Gender Is Still Burning: The Ms. Q&A with Jennie Livingston

When filmmaker Jennie Livingston stumbled upon drag ball culture in the late 1980s, they had no idea how much the resulting film would resonate. Released in 1990, Livingston’s first documentary Paris Is Burning showcases drag balls during the late 1980s in Harlem, New York City, and features interviews with numerous queer and trans Black and Latinx performers who comprised the various “houses” in competition at the balls. Decades later, the film continues to resonate.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Unwavering Composure: Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation

Weekend Reading for Women’s Representation is a compilation of stories about women’s representation.

This week: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was a “model of composure” in the face of “egregious behavior” from some Republican senators; the “exhaustion of being the first Black women”; the impact of switching from gender ‘discrimination’ to gender ‘privilege’; women’s representation in post-Soviet states; how the Oscar winner for Best Picture will be decided using ranked-choice voting; rest in power Madeleine Albright, who knew how to “move beyond her talking points and to engage her counterparts in frank oval-table bargaining”; and more.

Here’s Why The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Won’t Work

I was 25 when I was finally ready to admit I wasn’t straight. I was lucky politics didn’t factor into my journey. It’s a luxury today’s students don’t have, between policies like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill and the Texas directive that orders state agencies to investigate gender-confirming care. Avoiding these topics won’t stop kids from being queer—it will just leave them feeling isolated. It will leave them closeted and at risk.

Pro-War Rhetoric Around Ukraine Perpetuates the Patriarchy and Plays Right Into Putin’s Hands

Watching cable news coverage of the tragic events in Ukraine, I hear again and again how brave the Ukrainian men who are staying to fight are. But we should be very careful about who we worship because fetishizing the masculinist and militarist response of war will hurt women and LGBTQ people for decades to come.

Putin is a madman, but his regime depends on these century-old notions of binary gender and “normal” sexuality. The way the U.S. mainstream media is covering the illegal invasion of Ukraine is doing similar cultural work.