New York Times Writer Shocked That Judy Garland No Longer A Popular Gay Icon

For the younger generation of gays, saying you’re a “friend of Dorothy” is a clever way to express your homosexuality while not being too obvious to the straights.

I, a twentysomething gay, figured that it meant that Judy Garland was super-fierce in the Wizard of Oz, not that she has some sort of enduring tragic legacy that is special to the gays.

For older gay guys and younger gay guys who want to seem old-school, there is a thing called Judyism, and it is worth preserving. New York Times writer Robert Leleux has just realized that Judyism is dead—which, hasn’t it been that way for a decade or two?

Leleux is genuinely astonished that his fellow thirtysomething gay friend Brodie doesn’t really give a shit about Judy, and the NYT deems this fit to print:

I have this theory that because of the holocaust that was the AIDS epidemic and its annihilation of the previous generation of gay men, the faith of our fathers risks extinction. Today, Judyism, like Yiddish, is little more than a vague cultural memory…

But then, and I never thought I’d be asking this, is Judy Garland still a gay idol?

“Not to me, she isn’t,” Brodie said, after the show. “I mean, I know she used to be important to gay guys, but I don’t see what she has to do with being gay anymore, except she did sort of remind me of Whitney and Lindsay and Britney. You know, train wrecks. The whole play was like that YouTube video where Britney goes after that car with her umbrella. Some gay guys do seem to like that kind of thing.”

Thanks for educating your friend that Judy Garland has been irrelevant except in her role as Dorothy for a long time, Brodie. Now what did we read in Star magazine about Britney calling off her wedding with Jason Trawick?

Photo via Mark Rain

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  • RedAssault

    OK, what?

    At what point did straight people not know what “friend of Dorothy” meant and at what point was that “clever?” Was it even ever not cringe-worhty?

    I also thought all the gay Judy Garland fans died of old age in the 90s. While a certain segment of gay men have always latched onto the drug-addicted-face-planting-in-own-puke-train-wreck du jour, once they’re dead that crowd moves on. Now that Whitney is dead, that crowd is already buying up Paula Abdul and Britney Spears records.

  • Ester Goldberg

    What saddens me about this whole Judyism I truly think everyone is missing the point about Judy Garland and her significance to gay culture…and truly, the younger generation doesn’t get it because they dont know the history of the Gay community and the STONEWALL RIOTS, which was the beginning of the gay Liberation movment.. Maybe i’m wrong in hisotrical facts..( feel free to correct me) ..But the Cops used to raid the gay bars down in the Village..and acording to was the drag queens who had come out to mourn Garlands death..and were harrassed by the cops..THEY FOUGHT BACK!

    Time magazine would summarize decades later:

    “The uprising was inspirited by a potent cocktail of pent-up rage (raids of gay bars were brutal and routine), overwrought emotions (hours earlier, thousands had wept at thee funeral of Judy Garland) and drugs. As a 17-year-old cross-dresser was being led into the paddy wagon and got a shove from a cop, she fought back. [She] hit the cop and was so stoned, she didn’t know what she was doing—or didn’t care”…

    Also THE RAINBOW FLAG… Another connection to GARLAND, a symbol of the LGBT communities which may have been inspired, in part, by Garland’s song “Over the Rainbow.” Garland’s performance of this song has been described as “the sound of the closet,” speaking to gay men whose image “they presented in their own public lives was often at odds with a truer sense of self that mainstream society would not condone

    So for all you young gays trying to thnk she was irrelevant.. do you your homework… She was not a britney/ lindsay trainewreck..I shudder to even think she could be grouped in that vapid empty column ( judy could sing live) she was more then that…

  • zenec

    Its a generational thing. Most young gays (under 30) don’t even know who Judy Garland is.

  • JT

    I always understood that FOD was referring to Dotty Parker. (Who, I’m sure, even fewer gays are familiar with these days.) Either way, no need for one generation’s icon to be the icon to every generation.

  • WillBFair

    The commentary at JMG made me remember a very important point. It was probably Judy’s death that sparked the Stonewall riots. So throwing scorn at her now is disrespectful of our history. But queer ageism never ends. And the rationalizations for it are always more creative.

  • Tom

    This Queerty post defines precisely why I don’t like “twentysomething” gays.

    I also think that what this article scratches the surface of is that the younger generation of gay people don’t give two shits about your own history and the battles that were fought that now allow you to walk down the street holding hands with your boyfriend.

    I’m not even that old, but articles like this make me feel real cranky.

  • Richard Crystal

    First of all, all the gay Judy fans did not die of old age in the 90s. That’s pretty ignorant. Personally, I always liked her not for the tragedy she portrayed but for the emotion and passion she put into her songs. You are so right about gay icons changing through the ages. They MUST!
    I do not nor did I ever “identify” with her nor any other gay icon; Barbra, Bette or Liza. (Liza always kind of got on my nerves anyway but I digress).
    It’s been over 40 years since Judy died and Stonewall occured. It’s all a part of gay history and nothing more.

  • Red Assault

    I just wonder if in 30 years, there will be an army of bitchy old men in their 60s with radiation burns from all the tanning and hair frosting, holes where the piercings went and saggy tribal tattoos, all complaining that the young gay generation doesn’t like the high quality art that was Britny spears and whining that they don’t have the white party anymore since gay guys just want to get married and move to the suburbs.

  • Red Assault

    @WillBFair: That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard. You’re saying that the death of a pop singer was why drag queens rioted in the streets and it had nothing to do with police raiding gay bars?


    I guess next, Judy garland fans will be giving her credit for discovering gravity and ending the Vietnam war.

  • Roger Rabbit

    Ok, so the ironic part of this is that being a “Friend of Dorothy” originally meant Dorothy Parker.

    However, the next generation, not knowing who Dorothy Parker was, assumed it meant Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and in doing so actually changed the meaning of it. That, along with Over the Rainbow created a gay Icon out of Judy Garland.

    So this changing of the Gay Icon Guard is nothing new, and will continue on.

  • Mark

    Why would she be? Judy Garland is from a generation that was deep in the closet, and our generation is not. When there is pop stars our there like Lady Gaga who actively support and fight for the community, why would anyone still be preening over old broadway bullshit?

    Oh and Willbfair that’s actually not accurate, her passing may have had a part in it but to deny all the other important social atrocities that inspired the stonewall riots is kind of…. :/

  • Red Assault

    Now we’re all friends of Dorothy Zbornak.

  • Richard Crystal

    @Tom: Tom, You are SO right.

  • Chris

    Okay I work in the Castro and the theater just got done running a multi-week Wizard of Oz sing-a-long. I’m 26 years old and surrounded by a good population of gays younger than me who can finally get out to the bars. We all know who Judy Garland is, along with any other gay who has a damn clue.

    Nothing is more obnoxious than bitter queens who meet one gay boy unaware of the significance of Judy Garland and then paint an entire generation in the mindset of that one boy. No we’re not all ignorant, and stop treating us that way.

  • Richard Crystal

    Red Assault #12. LOL!! I’m not quite sure though if that’s any better!

  • MikeE

    @Red Assault: Actually, yes, Judy Garland’s death WAS the catalyst that launched the Stonewall riot. It was the night of a memorial for her, at a bar that was a hangout for drag queens, when the police decided to raid. The raid was a “last straw” that aggravated the attendees at the Garland memorial. It was disrespectful, and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The patrons of the Stonewall bar rebelled and attacked the cops, who ended up barricading themselves in the bar, with the gay crowd throwing bricks and material from a local construction site at them.

  • Richard Crystal

    @MikeE: Thank you, Mike E. I didn’t have the patience to explain it. Now excuse me while I get into my Buick (an old man’s car no doubt) and slip a Judy Garland CD into the player.

  • Red Assault

    @Chris: I don’t think anyone is saying the younger generation doesn’t know who Judy garland was but more that if you ask your average gay man under 30 who his favorite pop singers are or if he has a gay icon, the chances that you’ll hear “Judy” are low. While at one time it was one of those annoying outdated and occasionally offensive stereotypes (like Jewish women spend too much on makeup and nails or black men Like fried chicken) that all gay men wanted to be Judy Garland, her legacy hasn’t really stayed as fresh as other dead divas from the 60s like Marilyn Monroe or Janis Joplin.

    But we all know who she was. Most of us just don’t care.

  • Red Assault

    @MikeE: Really.

