A short video clip of Jane Fonda speaking out in support of gay and lesbian rights — from 1979 — has been going viral on Twitter, with fans shouting out to her for being an LGBTQ ally way before it was a fashionable cause among Hollywood celebrities.
“What this movement is seeking, which is nothing less than respect and justice, and stopping discrimination against people because of sexual preference, [puts you] on the side of the angels. I mean, it’s just, and it’s right. So if we’re going to survive as a world, and we may not, but if we do, they’re going to win.”
The video, which has been liked more than 128,000 times and counting, was posted a Sarah Paulson fan account with the handle @sarahsbian, run by a Brazilian woman named Milena, who captioned the post, “Jane Fonda was saying this in the 70s while some celebrities only manage to say ‘gay rights’ today.” The interview was reportedly filmed in San Francisco on the night of the White Night Riot, when thousands marched to protest the weak sentencing of Dan White, who killed San Francisco’s first openly gay official, activist and supervisor Harvey Milk, as well as the city’s Mayor George Moscone.
Fonda, now 82, in the midst of a promoting her new book What Can I Do? My Path From Climate Despair to Action, was friends with Milk, recalling about him several years ago, “he was the most wonderful, lovable… [with] a huge, generous heart, spirit.”
Milena posted the video — which she tells Yahoo Life she does annually, ever since finding it on YouTube, from the Kinolibrary Archive Film Collections — on the heels of Fonda’s Sept. 2 New York Times interview with Maureen Dowd to talk about her decades of acting and activism — everything “from Black Panthers to the Green New Deal, from a legendary sex life to no sex life, from plastic surgery to plastic prison handcuffs, from ‘Barbarella’ to Quentin Tarantino, from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump, from Marilyn Monroe to TikTok, from bad vibes over Hanoi Jane to good vibrators.”
But it was Fonda’s woke comments to Dowd about respecting gender pronouns that got her called out by Out magazine, in its story, “If Jane Fonda can correctly use pronouns, so can you”: “I’ve been working with really young people,” Fonda said. “When you meet them, they give the pronouns that they go by. I’m going on 83. Do I really have to say what pronouns I go by, you know? The answer is yes and there’s a learning curve.”
Milena says she was in part inspired to reshare the old video by that interview, and partly, she adds, because “I was also reading her book and thinking about how she was one of the only famous people who called out our homophobic president [Jair Bolsonaro]…since most celebrities only think about the USA, and I just had to post it cause I felt like reminding people of how amazing she is.”
There have been many recent reminders of Fonda’s outspoken legacy, including an interview with Howard Stern on Wednesday in which she talked about how aging has only made her more active in social justice movements. “There were so many old women there… Old women are leading this charge, believe me,” she told Stern about her recent climate-change protests in Washington D.C., which got her arrested five times in 2019 alone. “I mean, what the hell do we have to lose?”
While some critics disparaged Fonda on Twitter, still upset over her controversial Vietnam War protesting, most, including celebrities and influencers, were quick to join the party, praising her recent interviews, retweeting the 1979 video and calling her everything from “light years ahead of her time” and “a true icon for gay rights” to “the progressive queen” and a person who has been “speaking truth to power for decades!”
“They know that working together we can be stronger than either entity can be by itself … It increases our power. Cause as individuals we don’t have very much but altogether we have a lot of power.”
Jane Fonda was advocating gay solidarity in the 70s.pic.twitter.com/vsbWOSV8vj
— Senthorun Raj ✨ (@senthorun) September 10, 2020
Even Susan Sarandon — who has been trending for her own reasons this week, namely for voicing her support of a Joe Biden critic — weighed in with some Twitter love.
Fonda likely approves of all the tweeting, since, as she asked in the 1979 interview, “What am I here for if not to be used by good people for good things?”
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