In December, the newspaper Chicago Sun-Times offered its front page to its Controversy section with a piece titled “Decoding Icons”; the columnist gave a backward glance to various gay and lesbian cultural heroes. MAE WEST was included in this pantheon.
• • According to the essay, older gay men often take Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, and Barbra Streisand as personal representatives of the men’s own struggles: All these females had been judged by limited standards.
• • On the distaff side, lesbians see their own icons as powerful, though not necessarily butch — such as former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, fantasyland's Xena, and tennis pro Martina Navratilova.
• • The scribe pointed out the obvious - - that the very nature of icons may shift and that gays want to be respected now, not just tolerated.
• • Additionally, outspoken people - - such as UK author Oscar Wilde - - are now joining the ranks of entertainers such as MAE WEST, Cher, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton, Madonna, and Joan Crawford. ...
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: Mae West • • on trial for writing "Pleasure Man" • • 1928 • •