The germ of an idea that would become Swish began on the corner of Greenwich and Christopher streets during the 2002 NYC Pride March. I was enjoying the March—shockingly, my first—with eight of my gay boyfriends. I was deeply moved and inspired by the energy and pride on display, and I wondered why there weren't more straight allies and friends in the March with their LGBT pals and loved ones.
I thought, “My gay friends are such a big part of my life, socially and politically.” I had become involved in HIV/AIDS and LGBT advocacy in college and that involvement deepened with each passing year. I was looking for a larger and more public expression of my love and support.
That was it, and it was suddenly bigger than my desire to dress up and dance down Fifth Avenue. I’d establish the first-ever “fag hag” float for the NYC Pride March in 2003. It had never been done before—or since. And with the help of these wonderful men, and my sister hags and lesbians, in New York City and Los Angeles, Swish was born. After our award-winning debut, people from all over the world told us we were on to something. All these years later, thousands of people have signed on as Swish members to celebrate and participate in this community—one that had never been available before.
Swish is rapidly evolving into a powerful and visible gay-straight alliance. Among our many accomplishments, our proudest is supporting dozens of LGBT-serving organizations and initiatives with volunteer hours, advocacy, and financial resources. We are out to build an army of powerful straight allies—without whose support at every level, full LGBT will never be achieved.
We have the pink, feminine, kitschy aesthetic ... bringing fun back to activism the way that JT brought sexy back to sex. We will never resign our trademark fabulousness! And our pride for our fellow citizens, both women and men, gay and straight, runs deep.
Many of our members have lost family and loved ones before their time to HIV/AIDS, suicide, and hate-motivated violence. Swish exists in memory and honor of these wonderful people. We stand, without exception, for a world in which inequality is an anachronism, and so that young LGBT and questioning youth can grow up in a world where they are loved, respected, and celebrated.
(Oh, and Swish members have VIP tickets to the ultimate Pride March ... in the sky.)
Isn't it time you Swished?
With love, peace, and pride,