QUESTION: Do The Gays Still Love Judy Garland?

Welcome to The Queerty Query, where we raise questions and ask you, the readers, to weigh in. Sometimes the questions will be funny, sometimes they’ll be serious—it all depends what the chatter around the water cooler is.

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It’s the 43rd anniversary of the death of Judy Garland, who passed away on June 22, 1969. For most of her career, Garland was beloved by gay men, who appreciated her talent, her tumultuous private life and her camp appeal.

Legend has it her death sparked the Stonewall Riots (though that’s been debated).

But have the gays moved beyond Judy? For many of us who came of age well after her death, worshiping Judy Garland was an insult homophobes lobbed at queers. Many of us didn’t really know who she was—beyond the girl who played Dorothy Gale—until we were older and re-discovered her in YouTube clips.

Now, as barely legal pop singers are touted as gay icons with their first hit, it’s hard to imagine such fierce devotion to a singer.

Do The Gays Still Love Judy Garland?

(Especially one who didn’t thrust her sexuality in our faces)

In April, writer Robert Leleux discussed Garland’s waning appeal in The New York Times:

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.

If we have taken Judy down from the pedestal, could that be a good thing? That we no longer need a glamorous surrogate to experience life’s peaks and valleys for us? Have we moved passed the need for an icon who, while tolerant of her gay following, never really stood up for us?

Or have we just become victims of the short-attention-span culture, which sucks up divas and spits them out in rapid succession?

We’re going to toss it back to you, Queerty readers. Are you still a Friend of Dorothy or are you over the rainbow?

Below, Peter Allen sings a tribute to Garland, his one-time mother-in-law.

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  • randy

    Still love her with every fiber of my being. Listening to her songs is the balm for many a sad day for me, and happy ones as well.

  • Jonathonz

    Full disclosure: I was born four months before she died. That said, I had a dream about her last night. Being a dream I can’t remember the details but I distinctly remember waking up having just been in her presence. Maybe it’s Pride coming up this weekend… I don’t know. I came along a little too late for her to be a big part of my life but but she did make an impression because when I came to the city for the first time she was clearly a part of the lives of the older gay men I met there. She will always be a part of our collective history as a community.

  • evanb

    God, no. The last thing we need to worship is a drugged-up, f’d-up dead pop singer. JG was an appropriate Gay Queen when gays were conflicted and closeted and hiding in shadows and self-pityingly messed up (a la Boys in the Band); she demonstrated that even the most messed-up could rise above the challenges. But times have changed, and maybe gay squee-ing over dead pop singers (or live ones who are way long in the tooth and far over the rainbow and more than a little filled with menopausal rage–yes, you, Miss M) needs to end. We should stop tying our psyches to tragic figures.

  • Sam

    I think every generation has their own Gay Culture Icon, and some live on in our hearts and some of the next generation with share them, but they will fade more and more in time, like all celebrities. (except unfortunately Jesus)

    There was Judy, then Barbra, Bette Midler, Madonna, Britney, now Gaga. With many more singers and movie stars mixed in the times, I could list hundreds, but these seem to be the DIVA’s that stood out as MEGA GAY SINGING ICONS.

  • K. Michael

    I’m kind of surprised this is still such a hotly-debated topic. I went to a Judy Garland event on Monday to kick off Pride week in NYC, and the room was packed full with gay men of all ages. Is she irrelevant? If you enjoy her, no.

  • BobbyMcGNYC

    This one does

  • Tristan Robin

    I still love her. It has nothing to do with her private life hell. She was simply one of the best damned vocalists ever. It makes no difference that she wasn’t “hip” (Midler, Gaga, Madonna, etc.) or that her style music isn’t played in gay clubs. Her music – and quite a few of her films – are classics that will never go out of style. Her music and movies will be played and played again, as often as Gone With the Wind or any other classic.

  • Bil

    The Judy tattoo that I have on my arm is a pretty good indicator that I still adore her!

  • loafersguy

    Yes!!! She was one of the greatest talents of the last century and I don’t think any other performer had or has quite the same ability to connect with their audience as she
    did. Watch this clip through to the end and you’ll see what I mean. Gave me chills when I first saw it as a kid and still gives me chills when I see it today:

  • Parker

    I was a little gay boy in the 50’s and 60’s in rural Tennessee and I only knew Judy through the Wizard of Oz, which aired once a year, and a few of her songs, but I loved her. There was a special magic in her voice that moved me. I think it was genetic.

  • Dean Lowry

    Love Judy! YES!

  • biscuit_batter

    yes! she is a true american icon with talent that is not seen in most stars today. love you judy!

  • Sam

    Someone wrote that Judy, in her stovepipe pants, crew neck sweater and flat slippers, didn’t impose her sexuality on her audiences. This, along with her wit and her extraordinary talent, are what continue to appeal to me. She came up in an era of pretty little songstresses in crinolines and gloves. To have a woman come out in slacks and flats and lay out a song like Sinatra was inspirational to a young girl. She sort of freed me up to be straight, but not a fussy little clutch-carrying, cries-at-stop-lights kind of woman. I’m not your audience, I know, but I found your question interesting, and wanted to give my answer.

  • RilesRay

    she’s a legend, but more over, i respect her because SO many gay men who died…be it homeless on the street or in a gay bashing, admired her. i once had a conversation with an older gay man years ago who said, for gays of that generation, Judy was a source of strength. they lived through her spirit. for that, she will always be a part of the gay community and I respect her greatly

  • David Ehrenstein

    Love Judy and always will. And I’m sure I’m not alone in this. But the context has changed radically. For in Judy’s heyday no one was out. Now increasingly overwhelming numbers of us are are. Consequently who se was and what she did has a different impact.

    I have know doubt it’s exremely hard for today’s gay kids to get their minds around the fact that not all that long ago gays and lesbians could be arrested for congregating.

    I’m not talking about having sex (in public or private). I’m talking about merely hanging out together. In the Bad Old Days bars or restaurants serving “known homosexuals” were shut down by the cops — unless they were protected by the Mob, which paid the cops off under the table. Patrons unlucky enough to be caught in a raid were arrested and hauled away to the hoosegow (the credit sequence of “Milk” has actual footage of this.)

    Judy’s large gay follwing meant her concerts provided a public space for us to congregate without fear of arrest. We were there to see her sing — as were her many straight fans. Because of Judy her gay fans could breathe easily at her concerts — chatting with friends in a perfectly normal way. There was no polic van waiting for us outside the Palace or Carneige Hall.

    In his horrendous book “The Season” William Goldman takes aim at the gays who showed up at Judy’s concerts. The author of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” did not approve.
    Well so much for that creep.

    Judy’s talent is obvious and she leaves behind a wealth of movies recordings and TV appearances to appreciate. Obviously the younger generation will have its own idols. But at least for my generation Judy will remain extremely special.

  • Name (required)

    In a word: YES.

    Barring her problems with drugs and alcohol and considering that many people think her death was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” on the night Stonewall occurred, everyone here should be a fan.

  • Barca

    She is more of a legend to the older generations of LGBT than the current Y and Millennial. I was on a cruise with my family and saw a “Friends of Dorothy” meeting on the schedule the first day. Before the ship left I had to ask friends back home if “Friends of Dorothy” meant what I thought it meant. I went to this meeting and was surrounded by men no younger than 40.

    She’s just not as relevant to the younger generations because, while we grew up on Wizard of Oz, we don’t know what she did nor how it applies to our lives. Sorry, I’m sure if you ask any young active LGBT person today you’d be hard pressed to know WHY she is used as the mantra for an undercover LGBT association.

    She’s a legend, sure. To older gays for her work with the community and her troubles, but to younger generations she’s a legend for Wizard of Oz.

  • I won't grow up

    She was, is, and will FOREVER be the GREATEST star EVER!!!!!!!

  • keoki3

    One word: Nope.

  • Todd

    Nope. She was good in The Wizard of Oz but not sure why I should love her.

  • Larry

    young people (gays included) just don’t know the stars from the days of black and white…in another 10 years most people will have never heard of her…let alone love her

  • Gene in L.A.

    @evanb, It wasn’t enough to say no? You had to go the extra mile and badmouth her for the outward effect of her inner troubles? Nice. I hope your older years aren’t clouded by the same sort of intolerance you’re displaying.

  • BrianSYYZ

    I believe the older generations, like me, certainly do, but she’s not relevant to the younger generation who now admire and adore their own stars, and there’s nothing wrong with that. While there’s no comparison in my mind, the younger generation are admiring the likes of Madonna, Gaga and Beyoncé, and I dare say, they’d say that Judy Garland doesn’t compare to them. It’s all relative. I myself was only 4 when Judy Garland died, but didn’t really appreciate her greatness until I was in my mid-late 30’s. Hopefully the younger generation will learn to appreciate the stars of yesteryear, but who know.

  • Ryan M.

    Um… she was in Wizard of Oz right? Other than that, who cares. She goes right up there with a stereotype that all gays love Barbara Streisand. Not everyone is going to love the same thing or people from yesteryear.

