ONE of my favourite black comedies is Harold and Maude, a movie based on a book written by the late gay screenwriter and activist Colin Higgins and I was delighted to learn that Higgins’s novel has been re-released, and that the royalties will benefit a host of LGBT charities.

harold and maude 2The Advocate reports that “a whole new generation of fans discovered Harold and Maude when Netflix recently added it. A must-read (or watch), this 1971 dark romantic comedy follows the unlikely but wonderful relationship that develops between Maude, a quirky 81-year-old optimist, and death-obsessed 19-year-old Harold.”

Higgins, who was also writer-director of the movies Nine to Five and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, died in 1988, shortly after his 47th birthday, of complications related to AIDS. His legacies, however, will be lasting. Two years before he died, he established the Colin Higgins Foundation to support LGBTQ youth in underserved communities.

The foundation has given $3 million over the years to numerous LGBTQ organisations, including the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, youth outreach efforts, and AIDS prevention programmes. With the book’s re-release, all royalties will go to the foundation, which recently gave out $10,000 each to three Youth Courage Award winners: Victoria, 19, an undocumented queer transgender immigrant who first came to the US at age 3; Alex, 20, a queer transgender man was raised Muslim and battled drug addiction, and like Victoria, he endured homelessness and bullying; and AJ, 20, a bisexual man raised in a poor black Southern neighbourhood, who’s a staunch advocate for workers’ rights, including an increase in the minimum wage.

“Do the Courage Award winners have anything to do with the book?” asks Diane Anderson-Minshall, who writes for The Advocate. “Maybe so. Like them, Harold and Maude handle themselves with grace and dignity in the face of overwhelming hardship. And, if you buy this book, you help put money in the pockets of great LGBT kids like these.”
Harold and Maude is available from Amazon.