#QueerHeroes Day 16.
Born Harris Glen Milstead, Divine was a Baltimore native and childhood friends with John Waters. They would make amateur films together as teens and he would give her the moniker “Divine.”
You can’t be a muse of John Waters without being filthy and a tad fucked up. She proved this in at least seven of his early films, including Pink Flamingos (where she literally ate a fresh dog turd). The film would be a cult hit and catapult her and Waters to underground stardom.
As Waters became more sought after, he continued to use Divine in his movies, the final one being “Hairspray.” She would also build her own career as a musician with singles like “You Think You’re a Man.” She also inspired the look of Ursula from Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
Toward the end of her career, she wanted to be a “serious” actor. Performing in the movies as a man. He would only succeed in that with the 1989 film “Out of the Dark,” playing Detective Langella. The film was released posthumously after she died in 1988
But drag and queer culture wouldn’t be the same without her. She was a pioneer in taking drag out of the aim of perceived femininity and instead to a realm of ugliness that was so paradoxically beautiful. Queer in its fearlessness.