  • bill(Guillermo3)

    Obviously,LOTS of GAY GUYS LOVE Judy Garland.That’s not news.Can someone
    PLEASE tell me why? I’ve never understood….Have seen the movies multiple times,
    of course,but mostly remember her as a drunk/drugged out cartoon who couldn’t
    successfully cross her legs on the Jack Parr show,when I was a teenager.Is it
    the fact that she could have been a guy in drag?The Over the Rainbow song?

  • Gary


  • tookietookie

    I read the bio Get Happy and really enjoyed her story. She is aces in my book.

    As for young people who don’t know her, they also don’t know that the Titanic really existed apart from a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio. So who cares what they think? Dumb is dumb.

  • Allen D.

    No. Never had any use for her. Although “Dear Mr. Gable” is amusing for how bad it is. I don’t think too many gays under 40 or 50 give a damn either. And before the posts of “I’m 31 and I LOVE HER” start — I said “not too many”, not “any”.

  • dennis duncan

    Asking this question is like trying to ask if all gay people fit the stereo type. I raised my adopted son from birth, I can build a house from the ground up, I can decorate, I grow my own vegetables, I don’t like fashion, I like all kinds of music. I don’t fit into any particular category that the media likes to put us in. Who cares if gays like Judy Garland or not. We are all different.

  • chuck


  • patricklee5150


  • David


  • Tone

    Perhaps men who were of age when Stonewall happened still love her memory. I’ve read in more than one place that at least part of the anger at Stonewall was a grief response to Judy Garland’s recent death. For people born after Stonewall I don’t think so.

  • SpudStudScott

    If for nothing but her singing, “The Man That Got Away” in A Star Is Born would make her worthy of adoration. Now and FOREVER !

  • IonMusic

    Yes. She’ll always be a MAJOR legend and a part of the fabric of gay community

  • Truth

    I love the fools who come on here and act like because someone wasn’t born in the past 20 years, they are irrelevent. I’m 32 and the “stars” of today are FILTH. Pure disgusting vile nasty creepy FILTH. Jennifer Lopez equals nasty vile pig. Then you’ve got the professional prostitutes known as Kardashians. Niki Minaj who ahs the talent of a singing but hole. The stars of yesteryear were STARS and will always be stars. Their legacy will live on forever. NO ONE will be talking about Rihana and Katie Perry in 10 years. Know that.

  • Jones

    If you don’t know who she is, don’t come on here like a clown and say “WHO?” don’t celebrate your ignorance. Being uninformed, and stupid ain’t cute. No matter how cute you think you look by contributing “who?” to a conversation about a pretty prolific figure. You’re not cute. It’s one thing to say you’re not a fan, but to pretend you don’t know who she is….lame. Look her up. Playing DUMB isn’t cute.

  • Scott

    Yes!!! Love her….Great talent…! See we’re still discussing her…:0)

  • bite-johnson

    Just because someone has died doesn’t mean young people SHOULDN’T know about their success and contributions. That’s a pretty sad statement some of you are making. Some of the most gifted individuals in history HAVE passed away. To not know of them, or care to know of them, because they’re not “trendy” is a pretty gross, and disgusting trait to live with. I’d literally hate to live in my skin if I adopted such a vapid mentality of who I educate myself on (“are they alive? from this generation? NO?…Whore cares about em!” Foolish)

  • Tessie Tura

    I have Nellie Melba, Luisa Tetrazzini, and Amelita Galli-Curci. I don’t need Judy Garland.

    Seriously, icons come and go. La Judy will forever be in the Gay Icon Hall of Fame, but each generation has its own frontliners. Now, it’s Gaga.

    I am reminded of the scene in “Jeffrey” where the Patrick Stewart character admonishes his lover, Cats Boy, for to knowing who Ann Miller is. I was in my late thirties when that movie came out, and I didn’t know who Ann Miller was.

    Likewise, most of you reading this post don’t know who Melba, Tetrazzini, and Galli-Curci are, but they, especially La Melba (yes, the toast is named after her, as is the chicken dish for dear Tet) are still iconic to many gay men today.

  • Art Smith

    LOL I love the “straight acting” crowd who get all bent out of shape over this even being asked. I knew they’d sniff this one out. Their self loathing issues have to pollute every thread. “I can’t stand her. I work out and play sports and do spitting contests” yeah, and you also suck the peen, which is one of the most if not THE most feminine activities I can think of. The straight acting crowd always is good for a chuckle on here

  • Michi Eyre

    Judy Garland was a true legend, actually, the whole era was a true legend. Judy was just one part of it. Despite the many human rights violations that took place during that time, I could just imagine living in that era when the local movie theater was the mass media at the time. Sometimes, I wish we could revert back to the good parts of those times (such as the fashions, especially the fashions..).. but I totally agree with #38, today’s so-called “stars” are nothing compared to what we have today. In this day and age, we are overly obsessed with sex, money and overall status. Sure, there was scandal in the 40s, but I am sure it is nothing like it is today. As hemlines started to rise, so did the downfall of our so-called “celebrities”.. We live in a era when celebrity scandal is the lead story on the evening news. We have been brainwashed by our modern media, the same modern media who thinks its still OK for transsexuals to be the brunt of every joke. As long as we continue to give these shows ratings and support the advertiser’s products, the industry will continue to produce this crap. Excuse me while I go see what’s coming up on TCM this weekend.

  • Heut

    Of course she’ll always be tied to the gay community. For hundreds of years to come, there will be Judy Garland references attached to us. Most well adjusted gays who don’t have to tell everyone about their (fake) masculinity don’t mind that Judy is part of the family.

  • JusDaFacts

    My 12 year old cousin mentioned to me how my favorite movie must be Wizard of Oz because the gay icon of icons, Judy Garland is in it. He’s 12! Word about Judy being our icon traveled so deeply to every fiber of straight and gay culture that her name will forever be attached to ours. I don’t mind it. She’s led a fascinating life and sure was talented.

  • Bellerophon69

    I’m an old gay guy, but I never was a big fan, and I never saw her as a representative of my orientation. Taste is subjective, I know loads of guys who diva it up when Judy is the topic and that’s cool, she just didn’t do it for me. Liberace, Alan Seuss, Truman Capote, even the acerbic Paul Lynde were much bigger icons for me because they were out when out was a big risk. Those guys were after Judy’s time, so maybe it’s just my generation, I didn’t see her as an icon that represented being gay, maybe it was because she was a straight woman as I perceived her. As far as singing goes, I diva it up to Shirley Bassey anyway, Judy was always a thin Ethel Merman clone to me. No offense, even though I just know I’m going to catch hell for that last statement!

  • danny fred

    I still love the wizard of oz, I have seen her in other movies and she was talented. she had a voice, and a beautiful in her own right.

  • Howard

    I was born after her death and spent many years not really “getting” the appeal of the girl from The Wizard of Oz. That being said, I have recently been working on a show where I have had to familiar myself with her later work, and she is truly deserving of all the credit she earned for trying to overcome the drugs and eventually losing that battle, but still being an incredible performer.

    Yes, we love her and yes, she deserves it.

  • Kev C

    The era of depressed queers and their depressing heroes is over. Forget your troubles, c’mon get happy … oh wait.

  • Xior

    Love her. She’ll always be a legend, and I’m 25!

  • Cyrillee

    Do we stil love Judy? do we still love Shakespeare? Icons are forever regardless of time. None of us knew the bard but we know his product and Judy’s lives on in film and recordings.

  • ProudDad

    Of course she’ll be part of gay culture but even more, she’ll always be part of society and regular dialogue. She’s a legend. Legends don’t die.

  • youngin

    I LOVE the stars of old hollywood. They ALL had such fascinating lives, beauty AND TALENT. The celebs today bore me, and are all so over exposed that I don’t WANT to see your movie. I already see enough of your mug in news papers, blogs, and groccery store magazine covers and thats me trying to avoid you. Celebs today ride on controversy versus talent or spark to get them far.

  • billeeboy

    Of course I still love her. She loved us when no one else did…………………..

  • abel

    Yeah, sure. Awesome talent – great actress, great singer, great entertainer. Sure, she had a troubled life, and perhaps her need for love was too evident, worn on her sleeve. Better that than Babs, though, who for all her talent has no use for her fans, only for their money. Give me Judy any day.

  • Brandon

    No. Most younger LGBT people and heteros just see her as the actress in the wizard of oz.

  • Allan Cuseo

    It is beyond love. She changed my life n thinking of her still does. I went to as many concerts as I could…attended the tv tapings. Her funeral will be etched in my mind forever…is there a word for love plus? She remains everything to me

  • nature boy

    So pleased that new generations will discover her via Youtube. Thanks for the above clip loafersguy. I was born in ’66 so I would consider myself “post Stonewall.”

    She’s a different era of entertainer when most performances were live, with live acoustic musicians, in front of a live audience. It develops a very different type of musicianship and showmanship, that you just do not see today.

    I had a complicated relationship with Judy Garland growing up in the 70’s and early 80’s. My dad dismissed her as not being pretty. My Mom had no particular interest. I was captivated by the Wizard of Oz and Somewhere Over the Rainbow and then discovered her records in my highschool music library. My classical voice teacher dismissed her as being technically a terrible singer… too much uneven vibrato, singing on the consonant instead of the vowels, slurring, giggling… I didn’t care, I loved her. She’s a great example that you don’t have to be the most perfect vocalist to be a great singer and communicator… Judy, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, and yes, even Britney come to mind.

