In Praise of ‘Divine’ (1945-1988)

The Superb ‘Divine’!

Part of my progressive upbringing involved my parents introducing me to films which expanded my awareness and dissolved socially contrived barriers! When young, probably in my early teens, I was introduced to the film ‘Polyester’ and then the original film of ‘Hairspray’ (which I think is far superior to the re-make)! Divine is a beautiful human-being – something I should have said before he died in 1988 (when I was just 21-years-old and just embarking on my life in the world).

I think it would have been prudent to have included a tribute to Divine in the recent Netflix series entitled ‘Pose’ – although Divine had died of a heart problem just as the HIV-AIDS was becoming known in the world. I am glad he never had to witness the full extent of this devastating illness and the sheer homophobia and transphobia with which ‘straight’ society reacted! I look back at the late 1980s and early 1990s with a definite sense of shame. Divine had a birth-name but this doesn’t really interest me. I see him as a ‘woman’ who exuded femininity, grace, power and determination! Her challenges were our challenges and it is his universalism and internationalism that makes Divine truly beautiful!

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