Ah, the 70s – disco, sequins and Mellow Yellow. The decade of polyester also gave us a slew of political and cultural upheaval. From the ongoing conflict in Vietnam to President Nixon’s effort to dismantle welfare support and resistance to mandatory school desegregation plans such as busing.
Society was undergoing a major shift. Part of that shift had to do with a conservative backlash against what they saw as entitlement. At the same time, a more progressive part of the population began pushing even harder for things like the Equal Rights Amendment and better protections and a more inclusive culture for people who identify as a part of the LGBT community.
The Stonewall riots had swept through New York in 1969. Those riots set off a domino effect elsewhere in the country. Gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered and non-binary people from all walks of life began coming forward to demand crazy stuff like equality and respect.
During this time, television was also undergoing a major transformation. Sitcoms and dramas began to reflect the issues and challenges people were dealing with in their real lives. Shows like All in the Family and The Jeffersons confronted issues like race and sexual assault for the first time.
Television had become a powerhouse of influence and a catalyst for change. Several shows debuted and became classics of American television history. The 1970s saw television changing with the times. The public still loved the fantasy level wholesomeness of Leave It To Beaver and Happy Days, but they also wanted more realism. Shows like Good Times, All in the Family, The Jeffersons and M*A*S*H* brought real world issues – and humor – to the small screen.
Political and social issues running the gamut from adoption and interracial families to rape and war began appearing on TV for the first time ever. In some cases, the public outrage was intense. In 1975, Richard E. Wiley, the FCC Chairman at the time, addressed the Senate and House Communications and Commerce Subcommittees regarding the state of television. Wiley introduced the Family Viewing Hour for prime-time. Essentially it mandated that all shows aired before 9 p.m. should be family friendly fare.
Since the networks had agreed to this suggestion, it was implemented in the 1975 television season. Longtime hits like All in the Family were pulled from their usual time slots and moved to later air times. In the days before VCRs and DVRs, this reduced viewership and impacted ratings.
More importantly, writers and artists felt it also affected their First Amendment rights. In the end, television powerhouse Norman Lear mounted a lawsuit. The lawsuit trundled through the system until 1976 when United States district court Judge Warren J. Ferguson declared the Family Viewing Hour null and void. Ferguson agreed it was a good idea in theory but it was simply unconstitutional.
Establishing that TV as an art for was protected by the First Amendment made it easier for program to pursue this kind of controversial, but often enlightening, programming. In the wake of that decision, many shows went on to double down on episodes that were more than entertainment. During this time some shows also began to present people from the LGBT community in a different light.
There were dozens of milestone moments in the television of the 1970s. We’ve gathered seven of the most powerful moments. These shows did more than entertain the public. They helped construct a bridge between different groups. They gave people insight into what it was to live in someone else’s shoes.
Fun Fact: Dallas originally aired as a mini-series with no plans for expansion. Public support and viewership of that mini-series was so strong that the show went on for 14 seasons and had an undeniable impact on the culture at the time. While the show is primarily associated with the 80s, it didn’t waste time tackling controversial issues from the beginning. The show debuted in 1978 and never shied away from hot-button topics.
Kit Mainwaring, played by Mark Wheeler, was only on two episodes of the iconic show, but his character made headlines. Kit is introduced right as he’s getting ready to marry Lucy Ewing, niece of series powerhouse J.R. Ewing. Over the course of the two episode story arc, Kit comes out as being gay. Or, well, almost gay.
At first, he confesses to Bobby, one of Lucy’s uncles. Kit makes the tearful confession because he wants to call the wedding off since he doesn’t want to hurt Lucy. He confides that the two slept together and “nothing changed”. “It didn’t change anything,” Kit says, “I’m the same person today I was yesterday. I’m still a homosexual. It’s just not fair for me to marry her.”
One of the most interesting things about the show is the almost cringe-worthy overuse of the world ‘homosexual’. No character – including Kit – ever uses the word gay. It’s always ‘homosexual’, which gives a decidedly clinical feel to the admission.
Other than that, the show holds up surprisingly well. Bobby Ewing, the show’s moral compass character, is sympathetic for Kit in spite of the fact his confession threatens to break the near t of his niece, Lucy.
J.R. Ewing, the show’s flagship Bad Guy, is angry and determined to force the marriage forward since the union spells financial good fortune for the family. His advice is almost charmingly clueless: “You’ve made mistakes in the past, Kit. There’s no sense in repeating ’em. Like they say, there’s nothing like the love of a good woman to keep a man’s feet firmly on the right path.”
In the end, both Bobby and Lucy Ewing accept Kit for who he is and the wedding is, in fact, called off. The writers used the Good Guys of the Dallas cast to treat Kit with respect which sent clear messages to its viewership. When confronted with J.R.’s sneering comments about whether or not Kit is ‘man enough’ to stand up to him, Bobby Ewing shuts him down with the statement “Kit Mainwaring is more a man, J.R., than you will ever be.”
In the end, though, it’s not about how much Babby or Lucy accept and stand up for Kit. The show went that extra mile and showed some insight into how true acceptance is a deeply personal issue. At one point, while Kit is confessing everything to Lucy he breaks it down and effectively defines what true acceptance is. “I’m not gonna change,” he says. “I’m tired of trying. I’ve got to learn to like myself the way I am.”
The Jeffersons was a spin-off of the wildly successful All in the Family which was, in its own right, groundbreaking television. Since All in the Family was known for pushing boundaries and breaking new ground, controversy was nothing new for the writers and actors of The Jeffersons. For example, the show was the first to feature regularly recurring characters who were in an interracial marriage. In the show, the Willis couple includes Helen (played by Roxie Roker) who is black, married to Tom (played by Frank Cover) who is white. This inclusion seems commonplace today but, at the time, was literally groundbreaking.
While LGBT themes and characters weren’t a mainstay in the show, the issues did crop up. In ‘The Breakup: Part 1’, George Jefferson’s son, Lionel, experiences difficulty while writing a paper for college on homosexuality. The issue is never fully revealed except to say they professor demands a “flawless” rewrite. In the end, George buys a professionally written paper for Lionel to turn in and the focus of the episode changes to the ethics of buying college papers.
Later in the series run, however, the writers take a closer look at an issue truly progressive at the time: transgender people. In the 1977 episode, “Once a Friend”, George finds a note that ‘Edie Stokes’ dropped by. George assumes the name is misspelled and that it refers to Eddie Stokes, an old Navy buddy.