    Anyway, when I was about 17 I informed my family and friends that if they wanted to get me anything for birthdays or Christmas, please just get me anything about Judy Garland. On a college application essay, that asked if you could go back in time to meet any person, who and why, I put Judy Garland, because I thought I could save her with my friendship or some similar nonsense (amazingly, I got accepted… well, it was Swarthmore after all LOL).

    Can you believe, I still thought I was straight, that my same-sex attractions were a phase I would outgrow or could somehow train myself out of ???

    When my friends and family followed through on my request and started giving me Judy Garland memorabilia and books, and I read the books, and discovered she was a gay icon, I was horrified and embarrassed that I had (so innocently) outed my deepest most shameful secret in this way. One day when I was alone at home I burned all the records and books I had collected, in an attempt to de-gay myself and get back on the hetero straight and narrow. My poor teen-age self!

    Also brings to mind the time I first masturbated to gay porn and then promptly threw up in the bathroom… an experience I’ve since learned was shared by many men of my generation. Homophobia was that ingrained in us from such an early age.

    When I finally came out at age 22, after finally realizing I had nothing to lose ..things could not get worse…. my first boyfriend (very old, 28!), the first man to kiss me in public (terrifying), introduced me to the phrase “Friend of Dorothy” and I began a new chapter of being a proudly defiant openly gay fan of Judy Garland and Friend of Dorothy.

    So part of my affection for Judy Garland is very much emotionally interwoven with my own sad coming-out struggle and the long road I took to defeat the homophobia I had been taught since birth.

    I can still quote and sing “Judy at Carnegie Hall” from start to finish, I really wore out that cassette LOL. If you want one record to listen to, to get to know Judy and her fans, that’s the one. “I know, I don’t want to go home either, we’ll stay all night and sing ’em all!”

    Watch this one: “Do It Again” by George Gershwin (gay) … love seeing the gays in the audience pics.

    “you really shouldn’t have done it”
    “you hadn’t any right”
    I really shouldn’t have let you kiss me
    and although it was wrong, I never was strong
    so as long as you’ve begun it, and you know you shouldn’t have done it…
    ohhh, do it again.
    i may cry no, no, no no no, but do it again
    my lips just ache to have you take
    the kiss thats waiting for you
    you know if you do
    you won’t regret it… come and get it
    ohhh, no one is near
    i may cry oh, oh oh oh oh, but no one can hear
    mama may scold me… ’cause she told me… it was naughty… but then
    please …do it again
    yes do it again, and again and again and again… and again
    …turn out the light
    and hold me close, in your arms, all through the night
    I know tomorrow morning you will say goodbye and amen
    but until then, please do it again.”

    Stopping writing now, too busy crying for all the shit gays went through last century!

  • Dennis


  • Stephen

    Nope. Not a fan.

  • derek

    I worship Judy. I worship her for good reason; she was supremely talented. She lived a relatively tortured life, but that’s not why I connected with her. I guess I’m one of the lucky queers who grew up in the 60’s knowing I was gay, but wasn’t particularly bugged by it. I knew enough not to broadcast it, but other than that I liked who I was. So, the whole gay inner turmoil/struggle thing wasn’t what created my sympatico with her. Plain and simple, she had an exquisite voice, she knew how to choose her music, and performing was her life.

    The current generation may not be connecting with her as much as we did because they, quite frankly, aren’t as well rounded as we were. Most people in my circle grew up listening to and loving everything from The Beatles, Judy Garland, and Jimi Hendrix, to music composed by Tchaikovsky, Debussy, and Dvorak. We were taught music appreciation in school. Most of us played an instrument or two. I’m sure I’ll take some flack for this, but I find most of this younger generation to be intellectually and culturally lazy; they seem to be too busy trying to conform to the image of the idol(s) du jour that they don’t take the time and effort to look back into the past to see what has made us who we all are.

    Truly inspired music is timeless and Judy’s body of work was inspired.

  • Darren Stewart-Jones

    Yes! Judy’s memory is still alive up here in Toronto. My one act play, The Judy Monologues, runs July 6 to 15 at the Annex Theatre as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival. The play is a multimedia docudrama based on rare voice tapes recorded by Garland in the years leading up to her death.

  • Gene in L.A.

    I hope someone at Queerty is reading these. The question itself is flawed. Do THE GAYS still love Judy Garland? As you see, the answer is both yes and no. There has never been a time when all of THE GAYS loved her, any more than all of THE GAYS were hairdressers, or had limp wrists, or lisped, or called each other “Mary.” Stereotypes are always in part lies, and so is the idea that THE GAYS all loved Judy.

  • Barca

    @Truth: Yes, those “stars” you mention are filth. Can’t stand any of them. But to say because I am 30 and need to know what Judy did 60 years ago is a tough sell.

    When the generation who consider Judy a gay icon dies off she will probably be remembered more for Oz than her activism. As were any icons of the “greatest generation” or the generation before them. Times change and relevance changes also.

  • WillBFair

    She had a pretty voice, of course, but I’ve never been a celebrity worshipper. I love her for the role she played in our history, the strength she gave to us, as David E says, the space her concerts gave to us, and even the riots her death sparked. That’s serious history that we should not forget.

  • Eddie

    I will always love Judy. I’m an old fag, yes, but there is something about her that the younger gays completely miss out on with those overnight wanna-be gay icons. Judy is and always shall be the number one, top of the stairs, gay icon. It is acceptable and inevitable that with changing times others will will come along – for a time – and fill the role for the younger generations. There is; however, more than enough room on the staircase to let others join her and fill the steps below for the newer and next generations. Do we still love her. Those of us that did, always will.

  • CoolJo

    Yes! she’ll ALWAYS be a legend and will ALWAYS be a part of our legacy. far more so than a Beyonce or Britney.

  • peter

    Judy had more talent in her left pinky than MadonnaBeyonceBrittneyKylie combined! She could act, she could dance, and MY GOD COULD THAT WOMAN PUT OVER A SONG!

    I don’t know qhy she has to be a ‘gay icon’. Why can’t we simply appreciate her for the phenomenal talent she was?

  • Jax

    Judging by the OVERWHELMING majority of comments, Judy Garland is attached at the hip to the gay community because many gay men, from all age brackets seem to have embraced her. Those who are fans seem to be passionate fans…of a women who died decades ago. We have celebrities today who don’t get this kind of praise on here. Can’t think of a single celebrity who has recieved such pouring of support and stories shared of how much they changed people’s lives. That to me, as an outside with no real opinion on the topic, says Judy will always be the BFF for the community.

  • peter

    @Tessie Tura:

    Da vero! Someone knows what a Diva really is!

  • James M. Martin

    If you don’t love her, you aren’t gay.

  • shaffoes

    I can’t speak for all of the young gays, but Judy has always been a part of my life. Some of my fondest early memories are of watching The Wizard of Oz and singing along with Judy. I still listen to her version of Smile whenever I’m feeling blue and it always makes me feel better.

    I love Gaga, Britney, et al. as well, but Judy will always be my first love!!

  • Redd

    Gay men are not a monolith. The only thing I feel I have in common with mainstream gay life is that I love and sleep with men. That being said, I have loved Judy Garland from the first time I saw her in “The Wizard of Oz”. I actually thought she was still that age!!! Silly me. She blew me away, a Black gay kid steeped in Aretha Franklin and James Brown. I don’t love her because all the gays rally around her in idolatry but because of her beautiful, powerful, emotional vocals and the outstanding songs that she put her brand on. I also love her era, the Golden Age of Hollywood. She was played often in our home, along with Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole and really became a part of our family. I was ten and living in a 4th floor tenement apartment in the South Bronx in 1969. And when Miss Garland died, three Black kids and their single mother cried for her. For she, like Bette Davis and Mae West and a few others transcend generation, gender, race, nationality, you name it. Black gay men do not feel a big part of the gay white mainstream and my eternal love for Miss Garland is in no way part of the gay fetishism and idol worship that is being discussed. I still and will always love her because she was simply the best and will never, ever be forgotten.

  • David

    Garland has meant a lot to me since I was a kid. She was a woman of incredible talent and vulnerability. Much of her power came about when one saw her live and in concert. A critic wrote, “There was Jolson, then there was Garland… Then they broke the mold”. Enough said!

  • Anthony

    That’s like asking if Christians still like Jesus!

  • rlk

    I always wondered why certain gay men chose only females as icons? A bit strange considering you are a man and gay. That said, I think she plays an important role in gay history and served to empower a older gay generation against consistent homophobia and persecution. So, my hats off to her with much respect! However, I will chose male role models instead especially successful gay men that I prefer to relate my life to. Luckily, we are fortunate today do start seeing many gay men in a more public setting many with families and children and fighting for equality.

  • Jim H.

    I truly don’t understand the “gay icon” phenomenon. I’ve never felt any kind of connection to a celebrity, and I don’t really comprehend why others do. But then I don’t share most other common cultural things.

    In my case this may be because I really don’t “get” group identity and don’t tend to share in them. I’m white, so I have no real ethnicity. I’m bisexual, and there aren’t enough of us visibly out there to even form a group. And while I do like to think of myself as a Californian or a west coaster, it’s more for the idea of what that means than for some kind of “bonding” with other people in my region. I also don’t understand patriotism or allegiance to sports teams.

