Why did the "Wizard of Oz" movie resonate so powerfully for some gay men?

The Wizard of Oz is playing on the WB right now and I was wondering why this movie became a cultural touchstone for many gay men. Is it whole Judy Garland thing or is there some subtext to it that resonated for gay men at the time. Is it the over the rainbow theme? Help me, I don’t have my decoder ring.

The Spirituality of Oz addresses that issue.

Judy Garland was a real big supporter of gay rights, IIRC.

I tried to spy the guy killing himself in the Tin Woodman scene, but to no avail. Just saw that bird in the background.

Because there never was a suicide, quoth the Master.

Sarcasm hat not on tonight, Peep? :wink:

Because the ruby red slippers are just FABULOUS!!!

I hope I don’t get kicked out of the little pink clubhouse for this, but I don’t like The Wizard of Oz all that much.

I watch The Wizard of Oz twice a year. It’s on par with Citizen Kane and Sunset Boulevard for me.

I’m heterosexual, as near as I can tell. Maybe it has general appeal for liberal types?

I’m serious, here. The books certainly had some promethean ideas for the time. The Marvelous Land of Oz, for instance features an Army of Revolt, made up entirely of girls, who declare that men have ruled Oz for too long. Ahead of its time for the turn-of-the-century. (Then again, the girls were preoccupied with looking pretty and gossiping, but still…)

And of course, that book ended with the protagonist, Tip, discovering that the Princess Ozma, with whom he was charged with rescuing, was… …him.

Probably something of an affirmation and comfort to transgendered adolescents, that.

Actually, most of the “Oz” books were written during the women’s suffragette movement of the early 1900’s. So, like many other issues of this period (e.g., free silver, agrarian reform, etc.), Baum was just incorporating then-current events into his stories.

Weren’t the shoes actually silver in the book?

I watched it as a child-I always wanted Ruby Slippers.

Absolutely, NDP– I didn’t mean to imply that his sentiment sprung up in a vacuum, but the ideals of the Women’s Suffrage movement were hardly considered mainstream then, and women wouldn’t win the vote for another sixteen years at the time of The Marvelous Land of Oz’s publication.

Guin, thas’ right-- but Silver Shoes wouldn’t look nearly as magical in Technicolor.

The original title of the novel, wisely changed by the publishers, was “Will and Dorothy”…Timmy

I guess not, I still don’t get it:confused:

Nope, I’m right of Reagan and I love the Oz books and the movie (the movie not as much because I don’t like Judy Garland’s wimpification of Dorothy. In the book, she was much more a participant than a victim (she douses the witch because she’s pissed, not because she fumbles her attempt to save the Scarecrow, for instance) )



Yeah, but in part, that was because Baum’s…um…er…mother-in-law(? Aunt?) who he loved dearly, was a sufferagate and he was poking fun at her (gently).


Heh. You should try another of Baum’s books (it was rarer than hell, but now it’s in the public domain and can be found on-line) called John Dough and the Cherub. “Chick the Cherub” is an incubator baby, and thus, has either no or both genders (why an “incubator baby” wouldn’t have a gender is a mystery best left unexamined). Point is, as weird as the Tip/Ozma thing is for a turn-of-the-Century children’s book, John Dough and the Cherub is probably weirder! (There were newspaper contests to determine Chick’s gender)


There was a TV adaptaion of , I think, The Land of Oz back in the early 1960s that had the whole Ozma gender-change thing in it. It has, to my knowledge, never been replayed or offered on video casette or DVD or laserdisc. I suspect that those were more innocent times (there was a Superboy story about the same time, where Clark turned into a girl. He acquired “super feminine intuition”!), and the sexual theme didn’t really occur to people or bother them. Nowadays people are a lot more sensitive to transgender stuff, and stay away from it. Although I notice that an episode of Jimmy Neutron has him switching bodies with Cindy.

Yeah, the “Land of Oz” thing was (IIRC) from the “Mickey Mouse Club” as an hour(?) long playlet. AFAIK, you’re right, it’s never been released (but per the Wizard of Oz club articles that I read back when, it was supposed to be really good).

In the Superboy story (I believe it was the '50s, as I think the art was by George Papp(?)) Superboy made a snotty “women driver” comment to a female alien who’d crashed her flying saucer here and she zapped him with a ray that made him dream that he was “Super Sister”. You gotta miss those days. They just don’t make weirdness like that any more.


I read that Tip/Ozma book when I was a kid, and it sure did resonate with me.

As for the movie The Wizard of Oz, it’s about a kid in a gray, dismal place where no one understands her and all her hopes and ambitions for herself are being trampled. She whisked away to a magical land where people appreciate her, where she’s finally “in color” and can live a life of her own, one that Auntie Em and Uncle Henry could never understand or approve of. No wonder gay kids empathize!

My only question is why the idiot chooses to return to Kansas at the end.

Fenris – I don’t think the Land of Oz TV thing was part of the Mickey Mouse club, or anything Disney. I seem to recall it as a network special (I saw this as a kid, and I’m going by memory). The sex-change thing at the end took me totally by surprise, and I never saw anything like it again. I was a little gratified to find it at the end of Baum’s book – it re-assured me that I wasn’t mis-remembering.

Damn! Here it is: