What is Over the Rainbow and where did the meaning originate??
Are there really leprechauns, a pot of gold and unicorns? Or is it just a place in limbo where Rupaul’s Drag Race contestants go on hiatus each season?
It’s an age old question that we have been asking ourselves almost all our lives. If you are part of the LGBTQ+ community, this is more than just a quest or a question, but a lifestyle that we are born into.
For me, what lies beyond the rainbow is basic; your true authentic self.
Getting there is another journey.
One doesn’t just tap their heels three times like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and then magically get portalled into the LGBTQ+ world. It’s so much more complicated than that.
After researching gay icon Judy Garland’s version of “Over the Rainbow,” I was stunned to discover the song (which first debuted in 1939) was written by Yip Harbug, the son of a Russian-Jewish immigrant. The lyricist wrote this award winning melody during a time of hostile attacks on the Jews in Europe.
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow way up high, there’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.” Could this possibly be where our gay anthem generated from, a moment in history which was full of hate and hostility?
Or maybe that is why we coined the phrase, “Over the Rainbow,” to create a fantasy world where there is no tolerance for indifference.
Or maybe it’s because the gay community just loves Judy and views her as a Mother Teresa. Harbug writes in the song, ”Someday, I wish upon a star, wake up where the clouds are far behind me.“
Unfortunately, life isn’t a song, a musical or a walk down the yellow brick road with the Scarecrow, Tin Man or the Cowardly Lion in search of the great OZ.
Being new to the area like I am to the Central Coast feels like coming out of the closet all over again. Where do I belong? How will I be received? Is this an accepting environment to live among? All those insecure and paranoid questions and more entered my mind.
These very questions are why I am creating this LGBTQ+ Feature Column appropriately called, “Over the Rainbow,” to really investigate what SLO County has to offer and to write about topics that are important in our culture and tell the stories that relate, while educating people about our diverse way of living.
Finding your place, Over the Rainbow can be challenging for some, but easier for others. Being out for over 20 years of my life may seem like a lifetime to some, but nowadays young people are making an impact and identifying themselves in their teens or young adult lives, which is very compelling and inspiring.
I would compare it to a coming of age story that doesn’t happen at 17, but could happen at any age or moment in your life. There’s no foretelling the future, as to when you come out, how you come out, who calls you out or who you come out to. In reality it is much more personal than that. So, what happens when you finally come out and where does one find support within the community?
Attending this year’s SLO Pride was a sneak peek into seeing how accepting society is to the topic of LGBTQ+. Mayor Heidi Harmon’s energetic speech both filled my eyes with tears and led me to stand and proudly applaud our movement and its progress.
The empowering energy which resonated from that day passed quickly and provoked me to ask myself, “Where does the LGBTQ+ community go now?” Is it, “Where trouble melts like lemon drops, high above the chimney top?”
Is that really where you are gonna find me? Where happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow?
Encouraging our populace to cry, “Then, why or why can’t I?”