    Judy Garland fans should really learn to use the google.

    That’s just a story made up by drag queens. Judy garland had nothing to do with stonewall and saying the police raided a Judy garland memorial is just lame.

  • scott ny'er

    i actually never understood Judy’s appeal. I mean, I like Babs, because her voice is amazing and she is GREAT in Hello Dolly, at least that one sequence. I like Bette, because she was funny in those 80s comedies and that Wind Beneath song. I like Cher because she’s got great songs from almost every era. I really hate that “Rainbow” song and whilst The Wiz of Oz was a favorite of mine as a kid, it was more for the movie itself than for Judy.

    I never considered her or any of the above gay “ICONS”. Harvey Milk is a gay hero. Maybe RuPaul or Harvey Fierstein as a gay icon. That’s a maybe.

  • Chris

    I never understood why she was a gay icon in the first place. It’s not like she ever did anything for gay rights, so who cares about her?

  • MikeE

    @Red Assault: you should learn not to rely on Wikipedia.
    I was there.

  • Codswallop

    I think that with greater acceptance there’s going to be a lot of changes in what “gay” means to people and the icons will be different. Is an interest in entertainment history or “camp” an inherently gay trait? I think that in the past the evidence of a gay community was so obscure, like a trail of breadcrumbs in the forest, that you found oblique clues and followed up on them, or not. Because I thought it was a path to understanding the situation better I followed those trails to Judy and Bette and Joan and that whole gallery of camp icons plus writers like Jean Genet, Wm S Burroughs, Tennessee Williams, and Armistead Maupin. Plus in a way I think I thought they were Coins of the Realm, the ticket to get in.

    But that wasn’t true then and it’s less true now. You don’t need to practice Judyism or be a Barbrarian to be gay, you just need to like dick.

    IMO there were many reasons why Judy Garland was a gay icon. Her talent, obviously, and she was accepting of her gay audience. That she was a tragic figure fits in there somehow but I’m not sure exactly how. But she was a symbol for the Stonewall and pre-Stonewall era so later generations are going to view her differently, perhaps associating her WITH oppression, not as a perpetrator of it but as a symbol of that time. To an extent that how I feel about her. I get that she’s talented but I’m not going to moon over her like some tragic queen out of “Boys In The Band.” That goes double for Streisand.

    The singer who meant the most to me in my teen years was Debbie Harry, but I don’t expect the new crop of young gay men to be Debbie Harry Krishnas too. What’s with the expectation that gay men swoon over female singers and stars anyway? I think in part it had/has to do with not feeling accepted where you were and longing for that place where you would fit in, a glitzier, shinier place that better fits your view of how the world ought to be.

    But if many or at least some young gay kids ARE finding acceptance where they are they don’t need to look for anywhere “Over The Rainbow” for that better place, look for the “keys” to acceptance in old movies or singers. Let it go.

    And I don’t buy the Judy Garland/Stonewall connection for a moment. Just because two things happened near the same time doesn’t mean they’re connected.

  • Chopsie

    All the guys who diss Judy need to read a book on her, watch a few of her movies & listen to her music — maybe then you’ll see why she’s an icon. She had more talent than ANY of these lame pop heiferettes, who will be forgotten in the next 20 years. Britney Spears? Jesus F. Christ…

  • WillBFair

    @MikeE: Thanks for fighting this battle for me.
    It’s funny that someone who doesn’t know the basics of our history and culture then wants to lecture us about them. I just couldn’t bring myself to reply to that level of cluelessness.
    You did a good job on this as usual.

  • Red Assault

    @MikeE: Yeah, you and about 30 other men in their 60s that I’ve spoken to. Either I have somehow come into contact with every person in the vicinity by some odd coincidence or they were having the White Party really early that year.

    There was no Judy Garland memorial going on at the Stonewall Inn. That comes from a sarcastic and homophobic joke made by the mainstream press.

  • Erik

    Is it really a surprise an entertainer who died 43 years ago, and who’s enduring culture legacy comes from a movie made 73 years ago, is not at the forefront of gay pop culture anymore?

    Similarly, the most popular pinups during WWII were Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, and Jane Russell. Should we be surprised that most heterosexual men in their 20’s today likely have no clue who those women are?

  • DouggSeven

    As a gay man in my 30s, I felt it was my duty to do some research on her one day and I spent about 2 hours looking her up on youtube for research – I think I watched a documentary on her too. She came accross as an aging star past her prime that dealth with her dwindeling success and serial failed relationships by drowning herself with alcohol and pills – a whole lot of em. She was a terrible mother who showed little care for anyone, especially herself – she became her addiction. I don’t get why she is associated with gay men in the slightest. Yes, she married a few gay men, but you know what? I doubt she even knew or cared that they were gay – she was so doped up that her judgement was clouded and gay culture was all but invisible back then so due to her profession (musical theater), she surrounded herself with co-workers and made that her dating pool because she was so icolated from the real world. I can’t find anything relateable about her life that mimics mine. I have never used drugs (I can’t stand the smell of pot) and I drink socially – never alone and never as a crutch when I get depressed. I am too smart to fall down that road and it’s hard for me to feel sympathy for those that do. Everything in life to excess is bad for you eventually…everything – you know this.

  • nineinchnail

    Drugged up old corpse wth a coupel of talentless kids.

  • tookietookie

    I’m 37 and I know who Judy Garland is, of course. And I like her. I read Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland and found it very interesting, enjoyable, and touching. Also, how can people say she is irrelevant when she inspires new artists all the time (cf. Rufus Wainwright.)

    This post is just sour grapes.

  • DouggSeven

    I dissagree. She was just a good singer and entertainer – that is it. How is that so important? The entertainment industry should not control your life…especially if you’re not an entertainer. She was a self destructive substance addict – hardly role model worthy.

  • Franco

    This isn’t terribly well written. There is a typo in the first sentence. It’s “too” not “to”.

  • Charlie in Charge

    With the fragmentation of media it’s rare to have one icon that will have the same mass appeal that Judy, Bette Davis, Streisand did (though Cher, Dolly Parton and Madonna still seem to be holding their own). Ok maybe Kylie I can’t think of anyone I have met who doesn’t like her.

    Also it’s possible that with the changing acceptance of gay culture we are moving out of our Torch Song period that Judy was so known for.

  • Ty


    That is not true. Maybe they aren’t well versed in her complete filmography, but The Wizard Of Oz is still wildly popular to this day. Its one of those rite of passage movies every child watches at one point or another.

  • Chris

    @Tom: Garland is just as much a part of our struggle as Barbara, Cher, or Madge, which is to say, not at all. Some rather random people have developed gay fandoms, but it is largely a side issue.

    @Chris: Why is it such a sin and a sign of “ignorance” to not care about a pop culture figure? I’m sorry that not all gays appreciate the Official Gay Culture reading list, but I don’t see why I should.

  • DB

    As a gay man in his 30’s, I can say I did not even know who this actor was till I read this post. I did see the movie she was in, ‘the Wizard of Oz’, as a kid.

  • Anon

    I really don’t like this idea of iconography. The idea that liking Judy Gardland somehow makes you a “better” gay. I really don’t understand it. I can understand enjoying her music, I can understand being interested in her life, but a gay icon? There are have been hundreds of thousands of queer people in history and the best we can come up with to represent our “culture” is Judy Garland?

    Gay guys aren’t defined as liking musical theatre in the same way that punks were defined by liking punk. We aren’t a bloody fad!

  • DouggSeven

    @Chris: None of those women are part of my struggle. I am not a woman, mother, heterosexual, singer/entertainer, or uneducated (did any of them even finish high school?). People need to stop worshipping pop stars who don’t do much more than sing someone else’s songs and put far too much effort into the superficial things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. If you so need someone else to look up to, at least pick someone more in touch with you and your life. Not these untouchables that know very little outside their circle of superficiality and luxury that most people will never have the taste of.

  • Bryan

    I’d always known who Judy Garland was, but tbh I had to google why exactly she’s a gay icon.

  • Evji108

    @Roger Rabbit:
    That still doesn’t explain what “friend of Dorothy” means regardless of which Dorothy we are talking about. (Dorothy Parker vs. Dorothy from Wizard of Oz)Why should a friend of Dorothy be a gay reference? fill me in , somebody!

