I know many of us watched the Oscars recently. There was a tribute to the life and career of Judy Garland, P!NK performed Somewhere Over The Rainbow. As we watched her performance I looked around the room and saw the tears of everyone around me. Before you ask, yes we are all gay. This led me to the question, why does this song seem to hit us to the core. It’s no secret that Judy Garland is something of a gay icon, but have you ever stopped to wonder why?
This movie was released during the Great Depression, what would seem like a world and a generation ago. The voices of that generation are slowly falling into history, however I have heard the stories first hand from my grandparents. Poverty was a reality, as was hunger, and going without was the norm. hope was a fading light on the horizon. So when they heard the words of Somewhere Over The Rainbow, it hit home, transporting them from their grim existence to a place where “dreams that you dreamed really do come true.” This was a brief escape, the same year this movie was released the united states joined a little battle called World War II. We call this generation the greatest generation, because of what they survived. They lived in a world that was not being kind to them, and yet they kept their spirit and persevered in spite of the adversity. Many of the same things can be said about members of the LGBT community.
From a young age you know you are different. These differences are often painfully pointed out by your pears with relentless bullying. As you get older the clouds only grow darker. You try to fit in and fix yourself. Depression sets in, so many of us are not strong enough to take on the world. When you finally gain the strength to except yourself for who you are, you then have to fight against bullies in the form of discriminatory laws and religious groups. Never being able to fully fulfill your dreams like marriage, having a children and living the american dream as an equal. You hope and dream for world without judgement, where you are excepted and loved for who you are.
Judy Garland once said “I’ve always taken ‘The Wizard of Oz’ very seriously, you know. I believe in the idea of the rainbow. And I’ve spent my entire life trying to get over it.” She would never find her way over that rainbow in this life. This world became to much for her, Judy was found in her London apartment on June 22, 1969 after taking her own life. “Someday I’ll wish upon a star, Wake up where the clouds are far behind me, Where trouble melts like lemon drops, High above the chimney top,That’s where you’ll find me.” for so many of our brothers and sisters this is also their fate. They spend their entire life seeking the place where “dreams come true.”
As you may expect we are so much stronger when we join together. We strive to find our way to the other side of the rainbow, we have learned that it won’t be as easy as it was for the “blue birds”. Together we have made it through the aids epidemic, through stonewall, through assassinations and brutal beating. We always come back stronger then before. We have made it, so far, marching step by step down this yellow brick road. With so many little victories one by one we inch closer to a world where “the clouds are far behind” us. Someday we will look back and say. This was the next great generation, They overcame so much, and they never lost hope.” that day is still “a dream I dare to dream” but, I hope, not for long.