The T-shirt news in this blog post is that we have a new design for the web series Riley Parra! Here’s a quick link to the designs. But first, some thoughts about LGBTQ+ representation, and shout-outs to some awesome people.
Hello from your Fangirl Shirts founders, Rebecca and Sally! We both grew up in a time where there was no queer representation on network television. Then once queer characters started to appear on network and cable TV, it took a long time for that representation to become even partially positive and affirming. What was a queer lady to do back then? If you were Christin Baker, you didn’t wait around for TV to catch up – you made the content you wanted to see, and started streaming that content online for everyone else who wanted to see it.
Christin Baker is the founder and CEO of tello Films. She started tello in 2007 “out of passion to provide modern and relevant lesbian-focused stories for the under-served lesbian community.” From the get-go, tello has stood by their pledge to never have programming that ends with the death of a lesbian character. We were incredibly excited to share the stage with Christin at ClexaCon 2017 at the Queer Lady Business panel. Christin is nice, enthusiastic, wicked smart and a hoot, so if you get a chance to meet her, don’t pass it by!
Geonn Cannon is the author of the Riley Parra book series, as well as many other stories and novels. We haven’t met Geonn in person yet, but we are looking forward to it when it happens! Riley Parra the web series is based on Geonn’s books. He has been incredibly nice and generous to us, and we sincerely appreciate it – plus, he’s fun to talk to – follow him on twitter! Then check out Geonn’s website and buy his books!
Here’s a spoiler-free summary of Riley Parra from imdb: “Riley Parra is a good cop in a corrupt department who discovers a war between angels and demons is being waged in her city. Both sides have chosen mortal champions, and Riley is the only chance the Good side has of winning.” The first season was released on tello in 2017, and filming for Season 2 starts today, January 19, 2018!
In addition to a suspenseful storyline and plot twists we never saw coming, Riley Parra has awesome queer representation. Riley Parra herself is played by Marem Hassler, and the medical examiner Gillian Hunt (who also happens to be Riley’s love interest), is played by Liz Vassey. And as Star Trek fangirls, we’re psyched that Season 2 will see the addition of Marina Sirtis.
We’re grateful that there is a platform like tello that provides positive, quality lesbian content. We are tello subscribers, and we encourage you to become one too if you’re not already! Then go watch Riley Parra and all the other awesome series on tello. Support the content you wish to see in the world.
We’re so excited to be able to tell you that we’ve partnered with tello and Geonn to bring you a Riley Parra shirt! Check out the different styles on our website, and if you’re in the EU, it’s available in our EU Store.
We asked Geonn and Christin to share a few thoughts with us about Riley Parra, the importance of visibility, and being a fan. And they said yes! Here’s what they had to say.
Riley Parra was born before Rizzoli & Isles premiered, but it definitely ended up being an answer to that show’s problem with queerbaiting its audience (fun fact: the “Detective Falls for Medical Examiner” was actually inspired by the friendship between Kate Beckett and Lainie Parrish on ‘Castle’, which eventually included a guest appearance by our pal Liz Vassey). I was writing the stories at a time when it was almost unheard of for a show to actually steer into a lesbian relationship for its lead characters. I watched Once Upon a Time a lot longer than I care to admit hoping against hope they might actually do what the fans wanted. But no. It wasn’t to be.
That’s the most important thing you should know about Riley Parra. It’s written by someone who was/is a fan like you. I recorded Stargate SG-1 onto VHS, and then I copied that tape onto a second tape so I could cut out the commercials. Now I own every episode on DVD (I have two full sets) and I own a digital version of every episode. I know what it’s like to be on the other side of a TV show, and I know the responsibilty I have to the fans. Without you, there is no show (especially true with Riley Parra, which owes its continued life to crowdfunding!) and I don’t take that lightly. I’ve been hurt by shows in the past (I still can’t watch the Stargate episode where Janet dies… too painful) and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure Riley Parra keeps your trust!
When I was in college I was obsessed with Xena: Warrior Princess. I wasn’t really sure why I was so obsessed with that show. I got the full first season on VHS, which was all I could afford at the time. I was a loyal fan and would not miss a show – I mean it’s because there are strong female characters who have awesome fight scenes right? And I don’t know why the storyline where Xena goes to China and meets Lao Ma was my absolute favorite and don’t forget about the scene where she’s hiding in the spa/bath thing and needs help breathing underwater…
…Anyway, I’m a lesbian and didn’t realize until later why Xena spoke to a place in my soul that no other TV show did before. It was clear to me that Xena and Gabrielle were soul mates. And it was a show I could watch that wasn’t considered a “lesbian” show and so it was safe for me to enjoy and not feel weird or scared until I was ready to come out.
I’m so glad that now there are series that can have a lesbian couple or lesbian character and not have to be subtle about it. I’m also glad that we have stopped killing these lesbian characters. I make series for our community because I love them and there aren’t enough of them. I make them because I want people to feel represented and see their lives in the media. I’m so glad that Fangirl Shirts exists because they allow us to proudly wear out fandom on our bodies and support them as other fandoms have been able to do for much longer. I met these lovely ladies at ClexaCon last year when I did the Queer Lady Business panel and have a huge Queer Lady Business crush on them and I’m looking forward to doing another Queer Lady Business panel in 2018!
(Us too, Christin!)