George turns up at the hotel looking for his friend Eddie and instead finds a woman. As George goes through the room attempting to ‘find’ Eddie, he walks to the closet and says “Okay, Eddie, time to come out of the closet.” That’s when Edie says “I’m already out of the closet, George.”
When George realizes his friend Eddie is now a woman named Edie he reacts in a typically over-the-top, gymnast level Sherman Helmsey manner. As the episode goes on, George’s wife becomes suspicious that he is dating this woman and George is pressed to prove to her that Eddie is now Edie. His missteps include recruiting a friend to dress in drag to trick his wife but that plan fails spectacularly.
In the end, Edie comes to the apartment to confront George and sees Wheezie. During the confrontation, Wheezie remarks “At least this time you hired a woman to play the part” George responds “This ain’t no woman” and Edie is quick to slide in an “Excuse me?”
In the end, George apologizes and agrees the two are still friends. Edie asks him to call her by her true name and George agrees, reaffirming their friendship.
The series M*A*S*H focused around the people who served at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M*A*S*H), a fictional medical outpost during the Korean war. M*A*S*H went on to air from 1972 to 1983, more than three times as long as the war in which it was set.
The show mixed comedy and drama, often as a way to drive home the seriousness of war as well as the enduring human spirit. During their run, the show addressed plenty of heavy-hitting issues. When it comes to LGBT connections, many people automatically think of Maxwell Q. Klinger, played by Jamie Farr. While Klinger did dress in women’s clothes he was never presented as or described himself as being transgender. His cross-dressing was always framed as his attempt to get a Section 8 discharge in order to escape being in the war.
Klinger aside, the 4077th did deal with serious issues regarding the LGBT community and how they were seen and reacted to within the armed forces. In the 1974 episode “George”, a serviceman is brutally attacked and beaten by members of his own unit when they learn he’s gay. While receiving treatment, he confides in doctors Hawkeye and Trapper and the conversation is overheard by Major Burns.
In the 1970s, being gay was considered an offense in the armed forces. Soldiers who were outed were dishonorably discharged and could be subject to punishment by a court-martial. essentially, it spelled the end of that person’s military career as well as leaving a black mark on their record which followed them long after they left the military behind.
In the show, both Hawkeye and Trapper are supportive of their patient but understand why he wants to keep the reason he was beaten under wraps. Major Burns, on the other hand, represented the current climate at the time and immediately begins to initiate the process to have the serviceman formally discharged. Hawkeye and Trapper learn of Burns’ plans and step in first to plead the young man’s case. When an appeal for empathy is rejected, the doctors threaten to blackmail Burns by exposing the fact that he bought the answers to his medical school admission test. Burns drops the matter and the serviceman is moved to another unit, hopefully to make it to a better life.
Maude was another spin-off of All in the Family and featured Bea Arthur as Maude. Maude was essentially the antitheses of Archie Bunker. She was a strong, educated, outspoken and extremely liberal woman with no reservations about speaking her mind and no intention of apologizing for anything.
As its own show, Maude ran for an impressive six seasons. During the course of the show, a handful of episodes directly addressed issues surrounding the LGBT community. In an early episode Maude befriends an author who happens to be gay. The friendship and his orientation aren’t hyped up for comedic effect but instead is presented as an interesting aside and not the character’s defining feature.
In ‘The Gay Bar’, Maude’s husband and some of his friends learn about a gay bar in the area. The men band together to protest the bar and end up calling themselves Fathers Against Gay Society, or F.A.G.S. for short. Maude immediately takes issue with their plan and calls them out. “You just want to persecute people you don’t understand,” she tells them.
As is usually the case in situations like this, Maude ends up fighting primarily with their neighbor Arthur. Throughout the show, his character played perfectly off Maude’s super liberal extreme. The two fight back and forth – and take a trip to the bar in question.
In the end, it turns out the bar isn’t breaking any local laws because it’s located just outside city limits. Maude’s husband then drops his protest. The law is the law, he tells her, and if there’s no law prohibiting the bar, he isn’t going to object. He doesn’t experience any personal growth in terms of understanding gays people, but his respect for the law means he respects them on at least that level. For Maude, that means he can be tolerant and that’s enough. Conservative and Liberal, Maude’s relationship with Arthur was used to show ways in which liberal and conservative people could find middle ground.
The long-lasting effect of Maude is more than just the legacy of the show. Bea Arthur went on to start in other shows, icnluding a one-woman show on Broadway and, of course, her iconic character on The Golden Girls. Arthur was an advocate for the vulnerable throughout her life, with a special focus on animals. She also bequeathed $300,000 to the Ali Forney Center, a New York City organization that provides housing for homeless LGBT youths. In 2017, the center opened the Bea Arthur Residence as an 18-bed residence in Manhattan for homeless LGBT youth.
All in the Family
When you think of progressive shows from the 1970s, you’d be forgiven if All in the Family didn’t come immediately to mind. The patriarch of the show was Archie Bunker, played by Carroll O’Connor, who was known for being a lovable – but stubborn, bigot. Bunker had something to say about everyone from ‘the Jews’ to ‘the colords’ and he reigned supreme from his armchair – at least in his own mind.
While Archie played the Bad Guy, absolutely everyone else in his world played the opposite. His wife, daughter, son-in-law, neighbors and one-off characters were all designed and crafted to be a counter-point to Bunker’s reliable ignorance. During its run, the show aired more than half a dozen episodes dealing with various aspects of LGBT culture. In one episode, Archie finds out one of good friends, a pro American football player and ‘All-American drinking buddy’ is gay. According to reports, then-President Nixon watched the episode and panned it as ‘distasteful’.
In other episodes, gay characters are introduced as a way to show Archie’s emotional growth. In one episode, Archie and Edit learn that Edith’s cousin Liz was in a lesbian relationship with a woman named Veronica. They don’t discover this, however, until after Liz passes away and Veronica reveals the truth at the funeral. At one point, Archie demands that Veronica give him a tea set Liz had left behind and threatens to sue her over it. When Veronica tells him that by taking legal action, he will effectively out her and ruin her teaching career, Archie relents.
The show also featured a recurring character, Beverly LaSalle (played by Lori Shannon) who was a drag queen. In Beverly’s debut episode, Archie saves her life by performing artificial respiration while under the assumption LaSalle is a ‘real’ woman. When Archie discovers the truth, he is embarrassed by media attention but he and Beverly ultimately remain friends. In a later episode, Archie sets a friend up on a bling date with LaSalle as a joke which ends badly, but where Archie does gain some insight. Beverly’s character is resurrected in 1977 for the final time when her murder becomes the focus of a two-episode story arc that leaves Archie’s wife, Edith, questioning her faith. Having a recurring character who was a drag queen and who had such an impact on the family was ground breaking at the time. The episodes dealing with her murder, and the effect it had on Edith’s religious outlook was also seen as scandalous.
