In a time in which we need powerhouses in media to speak up against the challenges worldwide politics are bringing to the public, Paper Magazine’s editorial director and columnist Mickey Boardman continuously advocates for the rights of the Lgbtq community, people of color and women in the runaway.
The editorial director of Paper Magazine has never given an interview on his stance since the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. TPI has interviewed him on this topic while he was in Paris.
Being Lgbtq and being public about it is a statement in itself. But what exactly is our responsibility as Lgbtq people having influence in media?
Yes, we are now with Trump. We did have a forward momentum under Obama and it is so critical for us to see ourselves in the media or to see ourselves represented in the positive way, whether you’re black, whether you’re gay, that’s you know. It sounds silly, but there’s much more progress in such a character on a TV show, to me that’s much more progress in that than a gay being appointed in politics. Any person can learn to accept gays and learn to see they are normal.
I think that’s important and you know it’s important whether it’s for people of color, for women – its important for women to be portrayed as powerful! Or why shouldn’t we be taught that Emperor Hadrian in Rome was homosexual, why shouldn’t we be taught that people of color ruled the world, the Incas and the Aztecs, the tribes of Timbuktu, people of Babylonia? Everything is so white male the way that things are taught.
And the more commonplace it becomes, the more represented it becomes, the more normal it becomes and you know it sounds a little insulting that we want to be accepted. But, we must demand it. And we must do that for all people, not just the Lgbtq.
We are in a time in which such fundamental rights are under attack, and we need every responsible citizen to be vocal and speak for justice and equality everywhere they can. That goes for Meryl Streep getting a lifetime achievement award, whether that’s me on my Instagram, whether that’s you interviewing Lgbtq public figures.
The personal is political definitely…
But, at a certain point you have to look into the president, we won’t have to call him president, but “number 45”, whom if you don’t speak up against is irresponsible and it is very much like not speaking up against Hitler in the early days when he came to power. The thing that I try to focus on a lot is, anybody who number 45 attacks, people come to the defense of, it’s a wonderful gift, people are so energized.
People are giving money to Planned Parenthood, people are donating money to the Aclu, and making calls to the Congress. No one ever calls, suddenly they are flooding them. So in a way it’s a gift, and you know I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that we were being complacent with the progress.
You know having 20 women in the Senate, that’s a fucking joke, in the sense that is more then there have ever been but it’s like 20 percent?
Women are more than 20 percent of the population so it’s ridiculous, but still there’s tons of progress to be made and maybe I’m crazy but seeing the racism and seeing the homophobia and the sexism, and the hateful legislation shows me that we still have a long way to go.
You know someone told me that when a disease is cured, almost in the last days it reasserts itself. We’ve come so far in terms of equality, but its like there’s a last assertion of the white supremacist, and maybe that’s not the case but it shows we all need to fucking support all these issues like black lives matter and equal pay.
It’s equity and human rights…
And if you think that’s less acceptable…
It’s inhumane at the very core of it. And I guess to finish that thought what has your experience been as someone who is Lgbtq in the fashion world? What is the creative atmosphere like, is the runaway being political?
You know living in New York, to me it’s not necessary just an Lgbtq thing, living in New York, I’m in Paris now, I was counting and I was like, ‘let me count how many immigrants I come into contact every day’, and everyone there is an immigrant and I mean everyone, from the moment I wake up, to half the people I work with.
All the talent we have would be gone, and even those that are not immigrants are descendants of immigrants… and so I think that we the Lgbtq in fashion in New York and in the fashion world feel that because so many of us work with so many immigrants. So then a travel ban, which is something that fucks with immigrants is not just ‘oh we believe in equality for all’, but it affects a person whom I work with whom is part of my extended family and who affects my livelihood in every direct way, this is a direct threat to them and as a result a direct threat to me.
Are you going to back to New York tomorrow?
Yes, my flight is in the morning.
I’m flying to Barcelona tomorrow morning too!
Oh you’re going to Barcelona, tell me a little bit about yourself.
So I curate galleries and shows in California, specifically to uplift artists of marginalized communities and stories. After this I don’t know if I’ll go back to California yet, I think I’m going to London. I fell in love with London and in London.
Where did you meet him? Online? You know, I think that’s great!
Mickey, I think that the reason why people like us risk everything to accomplish what we need to accomplish is because when you have taken our ability to love, there is nothing else we are afraid to lose.
That’s right. Don’t mess with us.