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Opening the Commercial Closet

11apr11:00 am12:15 pmOpening the Commercial Closet11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Event Details

  • Gay Desert Guide's Fun & Games Dept. and present Opening the Commercial Closet.
  • Opening the Commercial Closet, you’ll be surprised to find that LGBTQ themes in advertising go all the way back to 1917!
  • Can't make the live event? Buy a ticket for the recording and watch the event in your own time! Details in FAQs below.
  • In this provocative and educational multimedia program, watch over 60 commercials and dozens of print ads depicting homophobia, gay stereotypes, queer kisses and parenthood as we explore how cultural shifts, film/TV, HIV/AIDS and Supreme Court decisions have changed representations of our queer community in mass advertising.
  • You will see the good, the bad and the ugly from familiar brands, including Joe Namath in pantyhose from 1974 and IKEA’s gay couple from 1994, and other groundbreaking ads that you never knew about. We’ll even touch on the rise of LGBT marketing and some of the best corporate players.
  • These ads will surprise and amuse you as we cover four major eras and dive into three CLOSEUP features:
    • The Early Years (1917-1980) – Glances, Sissies, Couples, Drag
    • Coming Out (1981-2000) – HIV/AIDS Emerges, Gay Vague, Fashion Goes Gay
    • ‘Gay’ Goes Mainstream (2001-2013) – Queens, Predators & Real LGBT People
    • Trans, Employees and Parents (2014-Now)
    • CLOSEUP: Film & TV ads – Freaks, Friends, and Frank-N-Furter
    • CLOSEUP: LGBT Media & Niche Marketing Rise
    • CLOSEUP: History of Kisses
    • “Opening the Commercial Closet” offers highlights from the 6,000+ archive of LGBTQ-themed ads at that tell the still-evolving, multimedia story of our queer history in advertising worldwide.
  • Speaker Bios
    • Michael Wilke (he/him) is a marketing director and veteran business journalist who has charted the history of LGBTQ themes in advertising since 1992. Michael’s work has contributed to a sea change in LGBTQ representation in advertising. He has written for The New York Times, Advertising Age, Adweek, Queerty and appeared on CNN, Fox News, CNBC, and BBC. In 2001, Michael founded Commercial Closet Association to promote advertising that respects gender identity/expression and sexual orientation. Now known as, the website contains over 6,000 viewable LGBTQ-themed ads going back to 1917. He has lectured worldwide at universities, corporations and film festivals and his work has been cited in college textbooks, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Newsweek and elsewhere. A graduate of the School of Visual Arts in Communications, and City University of New York/Baruch in Marketing, Michael lives with his 6-year-old son in New York City and remembers way too many commercial jingles from childhood.


(Sunday) 11:00 am - 12:15 pm


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Palm Springs 92263