UTP Celebrates WorldPride: Pride and Popular Culture

Gay rights activists in CaliforniaThe last century has been a long and hard fought battle for members of LGBTIQQ2SA communities to achieve equal human rights. In recent days, countless celebrities have recently participated in advocacy campaigns to fight for awareness for homosexual rights. Celebrities such as Daniel Radcliffe, Ellen DeGeneres, Josh Hutcherson, Anne Hathaway, and Brad Pitt among many others, have captured the world’s attention and thrust the issues surrounding LGBTIQQ2SA rights into the spotlight. This increased awareness of homosexual human rights has caused pride celebrations to grow. Modern day celebrations of pride have become a universal event for men and women of all sexual identities to. It has shifted from being a political movement to being a celebration of individual sexuality. Pride Toronto’s annual Pride Parade, is just one example of the unique and progressive LGBTIQQ2SA popular culture that is developing. To learn more about homosexuality and the developing popular culture, check out these articles from the Canadian Review of American Studies and the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture.

Coney, Christopher Le, and Zoe Trodd. "Reagan's Rainbow Rodeos: Queer Challenges to the Cowboy Dreams of Eighties America." Canadian Review of American Studies 39.2 (2009): 163-83.

During the 1980s, both Hollywood and the Reagan administration attempted to resurrect frontier masculinity by rewriting the Vietnam War and rehabilitating its defeated hero: the straight-shooting cowboy. But a quarter-century before Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain (2005) collided in the space of myth-making with America's latest cowboy president, individuals opened a counter-hegemonic space that challenged social marginalization in the public sphere. Picking up where subversive westerns from the late 1960s had left off, the little-known artist Delmas Howe and the founders of the International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA) resisted the imposition of a rigidly heterosexual cowboy mythology and met the Reagan-era cowboy revival on a queer frontier. Examining John Schlesinger's Midnight Cowboy (1969), Andy Warhol's Lonesome Cowboys (1969), Howe's series of paintings entitled Rodeo Pantheon (1977–91), and the founding and rise of the IGRA (accompanied by interviews with IGRA participants), this article uncovers a rainbow rodeo that has challenged America's cowboy dreams.

Herbert, T. Walter. "Homosexuality and Spiritual Aspiration in Moby-Dick." Canadian Review of American Studies 6.1 (1975): 50-58.

There is now widespread agreement that Melville depicts homosexual affection in the passages of Moby-Dick that treat Ishmael's developing friendship with Queequeg and in a later chapter entitled "A Squeeze of the Hand." Among critics who have sought to deal directly with the homosexual motif there is the further agreement that psychoanalytic concepts offer the greatest promise of yielding a persuasive interpreta- tion.1 Psychoanalytic doctrine is attractive as a way of illuminating the significance of these passages because of its claim to describe powerful unconscious forces; and the critics who have followed this line typically present the homosexual materials as embodying meanings of which Melville was only partly aware. Newton Arvin and Leo Marx, for example, hold that the homosexual theme emerges from a depth of Melville's mind where psychic opposites clash. Arvin conceives Ishmael, and Melville himself, to be plagued by an obscure inward contest between Eros and Thanatos; to him the homoerotic passages convey love's vic- torious battle against death.2 To Marx the issues have a collective social significance; he finds in Moby-Dick the divided mentality of American culture generally, its partition into "two kingdoms of force," a realm of mechanistic aggression opposing a pastoral world of idyllic sentiment. In treating "A Squeeze of the Hand," however, Marx offers a Freudian inter- pretation of pastoralism itself; he sees the chapter as Melville's "deepest penetration into the psychic sources ... of sentimental pastoralism.... The basis of this feeling, it now appears, is what Freud no doubt would have called an infantile pleasure ego.”

Baldwin, Gayle R. ""What a Difference a Gay Makes": Queering the Magic Negro." Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 5.1 (2003): 3.

The "Magic Negro" is a term coined in the 1950s describing Hollywood's portrayal of black men as characters who, although disabled, have supernatural powers that allow them to save lost or broken white men. Here, I compare this "gospel" with that of the Fab 5 (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), who transform disheveled, uncultured straight men into "chick magnets." This comparison concludes that racial and sexual minorities are acceptable in American popular television and film as long as the salvation and redemption motif of the American myth prevails and white heteronormativity remains unchallenged and privileged.