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Digital Subscriptions > DNA Magazine > DNA #221 | The USA Issue > 20 THINGS WE (STILL) LOVE ABOUT THE USA


With a human Dorito running the greatest superpower on Earth, it’s easy to forget that there are plenty of great things to love about America, writes Cameron McCool. Here’s 20 reasons to refresh your zest for all things US of A.


In America, the Stonewall Riots are considered the most influential event leading to the Gay Liberation movement.

The peaceful and genteel Mattachine Society had been politely lobbying for recognition of homosexuals in law since the ’50s, and the establishment had been politely ignoring them.

But when queers took a stand against police brutality and corruption at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, it sparked a riot that continued over three nights. It dragged the issue of gay and lesbian civil rights kicking and screaming and bloodied onto the front pages at a time when even The Village Voice wouldn’t use the term “gay” to refer to homosexuals. Gay Liberation was born, not just in the USA, but around the world.

Since then, LGBTIQ heroes and our allies have protested tirelessly for equality. There are countless people to thank and honour – and with Stonewall’s 50th anniversary approaching in 2019, we look forward to that celebration.

President Trump’s attempts to ban trans people from the military, and the anti-LGBTIQ stance of Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary Of Education Betsy DeVos are as close as the current administration has come to rolling back our rights… so far. However, with the incumbent’s known appetite for racism, misogyny, transphobia and xenophobia, we’d better stay vigilant!

The inn at the time of the riots in 1969.
And more recently.


Believe it or not, the Stonewall Riots were also a catalyst for circuit parties. Six months after Stonewall, America’s first gay rights group – the Gay Activist Alliance – formed and held dances in a firehouse in SoHo. At the same time, another dance party sprung up on Fire Island.

According to Mickey Weems, a lecturer at the University of Hawai’i Manoa, it was the first “circuit”. Weems attributes the name “circuit parties” to Andrew Holleran’s 1978 novel Dancer From The Dance. The author was the first to use the term circuit to imply that there was a “need to know circuit” in place not just for underground dance parties, but “in-the-know” places in the gay community, that even included barbershops.

Today, gay circuit parties are a global affair but America remains home to some of the best. White Party, Pines Party, and Provincetown Carnival are amongst the largest. Blatino Oasis, Black Party, Purple Party, Pensacola Pride and even Splash Days in Austin offer a smorgasbord of party options.

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We aren’t trumped! In this issue we celebrate 20 of the best reasons to still love the USA. From Stonewall to Broadway, from jockstraps to Tom Ford, from power gays running the show to mid-Western cowboy beefcake! Find out what else makes our hot list! In fashion, we uncover the sheer revolution in swimwear. That’s right, coming to a beach or pool near you soon, it’s tantalisingly sexy, almost see-thru swimwear. Roll on summer! We catch up with Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan, playing a gay couple who unexpectedly have a young son to bring up, in the new comedy, Ideal Home. We chat with director, Andrew Fleming. For a straight boy, Blake Appleqvist has worn a lot of drag. He’s been an angel in Kinky Boots and is now playing Miss Understood in Priscilla: The Musical. Find out how good this hunky young man looks in a frock! In other showbiz features, John Cameron Mitchell is bringing back his famous Hedwig And The Angry Inch character for a cabaret tour of Australia. He tells us about what Hedwig’s been doing, hanging out with his chum Nicole Kidman, and, er, getting wiggy with it! Plus, we review Puffs and Mt Buddy. Described at Facebook meets for the LGBTIQ community, Capturing Rainbows chronicles over 40 years of America’s gay scene in fab retro photos and words. Find out all about it in our feature, The Extraordinary Lives Of Ordinary People. In the wild world of electro-pop there are two exiting new talents – The Hound and Renate. They’re both sexy/cool and we meet them in this issue. Don’t miss your favourite regulars: Dear Diva, Nuts! and Burnttoast, plus stacks of news, and some cool travel tips. We hope you enjoy the hot American hunks of James Franklin’s photography this issue and get a good read!