Why Is Everyone Fascinated With Gay Cowboys?

wn-klXz0ZfhmQ8jl7aW6BBMcYFmLVTLfTXINm5CobiU,iuwigehLe1_mxVS-iK5mrM4Zvcrb3e-glrYeY0AJtdg,7IsZAsaAw4mwSgUfyt51kXjX6uEv8wn-wVWnG1XVzVw,VK34e680LnJIUA2dDaOKVE3iwzHNPlOwOICuSNqMURM,3g2Vbpzl9W51hJlq6JqkBDGf2MuYzVSKiil2p9OBvps,DbyfaQ_HUAA437ikMaBt0P4gdpqpYFMatt Livadary is kicking down stereotypes. The first-time documentarian decided to cut his teeth filming the feature Queens & Cowboys about the participants of The International Gay Rodeo Association. Who’da thunk a straight boy from the big city could make an activist film about queer cowboy culture? As he quickly figured out, we all have a lot to learn. Livadary chatted with Queerty about his inspiration for the project, getting drunk with drag queens and the secret Cowboy Code.


Why would an urban straight guy make a film about gay cowboys?

Honestly, documentaries never entered my mind. I was originally doing research for a scripted show. I found the world of rodeo to be incredibly homogenous, until I was in Colorado and I sat next to a lesbian couple. They informed me that they rarely come to straight Rodeo events. This is where I learned about niche rodeo scenes: Black rodeo, Mexican rodeo but, more importantly, the gay rodeo. Upon further investigation I decided that a documentary would be far more meaningful than a scripted show. So I quit my job and went on a three-year journey.

RsUfnvNTin4dKfLKuRd2IXT0SJ7n0oox_lub5q7cAXA,2zeYQh7fdtmO11lHckDG6yWRA-AG1l44sUgE-axQx14Why do the gays need to see this movie?

I was shocked at how many gay people live in the rural west.  That alone opened up my understanding about the community in a wider way. And there are so many that live in these little tiny towns, that are not out and this rodeo is the only safe place where they can go and be themselves. It’s a total throwback, but it’s a way for the more urban gays to perhaps remember their history and honor it. The cowboy code has a powerful message that everyone should learn about and live by.

usbyhrCbdp5xb7VxJWe3HKvBGYRva3r12xUo-bZSl50Cowboy code? What is this cowboy code? It sounds hot.

[Laughs] The cowboy code is really just simple rules to live by. Basically be kind to others. Be true to your word. Work hard, be honest and help those who need it. And, seriously I when I was out shooting I was almost suspicious as to how wonderful everyone was. I was a complete stranger with a camera and yet I was always picked up at the airport, had a place to sleep and was fed. It blew me away how supportive everyone was.

You talk a lot about breaking down stereotypes, how does this film do that?

Well the cowboy is so iconic. This film sort of restarts those traditions to include a wider array of people: women, gays, trans people. It even challenges stereotypes within the gay community. More often than not my gay friends are like, “wait…there’s a gay rodeo?” So this film is an opportunity to show gay people living with country western values.

Matt Livadary

At my second rodeo in Alvarado, Texas there was a moonshine competition. And this drag queen named Sharbie was taking me around and getting me completely loaded. The next day I was hungover and this dude named Brett comes up and starts talking to me like he knew me intimately. And I’m thinking, Oh fuck, what did I do last night? Then I finally realized Brett was Sharbie without her drag on.


Watch the trailer for the film below and donate to the Queens & Cowboys Indiegogo campaign for completion funds here.

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  • KittyLitter

    No, not everyone.
    Just you.

  • AuntieChrist

    Gurrrl. Who doesn’t want to be roped and hogtied by some hot cowboy…? I have been to the gay rodeo and it was the most fun that I’ve had in a month of Sundays…Yee Ha..

  • BJ McFrisky

    Why? Because they embrace the things that many urban gay communities do not:

    No pressing desire to dress like women

    . . . in my humble opinion, of course.

    (disagree if you will, but before you attack me, note the qualifying words “many” and “opinion”)

  • AuntieChrist

    @BJ McFrisky: A rather large order you might say but it leaves the lady with unturned hair…Hey BJ Paul Ryan and Aaron Schock want to have a three way with ewe..Ayn Rand wants to have your baby too.

  • Horse Lips

    There is not Alberato, Tx. There’s an Alvarado, Tx.

  • balehead

    BJ McFrisky is right….Not every gay want to flame out to “Single Ladies” you know…

  • jwrappaport

    Lots of us fetishize cowboys for the same reason we do firemen, cops, soldiers, etc.: it’s just hot to be little spoon to a big strong man. No big mystery there.

    @BJ McFrisky: These are qualities that belong not to communities or groups, but to people. You’ve sandbagged yourself by using weasel words like “many” and “opinion,” but your generalization is no less sweeping or unjustified.

  • BJ McFrisky

    @jwrappaport: Sweeping, yes. Unjustified, no. Just ask a gay cowboy.

  • BJ McFrisky

    @AuntieChrist: And I would gladly comply.

  • hyhybt

    The headline’s premise is faulty.

  • Adar Lang Pai

    @BJ McFrisky: Sweeping judgments and patently false. Another right wing (probably self-hating) queen who despises the freedoms of urban gays to be who they are. First, there is nothing wrong with femininity. Gender stereotypes are so 90’s. And for you to sit back in your insulated little cowboy town and pass judgments on the personalities of millions of people you’ve never met is so trite. Gay or straight, you rednecks are so predictable.

  • MikeE

    @BJ McFrisky: You’re so full of crap I can smell it from across the continent.

    Those aren’t “cowboy values. Those are simply conservative traditional values.

    Tradition? Have you been to a gay Seder? or Chanukah celebration?