  • JK

    I guess the fems like her.

  • RK

    @Art Smith: Hey Art it works both ways. That is why we fight stereotypes. Just because you don’t play sports or prefer boxing to broadway does not make that dude any less of a gay man. We as gay men are all in this together!

  • IndieMusicBird

    @Redd: Are you done feeling sorry for yourself? at your age, self pity aint cute.

  • Dynex

    @Redd: You didn’t mention being black enough times in your story, all while making blatant homophobic remarks. It’s no wonder there’s such a divide between blacks and gays, you can thank bitter black gays for that like yourself. Get over yourself and your disdain of all things you can’t ‘identify’ with. Which clearly is your complex.

  • Truth Hurts

    Hahaha the masculine Daddy issue mos resent how the femmes can unite and feel galvanized while their only source of gay commonality is trolling gay blogs. Call your Dads and tell them you’re gay already. Geez

  • Greg

    Funny you should ask. I’ve been working on this massive Streisand rarities compendium for the mother of one of my closest friends. As I sluggishly transfer hours of Barbra onto DVD and CD, I watched last night the entire “Episode Nine” (The streisand appearance) of The Judy Garland Show. Streisand was at her early peak, and actually did a lot of the show with Garland. Garland was just fascinating — looked great, but very wired, and so incredibly needy of the Streisand strength – Streisand has said it herself, that Garland clung onto her for dear life during the Get Happy medley. I love the CHall album (and saw the Wainwright recreation there as well, as well as Linda Eder doing her Garland tribute), but I’ve never had much interest in other Garland recordings. I would like to see more of her CBS show – you can easily see why the CBS execs were so freaked out by her — uh, kids shall we watch Bonanza or a open wound on CBS? And she’s actually relatively young, early 40s, but she alwyas seemed oolderI will say that Cukor’s A Star is Born is really brilliant (you’d never think he could have made a corpse out of My Fair Lady on screen, but he did) — Garland is amazing, and James Mason is perhaps a step ahead of her the entire film.

    Yes, Garland matters — I mean, it’s Garland, Streisand, Sinatra, and Fitzgerald who are always at the top of the list of singers of the 20th Century. Oh, I hate the Peter Allen song — just so cheesily opportunistic and sentimental and sappy, and I like much of Allen’s work.

  • Bee

    Hmm idk i mean im 17 i recently listened to her songs…well two of them nd i was like oh wow she sounds good i heard about her as i came out about three years ago ut i was never interested until recently so i mean the new generation i would say not so much becuz a lot of us dnt kno who she is but i will say dat i am head over heels in love with Cher nd Mariah despite my age

  • 2EastCoastDudes

    @Redd: You’re no more special for distancing yourself from gays. You actually come off jaded, insecure and self loathing. You THINK you’re cute and special for writing drivel about how -not part of mainstream gay you are- but instead you just read like a typical sad. lonesome. fairly miserable individual with vast internalized homophobia. Might want to work on that. Or not.

    But That you think being gay is either being a disenfranchised black gay man or a white racist gay man shows your ignorance. It’s that same victomhood many African American LGBT adopt that has them convinced everyone is out to get them, and forces THEMSELVES to distance their own self from people they view different. Those people are not the problem. Asian, Middle eastern, white gay men don’t owe you anything. It’s your job to be sociable. Sitting in a corner and throwing out jabs at gays all while demanding they feel sorry for how ‘different’ you are isn’t going to gain you much sympathy or support. You’re whole piece came off self indulgent.

  • James

    She thrills my core. She pulls my heart. She turns on my tears, and through them makes me stronger. MY voice box vibrates when she holds a wide open note. I find it impossible to NOT to watch “I Could Go On Singing” whenever it is on TV (even though her’s is the only honest performance in the film, it still has me rivetted, and turning up the volume during her concert performances of classics like “It Never Was You”, “Hello Bluebird”, and “I’ll Go My Way By Myself”… and wait for that ‘cuts like a knife’ line – “I’ve hung on to every piece of trash in my life, and thrown all the good bits away. Now can you tell me why I do that?” She played characters in “Wizard of OZ” and “Meet Me in St. Louis”, but in “I Could Go On Singing” there is no acting. And it slays me every time. Is she an icon because I am gay? No. She is much more than that. She is part of my very psyche. I still miss her.

  • Lyle

    Judy has a place in gay history, and although the facts of her place in gay history may be distorted by revisionists and not fully appreciated by younger gay men, the history will not change. I’m gay, but Judy’s appeal to me was personal, it was much more to me than a trendy part of being gay. I’ve always believed that at it’s core, Judy’s affect on true believers, gay or straight, was her ability to connect with her audience members on a very personal level. It may be a cliche, but oh so true, that when she sang, it seemed that she was singing directly to you. Her ability to connect with an audience when singing or acting was, and is, a singular experience. Although there are many straight Garland fans, new and old, Judy was and continues to be especially appealing to gay fans because they appreciate her on several levels that speak to their “gay experience” for lack of a better term. Gay men tend to appreciate the arts to a greater degree than their straight brothers. And for older gay men and women who knew Judy when she was alive, her many public tribulations spoke to their own struggles to survive in an oppressive, homophobic straight world. Younger gays are at last experiencing a friendlier and more accepting culture, and with the passage of time, the immediacy of Judy’s personal struggles is naturally fading. What endures, however, is her artistry–an artistry that is unique and absolutely compelling in its power to speak to people who care about an emotional connection through performance art. As long as human beings appreciate great art, Judy will remain a standard by which all other performance artists are compared. Great art trumps every other consideration. That is her enduring legacy in a world that someday will not care as much about who is gay and who is straight.

  • Ralph

    YES!!! LOVE her and always will! Not only was she among the most talented entertainers of the century (and yes, she could put most of the modern pop stars to shame), but she was a public figure whose private demons haunted her throughout her life. We know what it is to be persecuted — and so did she. She was a survivor for many years, because no matter how many times she fell, she always picked herself up and tried again. Gotta love her for that.

  • 2EastCoastDudes

    @Redd: Such ignorance, such proudly displayed ignorance. You’re no better than any other gay for consistently mentioning how different you are from gays, nor are you more special for distancing yourself from mainstream gays. Just self loathing. Ignorant. Uneducated. That you convinced yourself that being gay is either being a person of color who is a victim or a white person is showing how your sense of victomhood has manipulated seeing reality. You’ve created your own fantasy where everyone dislikes you because you’re different, yet all you’ve done in your paragraph is highlight YOUR OWN disdain toward people just because you can’t identify with them. To me, it’s so bigoted to say because you can relate to another person, you can’t befriend them or get them. Time and time again, we hear that from black AA. It goes hand in hand with their level of homophobia. They turn it around and try to pin gays as the ones at fault, when they’re so busy making blanket statements against our community WHILE proudly sttating how distant they enjoy being from us, that they can’t recognize their own intolerance, prejudice and homophobia. It’s there.

  • Greg

    @Bee: good for you in many ways! And it’s likely that your thoughts about any gay iconish types will evolve and change as you get older. When I was in my teens, and had bought Ella Fitzgerald’s The Cole Porter Songbook, I don’t think I “got” it. And years later, I get it. One thing to remember vis a vis Cher (who I like) and, well, Mariah, if she’d cut the “melisma” (music term, and the worst thing that’s happened to american singing, ever — unless you’re Glady Knight or Lilias White and you’re caucasian, you have no business riffing)) (watch Beyonce sing The Way We Were at the Kennedy Center Honors for Streisand — she sang the song as written without any overembellishment, and it was so right and so refreshing to hear), (back to Mariash here) by about 90 percent….what i meant to say that when Garland sang, or recorded, those albums weren’t multi-tracked and overdubbed, and they usuallly were recorded in about three days (as opposed to a year and a half). Try to find the TV film “Life Among The Shadows” where the amazing Judy Davis (as well as Tammy Blanchard as the young Judy) does a pitch-perfect interpretation of Garland, right down to bumping the mike at just the right time as when Garland did at the C/Hall concert.

  • Dustin

    I enjoy her because she angers “masculine” gays who resent that the community HAS cultural elements, like all other minority groups. That LGBT do have commonalities in pop culture, socialism, politics, and icons. It kills the masculine hetero apologist to see gay men bond, and unite and be galvanized in common interests. They can’t have that, and don’t want that for themselves, so they try to break us from having that link. Too bad self loathers. Many of us are well adjusted and don’t make excuses for who we like, and how being gay is something we pride ourselves in, not treating like a chore to be hidden.

  • casey

    For those who experienced her talent, her ability to connect with the audience, whatever their sexual prefs- she will always be a legend and histories of our gay times will remember her effect on our gay being with admiration and respect.

  • Klien

    LOL the masculine gays are fuming that she’s getting so much support. They resent that we as a gay community do have common cultural elements that we can celebrate together. Theirideal is for everyone to be as hetero washed as they are. No, many of us in the gay community have bonded over similar pop culture, politics, life experiences and even icons. That’s what adds an element of culture to us and those of us comfortable in our skin can share that with other gay men and not feel insecure. Sorry you straight worshippers can’t experience that.

