by kevin perry

MOVIES MADE ME GAY! Who was your first celebrity crush? OK, I’ll start: Tom Selleck. Every time he solved on-screen crimes, I was hoping

those short-shorts would slide askew and reveal his Magnum. Now that we have inundated ourselves with streaming entertainment, we’ve all had a chance to reel our way back through the glory of TV and film from gays gone by. Did you revisit any heartthrobs from your formative years? Tell us all about it on social media! Tag your first famous queer crush and be sure to include us in the digital ménage à trois with #RageMagazine and @TheRageMonthly

Here are some conversation starters to get your pulse racing and your lips flapping:

HAVE A BALL(S) Sports movies really make the audience work up a sweat, especially those

locker room scenes!Any Given Sunday gave us full frontal andBull Durham gave birth to our enduring jock strap fantasies. Ladies fell in love withPersonal Best, the touching lesbian drama about Olympians going for the gold and finding each other’s end zones. Although it was a tad less cheery,Carrie featured one of the most memorable female group shower scenes ever filmed. “Plug it up,” indeed! Even though it’s technically not a sports movie,Top Gun included that iconic

volleyball scene, showcasing Levi-clad cuties writhing shirtless in sand, sun and so much homoeroticism. Spike, set and match made in gay movie heaven.

WHEREFORE ART THOU? Animation introduces us to all of life’s great questions. Why did Bambi die?

Where did Nemo go? Why does Gaston make me feel funny “downstairs?” Disney royalty is particularly memorable when it comes to cinematic first crushes. Young lesbians yearned to go “Under the Sea” with Ariel, and impressionable gay boys got pumped up by Hercules. A new generation of queer moviegoers saw themselves reflected onscreen

as Elsa became an overtly gay icon. For decades, we had to secretly pine for animated hotties who remained cool and aloof. Case in point:Who Framed Roger Rabbit? This noir naughtiness cranked up the sensuality factor with Jessica Rabbit, a voluptuous vixen who turned Gen-X gals gay with one swish of her bedazzled gown. I was way more into Bob Hoskins, but he never returned my “pleas” Eddie! Speaking of spurned advances …

UNREQUITED LUST The LGBTQ community is accustomed to rejection. We loved in silence and

matured in the shadows, so our stories are often imbued with a sense of longing and loss. The gender-bending classicRocky Horror Picture Show begins as campy manna, complete with muscle men and biker studs, then descends into somber reflection. Are we mere aliens on this strange, puritanical planet? Brokeback Mountain serves up rustic ruggedness and a spit-take for the ages

as Heath Ledger lubes up Jake Gyllenhaal organically and orgasmically. As the narrative unspools, however, the forces of homophobia conspire to crush our crush and leave us bereft. Women didn’t fare much better in classic cinema, as evidenced byThe

Children’s Hour. Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn deliver swoon-worthy performances as star-crossed lesbians so deep in the closet that their repression turns toxic. At least Shug Avery and Miss Celie got to enjoy one steamy kiss amid

their maelstrom of strife and oppression inThe Color Purple. The Sapphic “Sisters” finally acknowledge their achingly real sexual tension, allowing viewers to love vicariously through them for one brief, fabulous moment. As we look back at the gay icons of yesteryear, it is hard to see beyond their pain.

Our fictional crushes mingled with factual marginalization until they dissolved into a series of pixels and memories. No wonder our collective admiration for LGBTQ legends got so twisted in translation.

JUST PLAIN WRONG Queer characters were often depicted as actual monsters, as evidenced by the lesbian vampire classicThe Hunger, starring the eternally edible Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve. Fast forward to the 1990s, when same-sex couplings were allowed a bit of levity, yet they were still often triumphantly trashy.Wild Things, starring lipstick lovers Denise Richards and Neve Campbell, is the intimate illustration of this devious dynamic. Over the years, we have been painted as everything from predatory procurers

inSuddenly, Last Summer(featuring Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift) to backwoods rapists inDeliverance (with sex symbol Burt Reynolds and tighty-whitie-wearing Ned Beatty). If our burgeoning sexuality became a tad twisted at times, we can always blame it on Hollywood. You turned us into sexy beasts, and now it’s time for us to roar!

SOMETHING TO CROWE ABOUT Let’s just take a quick detour to celebrate the manly majesty of Russell Crowe.

Before he became a tiger-slaying tease in Gladiator and a salty seaman inMaster and Commander, a young Crowe got WAY gay in the touching Australian filmThe Sum of Us. Thanks for indulging my tangent. Call me (20 years ago), Russell!

NEXT GEN JOY Progress is sexy. As we stream our way through a century of queer content, we

can truly see how far we have come. Our celebrity crushes were once untouch- able celluloid mirages. The boys ofBen-Hurwere lusty for loincloths, but couldn’t talk about it. The women ofFried Green Tomatoes were more than “just friends,” but their emotions were relegated to the film’s subtext. Recent titles reflect Tinseltown’s desire to honor our crushes rather than deny

them. Popcorn flicks likeLove, Simon offer lighthearted whimsy where once there was shame.Call Me by Your Name wrestles with coming-of-age angst with a side of creamed peaches. AndMoonlight became the first Best Picture winner to focus squarely and predominantly on the queer experience.

Your desires are your own. Movies and TV shows can’t change that. But it’s nice, for a change, that they finally recognize us. 10 | July 2020


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