Before Mitch and Cam charmed Middle America and even RuPaul relished relative widespread notoriety, openly gay artist John Waters was pushing boundaries with unapologetically queer cinema.
“I always appealed to gay people that couldn’t even fit into the gay world, and I still do,” he told Dallas Voice earlier this year. “My crowd has always been minorities. My core crowd is minorities that can’t fit in with their own minorities.”
The Baltimore-born Waters has worn many hats — writer, director, actor, comedian, artist — but, his signature pencil mustache and camp aesthetic, his work has maintained his subversive sense of style. Responsible for some of the most shocking, transgressive moments on film, Waters has worked with everyone from legendary drag queens to today’s brightest Hollywood stars. From his most controversial films to even his most mainstream works, Waters has never lost touch of his unique sensibilities.
“I don't understand what gay people want to be like everybody else," he told BigThink in 2011. “To me, we were outlaws, we used our wit for fighting words, you know, Act Up — ‘Act Bad,’ I wanted.”
When he isn’t making movies (or hosting TV shows about married couples turned murderers or hitchhiking across America), Waters has been an advocate for gay rights, including campaigning for marriage equality in his home state of Maryland. He shared more of his political beliefs with BigThink:
“I understand that people... straight, gay, people want to get married, they want to have children. I'm for that, I'm all for that. I'm for like, why would anyone be against gay adoption? I can't understand it, or when celebrities get babies. Madonna's child won the lottery, if you ask me. The one she just got in Africa. I'm for anybody getting any kid, if they can love it. And I'm for abortion. If you can't love your kid, don't have it because it will grow up and kill us.”
Check out some of our favorite moments from John Waters’ films, AFTER THE JUMP …