John Waters suggests using humor for gay political action

'If we can laugh at the most hurtful responses, we'll be the strongest minority of all'

John Waters suggests using humor for gay political action
13 July 2012

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:

  • ‘If there’s a local politician against gay marriage, lets send scary drag queens to his house and yell fashion insults to his wife.’
  • ‘If you’re in Hollywood and you take in a script that the studio says is too gay, well get your screenwriter friends and go back to the studio and yell out the grosses of all their hetero flops.’
  • ‘If a casting agent ever tells an actor, ‘Well, you’re too sporty.’ That’s code for dyke. Don’t go to their house and get married, go there and get divorced and have a fistfight and scare the neighbors.’

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.’

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