Is James Bond a gay icon? Despite his (often) problematic, womanizing ways, why do so many queer people cite the “Double-O” agent as a childhood idol? Those are the million-dollar questions that inspired us to launch our new video series, Why We Love, with an episode dedicated to the mainstream action heroes that LGBTQ audiences have been drawn to over the decades. Batwoman is an out lesbian on The CW these days, but, historically, pop culture has offered up mostly heteronormative heroes, meaning young queer audiences had to read between the lines if they wanted to find a do-gooder who really represented them. Did we see a little bit of ourselves in the caped crusaders and super spies that captured our imaginations? The A.V. Club wanted to investigate further by asking some of our favorite LGBTQ celebrities and thinkers to share stories about their cherished action heroes and ruminate on how these pop-culture figures helped them navigate who they were and who they wanted to be.
Why We Love: Pride Edition’s “Action Heroes” episode explores the not-so-subtle subtext of Xena: Warrior Princess, the campiness of Joel Schumacher’s Batman movies, the inherent queerness of the spy genre, and so much more. Featured talent includes: Wilson Cruz, Cameron Esposito, Drag Race’s Nina West, The L Word: Generation Q’s Leo Sheng, Guy Branum, Twenties’ Jonica T. Gibbs, Waiting To X-Hale co-host Karen Tongson, Keep It host Ira Madison III, Rhea Butcher, Katy Keene E.P. Michael Grassi, scholar SA Smythe, Buffering The Vampire Slayer co-host Jenny Owen Youngs, and Licence To Queer writer David Lowbridge-Ellis.
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: For The Gworls. For The Gworls sponsors the Rent And Gender-Affirming Surgery Fund, which fights to “reduce homelessness rates in the Black transgender community,” and “lower the risk for affirmative surgeries.” Especially during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Black transgender people are being laid off at a high rate, the Rent And Gender-Affirming Surgery Fund is fighting for better living conditions for the community. You can read more about their fund and find a link to donate here.