In a powerful interview on “Unapologetically Queer” with host Al Ferguson, renowned journalist Rod Stafford Hagwood shared his experiences and reflections as a pioneer in the LGBTQ+ community. The interview shed light on the significance of History Fort Lauderdale's Pride Month exhibit, which honors Hagwood and other trailblazers. Their conversation touched on the history of the LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Movement, the role of journalism in shaping change, and the vibrant LGBTQ+ scene in South Florida.
Honoring History and Trailblazers:
June marks Pride Month, a time to commemorate the Stonewall riots of 1969 that kickstarted the modern LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Movement. Hagwood emphasized the importance of remembering these pivotal moments in history and how they inspire change. History Fort Lauderdale's retrospective exhibit, titled “Honoring Rod Stafford Hagwood and LGBTQ Trailblazers: A Pride Month Exhibit,” pays tribute to the pioneers of the LGBTQ+ community, including Hagwood himself.
Rod Stafford Hagwood: A Journalistic Trailblazer:
With over three decades of documenting the stories, people, and events of the LGBTQ+ community in South Florida, Hagwood's contributions as a journalist have been invaluable. His insightful commentary, reviews, and spot-on entertainment coverage for outlets such as the Sun Sentinel and Sun Sentinel.com have enriched the cultural landscape of South Florida. As one of the first African American gay journalists in Florida, Hagwood's influential style-setting views have had a lasting impact.
Intersection of Queerness and Journalism:
During the interview, Hagwood and Ferguson explored the intersection of queerness and journalism. Hagwood shared that being queer has contributed to his success as a journalist, emphasizing the importance of working harder as a minority. He acknowledged the challenges faced by queer journalists in a predominantly straight media industry, highlighting the need for perseverance and tenacity to overcome biases and prejudices.
The Power of LGBTQ+ Visibility:
Hagwood also discussed the significance of LGBTQ+ visibility, both in media representation and within the community itself. Reflecting on his experiences in South Florida's vibrant LGBTQ+ scene, he noted the importance of diverse voices and body positivity. The interview highlighted the creativity and resilience present in the LGBTQ+ community, celebrating the fashion, entertainment, and cultural contributions that have enriched the region.
Looking to the Future:
While recognizing the progress made, Hagwood acknowledged the challenges that persist. He discussed the power of hate and the need for continued activism and engagement within the LGBTQ+ community. The interview shed light on the importance of voting and remaining politically aware, as well as the impact of fundamentalism and the need for inclusivity and understanding.
Rod Stafford Hagwood's interview on “Unapologetically Queer” provided a thought-provoking glimpse into the life and experiences of a LGBTQ+ trailblazer. History Fort Lauderdale's Pride Month exhibit honoring Hagwood and other pioneers serves as a testament to the resilience, strength, and progress of the LGBTQ+ community. By celebrating and sharing these stories, we continue to pave the way for a more inclusive and accepting future.