Otis hated the Wizard of Oz, mainly because of his problems with “Dorothy”.

He wasn’t particularly keen on any kind of label; as a child, his parents would call him a Smart Alec, and he would descend into tears for an hour or more. As a teenager, he was suspended from school once, when he punched a fellow student who called him a “Band nerd”.

So as an adult, and as a gay man, he really didn’t like being called “Dorothy”. He knew the history of it, the Friends of Dorothy, and he knew that the world was still hardly safe for someone out; it was better, but not safe.

Still, despite all of this, he hated to be called “Dorothy”, and as such, hated the Wizard of Oz.

The first time he saw the movie, he was mildly frightened of the monkeys, but he otherwise enjoyed the story. It was implausible, but entertaining, and to a young Otis, that was enough.

But as the years went on, and he came into himself, and he eventually shared that self with others. As he did, he started to encounter the Dorothy term more and more. At first he was confused, thinking there was just someone named Dorothy he was supposed to meet, a ring leader in his city, someone to organize the gay community. Eventually, someone explained the meaning of it, though, and on that day, he started to hate the Wizard of Oz.

His friend – the one who had explained the background and meaning of the term – was surprised at Otis’ vehement rage. He knew Otis didn’t like to self-identify as gay, queer, lgbtq, or even as “man” or “human”. Otis would usually respond with a terse, “I am. Isn’t that enough?” and his friend would leave it there.

But the rage at “those stupid witches and their use of innocent bystanders in a broader geopolitical conflict,” was surprising, and nearly cost the friendship. The two moved past it – awkwardly, for a time – but the label continued on, Otis now hating the movie, his friend carefully avoiding its mention.

As he watched Return to Oz, Otis always rooted for the king.

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