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Gay Iconography: Blondie Bombshell Debbie Harry


The phrase "gay icon" gets tossed around a lot, but why is it that some figures amass more of a gay audience? Welcome to Gay Iconography, a feature where we present a proposed iconic figure or character and then ask you to weigh in with your thoughts. 

Debbie Harry is a musician, actress and style icon. The legendary lead singer of Blondie has left her mark across punk, disco and new wave with a string of hits and an unmistakable cool.

Known for her signature peroxide-blonde hair and striking features, she's also appeared in films, television and even once as a Playboy bunny. She became something of an institution in the New York City scene at places like Studio 54 and CBGB.

It's there that she became closely tied to the gay community.

“Blondie has always been a part of the downtown community in NYC, with many, many friends who represent alternative lifestyles," she told the Huffington Post in a press release following the band's refusal to play in Sochi for the Winter Olympics. "We feel very strongly about these friendships and associations, and don’t feel good about participating in a situation where biases and prejudices are paramount."

She made headlines for tweeting a photo of the offer letter for the Sochi gig with the words "PASS human rights" scrawled over it. It's not the first time she's stood up for the LGBT community, as a long-time ally in the fight against AIDS, as well as appearing on Cyndi Lauper's True Colors tour for the Human Rights Campaign. She told Gay Times Magazine: "I know its important to stand up for gay rights or letting people get over their hang-ups or their prejudices. But for me personally it's never been an issue and I feel like as an adult you are entitled to whatever sexuality you are and have and whoever you're in love with."

Celebrate Debbie Harry with some classic videos, and tell us your thoughts on the fabulous frontwoman, AFTER THE JUMP ...


Blondie's Parallel Lines may have been their third album, but it was their first smash success. It hit No. 1 in the U.K. and No. 6 in the United States. The album was full of classics like "Heart of Glass," "One Way Or Another" and (our personal favorite) "Hanging On the Telephone."



The band is known for crossing genres, including new wave ("Dreaming"), reggae ("The Tide Is High") and, famously, rap. Their song "Rapture," above, was the first No. 1 hit in the U.S. to feature rap.



Debbie Harry also released five solo albums. Her second album featured "French Kissin' In the USA." The song was written by Chuck Lorre (yes, the same guy behind Two And A Half Men), and its video features Peg Bundy herself, Katey Sagal. You may recognize a cover of this song used in the film Troop Beverly Hills.



Before Hairspray was a movie musical, it was just a musical. And before that, it was a movie from the brilliant John Waters, starring Debbie as Velma Von Tussle.



Comedian John Roberts told us about how he became friends with Debbie Harry after his band opened for Blondie. Debbie fits right into Roberts' over-the-top comedy style with her character "Fran."

What's your favorite Blondie song or Debbie Harry moment? Tell us in the comments.

Posted Feb. 14,2014 at 6:55 PM EST by in Debbie Harry, Gay Iconography | Permalink | Comments (28)

Fox News Mocks Facebook's Expanded Gender Options: VIDEO

Fox News Facebook Gender

Yesterday Facebook massively expanded their gender identification options for users from two to over fifty, and right on cue the conservative talking airheads over at Fox News have responded with bizarre false equivalencies, melodramatic confusion, and outright mockery.

One reporter commented "[I]ntersex, whatever that is..." apparently forgetting that his job as a reporter is to know what he's talking about. Another pair snarked, "Heading over to the male, Clayton." "No, I changed mine to 'Intersex.'"

And then great thinker Todd Starnes posted a shabby straw man on his own Facebook wall, writing, "What if you identify as a pine cone or a chicken or a weed whacker?" Identifying as a chicken or pine cone means one is suffering from species dysphoria, which is utterly unrleated to gender or sexuality, and identifying as an inanimate object was not a mental condition I was able to find with a cursory Google, Wikipedia, and DSM-IV/5 search.

A video of clips of various Fox News reports, if you can stomach it, is AFTER THE JUMP...

Posted Feb. 14,2014 at 5:55 PM EST by in Facebook, FOX News, Gender Identity | Permalink | Comments (48)

Towleroad Guide to the Tube #1519

KE$HA VS ADELE: An earworm from Meghan Tonjes.

BEAR GRYLLS AND STEPHEN FRY: Discuss their beliefs.

THIS WEEK: In unnecessary censorship.

AVICII: "Addicted to You".

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.

