ADVOCATES is an LGBTQ Satire That Delivers Comedy with Attitude

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Chloë Curran, whose provocative, opinionated articles were proudly published here on AfterEllen for a number of years, has been up to something.

Now, if you follow Chloë, you know by now that she is always up to something. Always questioning, thoughtful, and spot on in her witty, humorously critical analyses of LGBTQ media, culture, and politics, the twenty-seven year-old writer is no shrinking violet.

Whether you agree with her or wildly oppose her views, the record shows her readership always wants to hear what she has to say. Well, AE readers, you are in for a treat. I’m not going to write a long editorial introduction to Chloe’s latest project, ADVOCATES, because who am I to edit Chloe? Can Chloë really be edited? It’s best if you just watch episode one of this hilariously smart series, and then read my interview with her below, which will answer all your questions.

Created by Chloe Curran (Curve, AfterEllen) and Lauren Elizabeth Neal (Cinetic Media, PDA), the web series affectionately mocks LGBTQ culture, media, and clueless straight people.

 Episode Two airs Tuesday, May 23rd, at 8AM PST

Chloe Curran, photo via Facebook

Photo of Chloë Curran via Facebook

Afterellen.com:  Chloë, you came up with the idea for ADVOCATES while writing for AfterEllen. What inspired the series? Any specific events or people?

Chloë Curran: It was really a combination of events over years. I wanted to show all the different groups and subcultures of the LGBTQ community, and what happened when they butted heads, but also when they came together. Because I saw a lot of that at AfterEllen. A big part of what made AfterEllen so special to me were the readers. I still keep in touch with a lot of them today. I always had a very irreverent, sarcastic, un-perfectly PC sense of humor, and a group of very supportive AE readers shared that with me and encouraged my writing.

Granted, some of them hated it, but they eventually learned to stop reading my articles and we all got along by just coexisting. Except when someone would periodically stop by to say “I HATE CHLOE” and I’d think “Girl, I don’t like you either.” Bridget McManus (wife of former AE Editor Karman Kregloe) was actually the one who encouraged me to write a webseries, and when I told her I wanted to write about a nonprofit, encouraged me and gave me notes every step. During one of the brainstorming sessions, I decided to create a conniving power lesbian role of Bridget with the name “Diane Dregloe.” So ADVOCATES is both inspired by my time and experiences while working for AfterEllen and literally because of people I met at AfterEllen.

“I wanted to show all the different groups and subcultures of the LGBTQ community, and what happened when they butted heads, but also when they came together. Because I saw a lot of that at AfterEllen. A big part of what made AfterEllen so special to me were the readers. I still keep in touch with a lot of them today.”

AE: I love the way you use satire and humor to reflect the politics that come with LGBTQ. Is ADVOCATES a reflection of the current state of LGBTQ culture?

CC: I think so. It’s heightened because with comedy and jokes, it’s funniest if you take reality and then raise the stakes by ten. And yes: I absolutely use humor to deliver commentary. Right now the LGBTQ community in America is in a really interesting place. We’re more accepted than ever, we can marry, we’ve made more progress in the last ten years than the three hundred before it. But we’re also in the midst of culture conflicts. There’s serious tension between cis and trans people, lesbian and bisexual women, bisexual and pansexual, queer and gay.

Then there are people with no labels: if labels don’t exist, then can cis women who only have sex with and date cis men call themselves queer because they too want to be special? And then there are fandoms: really passionate, nice people who love characters and storytelling. I really appreciate a fandom. BUT hot damn you do not want to anger a fandom!

LGBTQ culture is better and bigger than ever, but it’s also chaos. Many people might write heartfelt, sincere think pieces about this. But I prefer to crack jokes. Instead of getting angry and defensive about all this change, wouldn’t it be better, and more healing, to laugh?

“Right now the LGBTQ community in America is in a really interesting place. We’re more accepted than ever, we can marry, we’ve made more progress in the last ten years than the three hundred before it. But we’re also in the midst of culture conflicts.”

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AE: You were always one of AE’s most opinionated and sharp-witted writers. This series seems like a natural transition. Are the characters relevant to your own life and observations?

CC: Why thank you. And yes, all the characters are very much inspired by people I know or know of. A lot of jokes and scenarios are pulled right out of my life or the life of my friends and then jazzed up a bit. Most of my friends don’t mind me shamelessly stealing all the best bits of their lives and putting it in a script. They’re good people.

AE: While at AE, you wrote often about lesbian culture, and the way lesbians are depicted on screen. What do you think TV and film are getting right and wrong about LGBT characters? As a lesbian what is TV and film getting right and wrong about lesbians specifically?

CC: TV and Film suck at lesbian characters and they’ve always sucked at lesbian characters. There are exceptions but they are far and few in between. Where to I begin? Lesbian characters are whiny, insecure, and obsessed with straight women. Doesn’t anyone else find that weirdly narcissistic of straight people? To make gay characters obsessed with straight characters? Get over yourselves, straight people. You’re not that cute.

Lesbian characters are depressing. So, so depressing. They’re always crying and sleeping with married women or crying and being rejected for their sexuality or crying and fighting. So much crying. Ugh.  The plot lines of most lesbian movies (written by straight men) can be summed up as “sexed up trauma porn.” Then you have lesbian supporting characters! They love HOME DEPOT HAR HAR HAR and are MANLY HAR HAR HAR HAR and MEAN HAR HAR HAR. They are cliche, one-dimensional punchlines. And they are played by straight women.

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AE: What is the main message behind Advocates?

CC: Laugh at yourself. Laugh at each other. It’s ok. And don’t settle for the same old gay character. We deserve gay characters whose storylines don’t begin and end with their sexuality. We deserve gay characters played by gay actors. We deserve lesbian heroines who are as complex and funny and strong as the lesbian women we know and are.

AE: How many episodes are in store for us?

CC: Two as of now! We are pitching ADVOCATES to various production companies and networks, and hopefully, we can take it further. I’ve written a whole season and it’s rad.

AE: Any message  for your AfterEllen readers?

CC: Dear AfterEllen readers: I love you very much. You meant more to me than you can imagine. I started writing for AfterEllen when I was 23. I stopped at 27. I grew up with you. And I was very lucky.  You can always talk to me. I hope you like ADVOCATES.

“Dear AfterEllen readers: I love you very much. You meant more to me than you can imagine. I started writing for AfterEllen when I was 23. I stopped at 27. I grew up with you. And I was very lucky.  You can always talk to me. I hope you like ADVOCATES.”

“ADVOCATES was written and directed by queer women. The cast and crew of ADVOCATES are overwhelmingly queer, with gay, bi, trans, pan, and lesbian people behind and in front of the camera. Even the soundtrack is composed of only LGBTQ artists: Fabiola Cristina, DEVMO, and No Girlfriends. We wanted to create something authentic, weird, and funny that allows LGBTQ audiences to laugh at themselves.” 

 Stay tuned for episode two of ADVOCATES and subscribe HERE. You can keep up with Chloë Curran on TWITTER, TUMBLR, and INSTAGRAM.
Photo of Chloe Curran via Facebook

Photo of Chloë Curran via Facebook

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