  • Greg

    @Greg: of course, I did grow up in Kansas……

  • RileyRoads

    @Klien: I agreem but in many ways, hyper masculinity is one of the worst cancers our community faces. These men who sit in corners judging and berating gay men for being who they don’t have the courage to be. That some of these faux masculine gays have expressed such concern over this post reaffirms their insecurity. They can’t just live their lives as faux masculine, they have to let you know how masculine they are whhaving the nerve to tell you to ‘butch it up’
    No, we already are out and forth coming to society. We don’t need to hide the fact that we happen to appreciate Judy as an icon. Deal

  • Greg

    @RileyRoads: and you should see the super-masc guys at the NYC Pier Dance squeal, and I mean squeal (as every camera hone rises into the sky to film) when JLo comes out.

  • Liam Hohn

    “When you have lived the life I’ve lived, when you’ve loved and suffered, and been madly happy and desperately sad — well, that’s when you realize you’ll never be able to set it all down. Maybe you’d rather die first.”. Judy Garland. She accepted, protected and befriended gay men all through her life Until the current generation the lives of men & women trapped in life situations where the need to stay hidden was literally a matter of life and death she had been a “friend in their heads” The need for a “It Gets Better” campaign shows her life story is still relevant. Like the many women who have forgotten and discounted the fight of the early feminists, today’s gay men seem to be forgetting the past.. I am mindful of what happened to gay men in Germany and Europe in the 1930’s when a dramatic shift to social conservatism rolled over the places where gay culture was flowering. I am mindful of the struggles of the men and women like me throughout the modern era as we develop and define what it means to be gay. And I remember that the current changes in our status are very recent and not at all ubiquitous .

  • Christopher Diangelo

    It’s not a stereotype that many gays love Judy. It’s a FACT. It’s not a stereotype many gays are fem, there are many, many gays whom are effeminate. Nothing to be ashamed of it at all. They are part of, and a huge extension of our community. If you can’t identify with them and their interests, find your outlet and express who you love instead of wanting to oppress others (fem gays) tofrom being themselves. That mentality has the stink of insecure written all over it. Fem gays don’t and certainly did not choose to represent you. Many of them loving one particular thing and bonding over it does not mean it’s an inauthentic trait to them, any more than you being masculine is inauthentic and “chosen because you’re fearful of being yourself toward straight society” if you resent that notion, than so too should you the notion that fem gays aren’t truly fem and couldn’t possibly have elaborate common interests.

  • Cool breeze

    @Christopher Diangelo: Marry me. You are brilliant and point so well made!

  • FanofDance

    @Christopher Diangelo: YES! YES! YES! Thank you for that. You GET it.

  • Scott

    It’s kind of hard to tell if she’ll still be adored a century from now. People who were her contemporaries had time to digest her career and growth, to learn to appreciate it. Today one can view video clips from the beginning to the end of her life on the Internet in just a short time. There’s no time to digest what is seen and have it come into the heart. Some people will be instantly attracted while others will be put off by the bad sound and cinematography of the clips (in comparison with today’s standards). Are Piaf and Dietrich just as adored today as they were back in the 1960’s? Both were better at what they did than Garland. Both had the added panache of working against the Nazi’s.

  • Sea.C.writer

    @Christopher Diangelo: I’d like to save and use what you wrote in an essay piece I’m writing for my communications course regarding the demands of masculine gay men toward feminine gay men. The pressures, misogny and homophobia related to that. Your points really nicely brushes on some of the bullets I was hoping to hit in my piece.

  • mason


  • KellyWard

    Judy was the little girl in the Wizard of Oz who taught us that we need to dream and believe in our dreams, “Somewhere over the rainbow, Skies are blue, And the dreams that you dare to dream, Really do come true.”

    It was something that resonated with gays everywhere, and still does today. Don’t we dare to dream that we will some day be equal to straights? It’s those dreams that we DARE to dream that ARE coming true.

    Thanks to Judy for giving us something to believe in, when may thought we would never have a chance at equality.

    Do I love Judy – YES, if, for nothing more than she was an inspiration.

  • Brian S. Crane

    I still love Judy Garland =*)

  • SteveC

    Judy had been dead for 10 years when I was born.

    When I saw Oz for the 1st time I was spellbound.

    I’ve since seen more of her movies and listened to her records.

    She was an incandescent talent and I have a great respect and admiration for her talent.


    She was a mess but love her still…just like most of my friends

  • Mark Jenkins

    I Love Judy for Being Judy- The Little Girl with the Big Voice, Dorothy Gale,Hannah Brown, all the other characters she played… I love her for being Liza’s Mom, For being Part of Old Hollywood, her humor, and her pathos- Her Concert at Carnegie Hall, and if the legend is true- for sparking the Stonewall Riots- because if that incident hadn’t occurred we’d still be getting arrested for being who we are. She may have been a gay ICON of a past generation, but she’ll always be special to anyone who recognizes talent and loves a good performing artist.She was the female Sinatra, or Elvis, or Michael Jackson of her day. And good performers NEVER go out of style.I don’t think we, as gay men and women, remember and idolize her for her drug use and depression(brought on by the abuses of the studio system)- I think we recognize talent when we see it, and are still awed by it today- There’s precious little caliber of her kind of talent out there today. Not everyone can sing, dance, act, or tell a dirty joke (and still be cute while doing it)! You don’t have to Worship Judy- but you can’t help but admire and appreciate her- if You have any brain at all.

  • smithsmith30


  • Jeff

    I don’t think so, the young youth is more interested in pop stars. Judy Garland is a victim of a by gone era.

  • Mark Jenkins

    @derek: I think you may have hit on a valid point, here.Being in retail book sales, I am continually amazed (and appalled)at the ignorance of the uneducated “younger generation”. I had a teenage kid one day who saw a display of Elvis and Marilyn, and genuinely did not know WHO they were- or why they were famous. Some younger guys I know are aware of “I Love Lucy” and “Bewitched” but have no idea who starred in them or why they were SO popular. Maybe I’m getting old, but how can people not know about things that were so relevant to past generations?

  • Mark Jenkins

    @evanb: Bitter, Bitter Bitter!

  • Geoff


    Judy sang Get Happy while Barbra sang (counterpoint) Happy Days Are Here Again. Both songs at once. I’ve read that was the idea of Mel Torme who was “music director” for about the first half of the season. The second half were one woman “concert ” shows. I believe that Judy was 39/40 at the time.

  • Gene in L.A.

    @Christopher Diangelo: I didn’t say it’s a stereotype that many gays love Judy. I said it’s a stereotype that ALL gays love(d) her. Back in the 50s-60s, before Stonewall, when it was worth our life to come out, the stereotypical, homophobic image of a gay man was an effeminate hairdresser who lisped, loved Judy, called other gay guys “Mary” and hung out in secret groups like Boys in The Band. I’m not putting effeminate gays down, because I’m not the most masculine guy you’re going to see. Don’t jump to conclusions when you read something. You have no idea what it was like for us back then–thank God! But it’s perpetuating a stereotype when the question is “Do the gays [instead of gays or some gays or many gays or even most gays] still love Judy Garland?” The point of my post was precisely what you’re saying, that we’re not all alike and we should all be respected for who we are, whether we “love Judy Garland” or not. My gripe was with the way Queerty, a gay blog, worded the question in the way it did. That’s all.

  • Geoff


    Wait, she was 42/43 – I’m terrible at math. Mea Culpa.

  • Mark Jenkins

    @Bellerophon69: Love all the guys you mentioned,plus La Merman!She was a little more Brassy than Judy and didn’t come across as being vulnerable at all to me the way Judy did. Maybe that gave her more appeal. Saw Liberace twice in concert- He WAS “Mr. Showmanship”! what a ham!. And I never missed an episode of Bewitched with Paul Lynde on. Always watched Laugh-In too, remembering Truman Capote mostly from old Merv Griffen shows. But In their own way- Gay ICONs ALL- Out and proud when it wasn’t legal OR safe. I wonder if anyone realizes that Most of the Bewitched cast was either Gay or Lesbian? Won’t out anyone here- but the research is there for you to do.Check it out. It’s a fascinating history.

  • nature boy

    …this post led me to Rufus Wainwright, who I somehow did not know.

    From Wikipedia: …Wainwright’s sold-out pair of Carnegie Hall shows on June 14 and 15, 2006 in which he performed the entire Judy Garland concert album that was recorded there in 1961. He later repeated his performance at the London Palladium, the Paris Olympia, and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Live CD and DVD recordings of the concerts were released on December 4, 2007. The DVD is entitled Rufus! Rufus! Rufus! Does Judy! Judy! Judy!: Live from the London Palladium. The CD album, Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall, is a recording of his show at the legendary New York venue. In 2008, Garland’s daughter Lorna Luft expressed strong approval of Wainwright’s recordings of her mother’s songs. The album was nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.

    Thanks Queerty and commenters!

  • Mark Jenkins

    @Barca: Then Younger Gays should have the decency to educate themselves about the historical lineage that both Gay history and old hollywood have to provide, if not for histories’ sake, then for their own entertainment. There’s a lot of old, good, dirt out there that’s really entertaining! Watch “Sunset Boulevard”, “Cat’s Meow”, “Malice in Wonderland” and read Kenneth Anger’s ‘Hollywood Babylon” for starters.

