Dolly Parton Hub

Gay Iconography: What You Said In 2014


When I started writing Gay Iconography in late 2013, I hoped to explore why some celebrities and artists held mass appeal — not to be confused with universal appeal, mind you — within the gay community. Over time, what began as a light-hearted feature celebrating these stars with a few YouTube clips became a lightning rod of conversation and, shall we say, spirited debate.

The original premise, as stated in the early posts, was to “present a proposed iconic figure or character and then ask you to weigh in with your thoughts.” The second half of the stated mission — asking you to weigh in with your thoughts — is what’s made it most interesting for me.

This year, the first full calendar year of the column, Gay Iconography has received more than 1,300 comments (and, yes, I read them all). I thought it would be interesting to look back at lessons learned from these conversations and see if we’re any closer to recognizing what draws some of us to these cultural cornerstones.

The conversation may not have always been nuanced (and, of course, it did occasionally devolve into name-calling and flamewars like any comments section on the Internet), but there have been some surprising revelations. For example, while I had expected some controversial choices like Queen Latifah and Donna Summer to be met with criticism, and I could have anticipated younger picks like Robyn or Frank Ocean to be easily dismissed, I was still surprised to see people deny the impact of, say, Cher, Madonna or Dolly Parton. There’s always room to debate the merits of any one individual, but it seemed at times as if some folks aimed to refute the existence of a unique LGBT culture to represent at all.

However, looking back over the comments from this year, some trends do start to emerge as to what some might consider a gay icon. See some of the most prevailing ideas perpetuated in the comments and let us know if you agree, AFTER THE JUMP

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Dolly Parton Praises Gay Fans, Calls Out Christians for 'Judging' the LGBT Community: VIDEO


For a recent interview and photo shoot with Billboard, Dolly Parton dished about her gay following and why she thinks she's become such an idol in the community's eyes.

Said Parton: 

They know that I completely love and accept them, as I do all people. I've struggled enough in my life to be appreciated and understood. I've had to go against all kinds of people through the years just to be myself. I think everybody should be allowed to be who they are, and to love who they love. I don't think we should be judgmental. Lord, I've got enough problems of my own to pass judgment on somebody else. 

Parton was also asked about her Tennessee-based Dollywood amusement park and its appeal to churches and the LGBT community:

It's a place for entertainment, a place for all families, period. It's for all that. But as far as the Christians, if people want to pass judgment, they're already sinning. The sin of judging is just as bad as any other sin they might say somebody else is committing. I try to love everybody.

Back in 2011, there was a minor kerfuffle at Dollywood after an employee asked a lesbian to remove her "Marriage is So Gay" t-shirt before entering the park. Parton apologized for the incident. 

Check out the full interview here and a behind the scenes video of the shoot AFTER THE JUMP...


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Dolly Parton's Ice Bucket Challenge Will Put a Smile on Your Face: VIDEO


Dolly Parton, assisted by her two nieces, completes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with her usual southern charm and good-humored attitude.

If this doesn't put a smile on your face, nothing will.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Last month, Parton spoke about her plans to eventually release a dance album geared towards the gay community. 

Continue reading "Dolly Parton's Ice Bucket Challenge Will Put a Smile on Your Face: VIDEO" »

Dolly Parton Planning Dance Record for Gay Fans

Dolly parton

At a press conference last week, gay icon Dolly Parton spoke about her plans to eventually release a pro-LGBT dance album, saying she already has “several songs that are very positive towards the gay community.”

Digital Spy reports:

"I have a song called 'Just A Wee Bit Gay'. It's a great little dance tune, it's funny and it's got a lot of comic in it. 

"I do write a lot of songs along those lines with people that are different and are just themselves."

The queen of country is no stranger to branching out musically, having shown off her hip-hop credentials in a rap performance on The Queen Latifah Show last year. 

News: Adam Lambert, Iraq, Star Trek, Meshach Taylor

RoadFlordia Governor Rick Scott talks out of both sides of his mouth: "Asked about gay marriage in questioning from reporters afterward, Scott refused to support an overturn to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. He says 'people have differing views and 'what's important to me is that we don't discriminate against anybody.'"

Adam RoadAdam Lambert is all glammed up performing with Queen in Vancouver.

RoadPrince Harry busts a move while in Chile.

RoadDolly Parton performed "Jolene" at The Glastonbury Music Festival.

