What Does It Mean To Be a Friend of Dorothy?

What Does It Mean To Be a Friend of Dorothy?

We just came out with our Friend of Dorothy top for Pride, and for those scratching your heads wondering what that means, this is for you.

It will come as a huge shock to know that being gay hasn’t always been the easiest (sarcasm...that’s sarcasm). Homosexuality was effectively criminalized in the US into the early ‘00s, and for those who grew up decades ago, being gay looked a lot different than it does for many of us now.

Enter: Friend of Dorothy (or FOD).

During these years when being gay was criminalized, gay men (being the clever cuties that we are) started to use the euphemism Friend of Dorothy to subtly and safely identify themselves and others as gay.

Someone might ask, “Are you a Friend of Dorothy?” and if the other person replied no, then you could simply just move on.

Though there are differing opinions about the exact roots of the term, most people believe it stems from The Wizard of Oz and its lead, Judy Garland, who was an ally to the LGBTQ community way before it was acceptable. The original Oz books are also filled with themes and characters that many people see as LGBTQ-affirming.

Fun Fact: In the early '80s, the Government was investigating homosexuality in Chicago when agents realized that gay men sometimes referred to themselves as "Friends of Dorothy." Not knowing what this meant, the agency believed that a woman named Dorothy was at the center of a massive ring of homosexual military personnel. They launched an enormous hunt for Dorothy, hoping to find her and convince her to reveal the names of gay service members.

A black and white photo of a young Judy Garland, from the set of A Star Is Born, looking up and framing her face with her hands.

Though the term was originally used mostly by and for gay men, over the years it’s evolved into a term for anyone under the LGBTQ umbrella.

If you’re a Friend of Dorothy and want the world to know it, check out our new top!