    Masculinity? you are OBVIOUSLY hanging out in the wrong parts of town. I’ve known almost only “masculine” men all my life.

    Monogamy? Well, most of my friends are in monogamous relationships. I’ve been married for 10 years and we are monogamous. So I’m not seeing your point here. I’ve known tons of cowboys who were the biggest sluts this side of the Mississippi.

    Sportsmanship? Again, you are hanging out with the wrong people.

    Humility? Like you? “humility” has nothing to do with “cowboy values”. if anything, the whole cowboy ethos is more about being “larger than life”, which is the antithesis of “humility”.

    Trustworthiness? Again, shit dude, you need to hang with a better crowd.

    Responsibility? Ditto.

    Character? Ditto.

    Reliability? Ditto.

    Morality? whose morality? closeted christo-fascist morality?

    Self-reliance? Wrong crowd, again.

    No pressing desire to dress like women? Well, I have never had a pressing desire for such, and none of my friends either, though we respect anyone who does do so (Respect: there’s a quality I don’t see you espousing!).

    So in the final analysis, your whole bullsh** list really says more about your own pathetic life than anything about cowboys or any imaginary “values” that might be unique to them.

  • the other Greg

    @BJ McFrisky: There is a drag queen prominently written about in the article. Perhaps you didn’t actually read it. Well that wouldn’t be a first.

    And I’m surprised that you even think “humility” is a virtue! Go figure.

  • 2eo

    @the other Greg: I’d never accuse BJ of being able to read, he is the original child left behind.

  • BJ McFrisky

    I’ve been to a number of these events (even though I hate country music) and have known a lot of these guys, so I speak not out of my ass. I’m merely pointing out differences—as I’ve perceived them—between the gay men in DC & SF and the gay men at rodeos, based on my experience.

    @MikeE: Congrats on that.

    @Adar Lang Pai: Um, I’m a DC native who’s spent most of his adult life in the SF bay area, so I hardly qualify as being a redneck living in an “insulated little cowboy town.”

    @the other Greg: Yes, true there are a considerable number of DQs at the rodeos, genuine good people, and I admit that line about not having the desire to dress like women was specifically aimed at a friend of mine who reads this site (I’m talkin’ to YOU, j.m.), so . . . I apologize to the DQs. See? Humility.

  • MikeE

    @BJ McFrisky: Strange. “Humility” tinged with bitterness and a very mean spirit. You know, in the final analysis, that’s not humility at all. It’s hypocrisy.

  • balehead

    You bitters need to hit a gym already….

  • AuntieChrist

    @BJ McFrisky: Well I live in Oklahoma and our Great Plains Rodeo trumps your fictitious affiliations cause they got all kinds of folks in THAT Rodeo from all walks of life from the brightest flame to the manliest men.. We live in a diverse community nothing is black and white so you can just crawl back into your closet with all of your neatly folded blanket statements…Have a nice day and Merry effing Christmas :-)

  • sonofabee

    Gosh, 18 comments so far and no one has said anything about the movie trailer. I guess I’ll be the first. :) It looks great and I can’t wait to see the movie. I love documentaries that cover diverse perspectives and show us what life is like in different parts of America. I’ve never been to a rodeo and I was never interested in country-western cowboy culture, but I’d love to learn more about it.

  • AuntieChrist

    @sonofabee: Excellent point darling, but as you can see the articles are only a tipping point for folks to come and make comments…And of course there are trends, certain articles get commented on while others are virtually ignored, certain issues get commented on by certain people and some just come here to toss a log or two on the fire… Most of the time it is rather prosaic and predictable…It seems the art of the gay read has been lost to all but a few die hard queens and frankly my dear their aren’t many left…And of course I too am looking forward to seeing this documentary.

  • jimbryant

    Men who call themselves “gay” have an awful amount of fetishes. In fact, men in general have an awful amount of fetishes. In many cases, I would say their fetishes trump their sexual orientations.

    As for gay men’s obsession with cowboys, it’s got something to do with sexual politics. Usually, the gay guys feminize the masculine. It’s more about bringing it down than elevating it.

  • BJ McFrisky

    @AuntieChrist: Thanks, Auntie, a Merry Christmas to you too.

    @jimbryant: I can’t figure if your shtick is that you’re slightly crazy or just plain stupid. Either way, you can espouse an opinion without being rude.

  • jwtraveler

    @BJ McFrisky: Pish.

  • AuntieChrist

    @BJ McFrisky: No honey, Ms.Bryant is pure cray cray troll…Fancies itself a cross between Dr.Joyce Brothers and Dr.Phil…Looks like he she or it is back on it’s meds…Diatribe never changes…Minor variations but about the same. Hey I do respect you ya know? It’s all in fun nothing personal…Honest injun : )

  • Tyler100


    Clearly our sort-insane comments weren’t generating the kind of fervor you wanted so you’ve decided to get truly batshit insane.

  • Deepdow

    I iconic American male ideal is an obvious symbol for homosexual

  • Spike

    Put Tom Daley in a cowboy hat and boots and he’s a sexy swimmer cowboy. Why no pics of Tom Daley as a sexy swimmer cowboy?

  • the other Greg

    @Spike: Don’t say that! – the Queerty boys will never get any work done.

    @sonofabee: I have to admit, I’ve never previously spent 10 seconds being “fascinated with gay cowboys” but the movie looks interesting and I’ll make a point of seeing it. And maybe I’ll see a gay rodeo in real life some time.

  • Kangol

    Vaqueros y vaqueritos me gustan mucho!

  • AuntieChrist

    @the other Greg: Ya know. I felt the same way about the rodeo..But when you see a hot gay man riding a bull all the way till the bell rings..? Gurrl something pops inside…LOL

  • AuntieChrist

    @Kangol: Me gustan los hombres que no pretenden ser algo que no son.

Comments are closed.