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A History of Transgender Visibility in American Pop Culture

Thanks to Transparent‘s Golden Globe win for Best Comedy, Glee‘s exploration of Coach Bieste’s gender transition in its final season, and Orange Is the New Black‘s Laverne Cox’s Hollywood domination, transgender visibility in pop culture is more prominent than ever.

It took awhile for the world to be this accepting, though admittedly it still has a long way to go, but it truly instills a lot of hope in the future all-encompassing inclusiveness of the entire LGBTQIA community. It’s easily to call this point in history a “trans moment,” but let’s not limit it to this day and age. From trans characters on prominent TV shows and movies to trans actors, actresses, and athletes earning the spotlight, here’s a timeline of the most important transgender moments in the country’s pop culture history.

1918: Author Jennie June, formerly known as Earl Lind, publishes her memoir The Autobiography of an Androgyne, which is followed by her second book four years later, The Female Impersonators. Both deal with the life of a trans person in the early 20th century.

November 1952: Former army private Christine Jorgensen becomes the first publicly known transsexual in the U.S. after having gender reassignment surgery in Denmark.

June 24, 1970: Raquel Welch stars in the film Myra Breckinridge, based on the Gore Vidal novel of the same, as a trans entertainer formerly known as Myron.

September 21, 1975: In the film Dog Day Afternoon, Al Pacino‘s character plans to rob a bank to pay for the operation of his lover, a pre-operative transgender woman played by Chris Sarandon.

August 16, 1977: The NY Supreme Court rules that pro tennis player Renee Richards could compete in tournaments as a woman.

October 1, 1977: On The Jeffersons episode “Once a Friend,” Veronica Redd plays Edie Stokes, a woman once formerly known as Eddie Stokes.

June 26, 1981: British trans actress Caroline Cossey plays a Bond girl in the movie For Your Eyes Only.

July 23, 1982: The World According to Garp features a character named Roberta Muldoon (played by John Lithgow in an Oscar-nominated role) as a transgender former football player.

January 21, 1989: American jazz musician Billy Tipton becomes famous after death, when it’s discovered that he had been born a woman.

December 15, 1990: On Twin Peaks, David Duchovny plays Denise Bryson, a transgender DEA agent.

[Photo Credit: David Duchovny as Denise in Twin Peaks  / ABC]

[David Duchovny as Denise in Twin Peaks / Photo Credit: ABC]

Source: A History of Transgender Visibility in American Pop Culture

Celebrity Hairstylists on Iconic Doobies, Edgy Cuts, and the Business of Hair

Hair New Cover

When it comes to Hollywood, the celebrity hair game is no joke. Whether it’s a bold transformation or a signature style for television, celebs like Rihanna, Jennifer Hudson, and Orange is the New Black‘s Dascha Polanco are calling on the best to get their hair slayed. Many A-listers know the importance of having edgy hair that keeps the people guessing. We caught up with celebrity hairstylists Ursula Stephens, Cesar Ramirez, and Cynthia Alvarez to talk doobies on the red carpet, chopping off a star’s locks, breaking into the glamour business.

Ursula Stephens
Rihanna (pictured), Iggy Azalea, Rita Ora, K.Michelle, and Laverne Cox.

Ursula and Rihanna

[Photo Credit: @ursulastephen]

How did you come up with some of Rihanna’s most iconic looks?
Ursula Stephens
: When I first did Rihanna she was a good girl gone bad, so we did a bob which fit what she was doing. It was taking that risk of chopping her hair off, but not really going super short. When she decided to do her Good Girl Gone Bad album she was ready to show the world who Rihanna was. She was very forbidden by the label to change her look, so this was her coming out. She wore the bob for a while and I kept saying, “You can’t change it, it’s too early.” And one day I just felt like, I’m over this bob I want to change it. And that was her going to Rated R. So a lot of things happened because our mood changed at the right time.

Rated R was more of an edgy mohawk look, right?
Yes, more edgy and the music was tougher. I didn’t really think about it that much when we did it, it kind of just rippled. And then after that it was just a lot of, “I want to try this, I want to try that, I want to have that.” Just a lot of fun.

What about the looks for albums Loud and Talk That Talk?
She talked about going red before and I remember her saying, “I want to go red because there’s nothing louder than red.” I was on a flight and her team called me like, “Bring everything you need to make her red.” After Loud there was Talk That Talk, and I think she got kind of cocky in that era — in a good way. We did a lot of different things. It got sexy and vintage at the same time. Every time she would want to do something or I wanted to do something, we would always be on the same page.

