WHY VISIBILITY MATTERS
A couple of stories we wrote in the past month — and the comments they
elicited from readers — really got me thinking about our motto here at AfterElton.com which is Do I Really Have to Watch Anymore of [INSERT NAME OF SHOW HERE]? Oops, that’s my motto. Our motto is Because Visibility Matters. But what does that mean exactly? And how does that translate to action? And who is responsible for doing it?
Why let’s take a look, Abby Cadabby!
Our article on Sean Hayes vs Ricky Martin’s coming out had some folks criticizing us for saying gay celebrities "owe" us their coming out and details about their private lives. Um, for starters we didn’t say that and that has never been our policy. We have said that we think it’s great when celebrities come out and we think that it’s the right thing to, but we’ve never said they "owe" us that or anything else (except I do think Nathan Lane owes me $8 for Mousehunt).
But I’d like to add something to that. While neither Sean Hayes nor Ricky Martin nor anyone else gay, bisexual or queer in the media spotlight personally owes me or you anything, I would argue that they do owe the movement that made it possible for them to live with the freedoms that so many of us do enjoy in 2010.
For example, if you’re under the age of, say, fifty then you owe a hell of a lot to the men and women of The Mattachine Society, the Daughters of Bilitis, Bayard Rustin and the drag queens, street youths and everyone else who fought back during the Stonewall Riots for getting things started back in the 50s and 60s.
And if you’re under the age of forty, then you owe a hell of a lot to the folks who fought battles against Anita Bryant and the other religious bigots that first started legislating against our rights, not to mention those gay and bisexual men and women who took care of our own during the worst of the AIDS crisis when the rest of the country abandoned us.
And if you’re under thirty and think of same-sex marriage as something that is your right and is inevitable, then you owe a hell of a lot to the queer community who back in the 90s started making the case for gay marriage and did the grunt work that has carried us to the point where we are today.
And if you’re, say, a gay celebrity, then you owe a hell of a lot to Sir Ian McKellen, Martina Navratilova, Simon Callow, Sir Elton John, Harvey Fierstein and Ellen DeGeneres who all came out long before it was as easy to do as it now.
Ian McKellen, Martain Navratilova, Harvey Fierstein
These things didn’t happen by accident. All along the way throughout history, queer people had to make the choice to be brave and put their own immediate self-interest and well-being aside in order to improve things for all of us. They are the reason we are here today.
So, no, Hayes and other famous gay people don’t owe "us" anything. But I’d argue those celebrities do owe those who made past sacrifices their willingness to do their part going forward. And if not that, then to at least not bitch about how tough they have it now.
Next page! Spring is in the air!
SPRING IS IN THE AIR AND GLEE IS EVERYWHERE!
While we had a pretty mild winter in my neck of the woods, I know alot of you had to live through Snowpocalypse: D.C., Snowpocalypse: New York and Snowpocalypse: Entire Frickin’ Eastern Seaboard. Fortunately, it’s April and excepting a possible last minute flurry or two, the snows should be gone for six months or so. And that means it’s spring when a young editor’s fancy turns toward love. Or in my case, since I’ve already got the Flying Monkey for the love part, what I’m most looking forward to this month!
1) The return of Glee!
When Fox first announced that Glee wouldn’t be returning until April!, I was highly annoyed. First of all, more than one show has been killed by an unduly long hiatus, but more importantly, I want more of Kurt and the gang.
It’s spring. Shouldn’t their clothes be brighter?
But now that the show is back in less than two weeks just as Southland, Ugly Betty and Spartacus all go away, and not only gives Kurt a love interest, but also features Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris and Kristin Chenoweth, not to mention a Lady GaGa episode, all is forgiven. "I’m walking on sunshine! Woah! I’m walking on sunshine!
Also on my radar, Brothers & Sisters’ flashback episode, Luke and Reid’s hook-up on As the World Turns and a bad, bad John Barrowman on Desperate Housewives.
Am not looking forward to: the end of Kish or Ugly Betty. The pop culture world will be worse for their absence.
2) Wide release movies with actual gay content!
I know, I know! After months of not much to choose from gay-wise, April has two movies with gay content. Try not to pass out.
