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Our Truth Isn’t Your Trend

Non-binary Genderfluid Non-conforming Agender Trend

Highlighting non-binary people in the media is important and is slowly happening more-and more; but what’s also important is realizing that being non-binary isn’t a fun fashion trend.

Recently, there has been a huge rise in non-binary representation in the media. Models, musicians, and actors who identify as non-binary/agender/genderfluid/non-conforming are getting the buzz they deserve after not having been represented in mainstream media for such a long time. It’s refreshing to see non-binary folks presented to the public on a larger scale; but something that needs to be said is this: non-binary existence is not a temporary statement, and our truth isn’t your trend. Thinking positively, this rise of representation should continue to skyrocket in months and years to come.

Gigi-Hadid-Zayn-Malik-Vogue-Cover-August-2017 Our Truth Isn't Your Trend
Cover of Vogue August 2017.

What prompted this piece was the backlash aimed at the August 2017 issue of Vogue which featured Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid on the cover with the tagline, “Shop Each Other’s Closets”. Styling cis people in a gynandrous way is nothing new — this is fashion, sweetie —  but the choice of the models that was made by Vogue made being gender-fluid or non-binary seem as though it were the newest, late-summer/early-fall trend. The August cover would have been more refreshing to see celebrities or models who actually identify as non-conforming grace the cover of Vogue (*cough*,Anna Wintour … girl. You approved this?). A simple Google search of genderfluid/non-binary celebrities could have steered the Vogue editorial staff in the direction of hiring actual non-binary people to grace the cover.  Nevertheless, it is exciting to see non-binary individuals gain tons of positive attention in different areas of the art world; and in the images below, I’d like to showcase a few.



ruby Our Truth Isn't Your TrendRuby Rose — an Australian, genderfluid actor, model, and DJ that presently prefers to use feminine pronouns — has most recently been cast as the leading role of Batwoman in the the CW Network’s forthcoming series of the same name. (Fingers crossed that the show does not flop and is actually a success!) Rose landed some of her largest fame when she appeared in seasons 3 and 4 of Netflix’s original series, Orange Is The New Black. Mind you, Rose appeared in only 9 episodes:

chloe Our Truth Isn't Your Trend



wade1 Our Truth Isn't Your TrendAlok Vaid-Menon from College Station, Texas rose to fame as one half of the poetry duo, DarkMatter with Janani Balasubramanian. Alok has been a vocal social and political activist for feminists and the LGBTQ+ community for many years. Alok now has a book of poems entitled, “Femme In Public”, which was released in 2017 and has been featured on LogoTV, in Out Magazine, as well as in Vogue. (Hello, Anna? It’s me again … Put Alok on the cover. *wink*).



39962871_2119332281662532_4648317890428523516_n Our Truth Isn't Your TrendRose McGowan recently came out as non-binary identifying. Rose has been a vocal proponent for the #MeToo movement (founded by Tarana Burke in 2006) and shattering what was left of the glass ceiling in Hollywood by speaking out against sexual assault and harassment towards women, men, and the trans community. Rose’s book Brave was published in January 2018 from Harper Collins imprint HarperOne., The memoir focuses on the experiences McGowan had in Hollywood both professionally and with sexual assault. Rose recently won GQ’s Man Of The Year Award for her activism — a kind affirmation of non-binary identity from a publication that largely panders to cis, straight audiences.

 



18444042_1433865880010488_4562078454668853248_n Our Truth Isn't Your TrendAngel Haze is a rapper from Detroit who identifies as agender. Angel has become a huge name in hip-hop and has been nominated for a GLAAD Media Award as well as an MTV Video Music Award. Angel is currently working on their sophomore album. Angel Haze recently changed their name to ROES, but still remains on social media under their original stage name.



These are just few names of many non-binary/non-conforming/agender/genderfluid people that are making big waves presenting themselves to the public loudly so that they are being seen. No one will soon  be forgetting a single one of them anytime soon, because, again, our truth isn’t your trend. These non-binary/agender people are beacons of light, giving people within our community hope that they can achieve the same level of exposure, fame, and greatness that these folk have. Their presence just affirms that we can change the way we are displayed in the media. We are here to be seen, to grace magazine covers, lend our voices and our images to the masses.

