The year was 1983. The gay rights movement was gaining momentum, as was the AIDS epidemic. Ronald Reagan occupied the Oval Office, and David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” occupied every dance floor for a few minutes each night, not to mention the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams” and Madonna‘s “Holiday,” also released that year.
Needless to say, it was a confusing time with life and death issues always at the foreground. A little campy fun was a valuable thing to share.
You know, like a relaxing board game for the whole family.
We’ve recently come across a minor footnote from 1983 that deserves sharing — Gay Monopoly!
Gay Monopoly, from the tongue-in-cheek “Parker Sisters,” was played just like regular Monopoly, except it was way more fun.
“Tom of Finland” imagery aside, the game followed the same real estate model, except instead of houses and hotels, you bought bars and bathhouses.
Move over top hat and thimble — players could choose from a biker cap, handcuffs, a high-heeled shoe and more.
Currency is obviously much more fabulous in this alternate universe.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. If you landed on certain spaces, you’d read one of the “Family Pride” cards aloud, which gave a short bio of a notable gay person. The player who correctly identified the person could move their piece ahead on the board.
Players also had to identify the colors of the hanky code and perform camp challenges like saying “faaaaabulous” six different ways.
Did it promote stereotypes? Definitely.
Was it potentially offensive? Sure, if you want to take it there.
Does it sound like a great drinking game with friends on a Thursday night? We say bring it on.
However, Parker Brothers, manufacturers of the actual Monopoly, weren’t quite as into it. Rumor has it they sued the makes of Gay Monopoly — Fire Island Games — for copyright infringement.
If you have to have it, there’s usually a copy or two floating around Ebay for around $200.