The 1970s were undeniably a time of social upheaval and societal change. Nowhere is this more evident than in the popular television shows at the time. During the 70s, TV was still emerging as a media form worth paying attention to. It was a time when writers were testing and pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable and what wasn’t.
Powerhouse shows that commanded top ratings like All in the Family, M*A*S*H and others did more than entertain and distract viewers. These shows helped to stoke the flames of the revolutionary spirit reborn in the 1960s. As the 70s wore on, landmark moments such as Roe v. Wade, the reality of war and the rise of the Equal Rights Amendment movement were reflected in and sometimes inspired by what writers, producers and actors were creating for the American public.
If nothing, the 70s taught us the true power of television. It was the dawn of the most iconic American shows not only because of the hard work that went into them. It was also because the shows finally reflected a more realistic image of what America was – and what it could be.
Everyone is feeling prideful these days. While LGBT and gay pride parades used to be fairly small and insular, they are now encouraging people from across the LGBTQIA+ communities to come forward and literally fly their flag.
While this is great in terms of bring inclusive and encouraging people to live their truth, it has also become a bit overwhelming in terms of understanding which flag is for what community. That’s why we brought together a list of every pride flag we could find.
Please note, each of these flags have a number of variations. People, organizations and communities often change and personalize a flag in order to more closely represent themselves or as a way to make them more inclusive. I have chosen to feature the common or mainstreams of each for the sake of brevity. This choice in no way minimizes the importance of each flag in all its various incarnations. In fact, if you have a different version of one of these flags, please share it in the comments!
The Original Rainbow Flag
This is the iconic original Rainbow Pride flag, designed by Gilbert Baker on the request of Harvey Milk. the flag was designed for the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade celebration on June 25, 1978. Baker went on to become famous for his iconic design, though there is some controversy over whether the design was his sole design. (You can read the full story in our Gay History Brief here.)
The original pride flag used 8 colors (later reduced to 7 because of difficulty in obtaining hot pink fabric). Each color represented a specific aspect of queer culture being celebrated:
Hot Pink – Sex
Red – Life
Orange – Healing
Yellow – Sunlight
Green – Nature
Turquoise – Magic/Art
Indigo – Serenity
Violet – Spirit
The Traditional Rainbow Flag
While the original flag was accepted after several years, the odd number stripes caused complications. In the end, turquoise was dropped and the 6 color rainbow flag we know today was born.
Philadelphia’s Inclusive Flag
In 2017, the LGBT community in Philadelphia wanted to do something to be more inclusive. There had been a number of accusations and scandals surrounding racism and racial discrimination throughout the city. The problems eventually led to 11 venues that catered to the queer community needing to undergo training in racial sensitivity.
Two stripes were added in the Philly flag to represent people of color. The change quickly made headlines and sparked debate. Some claimed the original flag included all races and making a separate statement detracted from the spirit of the original. Those on the other side of the argument pointed out that discrimination was a serious issue and issuing a flag that celebrated inclusiveness was completely in keeping with the original sentiment.
The Progress Flag
Designer Daniel Quasar stepped forward and designed a new even more inclusive flag in 2018.
In 2018, Quasar – who identifies as queer and nonbinary – began a Kickstarter to spread the word about the new flag. He added different elements from other flags (discussed further down) to make this flag more inclusive and more in touch with the wider community. The white, pink, and light blue reflect the colors of the transgender pride flag, while the brown and black stripes represent people of color and those lost to AIDS. In his campaign Quasar said “When the Pride flag was recreated in the last year to include both black/brown stripes as well as the trans stripes included this year, I wanted to see if there could be more emphasis in the design of the flag to give it more meaning,.”
This was designed by Michael Page and was inspired by the ‘biangle’ – two overlapping pink and blue triangles – which was used as a symbol for bisexuality in the past. In Page’s interpretation of the flag, he uses the overlap of colors to represent bisexuality.
The origins of the Pansexual Pride Flag aren’t as well-known as other pride flags. It began to appear online in the “mid 2010s and is now widely accepted as the Pansexual Pride Flag. The pink and blue represent both female and male while the yellow represents genderfluid, non-binary or otherwise gender non-conforming people.
Fun Fact: While most sources dance around who the creator was, I did find a reference to a Tumblr user as being the originator. Checking out their site revealed this confession where user JustJasper definitively states:
you know the pink/yellow/blue pansexual flag design? […]
i came up with that.
The Ace Flag
Like the Pansexual flag, the Ace Flag was created online through a community. In this case it was through the website AVEN (Asexual Visibility and Education Network), which was a community for Asexual people. It was one of several designs put forth and voted on by the community. If you want to have some fun and see how it all developed, check out the original thread for the winner here which links to the earlier threads. it’s a great way to see the evolution of this design first-hand.
Designed by Jim Evans in 1995, the Polyamory flag features three stripes and the symbol for pi in the middle. The pi symbol was chosen because it shares to first letter as ‘poly’ – though personally I’d think it was because the numberpi is infinite, as is the potential for love in a poly relationship but whatever. The color gold was chosen for pi because it emphasizes “the value that we place on the emotional attachment to others… as opposed to merely primarily physical relationships.”
The three colors used in this flag also carry meaning:
Blue – Openness and honesty among partners
Red – Love and passion
Black – Solidarity with those who must hide their polyamorous relationships
Labrys Lesbian Pride Flag
The Labrys Lesbian Pride Flag was created by graphic designer Sean Campbell in 1999. It features a labrys, an ax-like weapon used by Grecian amazons. The flag lacks the mainstream acceptance of many other pride flags but remains a common symbol in many lesbian circles.
Lipstick Lesbian Flag
The term ‘Lipstick Lesbian’ isn’t always seen as a positive phrase. Some women take great offense while others embrace it as a way to identify as more femme. This flag uses hues of rose and pink to reflect – and celebrate – that overtly feminine look.
Asexual flags celebrate those who have rejected sexual attraction, but rejecting romantic attraction is something different. Aromantic people may engage in sex with friends or lovers, they simply don’t participate or feel the need for romantic love. They use green (the opposite of purple on the color wheel) to represent their rejection of romantic love.