Many non-conforming individuals have been subject to bullying and prejudice throughout their childhoods; and most still experience it in adulthood. It all comes from people with a lack of exposure to, as well as a lack of education on the subject of, people who neither label themselves to meet a certain gender-specific criteria that is the summation of eons of destructive societal constructs. Because in spite of what the LGBTQ+ community’s flag may boast, the lives of non-binary people are not all rainbows and glitter for most of us. That being said, however, increasing the visibility of our community by seeing people from it become big-name stars is an important thing as it not only inspires us to make sure ourselves are being represented, but also exposes cis people/straight people who do not identify the same way as non-conforming folks to the lush diversity of this community. They can see that we are all human and that we are all going through life just as they are with very similar difficulties, trials, and tribulations. It also aids in educating them by increasing visibility of the way we present ourselves to the world by showing them that this is not a scary thing. It’s not terrifying at all. It’s our truth and it isn’t their trend. The point begins and ends here: we nonbinary, agender, non-conforming, and genderfluid people are here,  we exist, we are making change, and we aren’t afraid to take charge. We are carving out our space in pop culture and the media, and we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

‘Anthony Project’ Adds Regina Blake-Dubois, Cody Ray Strimple, Liza Lott

Anthony Ramirez Regina Blake-Dubois Liza Lott Cody Ray Strimple Anthony Project

The Anthony Project — the new sitcom based on the life of About editor-in-chief Anthony Ramirez — has added drag queens Regina Blake-Dubois and Liza Lott, as well Cody Ray Strimple to the cast of its upfront table read.

HOUSTON — As its September 29th upfront date draws nearer — the upfront being the event in which the community and potential advertisers are invited out to see what the show is all about — About Magazine’s first scripted comedy, The Anthony Project, is stepping closer and closer to rounding out its full cast. Last week actors such as Teresa Zimmermann and Ty Frazier were announced to be joining the cast. This weekend has seen the additions of three new stars.

Trans advocate and drag queen Liza Lott will be joining the cast as the bartender Nikki, whose character will take on a story arc about transitioning in the second half of the first season of the show. Recently-crowned Miss Gay Texas America 2018, Regina Blake-Dubois, will be joining the cast as Jackie — the eccentric receptionist at the characters’ office — while actor and performer Cody Ray Strimple is up for the parts of either Kelsey of Matt — the former a bisexual newcomer who is struggling with his identity, the latter a potential partner of the protagonist, Anthony.

The 'Anthony Project' Adds Regina Blake-Dubois, Cody Ray Strimple, Liza LottThe show revolves around a fictionalized version of Ramirez and deals with real issues he’s dealt with in the his real life. Set half in the fall/winter of 2018 and half in the spring of 2019, The Anthony Project finds its titular character the night after he has been raped, flashing back to the events several months before after his grandmother has died and leading up to the events transpiring around the rape. While the story is a dark comedy, Ramirez states that the major, darker themes of the series — such as rape, death, homophobic work environments, and substance abuse — are all based on events that took place in his life. When we find the comedy’s protagonist, he is working as a writer at a fictionalized version of About Magazine as he tries to juggle the cartoonish antics of his friends and coworkers Sofia, Alex, Kelsey, Matt, Wendy, Nikki, Kara, Erin, and Jackie, while also struggling to cope with the death of his late grandmother and his recent sexual assault.

Teresa Zimmermann will be playing the role of Erin Duval, the show’s primary antagonist and Anthony’s arch nemesis. Erin’s character is summarized as “a white, heterosexual, conservative, Christian employee of the magazine who interjects her unwanted opinions and beliefs upon her coworkers.” Ty Frazier will be reading for the part of Alex Fields, Anthony’s potential love interest in the series as well as his marketing director friend of the fictional version of the magazine with whom he often partakes in reckless recreational activities. Wendy Taylor will reading for a character based on herself, Anthony’s best friend, aptly named Wendy Taylor. Should Morena Roas appear, she will land in the role of Sofia Garcia, Anthony’s best friend from high school and coworker at the magazine. Ramirez, who will also serve as the show’s director, will be playing the titular lead who tries to coat his anxieties with drugs, alcohol, and sex.