  • Kevin

    Such a shame that so much of the gay community is unfamiliar with the origins of “Friend of Dorothy.” It has nothing to do with Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland, or even Dorothy Parker. In fact, it is a reference to Dorothy Kilgallen, an American journalist and television game show panelist. Kilgallen was so often – and so famously – seen in the company of gay men around NY’s nightlife scene, that to be known as a “friend of Dorothy’s” in the gossip columns was to be known as gay. Sadly, this little part of our history seems to have been lost.

  • Matthew Rettenmund

    Young, nasty gay men are the ones who are irrelevant—they’re only good for sex.

    Seriously, though, no one is saying everyone should be moved by the same icons and idols, but why does this article take on nasty tone, as if anyone old enough to have been moved by Judy is a dinosaur. Her work is not “irrelevant” to gay or straight people, or to anyone who enjoys it. (I’m a medium fan; interested, but was never as sucked into her as Marilyn, Marlene, Madonna…)

    “Irrelevant” is just a weird way to judge artists based on things that should not matter if we’re discussing their art and impact, things like sales and if 18-year-olds know about them.

    PS A friend of Dorothy (which is 100% referring to Judy Garland) just meant you were gay because even back then, it was obvious she had a large gay following.

    PPS Judy Garland had a tragic life, but I don’t believe that was the #1 reason gay men liked her. I think while there was a lot of identification with her sadness and her status as a misfit (you trying living gay in the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and not feel out of place), the real attraction was her incandescent talent—she had hard circumstances, but she could rise above. She’s the original “comeback” kid. Then when she died, it probably felt like the negative forces had won, and when the cops raided the Stonewall, it was a bridge too far.

    There’s no shame in being curious about, learning about and embracing artists from before your time. There’s no shame in being ignorant of things you haven’t experienced. But it’s pretty gross to be smugly proud not to know about anything that came before you, and to sneer at it when you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • tookietookie

    If you don’t interpret Judy Garland as relating to you as a gay person, that is your call. If you are one of the people on here who are like huh duh who is Judy Garland, I suggest you look into something called being culturally literate.

  • tookietookie

    Also, Wizard of Oz was part of the 1939 movie zeitgeist, so on that basis alone for people to pooh-pooh it is ignorant.

  • Bipolar Bear

    Cultural icons will change over time, but the lack of cultural literacy does disappoint me in some. “Just Dance Changed Pop Music” was a trending topic on Twitter the other day, and as much as I respect immensely what Lady Gaga does in terms of gay activism (and I like her records), I was compelled to write:

    “You guys do know that music existed prior to 2008, right?”

  • Juris

    Wait just a minute! Are we actually saying here that the vapid, vacuous, and empty typical homo with his scarcely-double-digit IQ has difficulty seeing the relevance of something from bygone days to his broadly meaningless existence? Like OMG, seriously gurl, whoever could have like, thought that?!


    for me, garland’s gay significance has never been satisfactorily explained; or the reasons given seem somewhat tenuous. nevertheless, the connection exists and i honour it as a part of the rich and delightfully bonkers history of our subculture.

    it’s such a shame that such memories are slipping out of our culture with each passing day. i still treasure any gay oldie who can floor me with a bette davis classic putdown, or delight me with a dorothy parker witticism or wildean epigram — a reminder of a time when a rapier wit, or a bunker-buster bitchy remark was our weapon of choice. these things shouldn’t be forgotten; they should treasured as our family jewels.
    queerty, you should start a ye olde “gay culture 101.” i’d start with bette davis or mae west.

  • Alexi3

    So much passion on display here, I was just wondering if it might not be put to some more productive use.

  • Mike

    It was not Judy’s death that sparked Stonewall. Old queens that DIVKID is describing are pointless and even back in the day most of us LGBT people didn’t like bitchy queens as he’s describing. I agree with Anon, the whole icon thing is a joke and so is JG worship.

  • Mike

    I like some of Cazwell’s music but some of it isn’t that good at all.

  • The Real Mike in Asheville

    @DouggSeven: Fine, don’t like Garland. But your opinion that she was “a good singer and entertainer” is just silly, and makes your argument even sillier.

    Garland was at the zenith of the Hollywood A-List. And ifs ands or buts — she was of the biggest of the biggest. And her TV variety show, in its day, was also a huge success. And in the closest of presidential elections, 1960, Garland, and separately Sinatra, led a California/Hollywood “lets get political” movement supporting JFK. (Not saying that that was the right or wrong thing to do, it is simply a reality that had not before been a part of the American presidential political campaign puzzle.)

    And thank god that Garland is no longer the icon of gay America any longer. Like all things in time, time moves on.

    Bette Milder named one of her daughters after Garland — and there has been no greater friend of the gays than bath-house lounge singer Bette Milder. Time marches on, and Bette’s gay icon status is also giving way to new ones.

    Kids going to baseball parks today no longer wear Mickey Mantle jerseys nor football fans wearing Johnny Unitas’ name.

    And as Madonna’s status is fading, there is Lady Gaga.

    Its all good.

  • Ty

    @The Real Mike in Asheville:

    Madonna’s status may be fading, but it isn’t Lady Reductive who is taking her place. Adele and Katy Perry are the hot stars, Gaga’s already going the way of Paula Abdul

  • Abel

    For someone who is supposedly “irrelevant” now, Garland seems to be stirring up a lot of controversy here. Chopsie got it right. A terrific singer and one of the most convincing actresses ever to appear onscreen. No matter how banal the movie or ill-written the role, Garland made you believe her. I wasn’t there for the Stonewall Riot, but two friends of mine were, and they always insisted that Garland’s death DID play a part in it. Back then, there wasn’t a drag queen who didn’t know and love Judy. You young guys just can’t imagine what it was like back then, and in a way I’m glad about that. But those of us who do remember can never forget.

  • Chris

    @Anon: I completely agree. There is a weird form of elitism in these comments. When I think of a gay icon, I think of Oscar Wilde, Alan Turing, or Walt Whitman. Ishikawa Taiga was recently the first gay elected in Japan.

    Why should I be judged based on my knowledge of an inane pop culture? I like the cock, but that doesn’t give me a duty to preserve and protect all the eccentricities of “gay culture”.

  • Josh

    This isn’t an issue of “not caring about gay history”, it’s an issue of “This woman has been DEAD FOR OVER 40 YEARS”. She was fabulous in her day, but that day has long since come and gone. You can’t really expect pop culture icons to stay relevant forever. I do think it’s important to know about her though…at least to know who she was, to appreciate her talent, and to know how big of a deal she was (and still is to many).

    Also, there’s the very strong movement away from camp in the gay world toward a type of “respectability” in the eyes of the hetero world. Lady Gaga has changed that to an extent, but it still generally holds true. Judy is very old school campy gay, and the 21st century fight for equality has been all about showing straight people how we’re just like them. So, some of the extravagance and camp of 60s-80s gay culture has been left behind.

  • samo

    Um Madonnas status is hardly fading! If Lady Reductive can sell 300 million albums and still be on top 30 years into her so called career and still break records than we can TALK

  • tookietookie

    40 years is not really that long a time to anyone with perspective on…time.

    Re Madonna – love her music or leave it, the truth is she snapped like a wounded jackal when Gaga came on the scene, and it was just sad to see her sit on pop music and gay icon status or whatever got thrown in the mix like that, and say petty things about Gaga. It just made her appear very threatened, and while Gaga is commenting on Madonna, Madonna is responding to Gaga, and that’s not an insignificant difference.

  • tookietookie

    I said responding but to be more precise, I should have said reacting.

  • pedro

    What in God’s name does Judy Garland have to do with me being gay. I just don’t freaking get it. Sorry, I have nothing against this long dead woman, but I am no fan eithr. This whole discussion is so freaking stupid!

  • WillBFair

    Bottom line: Garland is a part of gay history. That part was tragic and bitter and joyful and beautiful, both for us and for her. It’s a history I will always honor.

  • Yeah OK

    Real Mike in Asheville, Bette Midler is actually VERY homo phobic. See her Larry King interview where she said that two bisexual or gay men can’t be monogamous and that same gender marriage is a failure.

