Pride

Happy LGBTQ History Month!

Hello and Happy LGBTQ History Month!

The UK’s LGBTQ History month came about after the overturning of Section 28 a law banning the “promotion” and teaching of homosexuality by schools and local authorities, This law was thankfully abolished in 2003. Glad things have moved on since then!

Since 2005 onwards the UK has celebrated LGBTQ History month, a month to celebrate all the achievements of the LGBTQ Community and to also raise awareness for the community. I hope you have a good month, whether you are part of the LGBTQ community or an Ally.

I do hope to get out a longer blog post at some point during the month!

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Memeow Gifts Greetings Cards Events Directory!

This a directory of the events/holidays Memeow Gifts currently caters for. I hope to add more designs/cards to the list as the year progresses. You can shop the full range at: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MemeowGifts!

Events and Holidays

February 14th – Valentines Day – Bearfriends, A Whole Otter Love, Gillfriends, I Only Want To Bee With You!, Call Bee Maybe!, Bee mine!

March 22nd Mother’s Day (UK) – Kangaroo Mums, Mother Duck and Ducklings

March 31st – Transgender Day of Visibility – You’re Purrfect!, Trans Pride Butterfly

12th April – Easter- Easter Bunny

June – LGBTQ Pride Month – LGBTea, Rainbow, Rainbow Sheep, A Whole Otter Love, You’re Purrfect!, Pride Pandas, Trans Pride Butterfly, PostcardsFriends of Dorothy

21st June Father’s Day – Lion Dads

Weddings – Husbuns

Birthdays – Happy Birday!

December – Christmas/Holidays – Polar Bear, Penguin and Robin, Deer Boyfriend, Deer Girlfriend

Other Cards – Snapcat, Meowilyn Monmeow, Uniloon

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Pride, Pride Pony, Pride, Pride!

Hello I’m back with a new blog post after a month of being ill twice and a short holiday to Wales! 

I’ve recently finished my series of Pride Ponies representing the identities that make up the LGBTQ acronym. I’m thinking I will initially sell the series as greetings cards but tempted to do a postcard set of the series. 

As well as finishing this series I have also designed a new Christmas card coming soon to my Etsy shop!

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Memeow Gifts @ Warwickshire Pride

Just a short post to let you know I will have stall for Memeow Gifts at Warwickshire Pride this year where I will be selling greetings cards,badges, postcards, mirrors and more!

The event is being held at The Pump Room Gardens, Leamington Spa, my stall will be located in the Rainbow Marketplace and there is no entry fee for the event.

Hope to see you there!

-Josh

P.S been very busy prepping for this event so will hopefully go back to regular blog posts soon!

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Friends of Dorothy – The Wonderful Ally of Oz

I recently released a pack of  Wizard of Oz themed postcards titled “Friends of Dorothy” based on the phrase “Friend of Dorothy”. I would write a post talking the term a bit more and the LGBTQ themes of Wizard of Oz.

Dorothy Gale ally to any outcasts! – In original story ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ Dorothy wore Silver Shoes rather than Ruby Slippers!

Although there is some debate to where the term originated most attribute it to Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, an ally to anyone different. Dorothy is very accepting of all of the beings she comes across on her journey across the yellow brick road. 

As the story goes… Dorothy is on her way to see the Wizard and encounters the Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and tin man on her journey. All three of her new found friends feel they are missing something which they believe the wizard will be able to give them. Lion wants courage, Scarecrow wants a brain and Tin Man wants a heart. 

Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man are all outcasts who aren’t part of a group until they meet Dorothy. Their outcast status and trying to find acceptance has parallels with the struggles faced of many queer people, they can be easily read as an allegory for the LGBTQ community. Lion in the 1939 film is also “coded gay”, acting very much like a stereotypical gay man, reinforcing the LGBTQ themes.

Once Dorothy and Friends have defeated the Wicked Witch of The West and finally get to the Wizard, they find out he’s not so wonderful all along! The Wizard is just a man who doesn’t have any powers, meaning he cannot give them what they want. But all is ok when they find out that they already had everything the needed all along. In other words they didn’t need to change themselves to be happy.

FLY YOU FOOLS!!!

It’s also no secret that Judy Garland who played Dorothy in the 1939 film was/is a gay icon due partly to playing this role, her talent and her personal struggles which many members of the LGBTQ community can relate to.

‘Over The Rainbow’ is not only a lovely song from Wizard of Oz (1939) but also a classic upbeat LGBTQ anthem, a dream of an idealistic world/ home for us all. And after all there’s no place like home!

