Carrie Fisher, George Michael, David Bowie, Prince, Pete Burns, Alexis Arquette, all, each in their own way, significant in the lived of many LGBTQ people. Alexis showed us how to be brave in confronting your gender identity. Bowie, Prince and Pete Burns from Dead or Alive all challenged gender norms and used gender as another color in their palette in creating iconic onstage personalities. George Michael was pin up boy that became a gay hunk and superstar. These four singers and musicians, David, Prince, Pete and Michael produced music we sang along with, danced to and inspired us to take chances with our wardrobes. Carrie Fisher inspired mind gender creative gay boys, trans femme, non-binary youth and trans girls and women. She was tough and glamorous an irresistible combination.
The there were those who were part of my life and the lives of many others. We saw Muhammad Ali stand up against the draft and an immoral war and went from showing bravery in the boxing ring to bravely battle a debilitating disease. Gene Wilder was the one that made us smile and feel good in so many amazing films. Debbie Reynolds was the woman who lit up movie screens and showed how to deal with personal trauma with grace and style. Florence Henderson was the mom we seventies kids all loved as she and her husband dealt out corny but heartfelt advice to their Brady Bunch. Alan Thicke was the tv dad we all wished we had. Alan Rickman became a hero to nerds everywhere in Galaxy Quest and thrilled us in the Harry Potter films. Glen Fry, along with his band mates in The Eagles brought me and others such joy with their lush harmonies and wonderful instrumentation.
I was coping okay up until the shocking deaths of George Michael and Carrie Fisher. Carrie and I were the same age so we lived through the same eras. This year has felt like the worse years of the AIDS crisis when people your age were dying and you felt sad, vulnerable and helpless. Yes it’s different when people are your friends but loosing the touchstones of your life in entertainment is also traumatizing. Music, movies and television are important parts of our lives. We use them to relax, to dance, to thrill us, to make us think, to make us laugh or cry and yes, to take us to a galaxy long ago and far, far away