  • Robert-in-Seattle

    I am not some dead 90 year old, nor a dead 60 year old. But I remember what “friend of Dorothy” meant back in the day. It was the 50’s & 60’s that it became a secret code to let someone you just met and were interested in that you had something in common. Remember that homosexuality was a crime. EVERYWHERE! It was code. That was all we were allowed to have. There were undercover cops waiting to but you for perversion, AND your name would be listed in the newspapers as a pervert. There were no openly gay bars in the quantity that there are now. There was no openly gay San Francisco or Provincetown and Fire Island. If you didn’t want to wind up in prison, you had to use codes.

    And “No. 19 · Red Assault”, you should be ashamed of yourself for being mean, spiteful and vicious to people you do not know, places you never were, and events you had no part in. Respect others INCLUDING their differences, not demeaning them because of those differences. Haven’t we all lost too many friends or family to continue this anger and just down-right meanness toward each other? What will it take for you all…all of you who use spite and vitriol to have your say? You’re no better than those who are on the outside hating us, killing us, trying to drive a wedge between us…and now from the inside, they’re winning. I weep for you all.

  • Geoff

    @The Real Mike in Asheville:Does Bette have more than the one daughter, whose name is Sophie ??? Maybe – not sure – after Sophie Tucker? Now there’s a name the young gays probably don’t know!

  • only stereotypical queens love Garland and think she's an LGBT 'icon'

    +1,000 Pedro. Garland has NOTHING to do with being LGBT, or our history even if effeminate queens like Mike in Asheville and WillBFair want to pretend that she does.

  • Bruce

    As someone who was around back then, being LGBT was not like Robert in Seattle claims. It was more like being a marijuana smoker today. Yes there were gay or LGBT bars in both Provincetown, SF, and in most major cities. Stop revising history and being a professional victim with your ‘woe is me poor nellie queens!’ false story of revised history.

  • Thyxip

    Thank god.

    Maybe gay men are acting like men. And will get treated like men.

    I’m so over the image of gay men that we’re a bunch of clinically depressed drug addicts who cheer each other up by putting on dresses and impersonating female clinically depressed drug addicts like Garland was.

  • Mike

    Judy Garland was an icon for gay men who were failed in their sense of manhood and who failed in their relationships. It made them feel better to identify with a woman who also failed in her relationships and who, like them, resorted to substance abuse. If her gay or LGBT icon status is over, that is a sign of progress in the world.

    The truth is that her status was always greatly exaggerated and that it probably ended decades ago. You are kidding yourself if you think that young men growing up in the 70s, 80s, 90s, or early 00s cared about a B actress who died in 1969. The Times is about 35 years late in breaking this story.

    I was baffled when I came out in 1983 about how I was expected to worship Judy and Babs and Marilyn and Edith and other dead females. I didn’t have any interest in their art or as surrogates for me in shitty relationships with men.

    Besides, who needed ’em? I’d grown up loving bisexual musicians like Bowie and Freddie Mercury of Queen.

  • Robert-in-Seattle

    @No. 65 · Bruce: I’m not revising history. I was there too. I also DIDN’T say that there weren’t any bars or club in SF PTown or FI, I said that they weren’t in “QUANTITY.” You come on over here and try calling me ‘woe is me poor nellie queens!’ and I’ll knock your block off!! 1) I am not saying ANYTHING about woe is me, 2) I am not a nellie queen, NOR do I communicate like one, and 3) you have a lot of gall assuming you know anything about me or what my life has been like from birth till now. Until you can understand that, you know only YOUR own experience, not mine.

  • Joe

    Robert in Seattle is an angry nellie queen who is having a hot flash of estrogen! STFU dinosaur queen, nobody cares. Yeah you are a professional victim and a screamer of a queen!

  • DouggSeven

    @Mike: Here here.

    I find it odd when anyone calls a heterosexual a ‘gay icon’. They do not and cannot share our experiences.

    Thank god we live in a time where actual gay people can be looked up to as role models.

  • BobbyT

    I don’t know why people are changing history, but I was 22 at the time of Stonewall and remember quite well. The Puerto Rican drag queens that dominated the Stonewall loved Judy because they could impersonate her, with big eyes and black hair. Being very passionate, they were devastated when she died suddenly in middle age.

    If the police had not picked the wrong time to “test” the Stonewall patrons, we might well still be subject to arrest for being in a gay bar. It happened just a couple of years ago in Atlanta. Stonewall is the reason Judy is a legend, but not the only reason gays loved her.

  • Bitch Please!

    Judy and all of these “icons” did not change GLBT history and they don’t know the first thing about being LGBT if they’re heterosexual. Garland’s death did not cause Stonewall even if queenie Judy lovers want to pretend and revise history to claim that her death magically did this and gave LGBT people equality and liberation.

  • Red Meat

    @Ty: lmao, Lady Gaga is about to embark on the biggest tour of 2012 in just a few days. You Madonna fans are soo annoying.

  • Geoff

    @Mike: @Mike: Judy Garland was NEVER a B actress. During the 1940’s she was the greatest musical star at MGM. And therefore arguably the greatest musical star in Hollywood. She was known, in the parlance of the day, as a “triple threat” – sing/act/dance. She was nominated best actress in 1954 for A Star is Born. Nominated Best Supporting (for what was basically a cameo) in Judgement at Nuremberg. If you want to see a classic movie and her non-singing acting shops see J at N. She recorded over 100 albums in a career that began in 1936. In the 50′ and 60’s her concert tours were sold old events and she was described as the female Sinatra. The (double album) recording of the classic concert at Carnegie Hall (1961) stayed on the charts for TWO years. This woman was a huge talent who was overshadowed by the ups and down of her personal life, which is a shame. But, historically speaking, it does not and will never diminish the talent that she was. I never really bought into the gay-icon-because-of-her/their-pain. She was plainly a very great triple threat and your B actress comment only underscores your ignorance.

  • Thankfully she's a relic of the past

    Nobody cares about Judy and being camp went out with the shitty play and then movie Boys in the band. Younger LGBT people have their shit together and don’t care about being camp, being a queenie bitch, or about hetero females who are supposed to be ‘icons’.

  • She's tragic

    Geoff, only a Judy worshiper and queen would get offended at someone calling her a B movie actress which she was during her time. She could have been an A list actress and even better but she got way too into booze and drugs and wasted her acting and singing talents.

  • Juniper

    Who cares if she’s a gay icon or not, she was fucking talented as hell…watch any one of her many films and she is simultaneously hilarious, heartbreaking, dancing and killing every vocalist with her performances. Being a gay icon itself is stupid and pandering, and has never been so shamelessly exploited before as it is today, being amazing never goes out of style.
    Her downfall was really sad, in the same way as Whitney, but like Whitney she has tons of glorious work that should be looked into and preserved…and it will be by those who continue to want to think, feel and explore. Great VOICES NEVER DIE!

  • Adam

    I’m not going to go into this huge tirade or put anyone down, nor do I want a trophy for saying the following:

    I’m a twentyfivesomething gay who likes Judy Garland (amidst other current/older/deceased entertainers). I enjoy her music tremendously, and I find some (and not total) relevance in that to my being gay. I don’t think of her as a role model per sé. She was a talented entertainer, and that’s how she would like to be remembered. It’s not a big debate for me because it’s really not that serious. I do feel like an anomaly because I tend to gravitate to liking everything regardless of my age/sex though.

    When did we lose our independent ability to search for things we may like? No one’s paying attention to Judy any more probably because no one is telling them they should most likely. No one’s to blame. I find it sadder that people tend to leech more onto what the machine regurgitates out.

  • Geoff

    @She’s tragic: by your post, I will call you out as ignorant as well. B movie actresses didn’t star with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly among many others. B movie actresses weren’t named by the American Film Institute (IN 1999) as one of the top ten greatest screen legends in cinema history. I am not a worshiper but do appreciate her talent. queen is debatable. Altho I’m not offended by that either.

  • Paul

    I’ve never understood why, simply because I’m gay, I’m supposed to identify with “tragic icons.” Quite frankly, my life just isn’t that tragic.

    I’m a gay 16-year-old in suburban, Conservative Minnesota, which according to most of the older people on this site should mean I’m a terrified, lonely “gurl” who gets beaten up at school for liking musicals and “Barbra Streisand” and cries myself to sleep every night for being turned on by Ru Paula or one of the other drag queens I obsess over.

    You know what actually happened? One day in Eighth Grade, I stood up at the lunch table and told my soccer teammates, “Guys, there’s something I need to say… I’m gay.” And they all just went, “Oh,ok, dude. Good for you.” and then went right back to their own conversations.

