“Diva worship” is a much-discussed topic within the LGBTQ community—we’ve all got a larger-than-life pop star, or a scenery-chewing actress, who jolts us with excitement just at the mention of their name. Most of us can even pinpoint a specific song or scene of dialogue that feels like it unlocked something deep within us, opening our eyes to a bigger, brighter world. But, beyond the glamour and the jaw-dropping talent, is there something deeper that compels us to idolize these women? Why have stars like Cher, Diana Ross, and Dame Angela Lansbury become part of the queer canon? In this episode of Why We Love: Pride Edition, The A.V. Club digs deeper into fandoms and examines the thin line between attraction and emulation when it comes to icons of stage and screen. With the help of some of our favorite queer celebrities and thinkers, we reflect on the powerful women in pop culture who taught us what it meant to live fearlessly and fully.
Why We Love: Pride Edition’s “Divas & Dames” episode explores the universal appeal of Golden Girls, the lasting power of Madonna, why Murder, She Wrote isn’t just a show for grandmas, and so much more. Featured talent includes: Peppermint, What We Do In The Shadows’ Harvey Guillén, Wilson Cruz, Cameron Esposito, scholar SA Smythe, Homophilia host Dave Holmes, The Politician’s Rahne Jones, musician Keiynan Lonsdale, Waiting To X-Hale co-host Karen Tongson, Kalen Allen, Keep It host Ira Madison III, Buffering The Vampire Slayer co-host Jenny Owen Youngs, Drag Race’s Nina West, The L Word: Generation Q’s Leo Sheng, and Guy Branum.
While Why We Love: Pride Edition is an ode to the pop culture that resonated with LGBTQ audiences over the decades, The A.V. Club recognizes that there wouldn’t even be a Pride Month to celebrate without the Black trans community. In honor of the Black trans trailblazers who have always been at the forefront of queer liberation, we’ll be taking an opportunity while promoting each new episode of Why We Love: Pride Edition to shine a spotlight on a different Black trans organization you can support and donate to.
Today we’re highlighting: The Marsha P. Johnson Institute. Named after activist and performer Marsha P. Johnson, the MPJI “protects and defends the human rights of Black transgender people” through community organizing, advocating, developing transformative leadership, and promoting collective power. They are committed to championing solutions by “responding to unjust violence systemically, physically and structurally as it happens to Black transgender people.” You can read more about the MPJI and pledge to make a regular donation at the link here.