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MemeowMix – Pride Playlist

As it’s Pride Month I thought I would celebrate by creating my own pride themed playlist, Welcome to Memeow Mix: Pride Edition!

1. Lady Gaga – Born This Way – No Pride playlist could be complete without some Gaga! An iconic self acceptance song which name checks the LGBTQ community. I also love Gaga’s idea of self reinvention, you can be “re-born” over and over again.
2. Janelle Monáe – Make Me Feel – A catchy prince inspired tune, which touches on pansexuality.
3. Troye Sivan – Bloom – a fun pop song about “Flowers” according to Sivan (I don’t think it’s really about flowers)
4. Tegan and Sara – Closer – a fun pop song from twin sisters Tegan and Sara.
5.Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Cast – Gettin’ Bi (Feat. Pete Gardner) – I had to include this one! This song is from the musical/comedy/drama show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and does a very good job of dispelling some of misconceptions of bisexuality!
6.Taylor Swift – You Need To Calm Down – Swift shows her allyship to the LGBTQ community in this new song, telling the bigots they “need to calm down” and that their is “sunshine on the street at the parade, but you would rather be in the dark ages”. Swift also shouts out LGBTQ charity ‘Glaad’ this has a led to influx of donations to the charity, which is nice to hear!
7. Sarah Bareilles – Brave – Sara Bareilles was inspired to write this song about a friend of hers that was struggling to come out.
8. Hayley Kiyoko – Girls Like Girls – A track about a girl stealing a girl from a guy! (It’s a new spin on the formula!)
9.Mary Lambert – She Keeps Me Warm – Lambert was featured on 2012 song ‘Same Love’ by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, ‘She Keeps Me Warm’ builds a new song around Lambert’s ‘Same Love’ hook.
10. Troye Sivan (Feat. Betty Who) – Heaven – Another Troye song! Here Troye sings about trying to reconcile religious belief with his sexuality.
11. Calum Scott – No Matter What – A lovely song about coming out and finding acceptance.
12. Kacey Musgraves – Rainbow – This is such a beautiful song and I love the message, also reminds me slightly of Jessie’s song ‘She Loved Me from ‘Toy Story 2’. Oh no! I think I have something in my eye…

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes! – Pride Makeover and The Origins Of The Memeow Cat

Happy Pride month everyone! I thought for the first blog post of the month I would tell you a bit about the origins of Memeow Cat! You may have noticed the Memeow logo has had a Pride makeover, with Memeow exchanging his usual red lightning bolt for a more appropriate rainbow one to celebrate Pride Month.

Memeow’s Pride Makeover

When I was coming up with a logo for my business I knew that it would have to feature a cat as Memeow – is a combination of Meme and Meow! (I’m a cat person who loves a good meme) I wanted to give the logo more of an identity/character, thats when I had the idea to give Memeow a red lightning bolt, inspired by David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane look, one of Bowies most iconic and recognisable images. Bowie often challenged gender norms with his androgynous style, he wasn’t afraid to be seen as odd or eccentric and was true to himself.

In the logo Memeow is smiling with his eyes closed in a state of peaceful contentment, this symbolises the vibe I aim to create with Memeow Blog/Gifts , where everyone feels welcome and free to be themselves.

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Love Is An Open (Closet) Door – Why Disney needs LGBTQ Characters

After years of Princesses and Princes, isn’t it about time for a Prince and a Prince or a Princess and a Princess?

Disney films are very popular with many members of the LGBTQ Community, with their themes of love, acceptance and finding yourself resonating with many members of the LGBTQ crowd, but as of yet there is no major LGBTQ Disney character.

If Disney introuced a canonically LGBTQ character this would be a great win for representation, helping to create more acceptance and normalisation of the community. Growing up in the 90s I had very little in the way of gay role models, most gay characters represented in the media were 2-dimensional caricatures, often not taken seriously and most definitely not the hero/main character of the story! I feel that if I had, had a gay Disney character to relate to when I was growing up, I would not have struggled as much with accepting myself and internalised homophobia, I would love for the younger generation to have this character I never had growing up.

With campaigns on Twitter to give Elsa from Frozen a female love interest in the ‘Frozen 2’ (#GiveElsaAGirlfriend) trending, it does seem a large majority is on board for Disney to make an LGBTQ character a reality. Whether disney has the courage to make this decision is yet to be seen. I personally think that Elsa would make a great LGBTQ character as her storyline in the first film has parallels to how it feels growing up as person who is LGBTQ, having a secret that no one knows, fear of being seen as monster if people find out etc. Also ‘Let It Go’ has always seemed like a coming out anthem to me, whether intentionally or not.