The Transgender pride flag was designed by Monica Helms, a trans woman, in 1999. She explained the color choices saying “The light blue is the traditional color for baby boys, pink is for girls, and the white in the middle is for those who are transitioning, those who feel they have a neutral gender or no gender, and those who are intersexed.” As far as design, she smiled and said, “The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it will always be correct. This symbolizes us trying to find correctness in our own lives.”
Non-binary individuals began to speak up about feeling underrepresented in general and, in 2014, Kye Rowan decided to do something about it. Kye used yellow to symbolize gender outside a binary, white as the mix of all genders, purple for those who flow between genders and black for the community of agender people.
The genderqueer flag was created by Marilyn Roxie, a genderqueer writer, musician and designer in 2011. The genderqueer flag celebrates androgyny with lavender, agender identities with white and non-binary people with green.
Like the people it represents, the genderfluid flag incorporates a variety of colors. Each color represents some aspect of being genderfluid:
Pink – Femininity
White – Lack of gender
Purple – Combination of masculinity and femininity
Black – All genders (including third genders)
Blue – Masculinity
Identifying as agender sets you apart in many different ways. While genderqueer individuals play around with and push the boundaries of gender as we understand it, agender people simply want nothing to do with it. Androgyny is nothing new but it’s certainly not as accepted as other forms of self-expression. This flag uses black and white to represent the absence of gender and green to symbolize those who truly march to the beat of their own drum
Recently, we decided to put together a Field Guide for Pride Flags since so many parades now reflect an increasingly diverse crowd. So many people from every corner of the LGBTQIA+ community have embraced flags as a way to show their pride. From the original Rainbow Flag there has grown this incredible movement of designers, artists, tailors, seamstresses and advocates to create flags for other communities.
Originally, I thought starting off the with well-known Rainbow Flag in my original article would be the easy part, but the truth is that it’s a bit more complicated.
During the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the flag’s creation, Lynn Segerblom began speaking out about what she claimed was the real story behind the flag. “It was a three-person idea” she says simply, stating credit belongs to Baker, herself and fellow activist James McNamara.
In Baker’s memoirs, he recounts the birth of the flag this way:
“Artie began to press me to come up with a new symbol for what he had called ‘the dawn of a new gay consciousness and freedom.’ Both he and Harvey [Milk] had brought this up to me before.”
“As Artie implored, I looked at the flags flying on the various government buildings around the Civic Center. I thought of the American flag with its thirteen stripes and thirteen stars, the colonies breaking away from England to form the United States. I thought of the vertical red, white, and blue tricolor from the French Revolution and how both flags owed their beginnings to a riot, a rebellion, or revolution. I thought a gay nation should have a flag too, to proclaim its own idea of power.”
Later that week, he was out dancing with Cleve Jones and was struck by the diversity in the club. “We were all in a swirl of color and light,” he writes in his book. “It was like a rainbow. A rainbow. That’s the moment when I knew exactly what kind of flag I would make.”
Lynn Segerblom remembers it a bit differently. She says the rainbow idea was hers due, in part, to her obsession at the time with rainbows. “I loved rainbows,” she said, “Back in those days, I changed my name to Fairie Argyle Rainbow.”
Paul Langlotz is a fellow activist and was a friend of James McNamara. When Langlotz appeared in a panel alongside Segerblom, he openly referred to her as “the woman who came up with the idea of the rainbow flag.”
Glenne McElhinney was a fellow member of the 1978 parade committee that worked on the flags. She also remembers it being a group idea. “I loved Gilbert,” she says. “Gilbert had always been a friend of mine. But he wasn’t the gay Betsy Ross. He didn’t do it all by himself.”
To be fair to Baker, he never attempted to copyright or restrict the use of the iconic design. He never even patented the design and so he wasn’t rolling in royalties. It certainly gave him credence as an artist when it was adopted by the larger gay community, but that didn’t happen for several years after he revealed the design. He was also quick to credit both Segerblom and McNamara when discussing the creative process.
All that begs the question as to how much it matters who gets the credit – but that’s an easy thing to say when you’re not the one being cut from history. Still, in interviews Segerblom doesn’t speak poorly of Baker. She simply corrects the record – that it was a shared idea – and moves on.
The details of its creation may be in dispute, but one thing everyone agrees on is that the flags were completely a community project. The three originators of the idea along with several other volunteers spent weeks hand dyeing strips of cloth, rinsing them on their apartment rooftop and lugging them to a local laundromat to dry. Once dried, they were sewn into flags – an undertaking that took three people working almost around the clock to complete in time.
“The flags were made out of love,” McEihnney remembers, “We knew it was special, we just didn’t know how special.”
October is, hands down, the best month of the year. Fall comes in and sweeps all that heat and humidity away. The air turns cold, the leaves go into full color show mode and the entire country smells like Pumpkin Spice. It’s also the month that kicks off arguably the most intensive holiday block of the year. October marks the beginning of the Holiday Season in our house. For us, there is simply no better way to begin the season than by jumping into the deep end of Halloween.
We decorate EVERYTHING. We hang lights. We make special crafts with the kids. We ALL get dressed up. It’s a big deal for us and part of the joy is indulging in horror movies.
This year we decided to pick some movies with LGBT overtones, partly as a challenge. I mean, how many good (or so-bad-they’re-good) LGBT horror movies could there be?
It turns out that a lot of movies that fit our criteria are either weird indie things that didn’t make any sense and appeared to be shot on someone’s Moto Razr phone or they were so dated that the LGBT element was more off-putting than the scary bits.
We did, however, end up with five pretty great movies that fit the bill. That doesn’t mean they handle LGBT issues or address the lack of diversity in pretty much any horror movie before 2000 but, c’mon – they’re slasher flicks.
5. The Hunger
The first thing you need to know about The Hunger is that it stars David Bowie. That alone is a good reason to check it out but, if you need more convincing there are plenty of other reasons. Bowie plays an 18th Century vampire who’s lost his immortality.
Catherine Deneuve plays Bowie’s partner – and the vampire who turned him in the first place. Susan Sarandon plays a doctor who tries to help the couple and ends up becoming a willing – and lusty – victim. When it was released it received mixed reviews. Infamous film critic Roger Ebert called it “an agonizingly bad vampire movie”. But even critics agreed it was heavy on atmosphere even if the plot was thin and kind of incoherent.
Feminist author Elaine Showalter said the movie “casts vampirism in bisexual terms, drawing on the tradition of the lesbian vampire…Contemporary and stylish, [it] is also disquieting in its suggestion that men and women in the 1980s have the same desires, the same appetites, and the same needs for power, money, and sex.”