Peter Dinklage in Death at a Funeral
Up first is Death at a Funeral, a remake of the not particularly successful 2007 Frank Oz version that pretty much tanked. This DaaF is from none other than Neal LaBute and stars Chris Rock. Peter Dinklage reprises his role as the gay lover of the dearly departed from the movie’s title while James Marsden takes over the Alan Tudyk role. (He’s the character who ends up naked and if you’re interested in that sort of thing, you can check out the restricted trailer here. I may have watched it … a couple of dozen times.)
Ewan … sigh…
The end of the month sees the long-awaited I Love You Phillip Morris starring Ewan McGregor and someone else whose name I can’t recall. Unlike DaaF, which only has a gay subplot, ILYPM is actually about gay characters, the first wide release movie this year that can make that claim.
See, the wingers are right. We are just totally overrunning everything.
Also on my radar, The Runaways and Date Night because Tina Fey and Steve Carrell is like putting chocolate and peanut together!
Am not looking forward to: the terrible looking The Back-up Plan because one Jennifer Lopez wipes out a dozen Alex O’Loughlin.
Next page! Looking forward to men in dresses!
3) La Cage Aux Folles
While the movies haven’t been terribly gay friendly of late, the same can’t be said of New York theater which usually has at least one gay offering going on. (See our review of Yank!) Opening April 6th is the latest version of La Cage Aux Folles and while I wish it were John Barrowman playing Albin/Zaza and that star Kelsey Grammer weren’t yammering on about it not being a "gay" musical, but a "universal story," I’m still pretty jazzed to check it out. Plus, it has Nick Adams as a Cagelle!
Also on my radar: A Night in Vegas at the Actors’ Playhouse and Leslie Jordan’s My Trip Down the Pink Carpet at the Midtown Theatre, both in New York City.
Am not looking forward to: see Grammer, Kelsey above.
4) Adam Lambert appearing at the GLAAD awards
While I wouldn’t exchange getting to watch Brent accept his GLAAD award from Dustin Lance Black last month for pretty much anything, I have to admit I’d give up a week or two off my lifespan to get to watch Adam perform at the upcoming GLAAD awards in Los Angeles. The Glambert performing for a nearly all gay crowd is about as much gay goodness as one could ever hope for outside of Pride in San Francisco.
Also looking forward to: The Lady GaGa Monster Tour in Australia. No, I won’t be attending, but I can dream, can’t I?
Am not looking forward to: Madonna episode of Glee. Sorry, not a fan!
5) Major League Baseball’s Opening Day
I have to confess that baseball isn’t exactly my first choice when it comes to sports, but I will confess that going to watch a game in April is actually a heck of a lot of fun what with the sunshine and fresh spring air. Oh, and those baseball uniforms aren’t bad either!
Also looking forward to: all the shirtless hotties running around the lake by my house!
Next page! Asshat of the Week! Or just go here instead…
ASSHAT OF THE WEEK: PROMS, PARENTS, AND TWO MILITARY PUTZES
The nominees this week include one school district that canceled prom rather than let a lesbian couple attend, the parents of a gay student who kicked him out for coming out, and two U.S. miliatary men who dishonored their stripes.
1) The Itawamba County school board of Jackson, Mississippi
WHY? Apparently having learned nothing about tolerance from Will Phillips of Arkansas, the Itawamba County school board canceled their prom rather than allow Constance McMillen to bring a female date or dress in a tuxedo because "…them newfangled ideas are just crazy and will lead to boys holding hands and not getting gay-bashed for it!"
After much wrangling, Constance has finally been invited to the private prom created to take the place of the canceled one. Personally, I think Constance should attending holding the scholarship check she received thanks to all the attention and remind everyone she is going to get out of the loser town she grew up in.
2) Derrick Martin’s parents
WHY? After month’s of wrangling with the Bleckley County school officials in Cochran, GA, 18-year-old Derrick Martin won the right to take his boyfriend to prom. So how did his parents reward his courage in standing up for his rights? They kicked him out. Because that’s what Jesus would do.
3) U.S. general John Sheehan
WHY? I’ve seen a lot of asshat comments and behavior in my life, but I have to say there is something especially egregious about General Sheehan’s comments that a massacre which took place in Srebenica during the 90s was somehow the fault of gay soldiers which the Dutch military allows to serve openly.
