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June 28, 2012

Photo borrowed from GLAAD‘s Facebook page.

Today is the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. On June 28, 1969 New York gay bar patrons, fed up with police harassment after a raid on the Stonewall Inn, took to the streets. June is designated Gay Pride Month to honor those accidental pioneers who launched the gay rights movement into the public eye, and around the world GLBTQ people and their friends, family, and allies take to the streets to celebrate. 43 years later, much has changed – in America and the world – but there are still obstacles and opposition to be overcome.

12 Questions isn’t a political entity. We’re pretty indiscriminate about who we post, so long as we think they’re interesting people doing cool stuff. We’ve featured Christian rockers and Muslim punks, an atheist activist and a Mormon public intellectual, cowboy poets and queer cabaret singers. But our commitment to diversity comes with a commitment for the rights of all people, and we take the fight for gay rights very personally – because for us and many people we love, this fight is personal. We’re proud to have featured some amazing artists, thinkers, performers, and writers who are gay, lesbian, trans*, queer, or bisexual, and many more allies and friends.

Rather than making some sort of sweeping political statement, though, we want to ask you all to take a moment to reflect on the GLBTQ people who have made an impact on your life. Use the comments to share your stories, or tell us which artist we’ve featured is your personal favorite. Then go celebrate Gay Pride Month by being supportive of those around you, whether or not they’re gay. We’re all in this together, and when it comes down to brass tacks, it’s all about love and kindness (or truth, depending on how you’d answer Question 9, but that’s another post entirely).

Happy Pride!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Spencer K. permalink*
    June 28, 2012 12:39

    This may also be obvious, but John Waters is my queer hero. In one of his books he says something to the effect that the whole point of being gay is that you don’t have to get married and don’t have to join the army, which I adore! I love that he’s unabashedly counter-cultural, and that his brand of queerness offers a prickly antidote to the homonormativity of mainstream (white, upperclass) gay culture. I vividly remember watching “Hairspray”, “Serial Mom”, and “Crybaby” with my parents and seeing them conspicuously not get it. Now “Serial Mom” is one of my dad’s favorite movies (along with “Auntie Mame” – I kind of didn’t stand a chance, right?) and we laugh at the same jokes. So John Waters not only gave me a model of faggotry that spits in the eye of the Will-n-Grace cookie cutter norms, but helped me and my family grow up and get over ourselves. If I were to copy his genius and write a book about role models, there’d be a whole chapter on John Waters.

    • Marvin J. Taylor permalink
      June 28, 2012 12:41

      Yes, John. For me it was Pink Flamingos.

  2. Marvin J. Taylor permalink
    June 28, 2012 10:11

    Well, perhaps obviously, Harvey Milk. I was in high school and working in the library. I saw Harvey on the cover of Time Magazine–at least that’s how I remember it–when he was elected to the SF City Council. His “you’ve got to give them hope” speech, in which he talks about a young boy from MN who called him up to say he was gay resonated with me. I broke off my “engagement” with my girlfriend and waited out the next couple of years until I could get away from my small town IN and come out. I was devastated by his murder It was a clear indication that being queer wasn’t going to be easy. But he gave me hope. And that has held me up all these years.

    Marvin J. Taylor

    • Spencer K. permalink*
      June 28, 2012 12:07

      Thanks so much, Marvin. When I was a kid in the 70s, role models were few and far between – especially in Wyoming. I remember when my much older second cousin would come visit with “friends” they seemed like exotic animals to my small-town self. By the 80s, gender-queer popstars were all over the place, but still cagey about their sexuality. Every new celebrity who came out made me that much more confident. It isn’t easy (and it isn’t always “better”) but there is hope. Also, friends who love me unconditionally make things easier – we hold each other up.

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