'If we can laugh at the most hurtful responses, we'll be the strongest minority of all'
Filmmaker John Waters told an audience at LA’s Outfest Film Festival Thursday (12 July) that the sharp wit many gay people posess can be their most powerful weapon in the fight for LGBT equality.
‘We need humor rather than violence,’ Waters said as he accepted the gay and lesbian film festival’s achievement award. ‘We use wit instead of bullets – can’t we use it against our enemies instead of against ourselves?’
The man known as the infamous ‘Pope of Trash’ for such films as Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble and Polyester, talked of using humor to register his feelings about Pope Benedict XVI who has made many anti-gay statements in recent years.
‘The Pope is always sashing me but I don’t want to hurt him, I just want to pie his outfit,’ he said.
He went on to say that he find’s today’s demonstrations a bit to mild compared to the gay liberation riots he attended in the 60s.
‘I went to the anti-Pope march in London. It was hilarious. This big lesbian said, ‘What do we want?’ And they yelled back: ‘Rational thought!’ Such gentle demands.’
Here are some of Waters’ ideas for political statements:
Waters also talked with humor about opposition to gay marriage: ‘How could anybody falling in love with anybody else be scary to people? It’s so hard to find anybody, gay or straight. What’s the sanctity of Larry King being married eight times? I like Larry King. But if he can get married eight times, how come we can’t get married once?’
Waters, whose more mainstream films include the original Hairspray, Cry-Baby and Serial Mom, thanked everyone ‘for letting me get away with this for 50 years. Really, seriously, gay people gave me the confidence and freedom to be the person I am today – right from the beginning.’
‘I’ve been lucky,’ he added. ‘My career has been understood right from the beginning. Even negative reviews I turned into a career. They gay people have always been there and together, we’ve learned that we turn pain into laughter. We will not only survive, we’ll win. And if we can laugh at the most hurtful responses we’ve ever had in our life, we’ll be the strongest minority of all.’