  • krandall

    She was 46, the same age as my mother was when she died the year before.
    AND of course gay men love her because she represents our struggle with who we are and where we came from. She is the symbol of gay men’s anima and will always be identified with by gay men. Lesbian women must answer this for themselves. I think their psyches follow a different archetype.

    AND we are not things. We are people. So will everyone please help the “meeja” stop referring to us as “the” gays? Gay is an adjective, not a noun.
    I am a gay man, not a gay.
    The same as if you were to say “he is a funny man.” You wouldn’t say “he is a funny.”
    “She is an intelligent woman.” Not “she is an intelligent.”
    Come on, folks, there’s so little of our language left, let’s at least keep some of it in tact.

  • Chas

    @nature boy: Britney a good singer? Your kidding right? Comparing her voice to Garland’s. Her head would explode before she reached the second verse to “The Man That Got Away” that is if she even tried to sing live.

  • Lefty

    Some gays love Judy
    Some don;t

    Not sure what all the 100+ commets are about, beyond the above the fact.

  • mitchell

    “the rest of wlll be forgotten, but not Judy”-Frank Sinatra

  • Barca

    @Mark Jenkins: True, we should educate ourselves – on movies and starlets, and also on political issues, literary greats, political figures, and the like. Me personally, I’ve only seen Sunset Blvd from your list, not much of a movie fan and people scream at me for not seeing even the most popular flicks. But to say Judy should be relevant to today’s younger LGBT is missing the point…each generation has their heroes, and you can’t force someone onto the younger generations because she did something back then. We can respect her, respect that you may think she’s a saint and your ‘god’, but that doesn’t mean everyone else has to.

  • mikeyp

    Always and forever. And not just gay people. This woman will always be loved by anyone with the slightest sense of talent, or the slightest sense of humanity. The greatest entertainer that ever lived.

  • Dinodogstar

    I grew up, and still live in Saint Louis(it’s in Missouri,yes, in the U.S.A.-a square-ish state in the American midwest, for all the solely bicoastal LGBTQs).The citiy’s treasure, other than the Arch, is the ubiquitous “Meet me in Saint Louis” movie, which Judy made famous; it’s as everpresent here, as the humidity; “Have yourself a merry little Christmas” is played 24/7 during October til January, and “clang clang clang went the trolley”, is seared into that part of my brain that sceintists are sure controls my reckless gay-ness. All that said, I think because I am a gen-x-er, Ms. Garland to me and alot of those other hypercritical bishes I hang with, think her somewhat victim self-presentation, reads as dated and kitchy as a 50’s print tea towel. That same sort of idol-worship of Marilyn, another amazing, over-the top but clearly suffering and passive, feels less proudly feminist than more recent, more empowered female celebrities shaped by the women’s movement, like Madonna, Gaga, Queen Latifa, Sinead O’ConnorTracy Chapman, Natalie Merchant, the Go-Gos, or Janet,(Ms. Jackson, if you’re nasty. I don’t emotionally connect with that older, woe-is-me” attitude of the past, that kind of “boys in the band” mentality. It just feels happily outdated, tired, somewhat self-pitying, and as not appropriate I think to gay men, as maybe younger African-Americans loving that “Old Man River” song. (If I was wrong there, or rude, i’m sorry..) {OK-controversial comment warning here: while Ms. garland’s death co-incided with The Stonewall Riots, and very likely fueled the anger and motivations of the rioters, it seems kind of catty and dismissive to say that Stonewall occurd then, bc of some sad, flighty, girly gay boys who were emotionally devated by the death of their goddess…that’s too easy too stereotypical, and too insentive to include in any discussion of the just anger that existed pre-Stonewall..} so it’s a good thing, and a great sign of progress, that we are moving away from tolerating and internalizing herterosexism, and idolizing tragic angst-ish, icons. I know that we owe a great, huge debt to those that came before, who literally put their lives on the line for social progress. I do deeply value Ms. Garland’s performing and persona, as it was giving hope, inspiration, a kindred spirit, and a voice to otherwise silenced people. But things are changing, and while I fondly appreciate her vocalization, I am ready for even more empowered women, openly-lesbian,bi, and now-gasp!!-openly gay men to sing the songs of our lives with our own voices.

  • Lefty

    @mitchell: Everyone will be forgotten.
    Who cares about that far in the future,
    Some love her now
    What else matters?

  • Lefty

    @krandall: What a load of shit.
    How does she represent our struggle???

    “Lesbian womena mustanswer for themselves”

    Well, seeing as you don’t speak for all gay man, maybe trying to speak for all gay women is just as nonsensical?

  • WillBFair

    @Redd: Redd, don’t listen to those ignorant queens. Probably they are young and none too educated.
    You’re words are beautiful and moving and a proper tribute to a gay icon. Cheers!

  • Lefty

    @nature boy: I don’t think Rufus Wainwright fans going to see him murdering one of her greatest performances indicative of a particular love of Judy Garland.

  • WillBFair

    Thank you, queerty, for asking the question on Pride weekend. It heals my heart to read all the beautiful tributes and community spirit.

  • G

    I’m a younger gay, and I only really know her from the Wizard of Oz and I don’t even like that movie… So not that big of a fan. Face it, she’ll phase out.

  • nature boy

    @chas LOL, yeah, you’re right of course.

    I wasn’t trying to directly compare Britney’s voice and skills to Garland’s any more than I was directly comparing Bob Dylan’s voice to Garland’s. I think my point was, there’s obviously an “x factor” that elevates certain performers beyond pure vocal technique, and draws a passionate audience for that entertainer. Plenty of non-fans critized Judy’s vocal technique over the years, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t one of the greatest performers of all time (I’d be willing to argue, THE greatest), unrivalled in her ability to “put over a song and “much beloved by her fans even 50 years after her death. She has such a distinctive sound that’s instantly recognizable even today. Part of Judy’s greatness was the humanity and sincerity of her performance, including the cracks and wobbles.

    I remember reading a quote from Liza, about how hard she worked to create a different vocal technique for herself, not wanting to sound a carbon copy of her mother despite having picked up Judy’s unique vocal signatures including things as simple as breathing patterns.

    There’s no DIRECT comparison between Judy and Britney, it’s really apples and oranges, BUT…that being said…. if I had to pick the performer today who evokes a similar effect in fans, I would pick Britney… I do see some parallels between them, for their passionate fan base, sympathy they inspire in said fans, navigation of career from childhood to adulthood with rather public breakdowns along the way, substance abuse issues, serial marriages, and even their remarkably similar oversized, mascara accentuated neonate droopy eyes. I would love to see Britney veer off into a live cabaret act, and develop that the hard way through night after night of live performances featuring singing and communicating, over dancing, costumes, and packaging. I’d buy a ticket to that.

  • G

    And why if we don’t know about Judy Garland’s legacy are we young people labeled “uneducated” or “unintellectual” by many on here?

    I don’t feel like I should be expected to know someone from that far back. Each generation has their own influences and relevant people. I mean, can you name some of the influential stars from the silent film era? Such as William Desmond Taylor? I HIGHLY doubt it.

    So don’t call us uneducated and unintellectual just because someone isn’t relevant to us.

  • Halston

    @Dynex: @2EastCoastDudes: @IndieMusicBird: I am not here to speak for Redd, but your comments in regards to what he said I find quite disturbing. I think that if you would put yourself in the shoes of Black homosexuals you would understand better what Redd is trying to express. To be a minority in a minority-which both have long histories of being discriminated against will make you see the world quite differently from either minority group. And, what Redd said is true for most black gays-that we do not feel like we belong to mainstream gay society or feel included in it (or even mainstream American society for that matter). Do I feel like a victim? No. But, I also feel that it is unfair that SOME in the White gay community can easily dismiss the feelings on discrimination and being over looked as victimhood, self pity, or bigotry. Yet, have those very same feelings of discrimination in mainstream society and scream bigot when they feel the straight heterosexual world is discriminating or treating them like second class citizens. I think what Redd was saying was that Judy’s talent reached beyond her targeted white audience of the 40s,50s, and 60s (which she was targeted to white people which was a very segregated time in America when she was a star) and it touched the heart of a gay black boy.

  • RonB

    And replace her with whom?

  • pixierosedragon

    Love love loooooooooooooove her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • nature boy

    @ Lefty LOL. I didn’t see the Wainwright shows, did you?

    The Wainwright clips I watched on youtube today I found to be a pretty sincere tribute… a respectful recognition, remembrance, and homage… not a murder.

    Here’s a bookend to my first link in my earlier post (which was Judy’s actual performance)… this is Wainwrights version…

    I’m happy to see her remembered this way.

  • John E.

