Josh Rittberg

Arts and Culture Editor

On Thursday, November 22, history was made as the new Broadway musical comedy, The Prom, had the first-ever LGBTQ kiss on the Macy’s Day Parade. This small gratitude of love was met with messages of support and genuine pride on sites like Twitter but also general hate and anger from conservatives. This performance was one worth rejoicing for. As a member of the LGBTQ community and a lover of theatre, specifically musical theatre, in my opinion, The Prom’s brave efforts were a welcome and courageous statement.

This year, in particular, has been a strong year for LGBTQ representation which included groundbreaking pieces of art like Love, Simon, which brought an LGBTQ story to mainstream cinema. The television series, Pose, also made great strides in representation by actually having trans actors playing trans roles and by introducing its audience to the Ball scene and culture of the 1980s.  In the theatre world, we also saw a resurgence of LGBTQ plays and musicals. For instance, Tony Kushner’s seminal and unexpectedly timely epic Angels in America proved that the America of his play is still one worth exploring, and in a spectacular star turn, Nathan Lane brought menacing malice to the complex Roy Cohn character that bared a startling resemblance to the man in our white house. In 2018, the play The Boys in the Band also came back to Broadway with a star-studded cast which included names like Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, and even Jim Parsons. This pre-Stonewall piece like Kushner’s Angels brought audiences back to a more insecure and chaotic time for the LGBTQ community. This season there is also Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song, which brings themes of family and acceptance to the main stage. It is important to spotlight these theatrical works of the past as they reflect how far we have come as a community and nation.

Beyond the theatre world, one of the brightest lights for those of us within the LGBTQ community was the resurgence of the series, Queer Eye. This series that first hit the air in 2003 introduced audiences at that time to the Fab Five and each of them became instant stars. Even to this day, some of the original members, who include Ted Allen and Carson Kressley, have launched very successful careers for themselves. I was a little bit skeptical when Netflix announced they were rebooting this much-loved series but was delighted to see though that this was truly a rebirth for the iconic reality show. The new Fab Five, much like the originals, are role models for a new generation. They are kind and loving and are rightfully opening up America’s minds and hearts all over again.

The Prom’s Macy’s Performance broke barriers, but even as a musical it is following in the footsteps of recent LGBTQ pieces that have hit Broadway like Fun Home, Kinky Boots, Head over Heels, and the recent revivals of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Falsettos in promoting inclusion. In our chaotic time, visibility and acceptance are more important than ever. While it may just seem like one parade performance, The Prom’s statement was one of inclusion that while getting expected controversy, has also shown young people that their stories are important and valid. It has also served as a much-needed conversation starter within the general public.  That alone is something truly worth dancing about.