Jeffrey Dahmer has become almost mythical in just how over the top insane and depraved he was. Troubled by his inability to develop a lasting relationship, Dahmer set about trying to make his own sex zombie. Characters based on him in books and movies can be okay but nothing beats the original over-the-top weirdness of The Milwaukee Cannibal.
This 2002 horror film is dark and broody and awkwardly uncomfortable in spots. Jeremy Renner does a perfect job playing the socially maladjusted but cravenly creative Dahmer. This movie also had mixed reviews but I think those were due, in part, because Renner is THAT good at being cringingly awkward.
3. What Keeps You Alive
What Keeps You Alive features plenty of lesbian and horror movie stereotypes: a granola couple celebrating a year of bliss heads out to a cabin to celebrate. While there, one woman realizes she didn’t ask enough questions about her wife’s exes. Specifically her first wife. And why she’s dead.
This movie pulls a lot of the same tricks as traditional slasher movies but that’s part of what makes it great for LGBT couples. Finally we can see if carabeeners and chap stick can outsmart a psycho lover.
2. Seed of Chucky
Did you know Chucky and his girlfriend Tiffany (voiced by the amazing Jennifer Tilly) had a child? Oh yes, they sure did.
In Seed of Chucky, murderous dolls are the most believable part of the plot. There’s a whole secondary story where their child struggles with its sexuality. Is he Glen? Or is he really Glenda? (And, yes, we can only assume the Glen / Glenda names are a nod to the classic Glen or Glenda? by Ed Wood)
1. Sleepaway Camp
This was the movie that started my wife and I talking about these movies in the first place. For those who don’t know, Sleepaway Camp is one of the best 80s Slasher Movies of all time. When I mentioned the movie to her as we were getting to know each other, I knew I was onto a keeper when she immediately knew what I was talking about AND boasted she owned the DVD box set. *swoons*
The story follows an awkward young woman, Angela, during her first summer at camp. Angela has some issues but who wouldn’t after seeing their family killed in a freak boating accident? Then she was raised by an aunt who is clearly not completely with it. Long story short, Angela doesn’t just have issues – she has a whole subscription. So it comes as no surprise that she doesn’t deal so well when people start getting slaughtered her first year at camp.
Sleepaway Camp is everything a cult horror movie should be – ridiculously scripted, oddly cast and unintentionally hilarious. I mean, really, how many movies can boast a kill scene involving a curling iron?
Whether you’re looking for something to read to your own kids or children you’re babysitting, a neice or nephew or pother friend or family member, finding a gay and queer positive option can be challenging. That’s why we’ve brought together a honed list of the best books for young kids and young readers when it comes to reflecting the diverse relationships around them.
Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman (Illustrations by Diana Souza)
Heather Has Two Mommies, published in 1989, was the first children’s book for the mainstream that featured a same-sex family. The book caused huge controversy and remains one of the most challenged books across many school and local libraries. These days, however, the message it conveys is one we see repeated over and over again in literature and real life: a happy home is about love. Fun Fact: A first edition of this now revered classic can fetch up to $3,000.
Sparkle Boy by Lesléa Newman (Illustrated by Maria Mola)
Another by the author of Heather Has Two Mommies, this book focuses on gender fluidity without forcing labels on it. Casey loves playing with blocks, puzzles and things that sparkle and shimmer. When his older sister gets a sparkly skirt, he wants one two. His family has no problem with indulging him and, in the end, it delivers a message about being yourself and standing up for the right of others to be themselves too.
All Are Welcome Here by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman
This book uses a school class to introduce a wide array of different families and people. It includes everything from families with different cultures and religions to families with disabled members, non-biological siblings or parents and basically anything else you can think of. Its message is simple and powerful: “No matter how you start your day./ What you wear when you play./ Or if you come from far away./ All are welcome here.”
Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
When Julián is riding home on the subway he sees three beautiful women. They have giant, brilliantly colored hair and dresses that end with tails. He is instantly drawn to them and finds them overall fabulous and magical. As soon as he gets home he sets about transforming himself into one of these magical beings and, in the process, teaches a powerful lesson about individuality and self-expression.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell (Illustrated by Henry Cole)
Same sex families aren’t just for people and this book illustrates that point beautifully. It’s the true story of two penguins in the penguin house of the Central Park Zoo. The penguins, Roy and Silo, had been observed by staff going through mating rituals together and even attempting to hatch rocks in place of eggs. The staff decided to give the couple an egg that the biological parents had been unable to hatch. Working together, Roy and Silo hatched the egg and raised the offspring as their own. This book brings that story to life for children proving that love can be found anywhere and everywhere.
Why Are Gay Friendly Books Important?
For children, seeing many different kinds of families confirms the fact that there are all kinds of families and that’s okay. There are kids with two dads, two moms, a mom and a dad, a mom, a dad and two step-parents, kids who are raised by grandparents, kids who are adopted, kids who live with aunts and uncles … just so many families. Seeing families beyond the mom, dad, sibling template goes a long way in acknowledging these other families are an important part of our society. This helps kids from all families feel validated and more a part of society. it also helps those same kids to be more understanding and accepting of families that aren’t a reflection of their own.
Some people try to portray books with a gay friendly message as propaganda and brain washing. But it’s really just about representing people in literature. We all want to find someone with whom we identify when we’re being entertained. Whether it’s a character in a book, on television or in the movies – it means a lot to be able to connect with a character. It can help people identify not only how they see themselves but how the world sees them. Seeing your family portrayed as normal and loving as opposed to controversial or comically campy can have a huge effect on a child’s self-esteem.
At the end of the day, books that reflect gay, queer, non-binary, asexual, blended, foster, extended generations and every other type of family are important because the people in those families are important.
Thanks to a greater visibility of trans authors, actors and activists, more and more people are finding the courage to live their own truth. Mainstream media is rife with examples of trans men and women speaking out about their journey, their experiences and their hopes for the future.
Much of the focus is on younger people as the up and coming generation of trans activists. But there’s an entire community of older people who have either been quietly living under the radar or hiding their true selves. These people have now found they are able to live openly and honestly – some for the first time ever in their life.
In an effort to give these voices a platform photographer Jess Dugan has released her latest project, To Survive on This Shore. Dugan worked with social worker Vanessa Fabbre, traveling across the country to interview and photograph older trans and gender-nonconforming people from all walks of life.
The project has given people a chance to prove it’s never too late to make the choice to live authentically. The project not only helps older trans and nonconforming people, it also offers inspiration to younger generations. Many young trans people have never seen images of older trans people and they often feel as though that makes their own future feel even more uncertain. Being able to see older trans and non-binary people who are happy, confident and willing to be a part of such public projects proves there is true happiness that comes from living honestly.