    I’m sure a generation ago I would’ve gotten beaten to death by my teammates or died of AIDS or killed myself at the age of 16, because apparently gay people were forbidden by law from being happy back then.

    But you know what? That doesn’t have to be the case anymore. Just because I like dudes doesn’t mean I have to be a Gay Guy who goes on Gay Dates with his Gay Boyfriend. I can just be one of the jocks who happens to date other jocks instead of cheerleaders.

    And isn’t the idea that I should have different interests and idols than my straight guy friends because of my sexual orientation EXACTLY the kind of prejudice we should be fighting?

  • Alan brickman

    Actaully I don’t think of Judy as a tragic figure..she survived alot of shit….Give Lady Gaggag twenty years and we’ll see how healthy she is….Maybe the real reason younger gays who think being gay is a talent don’t like Judy Garland is because she is actually talented…think about it…

  • Ryan

    Wow, people are actually *angry* at the younger generation for not knowing or caring about Judy Garland? Talk about narcissism. To the gay men who are “angry” for no reason, why don’t you guys care about Lillian Gish and Margarita Fischer?


    Exactly. Those were the starlets of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. But you don’t care about them! How DARE you!

    Time marches on; people have forgotten about Judy Garland, they’ll forget about Madonna and Lady Gaga, too. No sense in being angry about it.

  • bob2davis

    Although much time has passed, when I came out I was shocked at how many gay men had this thing about Judy. It was like we had been connected all these years and never knew it. Of course, while Dorothy was looking for a better life, so were we. It seemed so appropriate at the time. And like Judy, the lives of gay men would suffer such horrible tragedies. The younger guys don’t have as much difficulties; friends aren’t dying around them. Sadly, many of the young guys don’t appreciate what many of us have survived. There is a bit of sadness in that but as we all know, time marches and the band plays……

  • bob2davis

    @DouggSeven: Just consider yourself lucky.

  • The article is correct nobody cares about Judy anymore and hasn't for decades

    ALan please, being gay or an LGBT person isn’t a “talent” and it’s like Paul said, just an aspect of someone and not a huge defining factors, and Paul has the right idea as do most younger LGBT people who are not revolving themselves around being nothing but a bad gay male stereotype or queen like all of the Judy worshippers are.

  • bob2davis

    @Thankfully she’s a relic of the past: I don’t where you live but many lgbt people do not yet have their shit together — they just come out earlier.

  • bob2davis

    @Josh: Fortunately, we are not just like straight people — nor have we ever been!

  • Geoff

    @Ryan:”starlets” in the late 1800’s – goodness me – who knew – Gish was born in 1893 and made her first flicker in 1912 – her last in 1987 with Bette Davis (The Whales of August) Just because some people remember the greats of the silver screen doesn’t mean they are angry.

  • Ty

    @Red Meat:

    Gaga isn’t the hot thing anymore. This is 2012, not 2009. Adele’s 21 has sold four times what Born This Way has done, and it continues to keep outpacing her.

    Enjoy watching your pop princess copy Madonna, Grace Jones, Cher, Prince, Bowie and about ten other people, I’ll stick with the originals.

  • camp has been dead for decades and has always been pointless!

    Thankfully Judy Garland, being camp, being a bitchy queen, LGBT ghettos and being segregated from society and everyone that’s not LGBT, drag queens, being self loathing or ashamed, and what gets falsely promoted as a gay/LGBT “culture” are now relics of the past and do not actually make an actual culture for LGBT people and never did.

  • bob2davis

    @camp has been dead for decades and has always been pointless!: Camp will never be dead (don’t you young guys listen to each other?) Gay history is gay history and whether you like it or not history is part of culture — even if the specifics are no longer relevant.

  • Codswallop

    @Mike Who the fuck is Edith?

    Judy Garland was an extremely talented singer. She imparted emotion to songs whose lyrics may not always have deserved it.

    And what male singers are you going to worship at that time, Sinatra? Yeah, right up until the moment he starts ranting about “f*ggots.”

    I understand why she WAS an “icon,” but it’s unreasonable to expect time to stand still, that she’d have the same meaning to young gay men 20 years ago, much less today.

    Look her up on YouTube. At her best she was an amazing singer. Appreciate her for that. But that doesn’t define who we are NOW.

  • OK, ok

    Bob2Davis way to be hetero phobic and falling into the “OMG LGBT people are so much more special than heteros!” magical thinking that some queens love to claim when in reality LGBT people are the same as heteros except that as LGBT people we’re not only sexually and romantically attracted to only the opposite gender. You really do need to get out of the bubble of the LGBT ghetto and start living in reality for once.

  • MikeNYC

    This thread is an eldergay dinosaur paradise! Only a tired old queen would do things like promote gay “icons”, claim that said “icon” somehow changed LGBT history when that has never been proven and is in fact revising history, and would claim that acting like a faggy drama queen out of boys in the band and that being camp and faggy is somehow a redeeming quality that as a gay man or LGBT person you must respect when it’s all silly and I also think it’s completely pointless.

  • Paul

    I’m not sure why older gay guys seem to think that all younger gays are into Lady Gaga or Britney Spears. Me and most of the gay dudes I know are way more into rap.

    Stuff like Eminem’s “Not Afraid” or Lupe Fiasco’s “The Show Goes On” speak way more powerfully to me than anything by Gaga OR Garland.

  • Geoff

    @Codswallop:maybe Edith PIAF (also known as the French Judy Garland) whose songs La Vie en Rose and Je ne Regrette Rien, among other things, made her her a cultural French and gay icon. but God forbid some of us would ever know this or find it’s place in gay/cultural history

  • bob2davis

    @OK, ok: Clearly, you haven’t had the fun of living in a gay ghetto. That’s a shame. And you should know that many of the straight people really aren’t going to accept you but you’ll have to learn that on your own. A few societal changes do not equal acceptance. Good luck.

  • Paul

    @bob2davis: “Many of the straight people aren’t going to accept you.” Really now? Cause almost all of my friends are straight guys, and they’ve done way more to help me accept myself than any of the gay people I know.

  • peter

    @RedAssault: @scott ny’er:

    To call Garland a ‘gay icon’ is to diminish her truly astonishing achievement as an artist. To begin with, Garland wasn’t simply a ‘good singer’: she was one of the great stylist of the Great American Songbook, an equal of Lady Day and Sinatra. Of course the material she worked with is so much better than anything being produced today. And she could dance, and God could she act!

    Yes, Dougg, she had a dismal life and was a pill-popping, boozy train-wreck so unlike your own tidy arrangements. But I seriously doubt you can hold a note, much less put over a song? Act?

    I think gays were drawn to her primarily because she was so prodigiously talented. There was a time, before HIV and the awful Madonna, when we were rightly considered the custodians of good taste.

    That Rainbow song, scott ny’er — that’s Harold Arlen! Just a little better than Andrew Lloyd Webber. The Man That Got Away is Judy’s signature song. Know it? (Also Harold Arlen, this time with Ira Gershwin). If you don’t know these things, you don’t know the history that matters.

    I used to be one of those who dismissed Judy as ‘Lindsey 1.0’ There was a great ‘American Masters’ pbs documentary. What a life! Daddy was busted with a tea-room loitering charge in Wisconsin in the 20s, and the family had to run away to California. Her mother pushed her three daughters into Vaudville a la ‘Gypsy’ (how gay is that?) Then someone heard her sing.

    The documentary featured an interview with Yip Harberg, lyricist of that Rainbow song. LB was trying to sell the Money in New York on casting Garland as Dorothy (they wanted Shirley Temple) and he told Arlen and Harberg to write her a song. As Harberg put it “here was this fifteen year old with the voice of a world-weary forty five year old”. Thus that Rainbow song, which is a torch song. These stories belong to our cultural history.

  • bob2davis

    @Paul: Well, I guess you’re just a lucky guy who has the answers. Good for you.

  • Paul

    @peter: No one’s arguing that Garland was a good singer. The whole “power ballad” genre might not be my thing, but she’s clearly done enough to gain the respect of a generation.

    What’s much more troubling to me, though, is the assertion that gay men somehow have better taste than straight men, solely because of their sexual orientation. Where did THAT come from?

