With a sea of staffers dressed in purple on the steps of the Old Executive Office Building in Washington DC on Oct. 20, The White House voiced its strong support for LGBTQ youth and took a powerful stand against bullying. But the White House team was just one of many among elected and public officials speaking out. Take a look at these amazing activations by some of our nation’s most respected leaders.
Each year, millions of people “go purple” for Spirit Day in a united stand against bullying and to show support for LGBTQ youth. According to a 2015 GLSEN survey, more than half of LGBTQ students report being victimized based on sexual orientation, with a further three quarters of students who report hearing anti-LGBTQ remarks in school.
Started in 2010 by high school student Brittany McMillan, Spirit Day now draws the participation of celebrities, corporations, media outlets, sports leagues, schools, faith institutions, national landmarks, and individuals around the world, who join together in a united stand against bullying.
-Read more on JoeMyGod.com
Moonlight — in theaters on Friday — is a coming-of-age film about a gay black youth, Chiron, growing up in the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami, which was affected by the rise of crack cocaine and the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Chiron is not only struggling with the boys at school who incessantly bully him but is also dealing with a drug-addicted mother and coming to terms with his attraction to men.
The Moonlight director is interested in showing the quiet, everyday moments of black men’s lives that aren’t typically portrayed in the media. This is why Jenkins shows Kevin, Chiron’s friend, cooking for him, he says, because these images are important to him to “prove that these things take place in our community.”
Jenkins put the onus on himself to create these images and put them in his work because once he made them, “you can’t deny that these things happen,” the director tells The Advocate in Los Angeles.
Moonlight is adapted from the play Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.” Though Jenkins is straight and McCraney is gay, the two have many similarities. They both grew up poor, blocks away from each other in Liberty City in the ’80s, and had mothers who struggled with drug addiction.
The two never met until Jenkins came across McCraney’s play and reached out to the playwright about adapting his work into a film. Jenkins saw himself reflected in the world McCraney depicted. McCraney, who based the play partly on his life, developed a father-son relationship with a local drug dealer, and we see such a relationship play out with Chiron’s character.
Drug dealer Juan takes a pre-adolescent Chiron under his wing in the film. Chiron is constantly picked on by his peers, beaten up, and chased around his neighborhood, but the kindness Juan shows Chiron is what gets him through many of his hard days. Juan’s house becomes an escape for Chiron, who also develops a close relationship with Juan’s girlfriend, Teresa, who is played by singer Janelle Monae.
-Read more on The Advocate
Muri Assunsao writes on Towleroad.com: In 1983’s East Village, a punk-looking, half-shaved RuPaul in over-sized rubber boots over leopard-print tights is dancing like a maniac on a poorly lit stage. She asks the audience at The Pyramid Club on Avenue A: “Do you hear me, New York? I wanna break out tonight. I will break out tonight.”
It’s been more than thirty years, and we all know RuPaul’s prophetic words rang true. The essence of queer underground culture, the subversive art of drag, was just moments away to take over the world—and she knew it.
Luckily, that seminal moment in LGBT culture was captured on film, and you can now see it at the Museum of the City of New York, as part of its brilliant new exhibition “Gay Gotham: Art and Underground Culture in New York,” a show about queer life, culture and art in New York City from early-20th century through the 1990s.
Curated by MCNY curator of architecture and design Donald Albrecht with historian Stephen Vider, MCNY Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, “Gay Gotham” is a fascinating look at the impact and contribution of LGBT artists to New York’s cultural life, and by extension, to the entire country’s cultural and social life.
Albrecht and Vider show the story through the eyes of ten artists and their networks of friends and collaborators, from the 1910s until the mid 1990s. Some artists are household names (Leonard Bernstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe), and others will come as new discoveries for many. Their work is presented in chronological order, along with memorabilia, ephemera, books and magazines, to provide social, cultural and political context.
The 225-piece show is the first of its kind in a major New York City institution, and it spreads across two galleries, on the second and third floor of the museum. (Hopefully, the MCNY has started a trend: U.K.’s Tate Britain has recently announced its first major “Queer British Art” exhibition in 2017.)
“Gay Gotham” is divided into three major chronological sections: “Visible Subcultures” covers the early 1910s to the 1930s, and it takes a look at how gay life flourished in neighborhoods like Harlem and Greenwich Village. “It should be very surprising for a lot of people to see how visible and widely discussed these neighborhoods, clubs, bars, and performers were,” according to Vider. The first gallery opens with artist and writer Richard Bruce Nugent, the most openly gay figure of the Harlem Renaissance. His work in the early 1920s unapologetically explored race, gender and same-sex desire. Next to Nugent, the work of “lesbian chic” poet and playwright Mercedes de Acosta is on display. She loved to dress in “mannish” clothes, and became famous for her affairs with Hollywood legends such as Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. Check out filmstrips of Dietrich from the 1930s from de Acosta’s personal archives.
-Read the full story on Towleroad.com