Posted Feb. 14,2014 at 4:55 PM EST by in Avicii, Bear Grylls, Jimmy Kimmel, Music, Music Video, News, Stephen fry, Towleroad Guide to the Tube | Permalink | Comments (1)

News: Downton Abbey, Candy Crush, Nigeria, House of Cards

RoadPresident Obama gives House of Cards his endorsement: "No spoilers, please".

PerryRoadKatyPatra teases new video with blinged out grills.

RoadStudy: Methane leaks negate climate benefits of natural gas. "...a surprising new report, to be published Friday in the journal Science, concludes that switching buses and trucks from traditional diesel fuel to natural gas could actually harm the planet’s climate.

RoadChobani donates yogurt blocked by Russia to food banks in NY and NJ.

RoadTrans comedia Avery Edison detained at Toronto airport, then sent to men's prison even though her passport states she is a woman.

RoadTwo gay Nigerian men talk about the anti-gay law: "The gay scene went from being overtly closed to being somewhat open in the past decade. But with the passage of the bill into law, the scene will become hidden. How long that will be, we don't know. The visibility we've been able to create as a community has again been taken away from us in the name of protecting religion and cultural practices. Some people in Lagos can tell you where LGBT people gather to socialise on a weekend; some can even name the gay-friendly bars around town. Simply put, the gay scene in Lagos was relatively free and peaceful. The law jeopardises that."

RoadThe Lego Movie bloopers are as awesome as the movie.

ValentineRoadHere's what it looks like to get a Valentine from Jake Gyllenhaal.

RoadBobby Jindal to warn of assault on religious liberty: "According to prepared remarks, Jindal will reference the current debate over contraception playing out on the Supreme Court level between the Obama administration and Hobby Lobby."

RoadCanadian Football League players fined for remarks about Michael Sam: "Montreal Alouettes wide receiver Arland Bruce was fined for a crude posting on social media urging Sam to "submit to God." Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive tackle Bryant Turner Jr. was disciplined for a reported anti-homosexual tweet that has since been deleted."

RoadPrince William and David Beckham to join forces to save rhinos.

RoadDownton Abbey adds three actors for Season 5.

Brett_jonesRoadDecorated Navy Seal Brett Jones describes the "I Love You" that ruined his career. "He said a woman in the same office as Jones' boyfriend at the time heard the message and reported it up the Navy's chain of command."

RoadMinnesota couple of 53 years celebrates their first married Valentine's Day.

RoadLake County School Board calls Gay-Straight Alliance "sexual advocacy" in court papers.

RoadCandy Swipe creator says Candy Crush swiped his game. "I have spent over three years working on this game as an independent app developer. I learned how to code on my own after my mother passed and CandySwipe was my first and most successful game; it's my livelihood, and you are now attempting to take that away from me. You have taken away the possibility of CandySwipe blossoming into what it has the potential of becoming. I have been quiet, not to exploit the situation, hoping that both sides could agree on a peaceful resolution. However, your move to buy a trademark for the sole purpose of getting away with infringing on the CandySwipe trademark and goodwill just sickens me."

Posted Feb. 14,2014 at 3:25 PM EST by | Permalink | Comments (8)

More Than 65 Gay Rights Protesters Demonstrate Again at Idaho's Capitol: VIDEO


Earlier this month 44 LGBT activists were arrested at Idaho's state capitol after they entered the Senate chamber and demanded inclusion in the state's anti-discrimination laws.

That hasn't slowed them down. Yesterday, at least 65 returned to the capitol and ringed the rotunda, KTVB reports:

Thursday's demonstration didn't include blocking entrances to lawmakers' chambers, the event that precipitated arrests Feb. 3. Idaho State Police troopers who guard the Capitol observed the silent protest -- the demonstrators covered their mouths with their hands -- but didn't intervene.


Posted Feb. 14,2014 at 2:55 PM EST by in Idaho, News | Permalink | Comments (4)

'The New Black' Looks At How the African-American Community Grapples With Gay Rights: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 10.57.38 AM

A trailer has been released for The New Black, the upcoming documentary that tells the story of how the African-American community responded to Maryland’s marriage equality ballot measure back in 2012, as well as how the community continues to grapple with the broader push for gay rights nationwide. 

From the film's site:

The film documents activists, families and clergy on both sides of the campaign to legalize gay marriage and examines homophobia in the black community’s institutional pillar—the black church and reveals the Christian right wing’s strategy of exploiting this phenomenon in order to pursue an anti-gay political agenda.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

The film opened this week and is playing in NYC through Tuesday.


Posted Feb. 14,2014 at 2:35 PM EST by in Gay Rights, Maryland | Permalink | Comments (54)


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