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Opinion: 'Happiest Season' puts tinsel on the paradox LGBTQ Americans are facing

November 24, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

"Happiest Season" will be, for some, the perfect escapist family holiday movie -- especially, writes Allison Hope, for those wishing to get in a time machine and go back to the 1990s. 2020 already feels like a throwback to many LGBTQ Americans, she says -- too many are facing a paradox between expanded and diverse media and pop culture representation and heightened risks of violence and threat to their political rights.

We think we can tune into the new blockbuster holiday movie and it will offer a refreshing new take on what family and love look like in 2020, only to realize it feels a whole lot like 1993.

"Happiest Season," which premieres on Hulu on November 25, stars Kristen Stewart as Abby and Mackenzie Davis as Harper, a lesbian couple pretending to be "just friends" when they go home to Harper's for the holidays -- because, in a total surprise to Abby while they're on their way, Harper lets on she isn't out to her family.

They aren't overtly homophobic, but Harper is still afraid to come out to them because, as is the case with the families of so many LGBTQ people, they haven't created a home that affirms options for their kids' gender and sexual identities.

In one scene at the family's holiday soiree, John (a gay man) masquerades as Abby's pining ex-boyfriend, proclaiming to Harper's mother that he is "very sexually attracted" to Abby, "a female. " It's a moment played for heavy-handed comedic effect because we know the secret -- but Harper's mother (played by Mary Steenburgen) smiles approvingly.

"Happiest Season" will be, for some, the perfect escapist family holiday movie -- particularly if you were hoping to get in your time machine and go back to the 1990s.

This year already feels too much like 1993 (which was, among other things, the year of "don't ask, don't tell") politically, with an administration that has tried, and too many cases, succeeded in chipping away at LGBTQ rights -- pursuing an anti-LGBTQ agenda in the nation's highest court, rolling back health care protections for transgender people and others and trying to ban diversity training in the federal workplace.

These movies (remember "Chasing Amy?") were often written and directed by straight men -- or featured women who initially expressed interest in another woman (either through one awkward sex scene or a strife-filled second act) but then went back to the man at the end.

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