Harvey Fierstein on the Media’s Heterosexual Bias

The Kinky Boots musical author explains why questions about drag have become a drag.

Ahead of tonight’s Lone Star State opening of the touring production of Tony Award-winning musical Kinky Boots, the Dallas Voice has shared a kick-in-the-pants interview with the show’s writer, Harvey Fierstein.

At one point in the conversation with freelance celebrity journalist Chris Azzopardi, Fierstein chuckles about how people covering David Bowie in the 1970s didn’t think a certain part of his act was drag. He then moves on to a more serious observation:

“As far as my work goes, I find it incredibly insulting when somebody says, “Why do you use drag so much?” I say, “Why does David Mamet write about heterosexuals all the time? And why does nobody ever ask Mamet, ‘Is this another heterosexual show? Wasn’t your last play about heterosexuals?’” Or Aaron Sorkin: ‘Well, Aaron, you know, you had heterosexuals in your last piece; do we have to see another heterosexual piece from you?’ Nobody says that crap.”

“… If you look at the style book of any major media outlet – read an article in the New York Times – it’s written as if the person reading it is a heterosexual white male. They just assume that everyone in the world is reading it through those prejudiced eyes, and you can’t change that unless you change that.”

Fierstein has some choice words for figure skater turned sports commentator Johnny Weir. He also explains how he tried to mourn the passing of Robin Williams by having lunch in San Francisco with Armistead Maupin.