KIL NYC

Jewelry from KIL NYC collection

It's been a tough couple of years, so why not see in 2022 with some beautiful wearable talismans manifesting strength, protection, and perseverance? These bestselling items by LGBTQ jewelry designer Konstantinos Leoussis, founder of KIL N.Y.C., make the perfect unisex fashion statement for now and into the new year.

Based in Brooklyn N.Y., Leoussis, 32, has been passionate about jewelry from an early age. "The first piece of jewelry that was truly my favorite was a kilt pin from the 1850s that I was able to afford with my own money. It was a very sentimental piece of jewelry for years."

He believes that jewelry is not only decorative; "wearing jewelry can be so empowering and strengthening. I do believe jewelry is incredibly talismanic. I try to invoke strength, protection, and inspiration with my designs."

"My jewelry line is inspired by many things: mythology, magic, monsters. I've always loved ancient history since I was a child and I try to add similar elements to my jewelry. The first collection I released was entirely inspired by monsters from Greek mythology," he says.

This is very evident in his beautiful Teras Collection:

Argus Studs

Sadboy Pendant Gold, Opal, Diamonds and Garnet

Sadboy Pendant

The Kelly Sword Pendant and Earrings are two of the new signature styles Leoussis created for the KIL N.Y.C. label. Taking the traditionally masculine symbol of the sword and turning it into one of feminine power, the Kelly Sword design invites you to channel your inner warrior! Light enough to be worn every day, but bold enough to stand out as an accessory in the evening, each piece can be customized with your choice of metal, as well as optional stones set in either the hilt or the blade of the piece. In honor of the strong women who inspired this piece, 10% of each sale before tax will be donated to Equality Now, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting for gender equality worldwide.


Kelly Sword Pendant

Leoussis says, "I wanted to create something timeless and unisex, and swords are often seen as symbols of strength and perseverance. I named them Kelly Swords after my friend Kate Kelly, who has dedicated her life to advocating for women's rights. Because of that, we donate 10% of the profits from this piece to organizations that share Kate's ideals.”

Another favorite from his Classics Collection, his Sadboy Pendant, was created to commemorate all the times we really wanted to cry but had to act like we were “too cool.” Now anyone can proudly display their sensitive side no matter what their gender with this luxe piece of jewelry. Available in one’s choice of metal and dangling briolette tears, an extra center stone can be added to the pupil of the eye for added sparkle.

“I was going through my journals from high school and came across a little drawing of an eye crying. In its jewelry form, it's a homage to my 'emo' days and a way of acknowledging that we are all entitled to have bad days,” says Leoussis.

Konstantin Leoussis

"As an LGBT individual, it is sometimes very hard to get my work out there and sometimes, I am not taken seriously. We still have a very long way to come with LGBT representation especially with POC creators, such as myself. I strive to be inclusive and create designs that break thru the gender binary, and we try to support LGBT organizations with proceeds from select pieces of jewelry," says Leoussis.

But his timeless yet trendy designs are catching on and several celebrities wear his jewelry: Alyssa Milano, Kate Walsh, Carson Kressley, and Michelle Visage of the band Seduction, and judge on RuPaul's Drag Race. "Michelle has been so supportive of our brand and it's always amazing to see her rocking the jewelry," says Leoussis.

For more on these beautiful designs follow KIL N.Y.C. on Instagram at @kil_nyc.
Photo courtesy of KimChi Chic Beauty

Trixie Mattel and Kim Chi Makeup Collaboration


Keep reading Show less
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

Rumble Boxing Gulch, Nashville


Keep reading Show less
Photo courtesy of ANIRUDH on Unsplash

Mjolnir

Like many of the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe films, LGBTQ+ fans awaited the release of Thor: Love and Thunder in open anticipation of the inclusivity that both Marvel and Disney had promised. However, the fans were only setting themselves up for disappointment when the film was finally released.

Despite passionate assurances from studio heads to key actors, Thor: Love and Thunder was NOT spectacularly gay. It wasn’t even that good…

Premiere Night Promises

A bolt of lightning cuts across a rainbow on a dark and stormy night.

Lightning bold across the sky

Photo by Bill D.

Standing on the red carpet at the London Premiere of the film, director and actor Taika Waititi and fellow cast members Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson were offered up the inevitable question: “How gay is the film?

Amidst some laughter from the crowds, Waititi gestured towards Portman to respond. The actress (who plays Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, throughout the franchise) raised the microphone to her lips and thought for a moment, before delivering a quiet yet fateful: “So gay!

Barely a moment had passed before the gathered fans went wild and Taika Waititi gave his own verdict: “Super gay!”. Tessa Thompson made no statement on the ‘gayness’ of the film, instead opting to swing her microphone around suggestively. As more cheers erupted, a second round of “super gay” slipped out of Waititi’s mouth, before he urged the fans to enjoy the film.