  • iDavid

    #80 Paul,

    Dude, u so nailed it. I remember my first bf had this tres gay friend who saw a pic of me in a jeep and went all mush ball over how hot it was etc. I was like “dude, its just a f***ing car”. The projections gays do is unreal sometimes. I like these artists mentioned here a lot, but that’s what they are, really great artists.

    I always thought these gay tag lines floating around were laughable. I respect gays inferences, but instead of queening out, my vote is just settle down and listen to the music.

  • Paul

    @bob2davis: …I’m not sure. Was that sarcasm or not?

  • Paul

    @iDavid: Thanks! :)

  • bob2davis

    @Paul: Just an observation.

  • Kev C

    Today’s young gay men will be replaced by tomorrow’s gay robots, who will be physically perfect and mentally balanced and not bitchy. And their spelling will be perfect too.

  • Paul

    @bob2davis: Oh. Thanks, then? And I’m curious, how is a “Gay Ghetto” different from anywhere else?

  • Chris

    Bob 2 Davis living in GLBT ghettos is pointless for GLBT people now and back in the day being ghettoized in the 70s and 80s was pointless too. Paul is correct that straight people are for the most part accepting of GLBT people now. Stop living in the past. Not everyone that’s GLBT even wants to or aspires to live in a GLBT ghetto and live around only other GLBT people.

  • Paul

    @Chris: I guess that’s a big part of the reason that “Gay Ghettos” sound so unappealing to me. Most of my bros are straight, and I don’t see why I should have to stop being friends or hanging out with them just because they like girls.

  • Sam

    Peter, nobody cares. Gay men as evidenced by this thread and the Judy Garland and Madonna worship DO NOT ubiquitously have good taste! It’s very sad that so many gay men obsess over Judy Garland and other “gay icons” and even try to imitate them and this is only something that an eldergay dinosaur drama queen that Mike wrote about would do or claim that Judy Garland is somehow a goddess like you are.

  • Zach

    Paul you’re correct about gay or LGBT ghettos. People who claim that they need to live around only other LGBT people are professional victims, some really hate straight people, and some have bought into the myth that straight people hate us and that you simply must live or surround yourself with other LGBT people and that life is perfectly fine in an LGBT ghetto and that LGBT people don’t stab their own in the back and they don’t realize that there are a lot of gay men who are hypocritical and hetero phobic, bi phobic, r_acist and trans phobic.

  • bob2davis

    You guys are unbelievable. I prefer hanging out with gay men and having lived in gay ghettos, I think they’re a lot of fun. You obviously haven’t and therefore don’t know what you’re talking about. You guys clearly prefer straight boys. BFD. Don’t judge me with your fucking psycho babble.

  • Lazycrockett

    Ill take the pet shop boys, erasure, rufus wainwright, jimmy someville and other GAY MEN as my icons thank you very much.

  • Kayak

    @zenec: True, lol. I mean, I know what her name is because people keep talking about her, just looked her up on wikipedia and was surprised to know she’s the one who played Dorothy lol.

  • Matt

    I’ve lived in a GLBT ghetto and for a period of my life most of my friends were GLBT people. Looking back it was like Zach said and I now do wonder why in my late teens and early 20s I felt the need to only hang out with LGBT people but then again at the time I had just came out and that had something to do with it.

  • Andrew

    Bob Davis you’re showing us all as the other queens here are too, that gay men who feel the need to live in the LGBT world 24/7 have major issues, to say the least.

  • Paul

    @bob2davis: How do I “clearly prefer straight boys?” I don’t care whether my friends are gay or straight, and I don’t see the point of segregatIng my friends into two neighborhoods.

  • Seattlequeer

    Paul, what you’re reading BobDavis write about with gay ghettos is what a lot of gay men do they claim that they’re all for sexual freedom and are fine with straight people and everyone else that’s LGBT but then they show that they’re hypocrites and feel the need to go live in a gay ghetto around only other rich white gay men, and they really couldn’t give a shit about bisexuals, trans people, lesbians, straight people, or gay men who aren’t white and rich like themselves. Be yourself like others have posted and don’t aspire to move to an LGBT ghetto or surround yourself with only other people like yourself like these fools here have done.

  • Robert-in-Seattle

    It really is amazing how much violence there is connected with this thread. It’s “My Gay Is Better Than Your Gay!” How inclusive is that? So musical tastes have moved on, but the history of what that history represented “at that time” is as relevant and important now as it was then. It’s over the dead bodies of our old icons that you’re stepping, so please tred lightly. We had a hidden history that is now out loud and proud. That’s as it should be. I’m sure no Blacks want to be slaves again, but they do want us all to honor them. And that’s only right. We should honor our past, take from it what we want and live the lives we have now. This thread is , what nearly 60 post long and everybody’s screaming at each other like…screaming queens. We shouldn’t hurt ourselves, because sure enough down the line there’ll be somebody waiting to do it for us. I was the victim of a hate crime right outside of Seattle and had to have pins put in my arm because I wouldn’t back down. I don’t want any honors or glories, but to stand up and be myself – which I have always done (gay ghetto or not) – and don’t want other gay men calling me names that I wouldn’t take from some redneck straight guy either, or have my right to just BE who I am. No one has that right, gay or straight. It’s fear and anger that I hear y’all screaming at each other. If we can’t get along civilly, why should the whole world that’s looking in on us think we deserve better than crazy Christian Fundamentalists wanting to ship us all off to our own island (the sheer lack of logic that makes my mind spin with their crazy) or some country in Africa who wants any man caught so much as holding hands with another man put to death…like Biblical ways of putting people to death: stoning, decapitation, burning at the stake, etc. I’m old enough to remember the early days of gay liberation and the joyful unity we felt. Now, kids seek out and proud gay celebrities. Good for them if that’s what they want and need. Judy Garland was a star, not an icon. Edith Piaf was a star, not an icon. Straight people loved them as well. Good for them if that’s what they like and need. We shouldn’t be fighting against ourselves, but including ALL who want to play in our sandbox. As long as they play nice.

  • DouggSeven

    It seems as though there’s an underlining generational gap in this thread and what’s interesting about it is how the anger is manifesting. Reading above I’ve made a few observations as to what I think is going on…
    The older posters…
    “Today’s youth have an easier and carefree attitude about being gay that I did not, and was not allowed to have.”
    “If you take away my culture, how will I be remembered? I was a somebody, you know.”
    “Who knew pubic hair turned grey?”
    The younger posters…
    “Due to your adoration of this woman, my straight peers think less of me as a man”
    “Due to my media brainwashing, I cannot accept any idol that is no longer alive – it’s about youth youth YOUTH!”
    “Wait, I’m immortal – wtf is this post all about?”

    Please forgive what I wrote above – I had a fun idea that may or (probably) may not have worked.

  • Matte

    As an ancient gay guy (57) I say good riddance to the whole Judyism bucket of crap. I’ve never understood the reverence some guys have had for tragic, wounded woman persona (Judy, Bette, Marilyn). Is it part of my culture or heritage? Not mine, friends. But then again, I’ve never understood the appeal of drag, either…

  • Kev C

    @Matte: The issue isn’t just about gay men. Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Dietrich, Garbo, Hepburn, and a whole slew of others were icons for lesbians as well.

  • samo

    Avtually red meat Madonna will have the biggest tour of 2012 with her MDNA TOUR it will gross between 500 and 800 milluon according to Billboard magazine beating her previous record for highwst grossing tour by a solo artist of all time! DEAL WITH IT

  • Lefty

    Well, I’m a gay foetus who has a straight-acting-moustache and big muscly arms, so I’m both YOUNG and a REAL man who has no need for tragic hetero female icons, but you can keep your Gagas and your Adeles… Judy Garland is the fucking END!

  • The Real Mike in Asheville

    @Paul: I hope you are real (not a poser of a 16 year-old).

    While it is fantastic that you found the strength of self to come out at 16, the importance of history are the stories of those who were important cogs in evolving equality for the next generation — it won’t be all that long into the future where kids will find the strength you found at even younger ages.

    I was 20 when I came out — that was 32 years ago. Many have VERY difficult experiences in coming out, I, though, was pretty lucky. My dad was amazing, and once quipped that it was better that I was the gay kid since, he believed, none of my brothers had that inner strength to be one’s self. Before and after coming out, I regularly called my dad to see whether he too wanted to play hooky and meet up at the Oakland A’s when the Yankees came to town. And my dad knew he could always count on me for a Raiders or 49ers game.

