I have watched a lot of movies and television in my life. Over the course of my formative years, many of the images in these shows and films imprinted themselves on my delicate little psyche. Recently I was sitting and pondering how the hell I got here as I am at age 38. I feel like my personality is so eclectic and hodge-podge.
Of course, I understood that the media that I enjoyed made up a good portion of how my brain works, how I see the world, how I want to be seen by the world. So today, I am going to focus on one aspect of myself. Namely my queerness. In my bout of introspection, I asked myself what movies helped shape my queer identity…or at the very least, aided in alerting me that I had one?
Below is a list of some of the films that awakened and nurtured the little queer boy that lived inside me. I’m including only films and shows that influenced me from elementary through high school. If you want to explore the craziness that was me in college, that’s a different list entirely!
1) Wonder Woman (1975-1979) I totally remember, at the tender age of four or five, not being able to watch this show until after I’d put on my cowboy boots. I just couldn’t WAIT until it was time for Diana to turn into Wonder Woman so that I could spring to the middle of the room and twirl and spin along with her…my, but I was a queer little boy!
2) Battle Of The Planets (1978) I was in love with this cartoon as a kid! I remember wanting to be a member of the G-Force SO badly! And for some reason, whenever I would re-enact one of their adventures alone in my room…I was always Princess. Now that I’m older, I realize this had nothing to do with gender identity and more with the fact that she was the only girl on the team. I always associated with the odd-one-out…a running theme in my life for years to come! Oh yeah, and Princess was FIERCE!
3) Neverending Story (1984) Fourth grade me had SUCH a huge crush on Atreyu! It was an active crush. By the time I was 12, I must have seen this movie about fifty times…I’m really not exaggerating here!
4) Voltron: Defender of the Universe (1984) I loved me some Voltron! Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. You’re probably thinking that I was all about Princess Allura. Wrong! I was all about Pidge…nerdy, gay little Pidge. I was actually quite put out by the presence of the Princess. It was a constant reminder that I would never again see my boy Spin (not Sven)…who I sort of had a crush on. I think it was the accent.
3) The Last Dragon (1985) Bruce Leroy, played by Taimak was simply adorable. He also reminded me of the comparably adorable Robert from the Cosby Show.
4) A Chorus Line (1985) This may have been the first movie musical that held my attention. The music and dancing set me on a path toward the arts. I was also intrigued by the gay subject matter…even if I wasn’t sure why yet.
7) Stand By Me (1986) Something about the closeness and sense of brotherhood shared by these young boys struck a deep chord with me…and started off my crush on both River Phoenix (moment of silence…) and Wil Wheaton.
13) Pump Up The Volume (1990) This movie was the spark that fueled my burning love for Christian Slater. I followed him through some of the shittiest movies after this. But I didn’t care, so long as I could look at him and hear that Nicholson-like voice come out of that face! Of course, the themes of budding teenage sexuality in Pump Up The Volume hit very close to home as well.
17) Toy Soldiers (1991) Okay. This one did it. I truly think this movie made me officially come out to myself. I tried to convince myself at first that it was the action and the plot and not the abundance of hot boys in their underwear that caused me to watch this movie over and over…and over again. But let’s face it: This movie ain’t THAT damned good!
19) School Ties (1992) First there’s the obvious: Brendan Fraser, a young Matt Damon, lots of shower scenes……..huh? Oh sorry. I went on a little voyage in my head there for a second. This film also has the distinction of being the destination for my first date with a boy. Okay, only one of us knew we were on a date, but that’s not EVEN important right now.
20) Six Degrees of Separation (1993) This film just barely missed being on my 25 favorite films list. It literally came down to a coin toss. That’s how much I enjoy this film. The reason I saw it at all, however, was the idea of Will Smith playing gay. Even if he did fake the kiss, his portrayal of sensitive, intelligent, conniving and damaged Paul spoke to me.
So that’s my list. It’s not a complete list as there were other films and shows that also affected me here and there. These were the ones that were so significant that I remember EXACTLY how I felt upon first viewing.
What about you? Do we have any of these in common? What movies/tv shows helped queer YOU out?