What a loathsome thing to say. As if it’s not enough to blame us ’mos for straight people getting divorced and too much male body-grooming, we’re also to blame for innocent people dying? Somebody needs to pull some duty shifts in the Aleutian Islands. Sheehan has since offered his apology, which I’ll decline to accept and instead offer him this Asshat nomination.
4) Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon
WHY? Apparently failing to understand just what his job duties entail, General Mixon recently encouraged troops to write letters to their members of Congress against the repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell. Despite military regulations specifically banning members of the military from openly criticizing the president, Mixon is not going to be punished.
So how about an Asshat crown instead?
Poll closes Monday at noon Eastern.
Next page! A new number #1! Ay, caramba!
THE POWER RANKINGS!
This week was so good that I couldn’t keep my choices to just ten. So welcome two new guys to the club, plus we say good-bye to one drag queen gone to soon, and a second teen makes the list!
Rank (Last Week)
|Welcome to the club, Ricky! Now go shake your bon-bon while livin’ la vida loca!|
|United States of Tara
|Oh, Moosh, I just want to hold your hand and tell you that you’ll figure it out eventually.|
Calvin and Grant
|Plan to meet five years from now on top of the Empire State Building when you’ll both be ready to make it work. Please….|
|The Real World
|You did us proud, Mike! Now go be a huge success in the world.|
|So you’re not nearly as famous as Ricky Martin, but you’re the only bisexual male wrestler I know of. Now give us a half nelson!|
|The Amazing Race
|Finally! After weeks of just scraping by, both you and brother Dan showed what your made of!|
|RuPaul’s Drag Race
|You were totally top three material, Pandora! You wuz robbed!|
Cam and Mitch
|Mitchell’s storyline two weeks ago with his dad and Manny demonstrated why this show is awesome.|
|United States of Tara
|Don’t worry, Lionel. Marshall will probably figure out it’s you he really likes eventually. Meanwhile, tone down the in “your face” stuff a tad, ’kay?|
|Hang in there, Justin! Just like Marshall and Lionel, you’re going to figure things out.|
|One Life to Live
|You’re going to be such good dads. Too bad we won’t get to see it.|
Dr. Reid Oliver
|As the World Turns
|I knew you weren’t all stone. Looking forward to that first kiss. Not with me! With Luke. Not that I’d say no…|
|I’m really starting to love Officer Cuddlybear for his mix of no BS attitude wrapped around his soft, sensitive interior!|
Given that the Cellar Dweller feature is only a few week’s old, I confess to being surprised that this week marks the first time someone has fallen from the top of the Power Rankings all the way to the depths of the Cellar. But that’s exactly what Johnny Weir managed this week with his dismal appearance on Chelsea Lately. I will now pause for all the Weir fans to shriek at me for an hour or so.
And we’re back. Sorry, Weir fans, but I thought what Johnny tried to do to Evan Lysacek
was really, really sh*tty. Johnny is supposed to be about being free to express yourself however you feel comfortable, but trying to out Lysacek flies in the face of that. And for those of you that say Weir’s behavior is excusable because of how he’s been treated, let me just say I hope we never serve on a jury together because we would so not get along.
And for the Weir haters, no, I did not suddenly wake up and discover Johnny is bitchy. Like all of us, he’s complicated and did something stupid.
Next page! Shooting arrows at the week’s TV!
IN MY HUMBLE OPINION
Man, when you follow as many shows as I do, trying to catch up on two weeks of TV watching is a be-yotch! And two episodes of High Society? Only. When. Drunk. But here goes starting with the Amazing Race, a Blue Mountain State that was horrifying and both One Life to Live and As The World Turns get it right in the same week!
THE AMAZING RACE: Well, Dan and Jordan finally made their move this week — and by move, I mean they took off their shirts! It’s about time TAR!
BLUE MOUNTAIN STATE: I’m never, ever going to think of the term "oil change" the same way again. (Hands unconsciously covering crotch.) Or urine tests. Or football players.