How do you balance input from your clients? Do you have to pull the “I’m the stylist, trust me!” card a lot?
Hell yeah! Definitely. Sometimes you have to really pull back with them because they want to do a lot of crazy things that may be fun — or sometimes they want to do something so bad they don’t think [about whether] it’s appropriate. Some styles are great for red carpet and some are really great editorial.

Was there ever a time when Rihanna wanted to do something really bad and you had to talk her out of it?
I think it was more of a hair accessory. I was like, “I don’t think you should wear that hat,” but the stylist really wanted it ’cause the stylist was thinking about the wardrobe. That was a back and forth, but we never really thought ahead like that when it came to hair. With the red, she was like, “I want to do it,” it was like, “Fuck it, we’ll do it.”

Let’s talk about Rihanna’s doobie at the 2013 American Music Awards. Whose idea was that?
That was one I didn’t want to do and she did. I wasn’t really into that and we went back and forth but after a while it was like, “Let’s take the risk and do it.” It wasn’t a plan. I got to work to talk creative with her and it’s what she wanted.

When you guys meet to discuss creative, do you do it the day of or do you meet with the whole glam squad a few days before?
It’s different every time. We just text back and forth and send images to each other with our ideas.

Obviously the doobie was a bit controversial. How do you deal with criticism you get for some of your work?
It is what it is. It’s not like I’m going to a psychiatrist and talking about it. It’s my job. I love what I do, and I work with clients who want to take chances, and who are willing and want to have fun. So I’m not really bothered by it. I’m confident in my work and what I do.

Do you think more stylists should take risks?
I feel like if you have a client who could pull it off, yes.

Which celebs do you think can pull off any look?
Rita Ora
is one — she doesn’t really have a problem coming up with looks. She does it really easy and confidently.

What can we expect from Rihanna’s hair over the next few months?
I don’t know. It changes all the time! She changes her hair so much [that] even working with her you don’t know what she’s going to do or what she’s going to want.

What’s next for you?
I have a shoot with InStyle. I’m also going to be doing some classes and my salon [The Salon in Brooklyn, NY] is gonna be three years old in May, so I’m preparing for that. I’m going to do a big photo shoot for that.

Ursula is the queen of finding her client’s brand through hair, but check out the video of celebrity hairstylist Tokyo Stylez helping us with our struggle extensions.

Source: Celebrity Hairstylists on Iconic Doobies, Edgy Cuts, and the Business of Hair

Larry Wilmore Goes In on the Oscars’ Whiteness and Rudy Giuliani’s Critique of President Obama

Doing what he does best, Larry Wilmore addressed all things ridiculous and racist on The Nightly Show last night. First up, Wilmore commended host Neil Patrick Harris on acknowledging the whiteness of the Hollywood, before jokingly taking it back by making black actress Octavia Spencer his help for the evening. Wilmore then goes into praising the acceptance speeches with substance, including Patricia Arquette’s on wage equality, Lonnie Lynn’s (yes, Common) on race, and Graham Moore’s on “staying weird” (which apparently John Travolta stayed true to).

Then he gets into the meat of his segment: former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani‘s critiques of President Obama, which include that the President wasn’t brought up with love of the U.S. nor does he praise the country and rally for unity, and most of all, that Obama didn’t live through 9/11. Wilmore addressed Giuliani aptly with this perfect question, “Are you drunk?”

See what we learned from this year’s Oscars.

Source: Larry Wilmore Goes In on the Oscars’ Whiteness and Rudy Giuliani’s Critique of President Obama

Jimmy Kimmel Got Actors to Make Fun of Their Profession and It’s Perfect

You may be shocked to learn that not everyone in Hollywood takes themselves too seriously. We were. In honor of the 2015 Oscars, Jimmy Kimmel got A-listers like Eddie Redmayne, Mila Kunis, and Benedict Cumberbatch to poke fun at the pretentious nature of their craft in “The Kimmel School of Perfect Acting” skit.

Jimmy made fun of Eddie’s fancy British accent, told Kristen Bell Frozen was “shit,” and made Jennifer Aniston fall straight on her ass. Naturally, other celebs like Lupita Nyong’o, Jeff Bridges, Susan Sarandon, and Gary Oldman wanted to get in on the fun.

Check out part two with Sean Penn, John Krasinkski, Emily Blunt and the human chair Matt Damon.

This may or may not have been the best part of Oscar weekend.

Here’s everything we learned at the 2015 ceremony:

[Photo Credit: ABC]

Source: Jimmy Kimmel Got Actors to Make Fun of Their Profession and It’s Perfect