    Yes I agree to some point But many people are mesmerized over Iconic famous people Example many folks cried when Dick Clack passed away this year. People are rededicating their lives to 35 death anniversary Elvis Presley.It is more important than other fictional Movie Such as the first original “STAR WARS” Yet if you kids who were not born that time it premiered in the Theaters They get a raze about such movie being first created Judy Garland probably establish the recognition of GAYS in this United States.Can believe that never were going to place the “Song of over the Rainbow” In fact two days it was going to be premiered in 1939. They movie people was just added song. It was a last moment thing . In fact when Judy did her Television show she would end her show with that Song, back in 1960’s. When she was also interviewed by Johnny Carson, she claimed the three men walking the yellow brick road blocked her out the director yelled them. I feel the older (over 60 to 70 years of age )gay men and few bisexuals whoa her.Yet most of the baby boom and post baby boom X &Y generations are over the famous late legendary actress. I know I kind of for her But I rather look at my STAR TREK characters. Yes I ‘m Trekker or Trekkie. It also great anniversary of STAR TREK the Next Generation 25 years. James Bond 007 50 years and Dr. Who 50 years. So you see I am kinda of fond of her. but it is not gay what-so ever.

  • Greg

    @Lefty: Clearly, you weren’t at the Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall concert. I was. I was leery about the concept; that lasted until orchestra started the overture (was itort Lindsey connducting?) and hearing (i was on about Row J stage left) hearing that orchestra’s music bounce to the back of the house and back at the stage, alll qualms were gone. Wainwright was absolultely brilliant — the clips online don’t begin to do its work justice — it was one of those “I was there that night” momentsand that night (along with Wainwright’s breakthrough NYC performance at the Beacon on Valentine’s Day — 2004? the year Want One was released) will remain in the top ten or so concerts I’ve ever attended.

  • dvlaries

    I think I’m more drawn to dramatic actresses rather than musical ones. Give me Garbo, Norma Shearer, Crawford, Harlow, Davis & Hepburn.
    But I won’t hear a word against the Garland of Oz, A Star Is Born and even Judgment At Nuremberg. I wish there had more opportunities to see what Judy would have done with gutsy and gritty drama.
    One legend has it Garland lost the Oscar for Star by as few as seven votes. So foregone a conclusion was it, cameras were set up in her maternity ward room, in order for her to accept. According to Garland, when Grace Kelly’s name was called, “they made speedy exits.”
    The Garland of Oz will never fail to be irresistible. Judy then is a long way from any personal troubles that will show any toll on the outside, and is at that moment the quintessential, darling American girl.

  • Daved

    @Jones: I couldn’t agree more! Well said ,????

  • Daved

    Judy and her music got me through so much in my life!
    I use to think the bumper stickers that read “WWJD?” meant “What Would Judy Do?”
    And it would make it all better!
    I know I’m alive because of Judy!
    Yes, I’m a fan and always will!
    Favorite song is “If Love Were All!

  • Adam

    Among gays under 30, more of us know of Judge Judy than Judy Garland. I don’t get the obsession.

  • Wholly Mary

    What about the peaches?

  • Wholly Mary

    @G: William Desmond Taylor was primarily a director. Now Ramon Novarro, THERE was an actor!

  • Red Assault

    Saying that Judy Garland had anything to do with the Stonewall Riots is homophobic and absurd. Just like the notion that drag queens try to force on everyone that it was a mob of angry men in hoop skirts throwing bricks at policemen.

    judy Garland was a pathetic, vaguely homophobic drunk. She had a great voice at one time. then she became a travesty and drank herself to death. She would take the gays attention when she needed it, but when asked about it, she accused the female writer who wrote about her gay following of being “a fella” and denied that gay people liked her at all.

    She was a twat, and a drug addict. Who died in a pool of her own barf.

    No, she only means nothing to the gay community other than the lame-os who need to give their heads a shake.

  • Bee

    @Greg: Yeah ok i’ll take a listen and i know what melisma is Vision of Love is the Magna Carta of melisma i wrote a whole paper about it during my sophmore year lol but Mariah circa 1990-1999 sounded amazing live i have her live album nd her performances were great and even the adventures of mimi tour she sounded great but idk i guess all those whistle register notes have done on number on her vocals nd as for cher shes not da best singer but i like her vibrato and the extra passion it lends to her voice in songs like bsng bang and the way of love nd stuff like dat

  • Mercel

    For those of you who dont know her and proudly say how you’re younger than 30 and she’s not trendy anymore… i too am only 27. Guess who is the most exposed and trendy ‘star’ of our time… the Kardashians. You want to stay with ‘trends’ and ONLY keep up with whats ‘sooo hot!’ and trendy, be prepared to be called ignorant, because if you can name all the KarTRASHians but proudly not know the talents or legacy of stars from times before you, simple because they aren’t ‘trendy’ enough…. You ARE ignorant. Just own it.
    Signed 27 year old who realizes that a walking piece of turrd could literally walk into Hollywood today an with a sex tape be a huge “star” tomorrow. How sad if the only ‘talents’ you can appreicate is the ‘talents’ on t.v today

  • How2

    @Mercel: BEST post of the entire page!!! Congrats!

  • Dynex

    @Mercel: You nailed it right there. Agree 100%

  • John

    I’ve been a Judy fan since the day I saw ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Her story and my story relate to each other far too well (excluding the whole Hollywood starlet thing). I’ve read a handful of her biographies and seen every movie she’s ever been in. She’s one of my greatest inspirations, and I will forever LOVE Judy Garland. And I’m only 18 years old… ha!

    I hope that Judy is dancing and singing her heart out in God’s golden kingdom. I sure do hope that she found peace in her afterlife because I know that her life has brought me a small bit of peace in my life – and for that, I will forever be grateful to her.

    Can’t wait to see her in heaven!

  • Gene in L.A.

    Red Assault. You are absolutely wrong about Stonewall. People who were there, who have contributed to articles and books about the event have all attested that several of the people in the bar, who were part of the instigating group, were drag queens. If that idea bothers you it’s you who have phobic problems. Drag queens are part of our community, and wishing they weren’t is a particular kind of homophobia. You need to take a long look in the mirror and figure out why you’re scared of admitting that drag queens–who are after all men–can be as strong as anyone in our community. As for Judy, it’s not her attitude toward gay people that mattered, nor any aspect of how she died, it’s that she represented those who must struggle for success, despite their native talent or worth. Your post, Red Assault, is hate-filled and says more about you than it says about Judy or anyone who likes her. Yours is the sickest response on this whole long thread.

  • Red Assault

    @Gene in L.A.: don’t be silly. Drag queens are of course part of our community and I never wished they weren’t.

    But I DO wish that they would stop claiming that the Stonewall Inn was a “drag bar” of that that the riots had anything to do with with Judy Garland. Because they didn’t. And the people who can actually prove that they were there will say so themselves.

    And in the end… Judy Garland was a pathetic drug addict and drunk who died in a pool of her own barf. Where she belonged. And no matter how upset you get at that… it’s still true.

    Gay people in the 60s may have worshipped her because they too were a bunch of depressed drug addicts. But today we’re doctors and lawyers and teachers and parents and senators… and we’re not represented by some drunk who bought in 43 years ago. Especially a fair-weather friend like Judy Garland who played gay bars when she was broke and desperate but who then denied that her fans were gay and said that saying so was “maligning” her audience. which just makes her a desperate bitch.

  • Liam Hohn

    Love Judy or don’t love Judy I understood that Garlands death after her life long and well covered personal highs and lows was just one more straw on the camel’s back that led to the rebellion. The cops were pushing the bar patrons and Judy died, too? Girl that’s just one more thing the man did to us, let’s get ’em!
    Peggy Lee, Billie Holliday, Dinah Washington, Eartha Kit, these women were Garland’s contemporaries and all are to some extent ranked as icons to all or some of the gay men and women then and now.but Garland’s death was relevant to the dissatisfaction that boiled over to become the Stonewall Riots. My straight uncles loved Judy and they were outraged by her death,as were housewives, teenagers, Movie buffs and anyone who liked her on the TV. I learned a long time ago that Drag Queens were among the most radical of gay men, Just dressing up and going out was an act of anarchy and revolution. In Pittsburgh and many other places you could only see a Billie, Sarah, or Ella if you went to the other side of town because they couldn’t perform in the main part of town. Media then is not Media now, Kim K would have been severely discriminated against and quite possibly killed due to her choice of boyfriends. Put it all in perspective. Respect the history. Learn from the legends

  • Gene in L.A.

    Having been myself a “gay person in the 60s,” I question where you’ve gotten your information. I’ve never seen any claim by anyone in a position to know that the Stonewall Inn was a drag bar. We gay people were just as varied in temperament, style and employment then as now, and some of us were devastated by her recent passing, whether you now think she was worthy of it or not; and that devastation coupled with the anger of being raided for the umpteenth time by the police who were supposedly being paid off by the bar owners to prevent such incursions did contribute to finally saying No, we won’t take this authoritarian bullying any more. All this has been told before, and your insistence that it isn’t so does indeed say more about you than about Judy Garland or any of her fans of any year. What’s worst about your attitude is the supercilious looking-back from a better place wondering how those poor “depressed drug addicts” could be so deluded by a “twat,” as you so tolerantly put it. Using that word alone undermines your credibility and makes you unworthy of response. You have a different image of Judy Garland than they did then, so of course they must have been somehow deluded or misled. Yours is the only legitimate opinion of her. You go on posting your judgmental crap; I’m done with trying to talk to you.

  • SteveC

    I loved Judy and always wil.

    But it should be pointed out that whether or not her death contributed to the Stonewall Riots has never been proven.

    And also that whether or not the Stonewall Riots happened, the idea that we’d still be lurking in our closets if they hadn’t happened is patently untrue.

