Is This Domino’s Pizza Ad Transphobic or Just Stupid?

Every time a TV spot is criticized for being chauvinistic or homophobic, the ad men have the same canned response: “It’s a joke! Haven’t you got a sense of humor?”. Well, these days it seems trans people are the butt of the joke, from New Zealand tampons to the first aid course the company made me take this week, to this recent Israeli ad for Domino’s Pizza:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axY172psTe0&showinfo=0
In the ad, Israeli singer and comedian Maor Cohen talks about being pampered by his mom in the winter time. The camera zooms out just as a big masculine arm slaps Cohen, and we see a male actor playing the role of the mom whose pampering apparently involves delivering pizzas to her son. Now, you don’t need to hone your Hebrew skills to pick up on the pointy boobs, the crotch grab and the general macho quality of the mom character. Simply put, there doesn’t seem to be any plausible explanation as to why a cisman was cast to play the mom – except for the obvious one: “Whoosh, that’s the joke…” – and a very transphobic one, in my opinion.

P.S.
How can a first aid course make fun of trans people, you ask? Well, one needs to try very hard, as the EMT that taught the course proved: When he talked about snake bites and how you should never cut the bitten organ to extract the venom, the instructor held up a piece of paper which read “Do not cut” and had a photo of Israeli singer Dana International on it. Get it? Do not cut. Yeah, I know…

P.S.2.
Israeli telecom provider 012 Smile know how to create an ad without insulting trans people (or their friends). Read all about it here.

The Other Girls by Juliana Finch

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xFIjplFQMM

The Other Girls by Juliana Finch – Lyrics

Sitting up on the roof at our parents’ house
counting the days until we could get out
One more Monday coming on fast
For the small town survivors at the head of the class.

They asked were we fine
We said yes every time
Hoping that someone would see through the lie

Chorus:
We were the other girls
raised on pretending
that there was a part for us
in that storybook ending
Now that we’re grown
we see we’re not alone
and what did we find?
The other girls were here all the time

Pushing on through, keeping our heads down
Dodging sticks and stones with our hearts on the ground
Running out of places to keep all that shame
Until just one someone calls us by our name

And says I see who you are
and I know your scars
because they’re the same ones I’ve got on my heart

Chorus

Sitting up on the roof of your parents’ house
Counting the days until you can get out

It Gets Better – A Music Video By Rebecca Drysdale

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTQNwMxqM3E

It Gets Better by Rebecca Drysdale – Lyrics

Amanda is in gym class where the kids go to get fit,
But her eye’s not on the ball at all — it’s on Ms. Foster’s tits.
She’s got a dirty little secret (“shhh”) that everybody knows.
She came out, but she wishes she had left the closet closed.

And here is little Davey hiding in the piano room,
Playing Wicked, Rent, Chicago, Cats and Brigadoon.
He’s hiding from the locker room and jocks who roam the halls,
Where he’s safe from wedgies, shiners and destruction of his balls…

But when they call you weirdos, fags, and rejects, flamers, gays and hags,
Baby dykes and homotikes, Lesbos, homos, and queer bags,
It might seem like it’s hopeless and will never be ok,
But listen to the ones who care — believe them when they say:

IT GETS BETTER

One day you’ll look back and you won’t give a fuck
When your swimming through your pussy vault like Scrooge Fucking McDuck.
And when you’re snatching your first Grammy — super glammy lookin’ slick —
It won’t be much time till they get in line for a chance to suck your dick.

IT GETS BETTER

It wasn’t long till they told Johnny that he wasn’t normal
When he wore a strapless gown and high heels to his junior formal.
But the cool guys they felt passionately that his chosen fashion
Was a rationalization for a rash of Johnny bashin’.

Everyone made fun of Shannon cause she kissed a girl.
So she hid her head and closed her mouth and shut out all the world.
She is brilliant, smart and funny, kind and talented — but hey —
It doesn’t matter what she is cause all she is to them is gay.

But when they call you carpet munchers, fudge packers, and queens,
Lesbians in training, Marys, Nelly, Nancy teens,
It might seem like you’re different, weird, unusual or strange,
But hang in there cause things have always and will always change.

IT GETS BETTER

Jon’s a stylist and he’s gotten pretty far.
Now he doesn’t get his ass kicked but his ass kissed by the stars.
And when Shannon got to college she met people just like her,
And she realized who the d-bags and the fuckheads really were.

IT GETS BETTER

Jane Lynch, Boy George, Versace,
Adam Lambert, Liberace,
Elton, Tim Gunn, Michael Stype,
Ellen, Rosie, Wanda Sykes.

