Friend of Dorothy

Size: (W. x H. x D.) 98 x 56 x 3cm
Medium: Clear glass, screen-printed enamels, gold leaf

The evolution of the term "Friends of Dorothy" reaches back more than half a century. Gay historians say that the term came into popular use in the 1950's as gays and lesbians developed a special connection with the musical icon Judy Garland, whose ballads of hope and despair and whose relentless spirit and tragic history mirrored their struggles in everyday life. Garland's most famous role, as the ever-optimistic and wistful Dorothy in the 1939 classic 'The Wizard of Oz', gave gays and lesbians a "secret" code word which they could use to refer to themselves. At cocktail parties or company gatherings where one could not be comfortably 'out and proud', gays would inquire discreetly of each other, "Are you a 'Friend of Dorothy?'" The wink-wink admission of "I am, too!" would likely lead to fabulous and fast bonding in an age when gay bars were clandestine and, in some cases, dangerous.