A clear day in Denver, CO on August 17th, 1986, an adorable little babe came out of her first closet (so to speak). Thirteen years later I peeked (or jumped) out of the closet again and have been actively involved in the queer scene ever since! Within this time, I had the opportunity to contribute to a local queer centered publication starting at a young age and that was an experience that played a crucial role in developing the writer you read before you. Flash back to 2004: I’m about 16 and the first article I ever wrote was on the effect of queer representation in media. This is one year into Queer Eye For the Straight Guy debuting, three years into Queer as Folk, and the first glorious season of the L word hitting the small screen. To me, this was an epic era of advancement for queer visibility, but still just a touch too…stereotypical? Comfortable for the masses? Too….unreal? Fast forward a decade and a half and here we are! Living my first year within the graces of the SoCal queer-xperience (coining that term) and loving every palm tree and studio set I’ve seen! I couldn’t imagine a greater introduction to what our community is contributing to the entertainment sector than my experience at QueerX fest, presented by Revry.
First of all, Revry is the first queer global streaming network offering an amazing selection of LGBTQ+ films, series, and originals. To me, this is a mind-blowing advancement for queers in entertainment! I was in awe of the beautiful, gritty, real, touching filmmakers and musicians taking their place in Hollywood, declaring to the whole world that the stories we have to tell and the experiences we survive and thrive in are just as legitimate and deserving of recognition as anything you can find on Netflix. It is due time that all sexual identities, straight, gay, asexual, unicorns or any myriad of identities that live among these classifications are able to see some aspect of themselves or their experiences in characters that do not meet the typical hetero-normative standards. For most of our audio/visual consuming years, queer identifying people have made little internal edits in order to fully relate to the experiences of their favorite characters in films and TV. Perhaps changing the pronoun in the love songs we sing along to or applying the details of our experiences to something “close enough” so we can take more away from our entertainment than just fiction. This is not to say that people should stick with entertainment options that only reflect their exact experiences. In fact, I’m saying quite the opposite.
We watch and listen to these things because the story-telling is so engulfing that it transcends our need to see an exact version of ourselves in it in order to enjoy it. I feel like the creations I was grateful to witness taking place at Revry and through these film and music makers transcends the direct reflection standard and simply provides heartfelt and genuine quality entertainment that have the power to do the win hearts all over the globe. In addition to that, we may also find ourselves accidentally learning a thing or two about the actuality of lives we currently know nothing about. Documentaries such as Ma’ma Queen and Double Lucky explore the true reality that human beings and their lives are hardly neat little packages that can be summed up, tied off with a bow and given to your grandmother on Christmas. The lifestyles and family situations of those next to you may seem different, but you can see that love pain, tears and laughs are not discriminatory, but shared by all of us; which actually makes us no different at all. Through dramas such as The T and Push Pink, you are given a brief look in the window of what kind of crucibles are faced by our beautiful trans community.
I believe that part of the responsibility of our sub-society is to be as compassionate, loving and welcoming to EVERYONE that seeks inclusion amongst us as we all have hoped for at some point. As a queer, cis woman, it is very important to me that I feel like I am always learning and incorporating the experiences taking place within my community, especially those that I am not able to immediately identify with in my day to day. Situations like connecting with a person you like, meeting your partner’s family, seeing old friends, or simply making public bathroom decisions as a trans person is something that cannot be understood, necessarily, but can be introduced as a perspective worth consideration, at the very least. Whether it be comedies like Michael and Michael are Gay to shine a hysterical, but not inaccurate light on the gay male nude party scene or The Cocoa Fondue Show to laugh at the dramatics in the drag queen world of competition, films like these challenge the viewers ability to easily define the word “normal”.
In addition to these and so many more phenomenal films, the music featuring Davy Boi, Madison Rose, Pink Fly, Jordy, and so many more was groundbreaking!! It is so beautiful to see the music industry coming along so far with these out and proud artists breaking through a stigma that has lasted for far too long. I could see different parts of myself in every film, every song, and every ounce of hope in the eyes of every storyteller that just wanted their chance to be seen and heard. It was an inspirational experience that I will not soon forget. I am so grateful that we are in a place where a space is being made for queer entertainment to claim its rightful spot in both music and on the screen. I look forward to being along for the journey.