The Anthony Project was created by About Magazine editor-in-chief, Anthony Ramirez, and is executive produced by Ramirez and local Houston singer/About creative director, Wendy Taylor. Former 93Q morning show producer and New Country KSCS afternoon radio host, Al Farb, also serves as the supervising producer on the show. The comedy’s team of writers includes other notable Houstonians such as Pride SuperStar contestant Shaun GrayRebekah KnightChristian PeckLea Alonso, and Kimberly Dyan. Serving as story editor on the show is About Magazine book reviewer, Megan Prevost. But now that the series’ first season is nearly halfway written, the crew has announced a September 29th upfront for the community and potential advertisers. An upfront in Hollywood is a presentation by the network for its television shows in which advertisers are invited to preview the show, talk to the cast and crew, and begin their bids for where and with which shows they would like the ads placed. Ramirez’s comedy is only slightly different in nature, with a table read of the first half of The Anthony Project‘s scripts being table read by a collective of actors and the show’s writers for advertisers and the community to come out and get a taste of what the show is all about. The read will close with live musical performances from the actors in a special musical episode featuring two original songs (“The Good Guys” and “So Happy I Could Die”) and Broadway favorites such as “The Mad Hatter” from Wonderland, “On My Own” from Les Miserables, “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, and a medley of songs from The Last Five Years. 

The table read takes place September 29th — a time and location will be announced soon.

TV Review: ‘Cover to Cover’ with Ernie Manouse

Ernie Manouse Cover to Cover PBS Houston Public Media TV

Ten-time Emmy Award winner Ernie Manouse returns to television in Cover to Cover, a follow-up to PBS’s The Great American Read.

About Magazine Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

As one may imagine of a writer and the editor-in-chief of a magazine, nothing gives me greater joy than reading. It’s what makes the task of being an editor bearable and fun — getting to spend a great deal of time reading other people’s words. Mind you, the opportunities to read actual books are few and far between when you’re constantly staring at a computer screen for the better part of twelve hours a day. Between editing other people’s work, writing my own weekly column, drafting sitcom scripts, and piecing together my latest book a few lines at a time just to punctuate the former tasks of my days, I rarely get in any leisurely reading. By the time I get a chance to sit down and do something just for pleasure, my brain has met its maximum capacity for words — a bit of a disappointment for someone who started his career putting out a new novel every year from age nineteen. This is partly because when you’re a reader — especially so a writer-reader — books have an addictive effect on the brain; they become gateway drugs to more books. You find one you think you might be interested in, pick up another in the same genre, and then find something you like about your last book — maybe it’s an omniscient narrator or where the story is set — that catapults you into a very different type of narrative in a equally different genre. Suddenly, you’re reading three books a week, staying up much later than you can just to get in one more chapter (followed by perennial more), putting off that load of laundry that’s needed to be done for a week, and forgetting that you haven’t eaten a real meal in several days. And in the last year of running this magazine, I’ve staved off that addiction because I’ve simply become too busy.

 

ernie TV Review: 'Cover to Cover' with Ernie ManouseBut then came Ernie Manouse making me relapse into my thirst for books all over again in his newest PBS TV show from Houston Public Media, Cover to Cover, a six-episode program premiering tonight at 8 following PBS’s The Great American Read. The latter, a limited series which is hosted weekly by news anchor and television personality Meredith Vieira, launched back in May with a two-hour special, with this continuation taking viewers on a journey for the 100 best American novels. Cover to Cover — also a limited series — is a companion series to Vieira’s in which Manouse gathers together a select book club of personalities, writers, performers, and other public figures from around Texas to zero in on the themes presented in Vieira’s series and to present their own favorite books.

In the show’s premiere episode, Ernie Manouse is joined by Great Day Houston host Deborah Duncan, author Ann Weisgarber, author and former First Lady of Houston Andrea White, and editor/columnist Joe Holley who get together to discuss their favorite books relating to Texas while delving deeper into rather lively discussions about how Texas is presented to people unfamiliar with it and how it translates into the written word. At one point, Duncan even shares a story about a dinner she had with Prince Charles, in which he stated he’d expected more cowboys in this part of the South. Each guest took a moment to read an excerpt from their favorite Texas-centric books (which included Lonesome Dove, the River Oaks-inspired Blood and Money, and more) and share how the prose of each contributed to the success of the books, even if the portraits of Texas might come off somewhat askew to state natives.

texas-10 TV Review: 'Cover to Cover' with Ernie Manouse
Left to Right: Ann Weisgarber, Andrea White, Ernie Manouse, Deborah Duncan, and Joe Holley.

