Looking back at the history of how certain things have been treated in the U.S. is really wild. When our magazine first started in 1976, queer media could still easily be flagged as “obscene” and banned or made illegal. At the same time, cannabis was still illegal in every state and considered the “gateway drug.”
As with many prejudices, there was a racist, sexist, and homophobic agenda behind these bans. The worry was not so much that queer media was “obscene,” but that it would normalize femme and queer folks. Cannabis isn’t really dangerous, as we understand now, but it was kept illegal for a long time to keep people of color down and further the agenda of corporations and pharmaceutical companies.
Today, looking back, it seems ridiculous that we used to ban queer media or that we thought cannabis could be so dangerous. It’s even a little funny. But, a slightly deeper look around will reveal that we haven’t really come all that far. Cannabis is still federally illegal, and there are still people serving really long jail sentences and being targeted because of their race.
Queer people are also still targets in the U.S. Just after celebrating a more inclusive president and the right to marry, new legislative policies under the Trump administration are making it tricky for queer people to feel safe expressing who we are, especially trans folks, whose very existence is being questioned.
But while the cannabis and queer communities may have marginalization in common, we also have perserverence in common. None of us are giving up. Medicine, relief from pain, personal expression, the right to be who we are, these are all human rights, and we won’t stop fighting the good fight. Here’s to celebrating all things cannabis and all things queer.