Jodie Foster, Linda Perry
Gandalf the Wizard? — actually a fairy.
Simon Amstell, K.D. Lang.
Even Brando like some wang.

Rachel Maddow (huge muff diver),
Richard Hatch who won Survivor,
Nathan Lane, Truman Capote,
Even Obiwan Kenobi.

Billy Joe from Greenday’s bi,
Ricky Martin — big surprise!
Doogie Howser — what a showman.
Dave Hyde Pierce and all the Romans.

Tommy Tune and Alvin Ailey,
Meredith Baxter, Leisha Hailey.
Lohan, Paquin both are bi.
Boy George and George Takei.

Cher has a transgendered child.
George Michael and Oscar Wild,
Everyone involved in Glee,
One-tenth of everyone you know — and me!

All of them were just like you.
It got better for them, and it will for you too.

IT GETS BETTER

If you’re gay or bi or something in between,
There’s no one who is meaner than a bunch of asshole teens.
Those assholes are the first people that you will soon forget
When you’re living life and learning how much better it can get….

IT GETS BETTER

It Gets Better from the Cast and Crew of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AW28laPkThU

Make sure you check out the extended version for interviews with the cast and crew of the 2010 North American tour.

It Gets Better by Emily S. Grosland – Lyrics

Every Who down in ‘Whoville’ liked Christmas a lot,
But the Who that didn’t fit in did not.
He hated the Who girls who loved the boys.
For him all their giggles and flirts were just noise!

What was sad, no sadder, no saddest of all,
Was when this Who’s smile started to fall.
He hated himself for his feelings and thoughts.
He yelled, I’d rather have antlers, pimplers, or spots.

No matter what this Who tried he couldn’t fit in.
And one day he took a Who’s fist to the chin!
The Who-bully called him a terrible name.
And other Who-boys repeated the same.

What hurt him the most was the holiday season.
But, he really did have a very good reason.
Under the mistletoe others kissed by the fire.
But, when he kissed the girls he felt like a liar.

He wanted to stop it, to end the whole thing.
But then the Phone-Ringler started to ring.
And who did he hear with his little Who ears?
It was he, he himself, in twenty-five years!

And his older self said to his younger lost Who.
Don’t end it I beg, we have so much to do.
Soon you will leave and move far far away,
And your world will grow three sizes that day.

You’re going to lose a few Who-friends, it’s true.
And parts of the journey will be scary, and new.
But you’re going to have great friends, family, and LIFE.
And you will take a man instead of a wife.

I know now that seems crazy and terribly scary.
But someday the world won’t care who you marry.
Don’t miss out on that change, please be a part of it!
Hang in there, fight through, and I promise you’ll love it!

Many will surprise you and love you for you.
And someday, I promise, even you’ll love you too.
And you’ll sit by the fire in your new Christmas sweater,
And think to yourself: Wow… It got so much better.

It Gets Better

With five American teens taking their own lives in the recent weeks, after enduring bullying for their sexual orientation, it seems we are at a critical point. At times like these I am usually rendered speechless, and others seem to be better in conveying the right message.

If you are straight, you should read eHow’s How to be a Heterosexual Ally of the LGBT Community.
If you are an LGBT teen, you should check out Dan Savage‘s It Gets Better project. Here’s one video of many:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNW7OuJex3U

Dana And Kitzis Under The Tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G

I like Dana International. As I have said in the past, her winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1998 was a giant leap for gay acceptance in general and particularly for transsexual visibility. As a judge on Israeli Pop Idol in recent years, just by appearing in the living rooms of millions of Israelis, I believe she does more for LGBTQ equality than any Supreme Court decision could ever do.

But this post is not about her. It’s about 012 Smile, the Israeli telecommunications provider and their recent TV spot featuring Dana and Israeli comedian Eyal Kitzis who play themselves in a kind of alternative reality:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZq4wSGcF0g

You see, LGBT acceptance is not binary; It has different shades, different grades. At the very far end there are those who define their so-called progressiveness with letting queer people live their lives just as long as they themselves don’t have to hear about it. The other side is closer to what 012 show us:
– In the ad Dana International is not asexual. This particular M2F has a male boyfriend, Kitzis, who is straight, and whom she fondly calls “Kitzi-Kitzi”.
– She also has a home, a family, a father that, much like ours, got mad when we talked too much on the telephone.
This parallel-universe-Dana seems to have had a childhood in the eighties quite similar to ours, and while all this may seem trivial to progressive-thinking-homo-lovin’ readers, it is probably not trivial to their parents.