GREEK: Is is just me or did Heath show up awfully fast after Calvin and Grant went their separate ways? I thought gaydar just helped you figure out who was gay, not gay and single. Oh, and I’m totally voting Calvin for president of Omega Chi Delta. Now where do I get my ballot?
UGLY BETTYY: Justin and Austin sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G! And poor Bobby, trying to figure out why Justin is shutting him out is heartbreaking!
ONE LIFE TO LIVE: Nothing like a religious lunatic with a gun to bring out the paternalistic feelings, eh Fish?
SPARTACUS: Can you imagine Illythia as your BFF? It would certainly never be dull . As for poor Sparty, I think his new theme song should be "I Am a Rock."
CAPRICA: First off, barely any Sam, and no shirtless Sam? Bad, SyFy, bad! Second, no more episodes until frakkin’ October? I’d blow you out a space hatch if I didn’t want to know what happens next so badly.
UNITED STATES OF TARA: It’s not a good sign when you really only like one storyline, is it? But that’s the case right now with United States of Marshall. Oops.
MODERN FAMILY: If any other show had put a gay man in a dress in one episode and then had him trying to be more butch the next episode, it would probably be offensive, but when MF does it, they find comedy gold.
V: Don’t you just hate how heterosexuals are so judgemental about gay sex? At least our Queen doesn’t eat her mate after having sex. Instead, Lady GaGa usually just makes another amazing video and pisses off Bill O’Reilly.
SOUTHLAND: [Dramatic voiceover:] Every editor knows a post has the potential to blow up in their face. Sometimes they have to learn that lesson again. AfterElton.com editor Michael Jensen is about to learn that the hard way. Fortunately, he won’t end getting shot at the end.
Officer Rookieboy: Yeah, he checks out my ass once in a while.
But, hey, I’m totally ogling your rack right now!
Next page! Ru, you effed it up!
PROJECT RUNWAY: Hmm, I’m not sure having the designers create their own pattern was all that riveting despite the fact they kept saying, "In a Project Runway first!" You want a real first? How about designing clothes that make Ann Coulter look human instead of a horse version of Skeletor. Too tough?
TIM GUNN: Sorry, Anthony. Clear your sh*t out.
ANTHONY: But who’s going to say hilarious things in the workroom.
TIM GUNN: That’s what I’m here for. Now get the eff out!
CHELSEA LATELY: Chelsea lately isn’t very funny. And I’m starting to wonder if she ever was.
AS THE WORLD TURNS: Wow, Luke, much of a dick? At least he helped Reid out in the end. BTW, best use of an elevator in a TV show ever? LA Law!
SONS OF TUCSON: Not a great show, but the gay reveal about the cop was cute. Fortunately it wasn’t on NBC or CBS ’cuz then the gay cop would have had to die.
HIGH SOCIETY: Can you believe the CW asked me if I wanted to interview Paul Calderon after I wrote this? I suspect after I asked "How do you deal with being utterly reprehensible and worthless?" things would go downhill pretty fast.
THE REAL WORLD: Last week we had Mike and Tanner, and this week we had the finale with Mike as a gay rights activist? Note to The CW: See, not all reality TV has to suck!
SHEAR GENIUS: Isn’t Top Chef back yet? Oh, and anyone who thought Brick was going home this week hasn’t been paying attention to how reality TV works.
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: This show continues to surprise by actually moving the plot along, sometimes killing characters (and then resurrecting them!) in genuinely interesting ways. And the shirtless guys don’t hurt either. AE reader Alessar is doing very detailed recaps in the forums and you should check them out!
THE ROBERT VERDI SHOW: I’m not sure what I liked more. Sunglasses that dispense a skin care product called YouthnEyes or making the intern who wouldn’t sign the release wear a bag over her head. Hmmm….
CELEBRITY APPRENTICE: Good grief, one hour of this show feels stretched out, so two is pure torture. But when you have crap programming, you have to stretch out what you have. Cyndi, I love you, but I wish you’d get eliminated so I don’t have to watch anymore.
TRAUMA: Boone to Tyler as they dodge a sniper’s bullets and argue over who is more likely to get shot: "San Francisco already has a surplus of white gay dudes." Best line of the week.
RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE: I absoutely loved the Golden Girl challenge and applaud all involved. I was even stunned that Tyra was so nice but sending Pandora Boxx home? Ru, YOU EFFED IT UP!
EMMERDALE: OMG, that was so heartbreaking! When are they going to remake Emmerdale for American viewers!
Next page! But wait! There’s something missing!
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
Yes, yes, there is an entire section missing. I didn’t just space out and forget all about TV! We’ve decided to break out the FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE into its own column written by our own Lyle Masaki who writes our daily Queerview posts. Check the site tomorrow for Lyle’s first column about what to watch next week!
I’ll still be covering movies and each week’s box office offerings when relevant. The big box office offering this week is Clash of the Titans starring Liam Neeson channeling a self-absorbed Aslan, Ralph Fiennes channeling Lord Voldemort: The Greek Edition and Sam Worthington channeling a tree stump.
Having sat through the movie, I can relate to his pain…
After the success of Avatar, this version of Clash of the Boring Characters was rushed through the 3D process so the studio could
charge you twice as much give you a better viewing experience. Alas, the 3D doesn’t add much to a very by-the-numbers, very tedious movie. A big part of the problem is Worthington who has less charisma here than one of the many doric columns that get smashed by Krakens, scorpions and dementors. Maybe that last one is wrong as I might have fallen asleep and dreamed about a better fantasy movie.
While Leaves of Grass sounds like it should be a biography of Walt Whitman, it’s actually a pot comedy starring Edward Norton. Also opening is Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too. Fortunately, I wasn’t able to attend a screening as I had to, um, reformat my hard drive.
In the last BGWE, I did a poll asking how long folks have been members of the AE community. Here are the results:
More than half of our readers have been with us for more than year, but less than three years which isn’t terribly surprising. What really piqued my curiosity were those who have been with us since the dawn of time when the site looked something like this:
Sir Ian was my first interview of note, and let me tell you, I was more than a little nervous! I was actually new to entertainment journalism and pretty much had to teach myself the ropes. And back then, whenever I called up a publicist and said I was from AfterElton.com, the reaction was pretty much "AfterWhosit? Is that part of Amway?"
Fortunately, those days are long gone and now I don’t even need a drink to walk up to pretty much any celebrity and say, "That role in Wild Hogs? What the eff were you thinking?" Of course, that doesn’t exactly always make me popular at network events. (Hi, Food Network! Long time, no talk! How’s things?)
I was fascinated to see that 3% of folks had been with us since the very beginning and one of them termed the period as being "the gray days" which the above screenshot of the site explains. We’ve now got close to 40,000 registered users today and I thought it would be fun to look at a few who commented about how they came to the site.
Next page! Meet some of the old timers and the newbies!
I was amazed at how many had been really long time lurkers who hadn’t commented before. It can be easy to forget the vast majority of folks who read each article and post aren’t registered users. But here are some of our most recent members, some who signed up just to comment on the column! Welcome to the club (starting in the lefthand corner and going clockwise) Bubba in TX, TrishJ, Athanyel, Cyndigo, and Kevin H.
Now of those who left comments on the last column, here are those that have been here the longest: Anthony Langford is user number 103, Liz is 312, Sarrellec is 844, ceares is 1990, dback is 3065, dgchgo is 4539, and Whitetee is 6626,
You’ll notice Anthony Langford just missed out on the double digits and was a longtime reader before he become our own Gays of Our Lives columnist. Oh, AE reader Jeremy, who is #147 also posted a comment, but since he doesn’t have a pic for an avatar, he’s not pictured here. (Hint, hint!)
If you’re wondering who has the most points (earned by posting, commenting on other’s posts, etc.) that honor goes to Liz who has 11,108 points. That’s a whole lot more than my total, however, while Liz has done 2,303 posts, I have 7,500, so take that, Missy!
Two of my most favorite ladies — well, one real lady and one faux lady — are having an evening together on Saturday night in Los Angeles. I’m speakingof Lily Tomlin and the one and only Coco Peru.
Coco is hosting Conversations with Coco with Lily as her special guest and a special multi-media presentation to honor Lily. Check here for tickets!
That’s it for this week! Now I’ll shut up so you can have the BEST.GAY.WEEK.EVER!