Dugan also notes that part of her inspiration for the book was the abundance of bad news when it comes to mainstream stories about trans or non-binary people. “I worried their stories were at risk of being lost or forgotten, and I wanted to record and preserve them,” Dugan said, and she has reason to worry. Older people and the elderly are some of the most marginalized people in the country. They’re often overlooked and underrepresented in the media. While they are often overlooked now, the truth is that many of them helped to quietly change minds, open hearts and pave the way for greater acceptance.
“With this project, I wanted to create representations of many different ways of living and aging as a trans person,” Dugan went on, “I also wanted to record the history of people who, in many cases, paved the road for the world we live in now.”
The fact of the matter is that trans and non-binary people have always existed. At various points in history there have been some cultures that make room for these people in their mainstream cultural norms. Navajo culture recognized dual genders as do some sects of native Hawaiian culture while modern day Indian and Taiwan cultures continue to acknowledge and even celebrate gender fluidity) But in the West – and especially in the United States – the gender roles have a history of being much more rigid. That has effectively erased trans and non-binary people from history, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t exist.
To Survive on This Shore is a project that adds to the history of our nation and our culture. By sharing their stories these people share their strength, their insight and their accomplishments. They offer a unique point of view often having lived through extremes in terms of cultural attitudes and social mores.
The project became a book which was released in August of 2018 and is now available through Amazon.
Coming out and living your life has become easier for LGBT people, but that doesn’t mean it’s always smooth sailing. Quite often, members of the LGBT community can often feel like they’re the ‘token gay’ in their circle of straight friends. While your friends may have the best of intentions and don’t mean to treat you like a token, if you experience these seven signs, you may need to sit down and talk to your friends about it.
Or just share this article on their feed.
You Get a Lot of Rainbow and Pink Triangle Gifts
It might be your birthday, Christmas or just some random item – but whenever you get a gift, it has an undeniable gay theme.
You Keep Getting ‘Matched Up’ With Literally Any Other Gay Person They Know
Just because you meet another gay, that doesn’t mean we will want to hook up with each other. Sure, having sexual orientation in common is a good thing, but that doesn’t mean we all pair up indiscriminately. (Well, okay SOME of us do)
Everyone Looks at You Anytime Fashion is Mentioned
Whether it’s which glitter to match with a thong or whether or not flannel is sexy, when fashion comes up, you’re the one they turn to.
What’s Going on With *Insert Gay Person / Couple Here*?
I have no clue how Ellen and Portia are doing, nor do I know what Laverne Cox, Elton John or Ruby Rose are up to. Get the TMZ app already!
Whether they’re assuring their family you two are just friends (“I’m still straight!” they laugh) or maybe they’re telling you right to your face “I’m sorry I’m not (insert appropriate sexual orientation here) so we could just be together” the idea is that of course you’d be totally into them if only you weren’t gay or they were as well. They likely mean it as a compliment but …
Just because I like girls, it doesn’t mean I’d be into you if you were too. Gay people aren’t into EVERY person they meet based solely on their gender. Also worth mentioning – even if we’re good friends that doesn’t mean we’d make a good couple. Just sayin’.
“I Need Gay Advice”
What is gay advice? Do I need to do it through the medium of interpretive dance? Can I just give you advice?
Introducing You as Their Gay Friend
Every introduction for you has to include the word gay. Like suddenly you’re not just Tom, Omar, Susan or Bevvy – you’re Tom the Gay, Omar the Homosexual, Susan the Sapphonite or Bevvy the Bi Girl. Look, my sexuality isn’t actually the most interesting thing about me so can we please stop leading with that fact? Especially when you’re introducing me to your grandma’s MaJohng group.
At the end of the day, that’s really what it comes down to. Trust me, I know being gay is fabulous and, yes, there are plenty of issues that are especially important to the LGBT community. At the same time, I have zero interest in my sexuality being the defining thing about me. So if we’re gonna be friends, it’s not that my sexual orientation is off limits for discussion and entertainment – just know I have a whole lot more I can bring to the table.
Is it just me or do trans people seem to be everywhere right now?
Transgendered people used to be hidden away, forced to contort themselves into roles that felt alien just to survive. Today, we’ve seen transgendered celebrities, models and even politicians standing up and demanding the respect they rightfully deserve. Still, it’s a new concept for many and even if your BFF comes out as trans, you may find yourself unsure of how best to support them or even what to say.
That’s why we’ve made this list of five things your trans friends definitely DON’T want to hear.
1. You Can Totally Pass As a Woman / Man
This is probably the most common and, to be fair, it’s usually said with the best of intentions. Transgendered people may want affirmation from friends and family on their look – especially if they are still finding their personal style. Still, telling someone “you can pass” is seen as a bit of a put down. It implies they’re putting on an act or even “playing dress up”.
What You Can Say Instead: Don’t focus on the gender they identify with – just focus on how they look. A simple ‘You look amazing’, ‘That skirt / shirt / suit flatters you so much’ or even just ‘You look great’ will do. No need to point out their gender.
2. What’s Your Real Name?
I have to admit, I’m guilty of asking this one. I have been lucky enough, however, to have asked it of trans men and women who dealt with my nosy question with patience. Sure you may wonder if the Nick you’re meeting was once Nicole but, honestly, does that matter? Also, the name someone was given at birth isn’t necessarily their ‘Real Name’. People change their names for a million different reasons. In fact, they’ve been doing it for literally generations. Women have been changing their last names since marriage was instituted and there are plenty of other reasons people change their names.
What You Can Say Instead: Nothing. Their name before doesn’t matter. Just accept them for who they are and use the name they have given you.
3. Sorry, I’m Just So Used to Your Old Name.
The flip side of the ‘What was your name before’ is when close friends and family claim to have a hard time adapting to a ‘New Name’. I get it – I really do. I have been close to people during their transition and have had to change names and pronouns and, yeah, it can be a challenge. But we’re talking about someone you care about so make an effort.
What You Can Say Instead: Obviously, you should make every effort to use the name and pronouns someone asks. Having said that, mistakes happen – especially if you’ve been close for awhile and you genuinely are simply accustomed to calling them by their old name. If you do make a mistake in name or pronoun, simply apologize and correct yourself – no need to turn it into a lengthy monologue about how their transformation is affecting you. If you find you are genuinely having a hard time adopting their new name, maybe it’s time to examine your own sense of loss. After all, when a close friend transitions, it’s normal to feel a bit out of sorts and confused. But that’s not a reason to deny them respect. get used to their name change and deal with your grief and adjustment.
