Tracker Pixel for Entry

A love Letter to Lana Wachowski

by John Strand | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Culture | September 6th, 2017

Lana Wachowski is a hero of mine, and, if you feel like crying, then go watch the speech she gave for her 2012 Visibility Award.

There is so much I could say about this speech, but no words are going to convey the power of her telling her own story.

What I can say is that this speech is a big reason for why I got into activism. It’s what encouraged me to be true to myself, to be visible in my passion as well as my sorrow, and that, ultimately, I was a person deserving of love.

During her speech she talked about her suicide attempt, when she went to a subway station to throw herself in front of a train. When I heard this I realized that she wasn’t just filming a fight between Neo and Agent Smith in the first Matrix Movie, she was filming an allegory of her own struggles with gender dysphoria.

That final fight between the two, in that subway station, is visual representation of Lana’s fight for her own life, a fight that ended with her declaring her chosen name and jumping away from that train.

I don’t know if any of that is important context for what I’m going to say about “Sense8,” but it is personally important for me to talk about, given the chance. I’ve wanted to write about “Sense8” for a while now, ever since I finished the second season and found out it it wasn’t getting a third.

It was hard to think about, or to process, because it felt like a betrayal. I know Netflix doesn’t owe me anything, but it was still emotionally confusing and devastating. How could this groundbreaking show be canceled? 9 million dollars an episode? Oh…

However, despite it being canceled because of insufficient viewership to support the production costs, the fans of the show so passionately demanded more that Netflix agreed to a two-hour season finale.

This show had such an impact on so many people, that their collective voice was heard and acknowledged. Nobody really saw that coming and while Lana wanted to hold out for a third season, she acknowledge a duty to give closure to her fans.

What makes ‘Sense8’ so powerful? What about it calls so many people to action?

Each person has their own reason, but I suspect it has to do with the show being about the celebration of life and what it means to be human. It does this by inviting viewers to see stories, cultures, and lived experiences beyond their own.

Remarkably, it bears witness to the live births of eight people of different backgrounds and cultures.

While it does have an overarching plot about an evil corporation that drives the story's main conflict, most of the scenes are constructed around the families and lives of each character. We follow their hopes and struggles as they reach for their dreams.

Each character feels complex. While their backgrounds and culture play into their stories, as they do for each of us in our own lives, the characters define themselves.

Nomi Marks, played by Jamie Clayton, is the best-written trans character that I have ever seen. She’s one of the eight point-of-view characters of the show. She’s also a lesbian in a mixed-race relationship and I’m not sure I’ve personally seen that narrative depicted in mainstream media for a leading character, nor have I seen it look so beautiful and adorable on screen.

The conflict for Nomi is never that she is trans, it is about other people not accepting her identity. It’s also clear that her identity as a trans woman isn’t her most important one and that most of the time on screen she’s simply a hacker, spending time with the love of her life.

There may be others, but ‘Sense8’ is also the first time I’ve seen a polyamorous relationship in a television show that is given the space to breathe and the room to be uncertain, to be exploratory, and to slowly develop.

Every person’s life and sexuality within this show is portrayed as natural and worthy of respect. They are all explored as individuals without assumptions, enriched by the diversity of experiences they represent. This show honestly feels like it’s decades ahead of its time.

There is nothing out there that is even close to this for LGBTQ+ people that I know about. There is nothing that has gone so far beyond “trans 101” or that so thoroughly escapes the common trap of being a gay story thinly disguised as a hetero-romance, than this.

There is nothing I know about that is so effortlessly able to celebrate and intertwine so many cultures and stories at once; that is able to tie them together, show us what it means to be human, and what the world can look like when we embrace the diversity of life and celebrate it.

Personally, I don’t think we’ll see a show nearly as compelling for very long time. I don’t think we’ll see a trans narrative done this well for another ten years.

And no, I’m not saying everyone has to love this show. There are a lot of reasons to not get into it and even this show has its rough edges, but for the people who can appreciate it, it might mean everything to them.

[Faye Seidler is North Dakota Safe Zone Project Spokeswoman]

Recently in:

BISMARCK – Two bills are fighting for ethical supremacy in the North Dakota State Legislature. Senate Bill 2148, sponsored by Senator Tim Mathern, a Democrat from Fargo, received a ‘Do Pass’ from Special Ethics Committee on…


​‘Pull-Tab’ machines

by HPR Contributor

By Zach Nerpelzachnerpel@gmail.comThere is nothing more hopeless than a feeling unrequited. The obsession it brings, the doubt it stews, and the madness which erases your sense of self are crippling. You’ll give more than you are…

Best Bets

​Love Wins

by HPR Staff

Saturday, February 23, 9 p.m.-12 a.m.Fargo Elks, 3435 Broadway, FargoThe Hot Mess Harlots are at it again! Performances by Mia Starr, Fifi Nyxx, Landon McKock, Miss Kitty, Heidi Mi-Feelings, with the debut of Michelleaneous and…

Growing up, whenever Christmas or a birthday or really any time I received any sort of a gift, time and a certain level of guilt was set aside to write thank you cards. To this day, I’ll send a few out to people or organizations…


Chang and Eng

by Ed Raymond

The Monsters Of The MidwayBack in college eons ago I and a fellow footballer spent half a summer employed by a concessions company that worked county and state fairs in the region. We sold foot-long hotdogs and ice cream bars on…

Chef’s Table Catering recently converted the building that formerly housed the restaurant Barbacoa into a private dining and event space. Located just south of 32nd Avenue off 42nd street, they have kept all of the great lighting…

Over the past few years Luna has become my favorite restaurant in the FM area. The thoughtfulness of Ryan’s creations and the neighborhood environment of the locale as a whole creates a beautiful experience that can’t be found…


​Ready or Knot

by HPR Contributor

By Gary Usseryusseryg@gmail.comWhen Sabrina gets a hold of you and asks you to interview a band as unique as Fargo locals The Knotties you just yell “yes!” Only a few days later I was meeting with Channing Minnema (lead vocals,…

Documentarian Penny Lane adds another entertaining movie to her filmography with an inside look at the recent rise of the Satanic Temple. As a movie experience, “Hail Satan?” often lives deliciously. The film might even turn…


​A Fargo art two-fer

by Särah Nour

Two local art exhibitions had their opening receptions last week, the first one being at the Spirit Room last Thursday. Their current exhibition, “Wonderful Works of Whimsy,” will be displayed until April 13th, free to view…

To many people unfamiliar with the wide range of the musical genre, the word ‘opera’ conjures up stereotypical images of people in period costumes and large women in Viking garb singing in foreign languages. The truth, however,…

The first exposure I had to Maria Bamford’s work was on Adult Swim’s comedy sketch show “Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show Great Job”. She was informing the audience about how to properly remove cat hair from their clothes…

The 1,290 square-foot garage that was once Main Avenue Auto has generated a lot of buzz for good reason. Harold’s on Main is Moorhead’s newest watering hole and the attention is all in the details. With its dark wood paneling,…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

By Cara Cody-Brauncara.braun@wyndmereschools.orgI am not much of a science fiction fan, but I’m a sucker for a story with a portal. Who hasn’t dreamed of entering a different world? Alice’s fall down the rabbit hole in…