Manouse, as always, allows audiences to feel as though they’re sitting right there in the Houston Public Library’s Julia Ideson Building with he and his famous friends as they foray into conversations not just about how each book portrays Texans, but what exactly Texans are capable of confronting when writers place a mirror in front of them. He and his guests are truly capable of having a funny, engaging, and scholarly conversation without sacrificing their candor and are having a nearly palpable good time laughing and smiling at one another’s high brow anecdotes. The round table of familiar faces — each a tad different from the next — is engaging, informative, and clearly learning just as much as audiences will when Manouse surprises them with a literary trivia game reminiscent of Vieira’s stint on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? — sans the million dollars.

Those familiar with Manouse — either from knowing him personally or enjoying his palette of work that has earned him no small collection of Emmy wins and nominations — will recognize the LGBTQ Community Pillar’s trademark sense of humor immediately and will feel right at home with him in the gaudy and beautiful Julia Ideson Building. Newcomers and lovers of literature will similarly feel as though they’ve known Manouse and his guests as if they were old college buddies catching up after years apart. And it is that sort of hallmark that keeps Manouse not only on screens and radios across the nation, but eagerly awaited by fans to see what he’ll come up with next. For lovers of books, those who simply enjoy seeing Manouse do what he does best, and freshman to either of the former, Houston Public Media’s Cover to Cover is certainly worthwhile TV programming. And most certainly, Manouse’s new television series is certain to awaken that old book lover in all of us, reviving that thirst for books we may often not have the time for or forget to let ourselves savor.

Cover to Cover, which premieres tonight at 8 PM on PBS Channel 8, will run its limited series for six weeks. Manouse’s rotating round table of guests on his pretaped episodes is set to include other Houston nobles such as America’s Got Talent star Christina Edwards Wells — who will be competing in the semifinals of the televised talent show tonight at 7 PM on NBC — poet Jasminne Mendez, Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star CEO Pierce Bush, meteorologist-turned-memoir penman Frank Billingsly, and many other familiar faces over its six week run. All-About-It TV Review: 'Cover to Cover' with Ernie Manouse


Click here for more information on Cover to Cover, including the show air dates, themes, panelists and books.

Click here to follow Ernie Manouse on Facebook.

About Houston Public Media
Houston Public Media is a service of the University of Houston and supported with financial gifts from the community. Houston Public Media combines broadcast and digital assets to serve residents of Southeast Texas with trusted local news and entertainment and national programming from NPR and PBS. With a combined weekly audience of more than 1.5 million, Houston Public Media is committed to delivering content that expands minds and possibilities with trusted information.

Anthony Project to Star Anthony Ramirez, Ty Frazier, Teresa Zimmermann

The Anthony Project Anthony Ramirez Sitcom Wendy Taylor Ty Frazier

Giving audiences and potential advertisers a sneak peek of its first scripted comedy, About Magazine has recruited local talent such as Ty Frazier, Teresa Zimmermann, and more to star in a reading of its sitcom The Anthony Project.

(HOUSTON) – About Magazine’s newest venture, a production studio named About Media (both of which operate under the About Media Group umbrella) has begun its forays into television programming. Earlier this month, About screened its first original talk show, Round-Up with Mel Rose, and now has three pilot scripts in development and is halfway done with the writing process of its first scripted sitcom, The Anthony Project.

The Anthony Project was created by About Magazine editor-in-chief, Anthony Ramirez, and is executive produced by Ramirez and local Houston singer/About creative director, Wendy Taylor. Former 93Q morning show producer and New Country KSCS afternoon radio host, Al Farb, also serves as the supervising producer on the show. The comedy’s team of writers includes other notable Houstonians such as Pride SuperStar contestant Shaun Gray, Rebekah Knight, Christian Peck, Lea Alonso, and Kimberly Dyan. Serving as story editor on the show is About Magazine book reviewer, Megan Prevost. But now that the series’ first season is nearly halfway written, the crew has announced a September 29th upfront for the community and potential advertisers. An upfront in Hollywood is a presentation by the network for its television shows in which advertisers are invited to preview the show, talk to the cast and crew, and begin their bids for where and with which shows they would like the ads placed. Ramirez’s comedy is only slightly different in nature, with a table read of the first half of The Anthony Project‘s scripts being table read by a collective of actors and the show’s writers for advertisers and the community to come out and get a taste of what the show is all about. The read will close with live musical performances from the actors in a special musical episode featuring two original songs (“The Good Guys” and “So Happy I Could Die”) and Broadway favorites such as “The Mad Hatter” from Wonderland, “On My Own” from Les Miserables, “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, and a medley of songs from The Last Five Years. 