4. Are You Done Transitioning? (AKA Are You PLanning Top / Bottom Surgery?)
When people ask this question, they are essentially asking what kind of genitals another person has. Just let that sink in for a minute. Would you ask any other person that question? I’m guessing no. So don’t ask it of your trans friends or trans people you meet.
What You Can Say Instead: This is another case where it’s best to just say nothing. It doesn’t matter if someone is choosing to go through with top or bottom surgery. You don’t need to know what their genitals look like or how they function to be a friend. So just don’t worry about it.
5. Which Bathroom Do You Use?
Do I even need to explain why this is an awful question? People just want to pee.
What You Can Say Instead: Literally anything.
6. So Does This Mean You’re Gay / Straight / Bi Now?
Sometimes when someone transitions it can bring their sexual orientation into question. For example, a man who is married to a woman but finally decides he is ready to come out as transgender may want to stay married to his wife. If he transitions, does that make him a lesbian? What does it make his wife? The answer is the same for both.
None of your business.
If you are very close to someone who is transitioning you may be tempted to ask what this means for their sex life. Keep in mind, however, that they may be struggling with this exact question. So give them some room and let them sort it out in their own time, without your focused attention.
What You Can Say Instead: For a close friend you might ask what that means for their current relationship. But, honestly, unless you are very close to the person it really isn’t something you should question. A person’s sexual orientation and their sex life are deply intimate topics and not really fascinating fodder for the public.
At the end of the day, a transgendered person is no different than anyone else. They want to be comfortable in their skin, they want to celebrate their style and they just want to get on with their life. If you really want to be an ally to your trans friends or even the trans community in general, use whatever position you have to advocate on their behalf. That means doing any of the following:
Use their preferred pronouns and name
Challenge transphobic jokes or comments as they happen
Don’t use words designed to marginalize (That means dropping the word ‘tranny’ from your vocab. Yeah, it’s hard to change speech patterns but buck up, buttercup, language changes over time)
Respect their privacy by not telling others about their gender history
Don’t put them on a pedestal. Many trans people get uncomfortable when people say ‘You’re so brace’ or make them into a role model. Just let them be who they are and don’t objectify or idolize them simply for following their heart.
Being an ally to transgendered people honestly comes down to one simple act – listening. Listen to your friends, watch documentaries, check out YouTube channels and find ways to connect with the trans community. By simply stopping to listen and really hear what trans people are saying you’ll become an ally to the cause. By treating people – all people – with basic respect and an open mind you will be able not only to be an ally to transgender people but also just a good human being.
Marriage equality. Legal protections. Widespread acceptance. Representation in mainstream media and entertainment. With all of the legal and cultural advances made in the last few years, is celebrating Gay Pride still important? Are Pride parades honoring our shared history or have the devolved into a cliched orgy of over the top costumes and irreverent displays? Are they now doing more harm than good?
Is the party and celebratory atmosphere used to promote Gay Pride month – and, in particular, gay pride parade events held in cities – nothing more than a way for cities and companies to make money off the LGBT community? Or is it a time when people simply feel they can be more open and show signs of union and solidarity? If that means buying a rainbow button, using the Pride Month filter on Insta or hitting up a pride party or two, what’s the harm in that?
These are just some of the questions being asked by members of the LGBT and ally communities as pride parades and parties swing info full gear.
Let’s be Clear About What Pride is All About
Before we go any further, I want to be sure we all know why we go through Pride Month in the first place. It’s not just about being out and queer or out and gay and out or … well, anything you want to be. It’s about the real brick-throwing struggle the gay community has gone through to get to where we are today.
If you don’t already know who this is, you’re in for a treat. Meet Marsha P. Johnson. The P stands to ‘Pay It No Mind’ and she is a big reason why we even get to have debates about whether Pride Parades are important.
Marsha was a neighborhood eccentric and known as a ‘holy’ woman to those who believed her charisma and charm delivered warmth and healing energy. To others she was known as a driven, outspoken and sometimes intimidating woman who would brush off (hence the ‘Pay it no mind’ middle name) problems in favor of simply getting back to her life.
In the 60s, the Stonewall Inn was one of the few bars where LGBT people could come together – either singly or as couples – and just relax and have fun. State laws meant that, as an openly gay establishment, it could not receive a liquor license. Instead, it operated as an illegal saloon protected by mob interests. Still, police raids were fairly common, under the guise of serving liquor without a license.
Johnson said she had been one of the first drag queens to begin frequenting the bar once they had begun allowing women. Previously the bar had been only for men but they relaxed their rules and began allowing in anyone who identified as gay.
While often credited with literally starting the riot and “throwing the first brick”, Johnson clarified that she had shown up at the bar after the riot began and the bar was already on fire. Still, she jumped into the fray and became one of the more vocal and dramatic activists in the early hours and days of the movement.
In the book Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Revolution, author David Carter reports that on the first night, Johnson was seen throwing a shot glass at a mirror and screaming “I got my civil rights”. On the second night of the riots, she climbed up a lamppost and threw a heavy object onto the windshield of a police car.
While she may not have thrown the first brick, it has become a cultural legend of sorts that has a grain of truth. First brick or not, she spent the rest of her life openly and forcefully demonstrating, marching and advocating for the entire LGBT community.
While Marsha has become the face of the original uprising, the fact is that the story – our story – has so many heroes and examples of ‘average people’ doing amazing things. Sylvia Rivera, for example, is another well-known activist. She was a close friend of Martha P. Johnson and worked with her to create the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR). The group is dedicated to supporting and helping young trans women of color and drag queens who are vulnerable due to homelessness.
Born Ray Rivera, the future activist was from New York City and grew up an orphan after she was abandoned by her father and her mother committed suicide. Raised by her Venezuelan grandmother who disapproved of her grandchild’s effeminate behavior and penchant for wearing makeup, Rivera found herself homeless by the age of 11. She began working as a prostitute and was eventually taken in by a local community of drag queen who renamed her Sylvia and gave her the support she needed to find her identity and place in the world.
Like Johnson, Rivera is rumored to have thrown one of the first bottles during the riot. The crowd at the uprising was, in fact, 70 percent African American and Puerto Rican. A significant number of those people were also trans men and women. it’s a point Rivera would bring up at every opportunity. “We were the frontliners,” Rivera told interviewers. “We didn’t take no shit from nobody. We had nothing to lose.”
