfortunately, you killed my mother/you took your love and family away from me.” Erik’s got a right to be pissed the fuck off. And he shows it:


Yep. While Charles and Shaw are one mind, Erik takes out the Nazi coin that Shaw gave him in the camps and starts it rolling slowly towards Shaw with the words: “This is what we’re gonna do. I’m going to count to three and I’m going to move the coin.” Shaw is terrified, but…so is Charles. He knows what’s coming, and he’s pleading with Erik to stop.


As Erik kills Shaw, he also “kills” Charles. Charles feels all that pain. And the coin falls, landing Nazi side up. Why is that significant to Charles? Because in the beginning of the film, when young Erik looks at the coin Shaw gives him, the coin is turned around to reveal this on the other side:


That’s Charles’ logo. That’s his initial, the logo for his eventual school, for his mutant family and the philosophies he instills in them. Thus, Erik’s coin landing Shaw side up means he chooses his new identity as Magneto, thereby shutting Charles and all his past pain out of his head and heart for good.

All this, of course, leads to the brawl between he and Charles on the beach as Erik takes the missiles fired at he and the mutants and turns them back around on the humans, with Charles trying unsuccessfully to stop Erik.

Ah… And it’s at this critical juncture that we FINALLY get the Charles mirror to Hank’s cure backfiring on him:


Ah ha. Moira, Charles’ “cure” starts firing at Erik (with a gun–seriously, what a moron, but then again so is Charles to think Moira/a gun would end his attraction/fight with Erik). She fires several times with Erik easily deflecting the bullets until the last one which hits Charles directly in the spine, rendering him immediately paralyzed.

Erik looks horrified. And that look also closely resembles the same expression he had after killing Shaw:


So, now, we have Moira backfiring on Charles, rendering him paralyzed just as Hank was rendered a permanent mutant. Charles will now spend his life in a wheelchair, disabled, no longer his normal self- he is now everything he didn’t want to be.

Erik, of course, blames Moira for this. And he turns his anger on her, choking her with her own dog tags.

Erik to Moira: “You. You did this.” (Subtext: You took Charles away from me. You hurt him.)

Charles to Erik: “She didn’t do this, Erik, you did.” (You’re the one who hurt me/shut me out.)


Fucking tragic. And this– THIS– is the perfect fucking time for them to tell each other how they feel and fix it, isn’t it? Erik is practically begging Charles to not leave him, to stay at his side, to keep their family together, but Charles only sees an Erik who shut him out, an Erik who got him hurt and paralyzed, an Erik who doesn’t share his ideals. And Charles tells him that, in so few words. But he doesn’t tell him to leave- he just tells him they don’t want things the same way. That’s not what Erik hears- why? That goddamned helmet. He can’t *hear* Charles and Charles can’t *talk* to Erik.

Erik: “I want you by my side– We’re brothers, you and I– I want all of us together, protecting each other. We want the same thing.”

Charles (sobbing): “Oh, my friend. I’m sorry, but we do not.”


These two are the KINGS of misunderstanding and miscommunication. Oh, yes, this entire scene is not only a break up, but a break up based on total miscommunication. (That’ll be detailed in a later post because it hooks into Days of Future Past.)


So, what Erik is hearing here is “Leave. I don’t want you at all in any form.” And that’s exactly what he does. He lets Moira take over for him, and then stands up, gestures towards them and says:

“This society won’t accept us.”


That’s not even subtle. We all know now what that line really means. And Erik’s pointing right at the meaning.

And then Erik leaves, taking Raven and half the kids with him. And Charles? He’s in a wheelchair, in a conservative suit. He can’t deal with Erik leaving and being stuck with Moira on his own so what does he do? Tells her he needs to remain anonymous (uh huh) in order to run his mutant school, tells her goodbye with a chaste kiss and then wipes her memory. He sends her away.

And Erik? He recruits Shaw’s telepath.

Emma: “Where’s your telepath friend?”

Erik: “Gone. Left a bit of a gap in my life if I’m to be honest. I was rather hoping you would fill it.” (Really, Erik?)

And we finally see his full Magneto costume:


Pink and fuchsia. Magneto’s costume is pink and fuchsia.

“I prefer Magneto.”

subtext: “Bitch, call me Magneto, I’m fabulous.” 🙂


And that’s my Cure theory.

Subtext is *beautiful*, isn’t it? So moving. I am OBSESSED with it.

It better be headed where I think it’s headed. (I think it is.)

They’re the same scene.

•April 5, 2015 • 1 Comment

Nobody debates the break-up scene between Erik and Raven in DoFP, but many of those same people still debate whether the Cuba beach scene was really a break-up for Charles and Erik.

Allow me to make it obvious. These two scenes are identical. Same emotions from Erik, same response from Charles and Raven. See it now?


Don’t let gender cloud your vision. Love is love.