    The Stonewall Riots were the straw that broke the camel’s back. The camel’s back ready to be shattered regardless.

    (Although I love how Liza claims that her Momma inspired Stonewall).

  • DouggSeven

    Why is this exact same story done again? The last one turned into a trolling frenzy and this one looks like it is too.

  • Michael Connley

    Yes. Judy will live forever.

  • Alex

    I personally am not a fan and neither are any of my gay friends. But we arn’t that flamboyant. She is a fantastic actor that needs to be said. HOWEVER! We are getting to a point I honestly think there is now a old era of gay. None of my friends like cher or Judy Garland. Then my 40 year old friend tells us all to turn in our gay cards. We are still gay but a new generation of gay. We are making new LGBT idols new civil rights heroes for a bold new era. We are keeping a respectful eye to our queer past while we push forward into a new day of the LGBT community.

  • TxHeat

    I love Judy, she helped thousands and thousands of Gays survive a Nazi like time in America when you could be imprisoned for just being Gay, I am glad she was there to make life easier for Gay generations that came before us. So yes I love Judy.

  • Lefty

    @Greg: Well, each to their own – but I saw the performance and I’ve heard all his albums and he’s always seemed to me to be a boring middle-class square and the unintended comedy of him doing that show was the only thing that was good about it imo.
    So nerr :P

  • PTBoat

    Judy died in 1969. There are plenty of new Judies for younger people, just as there were years ago. I shunned Judy, for principle, for years until I could no longer deny her raw talent, tenacity, and charisma. She is a legend for those reasons, and based just on a love of film, and a good voice, one cannot deny her stardom.

  • loafersguy

    Six months before she died, Judy made one of her last television appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and the song she sang was both eerie and fitting. Here it is:

  • Callum

    I am 63 years old now. Back when I came out and started to frequent bars in San Francisco there were essentially two types of bars. One was mostly frequented by more masculine fellas wearing Levis and white T shirts, often times posters of Brando were on the walls and the juke Box was playing Patsy Cline and Tammy Wynette songs. The popular drink was long neck beer from the bottle. The other type of bar had young effeminate fellas dressed to the “nines” and older drag queens who seemed always to be bitching about something. That juke box had Peggy Lee, Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand mostly playing. The bar usually served mixed drinks and cocktails. Barbara Streisand long ago supplanted Judy and I suspect Madonna has replaced Barbara in that niche of the gay community. The crowds from the two types of bars really didn’t mix.

  • Ruhlmann

    @nature boy: That’s a great story Nature Boy. I never particularly liked her but I didn’t dislike her either.

  • craig Johnson

    She is the Virgin Mary of the gay movement.

  • David Ehrenstein

    An entire chapter of Richard Dyer’s book “Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society” (St. Martin’s Press, 1986) is devoted to “Judy Garland and Gay Men.” It goes into what we’ve been talking about here quite thoroughly — and fasciantingly. But there’s one quote Dyer makes from a somehwat obscure British play about gay history called “As Time Goes By” that’s worth quoting:

    “They said we loved her because she mirrored the anguish and loneliness of our daily lives. Crap. My parents were straight. . .They were the most anguished and lonely people I ever knew. No. We do not have a monopoly in the anguisha and loneliness department. I loved her because no matter how they put her down, she survived. When they said she couldn’t sing; when they said she was drunk; when they said she was drugged; when they said she couldn’t keep a man. . .When they said she was fat, when they said she was thin; when they said she’d fallen falt on her face. people are falling on their faces ever day. She got up.”

  • N

    Id say no for the younger people. I cant speek for all young people but I dont even think my gay friends know who she is. I myself have only seen Wizard of Oz.

  • Ron Wallen

    FLASH! I’m a gay man (and old one) who likes – no lOVES – Judy Garland (and Barbra Streisand if you must know)! And it has nothing to do with iconography. JUDY WAS TALENTED, and her career did not end with Dorothy. Anyone who was her fan just kept on seeing/hearing the phenomenal,enjoyable talent that flowed out of her on stage and on film. Can anyone deny her superb ability after having seen the original “A Star is Born”? So what if we had to endure her endless ups and downs. We were sorry for her when she was down and we cheered when she (oh, how many times) “came back”.
    Plainly speaking, to me she was not an icon, she was a phenomenally talented entertainer/dancer/singer/actress, and I’ll never forget her.

  • Well

    Judy Garland was probably more of a baby boomer phenomenon. I am 46, and have to admit that my generation (generation X, if you will) mostly know next to nothing about Judy Garland. After all, I was only 3 when she died.

    And that’s fine. Let each generation have their own icons if they so choose.

  • David


    LOL! Truer words have never been spoken…

  • David beards

    I saw ‘Under The Rainbow’ on broadway recently and was struck by the age diversity of gay men in the audience. I am now a 40 year old gay man who is discovering Judy. Amazing woman,amazing talent (check out A Star Is
    Born tobe convinced of this). One has to wonder if today’s ‘stars’ really do support gay rights, or are they just appropriating a minority group for increased sales?

  • Gray

    You should be put under clinical observation for even asking.

  • Sea.C.writer

    She’ll ALWAYS be a legend and a part of gay culture

  • Dinodogstar

    @Dinodogstar: No I love Judy, and I love her bc like many gay men, I am all about quality, and that was perhaps the finest product of the time…but I said Madonna and others were a more current reflection of the liberated, non-trajic diva, springing out of the feminist movement.. so I got a pretty annoyed personal reply– the person was really angry at me for suggesting Madonna was a modern gay icon AND a contemporary feminist role model..they were complaining she’s just a newer, repackaged Marylin Monroe,her schtick was hoeing cash for masturbation material…. I am like, WHAT?!?!?!?! OK, Whatever Heather…. SHE was the one with the whip…!

  • Ian McK

    I have a fantastic memory of seeing Judy Garland perform at the Talk of The Town in London when I was very young. Judy was in great form that night and I instantly was bewitched by the performance that she gave. It was an amazing atmosphere even though I was just 11 years old. I guess my gay gene kicked in right their! There is still no other performer who can do justice to the Man That Got Away or San Francisco!
    Vale Judy, I hope the light of your talent goes on and on!

  • Tim

    I’m here to tell you that I’m a young guy and I still love Judy! She was one of the most talented vocalists of our time, an icon, and a legend. There are plenty of young gay men who know who Judy is, and also know the old Hollywood stars. They’re never going to go away!

  • Chris

    I think she was talented, but her waning appeal, especially with younger generations, is not so much her lack of appeal, but how knowledge of her life and persona have been used as a measurement of gayness in the past. In other words, in gay culture, it has seemed that you weren’t “gay enough” or “one of us” unless you were totally into her.

    People who have been marginalized from society by being labeled gay are only going to feel more marginalized when those who are supposed to be like them, and hopefully supportive of them, want to fit them into a box (i.e. “a Friend of Dorothy”) that they may not fit into. That’s one reason that there are homosexual men who don’t identify as “gay”: they don’t like the stuff that “gay” people are expected to like.

    As young gay people have come of age in recent years, such a mentality no longer suffices. Being gay is no indication that you like Ms. Garland just like it’s no indication that you are fashionable or good at decorating or whatever. Yet such preconceptions still persist, unfortunately sometimes by the same people who were around, and involved, in the days of Stonewall, and its resulting activism.

  • Chris

    @David beards:
    You said: “One has to wonder if today’s ‘stars’ really do support gay rights, or are they just appropriating a minority group for increased sales?”

    This same concern was raised of Ms. Garland in this article in the line “Have we moved passed the need for an icon who, while tolerant of her gay following, never really stood up for us?”

    Unfortunately, pandering to demographics for appeal and sales is nothing new, nor limited to the arts.

  • Lyle

    @Red Assault: Your assessment of Garland is outrageously mean-spirited. To essentially define a human being’s body of work and cultural contributions by how they die is beyond the pale. Yes, Judy was a pathetic shell of a human being in the last few years of her life, but her contributions to popular art continues to stand the test of time. If we write off every artist who dies too early because of an addiction, there would be huge holes in our cultural history.

    As for how she felt about her gay fans. No doubt she had conflicted feelings. Like most of us, Judy Garland was affected by the norms and cultural pressures of the day. I would not expect a singer/actor to be the Malcom X or Martin Luther King of the gay rights movement. Whether Judy was pro-gay enough, or not, can be debated, but we need to keep in mind that gays did not start standing up for their own rights until she died–coincidence or not.

    Finally, do you think that your contributions to the world will be discussed and debated 43 years from now? Your lack of perspective, and your lack of humanity is appalling.

  • bill(Guillermo3)

    @Chris: Thanks Chris !!!You’ve made lots of
    comments,and they are all refreshingly NOT “catty” and make Good Sense,
    rare occurrences in these pages.

  • eric

    @keoki3: Keoki Hun like the lame DJ who presses microwave buttons to make music crap electronic music at that

  • mike

    @Kev C: Wonderful comment which gave me a good and much-needed chuckle. Ms. Garland was considered one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, performers of the 20th Century. I never did get the “gay-icon” thing but I do get how great she was–as a singer and an actress and an entertainer. Her life was messy to be sure but who cares when you see her in one of her films!

  • flman

    @Tristan Robin: Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Comments are closed.