Rivera spent her entire life advocating for the LGBT community while wrestling with substance abuse and addiction issues. She is an LGBT icon who dipped in and out of homelessness, poverty and depression for much of her life. While her story is sometimes a sad one, it’s also a testament to the power and strength of those who were willing to risk what little they had left in order to live a life out in the open.
Pride Then vs. Pride Now
There are those who say that today’s Pride parades and celebrations are simply too over the top, too silly and too irreverent to even be linked (much less compared) to the original Pride movement.
It’s true, Pride Parades now feature plenty of over the top displays and comedic flair. But most – if not all – Pride Parades also feature groups from local support agencies, churches, outreach centers and other LGBT friendly organizations. Same sex families, trans men and women and non-binary groups have also become increasingly represented in these parades.
Today’s pride Parades may be different and, in some cases, outlandish, but they’re all about one thing: celebrating the LGBT culture and history and, yes, even having some fun.
Certainly, there are some parade marchers and attendees who push the envelope or even set out to be offensive and in your face. It could be they are naturally flamboyant and use Pride Parades as a place to really let loose. It could be they have been in the closet for years and this is the first time they’ve been able to be themselves in public. Or it could be they’re just obnoxious – after all, assholes come from every walk of life.
While these over the top displays may be the ones most often shown in news slideshows or on Buzzfeed roundup lists, that doesn’t mean they reflect the most important parts of Gay Pride. All that flamboyant display and in-your-face noise is just window decoration. And while it had its place, there many local LGBT organizations are working to return their local pride parades to their roots.
There has been plenty of criticism about the commercialization of Gay Pride month. Several companies have jumped on the bandwagon to make changes to their branding and marketing in order to appeal to the LGBT community and their allies.
McDonald’s – McDonald’s added the rainbow flag colors to the back of their French fry covers.
Nike / Converse – In 2017, Nike launched its BETRUE 2017 line of products in clear support of the LGBT community. The new line was part of their larger Equality campaign which promoted “the passion and pursuit of sport by all athletes.” Converse also launched a line of colors in vibrant, rainbow colors with net proceeds being donated to the It Gets Better Project and the Happy Hippie Foundation.
Skittles – Skittles went the other way in terms of adding rainbows and chose instead to “give the rainbow back” and created bags of their signature rainbow candy devoid of any color. White bags with plain line drawings and candies that were simply white with a black ‘s’ on them.
So, does all this cashing in mean that Pride Parades and other events have just become another part of the capitalist machine?
Yeah, kinda. But that’s okay.
Look, going mainstream and achieving culture acceptance means that we’ve sold the public on the fact that having a different sexual orientation, being transgender and exploring the wider meaning of the word gender (looking at you, non-binary and non-conforming humans!) isn’t something to be ashamed of.
The trade of in all that acceptance is that companies will absolutely pounce on that wave of feel-good love and look to make a few bucks on it. Maybe they’ll use an LGBT spokesperson, team up with a specific LGBT group, air LGBT friendly commercials or just slap a rainbow on their logo somewhere. Whatever they do, it’s taking a public stand in support of the LGBT community.
For every Gay Pride campaign, there are people who swear they’ll boycott and never set foot in that place, buy that product or use that service. That means that now, when a large company goes ahead with a Gay Pride campaign, that means they’ve realized the benefit of coming out in support of Gay Pride outweighs the potential blowback.
Pride remains important for several reasons. It’s important to honor and celebrate the people who worked so hard and sacrificed so much in order to achieve equality and acceptance. Parades and other events are often also the first chance young LGBT people have to not only be who they are and dress or present in any way they want, it’s also likely the first time they’ve been surrounded by people who are just like them or those who support without judgement or ridicule.
Pride parades and events are also important because they show how far we’ve come. From the overtly violent and aggressive demonstrations of the late 1960s and 70s and the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s to the party and carnival-like atmosphere we often see today.
In almost any large city where a parade takes place, take a minute to look around at all of the different people in attendance. Chances are you won’t have to look long before you see an older man or woman, watching the festivities with a smile. For older members of the LGBT community, these events offer a moment of reflection and nostalgia.
While Pride Parades remain an important part of the LGBT community, they are not without their problems. In many cities, local LGBT organizations have begun to protest and demonstrate against parades.
This isn’t about catering to crazy demands or dealing with people who are simply hell bent on finding fault with things. While the specific demands of groups vary, they do have three main issues in their cross-hairs:
Including trans women of color and indigenous people in decision-making roles
Ending the endorsement of law enforcement agencies / working with law enforcement to create and maintain and positive, honest and effective sense of community with the LGBT and ally communities
Barring corporations that have a negative impact on the LGBT+ community
Is Pride perfect? No. The LGBT community has overcome some of the first hurdles any minority group needs to overcome – finding equality and acceptance. Now it’s time to look inward and ensure we are practicing what we preach. This is the only way to keep Pride relevant and worth preserving for generations to come.
Infighting among different groups within the LGBT community has led to a fractured community, but still one with a common history and ties that are worth saving – and strengthening. This can only be done if we come together, listen to each other and try to understand what each group can bring to the festivities. That means hearing what they have to say about the perspective they bring to the conversation as well as ways that make the movement increasingly inclusive.
Even looking at the main criticisms of the events can offer some insight into where changes need to be made.
The Commercialization of Pride Events / Merch – There’s a fine line between marketing pride in a positive way and launching a full-out cash grab. I’ve got no problem with companies that want to cash in a bit on Gay pride month but let’s keep it classy. Calling out companies that wave the flag publicly while not supporting the LGBT community the rest of the year is a great place to start. Support the brands, local businesses and merchants that support LGBT Pride all year round, not just in June.
Money, Money, Money – Companies that dedicate part of their profits to LGBT friendly organizations and causes are well worth supporting. But that isn’t the only way profit can be used for something positive. Profits from local businesses or even the city can be funneled into supporting care and outreach to vulnerable members of the LGBT community, to public forums for addressing issues within the community and even to other LGBT themed events throughout the year to bring about a better sense of community.
Over the Top Parade Displays – Sure it’s fun to walk around in a jumpsuit with a bunch of dildos attached to it but, let’s be honest, that’s not the best way to acknowledge the men, women and non-identifiers who paved the way. When you’re participating in Pride, take a moment to ditch the dildo suit and raise a glass.
Pride is not only still important, it needs our help. The LGBT community has become increasingly fractured with various groups engaging in some sort of pissing contest about who has it worse or who is more overlooked and under-represented. How about we stop fighting, start listening and get to work doing what we do best – bringing each other up instead of pulling each other down. Who’s going to save Pride? You. Me. Us.