The Anthony Project to Star Anthony Ramirez, Ty Frazier, Teresa Zimmermann
Series logo.

In preparation for this event, Anthony Project producers have announced that joining their cast will be actress and singer Teresa Zimmermann — who currently stars in the Queensbury Theatre’s production of the musical Violet — production designer and OutSmart Gayest and Greatest Award nominee for Favorite Male Entertainer Ty Frazier, and local Houston actress Julitta Pourciau, who has appeared in various TV shows such as Claws and The Leftovers. While they have not confirmed their appearances yet, Houston artist Morena Roas has been invited to appear, as has Miss Gay Texas America 2012, Kara Dion. The latter two personalities are currently in the process of checking their schedules.

The show revolves around a fictionalized version of Ramirez and deals with real issues he’s dealt with in the his real life. Set half in the fall/winter of 2018 and half in the spring of 2019, The Anthony Project finds its titular character the night after he has been raped, flashing back to the events several months before after his grandmother has died and leading up to the events transpiring around the rape. While the story is a dark comedy, Ramirez states that the major, darker themes of the series — such as rape, death, homophobic work environments, and substance abuse — are all based on events that took place in his life. When we find the comedy’s protagonist, he is working as a writer at a fictionalized version of About Magazine as he tries to juggle the cartoonish antics of his friends and coworkers Sofia, Alex, Kelsey, Matt, Wendy, Nikki, Kara, Erin, and Jackie, while also struggling to cope with the death of his late grandmother and his recent sexual assault.

39077343_10156042912137217_8034815609499811840_n Anthony Project to Star Anthony Ramirez, Ty Frazier, Teresa Zimmermann
Teresa Zimmermann, who will be reading for the role of Erin Duval.

Teresa Zimmermann will be playing the role of Erin Duval, the show’s primary antagonist and Anthony’s arch nemesis. Erin’s character is summarized as “a white, heterosexual, conservative, Christian employee of the magazine who interjects her unwanted opinions and beliefs upon her coworkers.” Ty Frazier will be reading for the part of Alex Fields, Anthony’s potential love interest in the series as well as his marketing director friend of the fictional version of the magazine with whom he often partakes in reckless recreational activities. Wendy Taylor will reading for a character based on herself, Anthony’s best friend, aptly named Wendy Taylor. As for Kara Dion and Julitta Pourciau, either would be playing the roles of Kara Wells — Anthony’s flighty, incompetent editor-in-chief who is struggling to kick a drinking habit — and Jackie Ferguson, the magazine’s seemingly-delusional receptionist who lost a child in a car accident to a drunk driver. Should Morena Roas appear, she will land in the role of Sofia Garcia, Anthony’s best friend from high school and coworker at the magazine. Ramirez, who will also serve as the show’s director, will be playing the titular lead who tries to coat his anxieties with drugs, alcohol, and sex.

Other characters that remain uncast for the September 29th reading of The Anthony Project include Kelsey Carter, a new, bisexual accountant coming to terms with his identity and his possible feelings for the Anthony character, Matt Delaney, a bartender at the gang’s local hangout, the Esquire Room, who gave up his career as a middle school music teacher to pursue music full-time, Nikki Adams, the bar’s motherly owner, Jillian Mitchell, a therapist to Anthony and Kelsey, as well as other supporting characters.

Actors wishing to read for these roles are asked to send an email to query@about-online.com, or message About Magazine on Facebook. 

Tap-cast Anthony Project to Star Anthony Ramirez, Ty Frazier, Teresa Zimmermann
Left to right top: Anthony Ramirez (Anthony), Ty Frazier (Alex); bottom: Wendy Taylor (Wendy), Morena Roas and Kara Dion.

The table read — which begins with the first episode, “I Am Not This Person“, and ends in a special musical episode entitled “Alex + Anthony” featuring two original songs by Ramirez — is open to the public, as well as businesses that would like to discuss advertising and sponsorship of the program. Community members that would like to reserve a seat can follow this link to the Event Brite page. Businesses and potential sponsor should send an email to query@about-online.com to reserve a table. Complimentary beverages and food will be provided.


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