    At the same as being “just a guy”, I also joined in the White Night protests, the demonstrations at the Dem Convention in SF, brought food to Project Open Hand, protested the veto of AB101 (CA anti-discrimination law), protested against Briggs Initiative (would have banned gays/lesbians from all public school jobs), AIDS fundraisers, gave love/food/home/support for friends with AIDS, battled my own HIV+/AIDS (probably got it in 1980), joined ActUP, enjoyed many a pride parade.

    As you point out, coming out today is very different than 10, 20, 30 years ago. And that is true because those who came out decades ago helped forge a better day for the next, who made things better, for the next who also made things better…to today, where the new young generation can and is starting to come out.

    Enjoy your status, but remember, there are many more that are struggling against unaccepting friends and family, and they could certainly use the help of those who can give them support.

  • Ellen Brown

    reading the tone of your post- your title should be *Queerty writer using a fun Judy Garland reference/article into a ridiculous, hollow rant to mask self loathing and jealousy of the success of New York Times writer.*
    Make your sour grapes into wine not WHINE.

  • iDavid

    @Paul, no probs, sounds like you are an everyday guy that happens to be gay. We are grossly under represented.

    I don’t think it is easier today to come out, not w the religious culture war with kids committing suicide. There is probably more of a great divide, easy vs not easy coming out. Either way we should never take our lives for granted and help out when we get strong enough to do so. I came out when gay was still under the carpet, it was awesome as there were no issues up publically. We had our favorite hangouts and never were bothered. We fell in and out of love, had long term and short term relationships. It was all good. One of my friends had problems coming out, of many. Maybe its something in the water but all went well. The only friend who had issues was the one w fundie family. They were vicious and cruel. To this day he has trouble

    w them.

  • iDavid

    …., Donna Summers was our dance diva but other than that, we didn’t drag on about stars being liked by gays or not. But then drag queens were not part of our focus either. Stars were liked by everyone, just like Gaga etc. But I will say, the one time I went out in drag for Halloween as a dare, I had theeeee time of my life. ; )

  • Chris

    “The Judy Garland Myth matters. By falsely crediting Garland’s death with sparking one of the most important events in gay (and American) history, the perpetuators of this myth are effectively stripping gays of their agency and boiling down the birth of the gay liberation movement and gay identity as we know it today to the death of a freaking camp icon. In other words, gays were incapable of fighting for themselves until their icon’s death pushed them over the edge. Decades of gay organizing, societal oppression, and police harassment go out the window, and what really matters is that the gays lost their entertainer. This, of course, is ridiculous–gays fought against oppression long before Stonewall and long before Frances Ethel Gumm became “Judy Garland.” It’s a demeaning, trivializing, and downright offensive myth that oversimplifies a complex event and reduces the figures who bravely resisted police oppression at Stonewall to grieving Judy Garland fans.”

  • bob2davis

    @Chris: You don’t know what you’re talking about because you weren’t there. Before Stonewall there were very, very few gay people fighting oppression; there were not decades of organizing before Stonewall; that event emboldened some but many, many others were still very scared. It is demeaning and offensive of you to revise a history of which you are not aware. Do some homework before you trivialize the gay and lesbian heroes of 1969.

  • Chris

    @bob2davis: What on Earth are you talking about? Looking at historical records there is no evidence that Garland’s death was in any way relevant to the riots. There are plenty of “stories” surrounding that night. The Stonewall Riots in and of themselves were a curious event historically speaking. I find it very interesting to read about, but people have added so many layers of mythology to it.

    To quote more from the link I gave above:

    “The only other relevant historical document that mentions Garland does draw a link between her death and Stonewall. That piece, by Walter Troy Spencer, is entitled “Too Much, My Dear,” and it originally appeared in the Village Voice on July 10, 1969. One problem–Troy is heterosexual and is creating a link between Garland’s death and Stonewall to mock what he calls “the Great Faggot Rebellion.” This–a disgusting anti-gay column written by a homophobe–seems to be the first (and only) piece of historical evidence linking Garland’s death with Stonewall. Not exactly admissible evidence, considering the source.

    Furthermore, as Carter’s work shows quite well through oral histories and eyewitness accounts, the major fighters during the Stonewall Riots were street youths. This makes sense, of course, since homeless street youths had the least to lose in a high-profile altercation with the police–certainly less than a closeted businessman who might have also been found at Stonewall. The last thing on the minds of street youths would have been Judy Garland, as their generation was much more into soul and rock. Not to mention, they were more concerned with surviving on the streets than with listening to Judy Garland records, which appealed more to the older, middle-class gays.

    This is the foundation upon which the Judy Garland Myth is built. Zero historical documentation, aside from a mocking article written by a bigot, and a misunderstanding of the central actors in the Stonewall Riots. To call the link between Judy Garland and Stonewall “tenuous” would be quite generous indeed.”

    I’ll go with multiple sourced historical accounts over “my friend was there and said…” anecdotes.

  • Matt

    Robert in Seattle stop being such a screaming faggy queen and quit it with the Judy worship. I agree that the whole “Gay icon” status is a joke and it’s a myth and revised history that Judy’s death somehow caused LGBT liberation and stonewall.

  • Cisgender gay and lesbian privilage strikes again!

    Bob2Davis it’s demeaning and offensive of you to claim that only gay men and lesbian women were involved in GLBT liberation and at Stonewall. There were bisexuals and trans people involved at Stonewall and involved in LGBT liberation both pre and post stonewall. I wonder when the homosexist LGBT movement will realize that being trans and bisexuality exist, that they’re just as valid as being gay or lesbian, and that without the hard work and sacrifice of bisexuals and Trans people LGBT people would not have nearly as much liberation, freedom, equality, and visibility as we do today.

  • bob2davis

    @Cisgender gay and lesbian privilage strikes again!: How do you know there were bisexuals and transexuals at Stonewall? All I have read and heard says there were only gay men, lesbians and transvestites. I think you’re just trying to make me wrong as you get caught up in the current pc. While lgbt is certainly more inclusive, back in 1969 there were only two letters – L and G. Please stop commenting until you know what you’re talking about. And don’t bother replying to this — I have no interest in your further comments. Go and try to make someone else wrong.

  • DanChicago

    Actually there was a bisexual transwoman at Stonewall and she started the riots and her name was Sylvia Rivera. Some of the street kids who were involved in the stonewall riots were bisexual men.

    Bisexual men were involved in the Mattachine society, and the B or bisexuality was very well known about and bisexual men and women were out long before Stonewall. Even Oscar Wilde despite being claimed by gay men as being “gay” was actually bisexual. No there were not only two letters in 1969 as bisexuality had been known about as a sexual orientation and political term for awhile before 1969 and long before Stonewall happened.

    Colum­bia University’s Stu­dent Homophile League, was estab­lished by Stephen Don­ald­son AKA Donny the Punk, an openly bisex­ual stu­dent, in 1966.

    Brenda Howard an out bisex­ual woman started Gay/GLBT pride to cel­e­brate Stonewall that started in NYC and around the world.

    Cliff Arne­sen a bisex­ual sol­dier was kicked out of the U.S. mil­i­tary in the 60s because he was bisex­ual and he has appeared before Con­gress as a bisex­ual per­son who was kicked out of the mil­i­tary because of his non-heterosexuality. This hap­pened decades before Lt. Dan Choi.

    If you heard of the Cat­a­combs club in SF in the late 70s/early 80s Steve McEach­ern the founder of it was bisex­ual both sex­u­ally and romantically-he fell in love with both men and women, and his lover was Cyn­thia Slater was bisex­ual too. Oh my bad, I’m sure you’ll just think of her as being a Dyke. Pat, now Patrick Califia the bisexual Transman hung out at the fisting club too and he’s been out as bisexual for awhile too.

    Trolls like Bob2Davis want to revise LGBT history and claim that bisexuals and trans people were never around, were not in the fight for GLBT liberation or gay/lesbian liberation, and it’s just as bad as straight people who are homophobic only gays and lesbians who want to edit LGBT history to include only G and L being there and being politically active are hypocrites and need to study GLBT history.

  • Cisgender gay and lesbian privilage strikes again!

