The story of how Hello Sailor TMH, a gay men’s clothing and nautical decor line, evolved continues…..
The Jack-Pot movie, airing on a country station, based in San Angelo, came on TV every weekday at 1:00. This is how I spent my summer days as a child, while land locked in hot, desolate Texas. I could escape into a fantasy world of vintage movies, while wasting away on the sofa, in our air-conditioned living room.
Each week would feature a theme – Bette Davis Week – Joan Crawford Week – Audrey Hepburn Week, etc. I dreamed of one day growing up and being just like Holly Golightly, in Breakfast at Tiffany’s: a glamorous, depressed, champagne guzzling, fashionista whore who was making her way in the big city, while leaving her hillbilly past behind. That dream came true in a number of ways, later in life – but that’s another story.
Some of my fondest memories are from the musical weeks, featuring stars like Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra as tap dancing sailors in great movies like Anchors Aweigh, and On the Town. Something in my young mind was fascinated by cute young sailors, fresh off the boat, horny and looking for action. They would hit the streets in groups of single men, breaking out in spontaneous dance numbers, in their crisp white uniforms - looking for dames - and (later, I discovered) -possibly other horny men. Channing Tatum brought back the tap dancing queer sailor, fabulously, in the recent film, Hail Caesar.
The 1983 Fassbinder film, Querelle, was a journey into the dark, erotic side of Tom of Finland type sailors. Watching Brad Davis bent over a desk, taking it straight and hard, is an image that will live on to eternity.
Sailors tend to feed our gay fantasizes. Hot young men, living in close quarters, with only other men. You can just imagine what kinds of things must go on, either by desire, or in desperation. Hopping off at every port, looking to get laid – A man in every port…
Serving in the Navy or working in the Merchant Marines gave gay men a haven where doing what comes naturally wasn’t such a bad thing. Gay men could develop intimate relations with fellow sailors, or have the anonymity of screwing everything available in a port town and leaving the next day.
This was a time when being caught with one’s trousers down and having fun with a gentleman caller was against the law. Being outed in the armed services was grounds for dishonorable discharge.
Flash forward to 2016. Unimaginable progress has been made in the area of LGBTQ rights in the past thirty years. We can serve openly in our military and can marry and adopt children. We didn’t ask for special rights; we simply wanted the same rights that are granted to all Americans.
We as a community have banded together, made ourselves visible and made our voices heard. We are thankful to LGBTQ organizations such as Lambda Legal and other activists who pushed legislation forward and helped make this possible. We also owe gratitude to President Obama for finally speaking up for our team.On November 8th,2016 our nation, to the horror of 50% of the population, selected our own version of “President Snow”. Dark forces have infiltrated the Capital, and the progress we have made is in jeopardy. Let The Hunger Games begin…
The post- election despair, anxiety, and anger many of us are experiencing are both valid and reasonable. While we cannot change the outcome of the election, and though we may need time to grieve, eventually we can begin to focus on a path going forward, adopt a healthy mindset and determine what is within our control. Everything, large and small, matters in times like this. It saddens me to know that our LGBTQ youth may be especially vulnerable as they don’t have the benefit of history and knowing that we, along with our many straight allies, have always come together in times of need. In the spirit of what we can do, Hello Sailor TMH intends to support The Trevor Project by making donations from every item sold. Organizations like The Trevor Project will be crucial to the well-being of the younger LGBTQ community as they deserve all the support we can give.
We as a community must take this opportunity to reflect upon our history and remember we have fought and won many battles, and we will continue the fight. The drag queen pioneers of Stonewall fought the New York Police force – and won. We fought the battle for funding and effective treatment of HIV & AIDS – and won. We fought the United States Armed Forces – and won. We fought for marriage equality – and won.
We must not allow the ignorance, bigotry, and homophobia of some within the extreme “conservative values” party to threaten our historic progress. It’s crucial now more than ever to live openly and proudly! We won’t let the haters win!
In the words of our own Saint Joan: “Don’t fuck with us fellas! This ain’t our first time at the rodeo.”
With Love -
Creative Director -Hello Sailor, TMH.