RoadTensions continue to escalate in Iraq as Isis declares caliphate straddling the borders of Iraq and Syria: "'We will break other borders,' a jihadist from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) warned in the video called End of Sykes-Picot."

RoadChris Pratt chops wood. Looks good doing it

RoadBefore Shia LaBeouf decided to cause a ruckus at Cabaret, he apparently got into a fight in front of a strip club

RoadNew video game Dragon Age: The Inquisition to have gay character: "As a person Dorian will be a fully gay character who is very intelligent, and has a rather sharp wit. This wit and intelligence has been cultivated over many years in a society where outdoing peers is required, and it also makes him incredibly sarcastic."

RoadKen Watanabe to star in revival of The King and I.

RoadAs our very own Ari Ezra Waldman expressed earlier, today's Hobby Lobby ruling at the Supreme Court has a lot of people worried about the greater impact of the case for the LGBT community and women.  

RoadMoving photo portraits of LGBT couples from the 20th century.

Dog RoadICYMI, the most invested canine soccer/futbol fan out there. 

RoadGay Pride Parades saw large crowds this past weekend. 

RoadMale Model Monday: Daan van der Deen.

RoadPippa Middleton apparently missed the memo that her sister's wedding to the future King of England was a big deal.

RoadSome browmance/showmance speculation is already underway on Big Brother 16.

RoadDiplo wrote a song with Maddonna called, "B-tch, I'm Madonna."

RoadStar Trek 3 director Roberto Orci open to a gay character in the next installment of the franchise: "I would like to see that...It can be part of a character and not be the whole shebang…It doesn’t’ have to be like South Park, like ‘what have we learned today.’ It can be so normalized that it just exists. I agree it can’t be shoe-horned in. And it is not necessary for it to be the whole point of the thing. It is an ensemble and there are lots of people to represent so no one point of view should hog it.”

MeRoadOrlando Bloom makes some interesting sartorial choices for a trip to the beach.

RoadCam Gigandet made sure to ditch the shirt on the premiere of new show Reckless last night.

RoadTilda Swinton did a Reddit AMA, proves more intriguing than ever. 

RoadFirst look at Henry Cavill in Clark Kent mode in the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

RoadActor Meshach Taylor, perhaps most popular for his role on Designing Womenhas passed away at 67.

Gay Iconography: Why We Will Always Love Dolly Parton


I can't even attempt to feign objectivity when talking about Dolly Parton. She is undoubtedly an icon, a superstar and an American treasure. Beyond the sequins, hair and makeup, she's one of the most extraordinarily talented musicians of all time. Her catalog is overflowing with some of the best-written songs in history. (The cantankerous Internet commenter who can't appreciate "Jolene" because he "doesn't like country music," needs to recognize that he may, in fact, just not like music.) She's been nominated for a Tony award, two Academy awards and 46 Grammy awards (tying her with Beyoncé for the most Grammy nominations by any female artist). Her musical contributions aside, there's still plenty of reasons why she's so beloved by the gay community.

From her humble roots growing up as one of 12 children in a one-room cabin in Tennessee, she's developed a legendary look and larger-than-life personality that's endeared her to generations of fans, gay and straight. Modeling her over-the-top appearance after the town tramp she admired as a child, her definition of glamour may not be for everyone. Go ahead and laugh, though. She certainly does. Parton famously jokes, "It costs a lot of money to look this cheap!"

Even if you're not one to go ga-ga over rhinestones and wigs, Parton's commitment to being herself, no matter what anyone thinks, is an interesting parallel to the gay experience. She told earlier this month: "I do believe that I have a lot of gay fans because I think they do accept me as I am - the differences in me - and I think they know that I see that and love that in everybody else."

She's been vocal in her support of the LGBT community for years, including appearances on Larry King Live and in an interview with The Daily Mail, where she underscored her belief in marriage equality with her signature humor: "[Gay couples] should suffer just like us heterosexuals." There's a small blemish on her LGBT record, a dust-up at Dollywood over a marriage equality T-shirt, but she apologized for the misunderstanding. (While we're on the subject, how many folks you know have their own theme park?) Hey lyrics often include messages of acceptance and tolerance, including “Family,” in which she sings: “Some are preachers, some are gay/Some are addicts, drunks and strays/But not a one is turned away, when it's family”

We can barely scratch the surface on Dolly's life and work in this space, but we'll do our best to contain our excitement with some of our favorite Dolly clips, AFTER THE JUMP

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