Lights, camera, action: Thank-you, Santa, for a season of holiday queers

BTL Staff
By | 2018-01-16T07:37:50-04:00 December 15th, 2005|Uncategorized|

Does the LGBT community have a “Secret Santa” working on our behalf in Tinseltown?
It sure looks that way, as the Jolly Old Elf’s gift bag is jam packed this holiday season with an extraordinary number of cinematic treats with LGBT themes and characters.
It’s about time.
Despite the fact the our community has been well represented at every level of production since the dawn of the film industry, Hollywood has rarely acknowledged our existence – and when they did, it was oftentimes not to our benefit. The general public, studio executives insisted, was not ready to accept us – except, that is, as sissies, murderers and AIDS patients. So our stories – the complete and TRUE stories of our lives – went untold for decades.
But thanks to a legion of brave independent film producers, that attitude has changed for the better. As art house films proved there was a market for our stories – and film festivals worldwide honored them – Hollywood finally took notice.
Now, suddenly, queers are “in” – and red state Americans are about to learn more about us than they ever have before – or probably even care to.
And that’s a good thing, quite frankly.
For the arts have long been a forum through which greater understanding is fostered. As in ancient times when traveling thespians brought news, politics and religion into the public square, the movies now can serve as a gateway for public discussion. It’s finally time for Middle America to see that we, too, come in all sizes, shapes and colors – and that our interests and desires are equally as varied.
Recent and upcoming films will certainly prove just that.
“Capote,” for example, details the research Truman Capote conducted for his famous novel, “In Cold Blood”; “Rent” is choc full of queers, including an HIV-positive drag queen and a lesbian couple; one of the lead characters in “The Producers” is a wildly flamboyant, cross-dressing movie director with a “common-law husband”; Val Kilmer plays gay – and one tough homo, at that – in “Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang”; a cross-dressing hooker is at the center of “Breakfast on Pluto”; and a deaf, white gay man is dating a black man in “The Family Stone.”
Generating the most heat nationwide, however, are “Brokeback Mountain” and “Transamerica.” BTL is extensively covering both this week and next.
While both films feature excellent performances, engaging scripts and top-notch production values – and each has already won numerous awards at festivals worldwide – studio executives are keeping their fingers crossed, hoping audiences will show up at the box office.
Are Joe Sixpack and his buddies ready for a cowboy romance flick? And is the thought of a Desperate Housewife playing a man becoming a woman too much for straight America to comprehend?
We’ll soon find out.
So as we don our gay apparel this holiday season, why not grab a few friends – gay, straight or somewhere in between – and head to the cinema. Let’s send a strong message to Hollywood – and to our enemies – that we’re here, we’re queer and we’re delighted to finally see our lives up there on the silver screen. To do anything less would send the wrong signal at a time when we need all the help we can get in our battle for equal rights.
Remember: Multiple failures at the box office could put the skids on future LGBT-themed films for a long time to come. And that is totally unacceptable.
Pass the popcorn, anyone?

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.