You see, I complain quite a bit about Israeli advertising, about its lack of creativity and its sexist undertones, but for putting this ad on Israeli Channel 2 at prime time, all I can say is:
Bravo! Bravo, 012, bravo!
If advertising is harmful in its core, I believe this ad does quite a bit of good.

Continuing With Pride – LGBT Rally This Saturday in Tel-Aviv

Go back to being fabulous
Ignore the pain inside
Find some compensation
for all the love denied
After all that we’ve been through
only tears can tell the truth
 
  – – “For All of Us” – from the musical “Closer To Heaven” by Pet Shop Boys

Impromptu Rally After Tel-Aviv Gay Youth Killing, Tel-Aviv, August 1, 2009Last Saturday a masked gunman opened fire in a gay youth club in Tel Aviv, killing a 26 year old male and a 16 year old female and injuring eleven others, before fleeing the scene. The event rendered me speechless. I have been searching for the right words ever since and just now decided to give up that and use this platform to call people to action instead.

This coming Saturday a demonstration will be held in Tel-Aviv, supporting the gay community. Titled ‘Continuing With Pride’ this event will mark one week since the shooting and will be a more organized event, as opposed to the impromptu rallies that were held all over the country in the last few days. Singers will sing (Rita, Ninet, Ivri, Margol, Dana), speakers will speak (Mayor, ministers, MKs), but most importantly people will stand. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and loads of straights will make a stand for democracy, pluralism and freedom. Worldwide solidarity events are planned for the same time in Warsaw, Paris, Berlin, Bern and Madrid.

What: LGBT Demonstration
Where: Rabin Square, Tel-Aviv, Israel
When: Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 8:30pm
Why: Stand against homophobia and transphobia
Who: You, me, all of us
How much: Admission is free

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Time to Celebrate All the Colors of the Rainbow

Looks like Tel-Aviv Pride 2009 tomorrow will be a full day of activities, including the traditional parade, a beach party, and a mega-wedding event. Here’s Miri with the details (Hebrew):
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-ZpSo4cURI

If you don’t want to sweat in Tel-Aviv tomorrow, there are still a few things you can do in order to be a better ally to your gay friends:
Read about Israel’s gay rights movement or watch a documentary about it.
Log-off and check out The 4th Annual Tel-Aviv International LGBT Film Festival, or log-on and watch a film online.

If you are fortunate enough to be Gay, Jewish and 18-26 years old you can visit Israel for free with Taglit-Birthright Israel’s 10 day tour, either on a rainbow trip – or on a regular trip.

Happy Pride!

nana10.co.il changes its logoUpdate: Nana10, one of Israel’s leading websites, gets extra points for temporarily changing its logo for the occasion, but gets some of the points taken back for an article which juxtaposed gays and pedophiles – even if it was meant to be lighthearted and funny.

Pride 2009 by Jon Gilbert Leavitt

In celebration of the upcoming 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion of June 28, 1969 which led to the birth of gay pride, an incredible song was just released by Jon Gilbert Leavitt. In less than 6 minutes the video summarizes the ups and downs and all the middle of LGBTQ triumph and turmoil.

Here’s the video, make sure you turn on the closed captioning so that you would not miss a word. Also, if you’re an Israeli – don’t blink at the 4:36 minute mark.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEpqTIolLps

Continue reading Pride 2009 by Jon Gilbert Leavitt

Entertainment Weekly Deems Israeli Film One of 50 Sexiest Movies Ever

If you haven’t had the chance to see the Israeli feature film Yossi & Jagger, here’s another reason why you should: Entertainment Weekly just released a list of the 50 Sexiest Movies Ever, and at 49th place the 2002 movie just made the cut. Here’s what EW had to say:

Yossi & Jagger DVD | Amazon.comThe titular men (Ohad Knoller and Yehuda Levi) are sturdy Israeli soldiers stationed at an icy outpost on the Lebanese border. Like a less tormented version of Brokeback Mountain’s Jack and Ennis, they keep their coupling a secret.
Sexiest Moment: The guys go at it, fully clothed, on a snowy hillside. Because we see mostly close-ups of their faces as they make out, joke, and laugh, what’s sexy is their sweet delight in one another.

You can buy the movie here, and download or rent it here. Check out Entertainment Weekly’s list of the 50 Sexiest Movies Ever, and their 25 Least Sexy Movies Ever.