Thor: Love and Thunder’s LGBTQ+ Potential

Thor’s movie-goers were definitely hyped up for a gay extravaganza and they had a specific character in mind. The fan-favorite Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, stumbled her way into the MCU during Thor’s third film, Ragnarok. The Asgardian warrior won many people over with her wit, sarcasm, and pure badassery.

After the events of Avengers: Endgame *spoilers*, Thor Odinson gives up his claim to the throne of Asgard and names Valkyrie as king in his stead. This left many fans excited to see what would become of the character, especially after certain revelations were made at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con:

“As a new king, she has to find her queen. So that’ll be her first order of business.”

With these words, Tessa Thompson threw her LGBTQ+ fans into a frenzy, with heavy expectations for the then-upcoming fourth installment of the Thor films. Indeed, in an interview with the LA Times, shortly before the film's release, Tessa Thompson was asked to comment on the sexuality of her character. She responded with several promising remarks, including “there’s a lot of folks that are righteously very hungry for that representation to exist in these movies, as am I”.

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

So, How Gay Was Thor 4?

To put it simply: not gay at all. Not only did Valkyrie end up without a fabulous new queen, her non-heteronormative sexuality only got the barest mention (a brief line about a previous, now dead, girlfriend). Valkyrie may have made bedroom eyes at some pretty ladies before an action scene spoils the moment, but that’s about as much as we get.

The film does get some credit for introducing a trans character in a minor yet significant role. Thor returns to his people (after a brief stint as a Guardian of the Galaxy) only to find out that the daughter of one of his closest (and deceased) friends is now a boy. The issue is, whether due to personal prejudice or some alien inability to grasp the concept of being transgender, it does take Thor a frustrating few moments to come to terms with the change. And to stop deadnaming.

In fact, the only concession to the queer community was Taika Waititi’s extraterrestrial character Korg finding a husband in one of the closing scenes. This heartfelt moment was somewhat underscored by the revelation that Korg’s entire species is male, meaning he had no other choice but to be ‘gay’.

This Is Not Marvel’s First Queerbaiting Attempt

Close up of an eye reflecting an unknown scene as a rainbow crosses the image.

Photo by Harry Q.

This is, by far, not the first time that LGBTQ+ fans have been sorely disappointed by the workings of Marvel and Disney. In fact, people across many social media platforms have been chiding expectant viewers for once again falling for classic queerbaiting tactics. “Being queerbaited by the MCU is like being a golden retriever with a human who always pretends to throw the ball”, one Tumblr user declared.

Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, was the perfect moment for the MCU to introduce its first lesbian lead. Larson’s character seemed to have an intense relationship with another woman, going so far as to help raise her child (before Larson’s Carol Danvers disappeared from Earth for 6 years). Despite leaning into several romantic tropes, the status of their relationship was never fully fleshed out. However, it was also the franchise’s first female-led superhero movie, so maybe they thought that introducing her as a lesbian would make the film too awesome.

The heavily anticipated Avengers: Endgame was also slated to introduce the MCU’s ‘first gay character'. While many fans were excited, particularly as this would be the second of Larson’s appearances on screen, the big gay build-up was a massive letdown. The film’s director Joe Russo made a cameo as a blip survivor mourning the loss of his husband. A five-second throw-away scene that had no impact on the outcome of the film. Big whoop...

Even when we did see a film with a gay lead, The Eternals, there were also ten other straight leads. At that point, it just seemed more like basic probability than an attempt at pushing LGBT+ superheroes into the spotlight.

Why Can’t Disney Let Marvel Be Gay?

The big problem with allowing a few characters to be anything other than cishet is that there are still many countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality. As much as we like to think that the MCU is being made for comic book fans, we all know the purpose of the films is to make money for Disney. And without certain markets in Asia and the Middle East, Disney wouldn’t be raking in up to (and over) one billion dollars per theatrical release.

Is There Any Hope For LGBTQ+ Fans In The MCU’s Future?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the second in the much-loved Black Panther arc, will be released in cinemas this November. The studio has confirmed that the film will contain a queer character. Actress Michaela Coel will play Aneka, a warrior, and trainer of the king’s guard. Whether or not her diversity will stand out in the film (let alone endure for more than a 10-second scene that can be easily cut) remains to be seen.


Next year’s The Marvels film, starring Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, and Lashana Lynch may offer the MCU a chance to redeem itself in the eyes of its LGBT+ fans. The studios may feel it’s finally time to offer us the heartwarming lesbian relationship between Larson’s Carol Danvers and Lynch’s Maria Rambeau that seemed to be teased in the first Captain Marvel. Don’t raise your hopes too high, though, as you may yet end up as a stubborn golden retriever waiting for a cinematic universe to finally throw that rainbow ball.