I recently released a pack of Wizard of Oz themed postcards titled “Friends of Dorothy” based on the phrase “Friend of Dorothy”. I would write a post talking the term a bit more and the LGBTQ themes of Wizard of Oz.
Although there is some debate to where the term originated most attribute it to Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, an ally to anyone different. Dorothy is very accepting of all of the beings she comes across on her journey across the yellow brick road.
As the story goes… Dorothy is on her way to see the Wizard and encounters the Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and tin man on her journey. All three of her new found friends feel they are missing something which they believe the wizard will be able to give them. Lion wants courage, Scarecrow wants a brain and Tin Man wants a heart.
Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man are all outcasts who aren’t part of a group until they meet Dorothy. Their outcast status and trying to find acceptance has parallels with the struggles faced of many queer people, they can be easily read as an allegory for the LGBTQ community. Lion in the 1939 film is also “coded gay”, acting very much like a stereotypical gay man, reinforcing the LGBTQ themes.
Once Dorothy and Friends have defeated the Wicked Witch of The West and finally get to the Wizard, they find out he’s not so wonderful all along! The Wizard is just a man who doesn’t have any powers, meaning he cannot give them what they want. But all is ok when they find out that they already had everything the needed all along. In other words they didn’t need to change themselves to be happy.
It’s also no secret that Judy Garland who played Dorothy in the 1939 film was/is a gay icon due partly to playing this role, her talent and her personal struggles which many members of the LGBTQ community can relate to.
‘Over The Rainbow’ is not only a lovely song from Wizard of Oz (1939) but also a classic upbeat LGBTQ anthem, a dream of an idealistic world/ home for us all. And after all there’s no place like home!