Whether you’re talking about the animated classics of the “Disney Renaissance” or the slasher horror flicks of the ’80s, the most enchanting characters are always the villains. That’s especially true for queer audiences, who have long found themselves not in the protagonists, but in the perceived outsiders, the eccentrics, and the supporting players. The cultural significance of queer-coded characters like Ursula and Freddy Krueger has been hotly debated for decades. But just because they’re the “bad guys,” does that mean we can’t find qualities within them worth celebrating? In this episode of Why We Love: Pride Edition, The A.V. Club invited LGBTQ celebrities and experts to share their obsessions with the fantastical, the monstrous, and everything in between. From Pinocchio to Pinhead, these are the pop culture figures that made queer audiences feel seen through the power of magic and metaphor.
Why We Love: Pride Edition’s “Magic & Monsters” episode dives into the queer appeal of spell-casting, the enviable glamour of Disney villains like Cruella de Vil, why LGBTQ horror fans have to “come out twice,” and so much more. Featured talent includes: Los Espookys’ Julio Torres, musician Ezra Furman, The Politician’s Rahne Jones, Guy Branum, musician Keiynan Lonsdale, Homophilia host Dave Holmes, Waiting To X-Hale co-host Karen Tongson, Kalen Allen, Horror Queers co-hosts Joe Lipsett and Trace Thurman, Keep It host Ira Madison III, Buffering The Vampire Slayer co-host Jenny Owen Youngs, Drag Race’s Nina West, and author Laurie Essig.
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 Okra Project. This collective works globally to bring “home-cooked, healthy, and culturally specific meals and resources to Black trans people.” With the help of donations, The Okra Project hopes to extend “free, delicious, and nutritious meals to Black Trans people experiencing food insecurity.” They’ve also recently launched mental health recovery funds in the names of both Nina Pop and Tony McDade, two trans individuals who were murdered this May. You can read more about The Okra Project and find a link to donate here.