Iconic characters such as Ursula, Jafar, Hades and Scar are all examples of ‘coded’ gay characters, this is where a character is not explicitly LGBTQ but is heavily implied to be from stereotypes eg they are ‘camp’. WAIT! what do all these characters have in common? Oh right, they are villains! Probably not the most positive LGBTQ representation, but hey! We do have ‘good guy’ coded-gay characters Timon and Pumbaa I guess, may I add Simba was raised by two Dad’s and he turned out fine!

Scar, Ursula and Jafar are ‘coded gay’ villains

There are positive and negatives to coded gay characters, like I’ve said they do often seem to be villains, which negatively impact the stereotypes they are based off. But then again these villainous characters are still great characters and do give some slight representation to the LGBTQ community. Ursula was based on real life drag queen ‘Divine’ which is a nice homage to the late Harris Glenn Millstead who portrayed her,

Disney do seem to be heading in the right direction to actually making a LGBTQ character reality, although I do feel they have made a few missteps along the way. If you have not heard them term “Exclusively Gay Moment” think yourself lucky! This term was brought to us in 2017 by director Bill Condon referring to a scene in the ‘Beauty and Beast’ live action remake, Condon mentioned the phrase in an interview and it then got picked up by various news outlets. At last it seemed we were going to get major LGBTQ representation in a disney film, the “Exclusively Gay Moment” was two male characters dancing together on screen for about 0.8 seconds! I mean it is a small step in the right direction but the way this scene was hyped up, you would have expected a bit more than this tiny moment before the credits roll, also not great that one of the characters in question’s name literally translates to “The Fool”!”

The film Avengers Endgame a Disney property recently received backlash for there first ‘gay’ character. They decided to make their first LGBTQ essentially a background character who is on screen for a minimal amount of time, with the vast amount of these films, its surprising that none of the main characters of the MCU so far are LGBTQ.

Like I said Disney are making some missteps in trying to achieve more inclusion, but I do appreciate that they are trying, although with how other studios are integrating LGBTQ characters seamlessly, it does feel like they are a couple of laps behind.

Disney Channel shows on the other hand have handled LGBTQ characters excellently from what I have seen, Good Luck Charlie did a good job of normalising the fact one of the secondary characters had two Mothers. Andi Mack another disney channel show did a great job covering main character ‘Cyrus’ coming out to his friend without using any labels, this was a heartwarming and very well executed scene. ‘Andi Mack’ later followed this up with Cyrus coming out casually to another character in the show, actually saying the words “I’m Gay’, something we wouldn’t have seen a decade ago on Disney Channel!

Andi Mack’s Cyrus casually comes out

Disney’s animated shows Gravity Falls and Star vs The Forces Of Evil have also given us LGBTQ representation, with Gravity Falls confirming that two male characters where in fact a couple and The Forces of Evil had a scene featuring of various couples (including same-sex ones couples) kissing.

It does look hopeful that we will get a LGBTQ Disney character (in a feature film) in the not too distant future, with Disney showing more and more acceptance of the community. June 1st 2019, Disney will be holding its first official pride event at Disneyland Paris titled ‘Magical Pride’ which will feature a diversity parade and performances from Boy George, Years and Years and Corine. The Disney Store have also recently launched their pride collection including badges, t-shirts and a rainbow Mickey plush toy.

Gay playwright and Lyricist Howard Ashman was instrumental in writing songs for films such as Beauty and The Beast, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin with composer Alan Menken. Ashman tragically passed away from AIDS in 1991, he had kept his diagnosis a secret and had been working on songs for Aladdin from his hospital bed. Ashman died before the release of Beauty and The Beast which featured an homage to Ashman in the credits “To our friend, Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and beast his soul, we will be forever grateful” Ashman’s story is a very sad one, in a time where an AIDS diagnosis was a life sentence and so stigmatised, that you would have to keep it a secret.

Howard Ashman wrote lyrics for many classic disney songs like ‘Beauty and The Beast’, ‘Belle’, ‘Under The Sea’, ‘Part of Your World’ and ‘Prince Ali’. As the end credits of Beauty and The Beast state he gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, it would be lovely if Disney returned the favour and created a gay character in tribute to Howard Ashman.

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