    Bob2Davis, DanChicago said it better than I could. You really do need to do more research on LGBT history before you try to falsely claim that bisexuals and trans people were never around, not politically active, and not at stonewall and didn’t fight for LGBT liberation and equality. Or you can just post your wrong and revised history BS and make yourself look like the fool you are. ;)

  • bob2davis

    @DanChicago: I appreciate the history lesson as I was not aware of these individuals and groups with the exception of Sylvia Rivera. Despite the work of these early activists, bisexuals and transgender/transexual people were neither included nor identified by the early movement. Additionally, although a number of activist groups existed, it was only a small fraction of lgbts at the time since most had not yet come out. Sadly, I think you would find few lgbt people, like myself, who are aware of these individuals or groups. But with a cursory bit of research, I was easily able to verify the information. However, I don’t appreciate your attitude. You have no idea who I am, what I know or what I have done in my life. In order to revise any history, one must be aware of the history that already exists.

  • Robert-in-Seattle

    1) Matt: “Robert in Seattle stop being such a screaming faggy queen and quit it with the Judy worship.” Really? I am neither screaming, nor faggy, nor do I consider myself a queen. Most people are surprise when I offer up that information. So stop the name calling until you’ve spoken to me face-to-face.

    2) I do not indulge in “Judy worship”. I think she was a great talent singer/dancer/actor, but I do not identify with her in any way.

    And finally 3) why do most of you use such hateful language? Despite all our individual differences, aren’t we all the same? Would you talk to you mother with that mouth spewing such violent hate?

    I’m just amazed that this has sparked such anger and divisiveness… And I applaud the young man who came out to his team-mates in the 8th grade (sorry, this is so wearying and I’ve forgotten your name). And I also applaud your team-mates themselves for their casualness of your declaration. That is a wonderful gift you were given. That is the exception not the rule in today’s climate, unless you are a current pop-idol, or multi-million dollar sport’s star. And to think you did it when you were only in your teens. Congratulations, my friend!




  • Marcus

    Robert in Seattle quit being such a whiny bitch. Nobody cares. Yes you are as others have said a faggy drama queen and a professional victim. You also a chickenhawk.

  • Paul

    @Robert-in-Seattle: Thanks! But my story really isn’t that unique. Out of the dozen or so other gay teens I know through Facebook in a variety of states, almost all of them are pretty well-accepted and popular in their schools, but, unfortunately, have to deal with a lot more from their parents, who grew up back in the 70s and 80s.

    @Marcus: Dude, seriously? Stop being a dick. There’s no reason to hate a person just for being a Judy Garland fan. And there’s no reason to get mad at them for sharing the music they like with others. It’s the same reason that I always pick out some Lupe Fiasco or Azazelia Banks to play when I’m in the car with my siblings. The only thing I have a problem with is when people make the argument that BECUASE I’M GAY, I should like this person.

  • Eric

    Only older queens as evidenced in this thread think that Judy Garland is a “gay icon” and that because you’re a gay man or an LGBT person that you must like Judy or actually believe that she somehow gave equality to gay men, bisexuals of both genders, lesbians, and trans people when that’s not true.

    Gay men who worship and like wannabe “Divas” like Garland, Cher, Bette Midler, Streisand, Madonna, etc. are walking stereotypical nellie queens as others have said and they give us all (everyone that’s LGBT) a bad name and are an embarrassment.

    It’s like how in the movies or on TV whenever there’s a gay male character he’s some fag hag’s best friend, excellent at design or fashion, loves drama, and of course a total nellie queen. Even if the guy winds up starting out as being masculine he’ll wind up a flaming queen.

  • J Stratford

    So what if she has been forgotten? She is now in the history books.

    The new gays need a new icon for the new fights that they are facing.

    I like Gaga. Born This Way is the iconic song that will be remembered for imprinting on all young gays and straights that no one chooses to be gay. That, my friends, is the icon for our time. That’s the icon for gays in the open who should no longer fear persecution or who would enshrine these into law

    The era of closeted gays needs to be over soon – and with that the icons will fade/shrink – that includes judy garland and cruising/sex in public toilets (gross!)

  • Robert-in-Seattle

    Thanks Paul, but I can handle assholes like Marcus. I just flush what he spews down the toilet. That’s where his mind is anyway. But thanks.

  • Shane

    @Red Assault: This is exactly true …Drag Queens rioted and so did their friends

  • Mat

    It’s not very complicated and there’s no need for folks to get upset. Judy Garland was someone everyone loved in her day – there was a kind of community found by being someone who loved Judy Garland – it was an instant connection. During Stonewall, many of her fans were upset and consoling themselves when the police broke in. In this grief, they finally reacted and violently turned the raid into a revolution.

    Like her, don’t like her. It doesn’t matter. In her way, she helped to create the communities of gay people who sustained themselves long enough to develop political power and social awareness. That young gay men and women have the freedoms and liberations enjoyed now may not have anything to do with Judy Garland, but we are indebted to those who found their first taste of community by being her fans.

  • Queer Supremacist

    @peter: Thank you for the most intelligent defense of Ms. Garland on this misbegotten site, which I only come to when I need to practice being bitchy. I was too busy having a life to comment, but I think I should.

    I’m 29, and I’d listen to anything Judy Garland recorded before I would ever give Ms. Ciccone (who was okay in Desperately Seeking Susan and Evita) or Ms. Germanotta (who is just rehashing what Ms. Ciccone was doing when I was a toddler) the time of day. She was a great singer and actress who deserves respect for her talent, not based on some antiquated ideas of what a “gay icon” (how I LOATHE that phrase) should be or what gay men should and should not listen to. I don’t listen to her because I’m gay. I listen to her because I can appreciate a powerful voice who can put across a well-written standard like nobody else.

    And it wasn’t gay people who made me aware of who she was. It was my parents, who introduced me to some movie called “The Wizard of Oz” that they loved when they were kids. And I loved it, too. So did my sisters. They also introduced me to old movies and musicals and 50s, 60s and 70s pop, rock and R&B, which is what I was interested in to when my peers were listening to either alternative rock or second-rate post-disco dance pop (give me old-school disco any day). Later I saw other movies she was in, learned the details of her life and discovered her recording career.

    Like her or don’t, it reflects little on her abilities and shortcomings (for which her children have forgiven her) and more on your own personal tastes. But to compare her to Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan? Britney got famous the same way Annette Funicello got famous: parading around the Mickey Mouse Club with a huge rack and a limited singing range. But Annette sounded like Maria Callas compared to Britney. Lindsay Lohan only made one good movie: “Mean Girls.” Everything else she did was a rehash of the old B-pictures Hayley Mills and Jodie Foster used to make for Walt Disney. And she couldn’t sing either.

    As for the drugs, M-G-M gave Judy uppers and downers because they didn’t think they would do any harm. They were wrong, and it cost Judy dearly. Remember, there was a lot more stigma about drug and alcohol abuse then; people looked at it as a character flaw instead of a disease.

    She was not some two-bit “gay icon,” she is part of Americana. Ms. Ciccone’s still around because she’s got a good head for business, but the only song I know that she ever sang was “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina.” And hers wasn’t even the best version!

  • kane66

    @zenec: excuse me? I’m not even 21 and know who Judy is. HEll I was 3 years old and I knew EXACTLY who she was

  • MIchelle

    It makes me sad to read the things people are writing to RobertinSeattle. I don’t know him, or anybody else here, but it has always made me sick when gay men pick on one another for effeminacy, or use terms like “screaming queen” as insults. What, exactly, is wrong with being a queen? What’s wrong with being a “gay stereotype?” My very best friend in high school was a gay stereotype, and he seriously rocked. Still does.

    Gay men viciously attacking each other for not being straight enough…wasn’t that a scene from Boys in the Band? In fact, wasn’t that EVERY scene from Boys in the Band? Is all this meanness really necessary?

    I am thrilled that boys nowadays are out in high school, and can date other guys from the start, instead of using girls as a cover the way so many gay men of my generation did. I campaign for gay marriage and have always worked for gay rights. And I’m delighted that the awkwardness and ostracism Judy portrayed in so many films is no longer a guaranteed part of growing up gay. But it’s still part of growing up human, for most people, so I don’t understand the vitriol.

    I once asked a gay friend why gay men would identify with Judy, or indeed with any female star. I was told that “she was a woman in a man’s world.” Since so was every other woman on the planet, like, ever, I was never satisfied with this answer, but I liked the spirit of it. I liked the idea of a subculture that was about rooting for the underdog, the inclusiveness of it. I guess all good things must come to an end, eh?

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