WELL, IT WAS THAT KIND OF BEST.GAY.WEEK.EVER!
I have to confess that when I sat down to write last week’s BGWE! column, it was a little hard to focus on the "BEST" part of the equation. What with all of the news about gay teen suicides along with the usual doses of homophobia and asshattery, it was hard to be in a good mood. But I managed to avoid being unduly negative and focused on the good stuff.
But at least it seemed like there were some actual positive changes coming out of the terrible tragedies of Tyler Clementi and the other gay teens we’ve lost recently. Unfortunately, we then we learned about the horrific beating and torture of three gay men in New York. And that was followed by this horrible video (actually filmed four years ago) of the New York Yankee fans known as the Bleacher Creatures performing a homophobic version of "Y.M.C.A." as a way to taunt fans of opposing teams.
You know how sometimes it’s the small thing that finally gets to you? Like your partner nags you to use a coaster for the 1000th time, and you finally snap and throw his bowling trophy through the big screen TV. We’ve all been there right? No? Just me? Um, well….
Well, this video was the “coaster”-nag that finally got to me and made me want to throw something. While that video isn’t on the level of the deaths of any of the teens who have committed suicide in recent weeks, somehow it was this that really rocked me.
Perhaps it got to me because it is such a naked display of the homophobic bullying that GLBT teens (and many adults) face even today. And it’s been going on for years at stadiums across the U.S. and witnessed by thousands who said nothing or, worse, laughed along.
BTW, I can’t imagine where schoolkids might learn "gay" is something bad and to be made fun of.
Honestly, it just staggers me that people can be this hateful and this awful. Even worse, it made me feel hateful.
So feeling this way, how was I supposed to write a column called the BEST.GAY.WEEK.EVER? Believe it or not, it was actually one of the Bleacher Creatures who helped turn the week around.
After I found videos of Yankee fans less than a month ago still singing homophobic chants on BleacherCreatureTV.com (after a Yankee spokesman assured me the issue had been dealt with), I emailed the webmaster of BleacherCreatureTV to ask him why he thought videos like this were somehow all in good fun and appropriate. I asked if he’d post videos making fun of disabled people, African-Americans or Jewish people?
Given the hateful comments already posted on his site by readers, I expected to get a response that was more of the same. Instead, he wrote me right back, said he agreed completely and was yanking the videos. He even added a link to my post on the front page of his site saying he agreed with me completely and no more homophobic chants would be posted.
And suddenly I felt a lot less hateful and a lot less depressed. And I thought about what else has happened the past two weeks.
While nothing could ever make the deaths of Clementi, Justin Aaberg, Asher Brown or any of the other teens less horrible, it has been heartening to see the issue not only being so widely reported in the traditional media, but having actual repercussions on the way heterosexuals behave.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Universal Studios suddenly announced they were going to pull the "gay" joke from the trailer of The Dilemma after Anderson Cooper criticized them for it while discussing the suicides. And today the Yankees announced they will not tolerate any sort of homophobic taunting and anyone engaged in it will be ejected from the stadium.
Then a reader sent me this video by Adam Sessler, editor of G4 who addresses online homophobic bullying in a vlog called "Don’t Be a Dick."
Having a straight guy speak out to the gaming community about this is fantastic.
Meanwhile, the issue of bullying and anti-gay slurs is being discussed on television and in classrooms and city councils all across the country. And gay and bi men of all sorts are sharing their stories and I can’t help but think that because of all of this movie studios and sports franchises and maybe even the average joe on the street is going to be a little less likely to engage in the sort of homophobic asshattery too many of us have had to endure for far too long.
And you know what? That does make this the BEST.GAY.WEEK.EVER!
Next page! Cough, cough, cough!
IT’S HARD TO BE FUNNY WHILE HACKING UP A LUNG
With the fall TV season in swing, we’ve been pretty busy around here what with recapping The A-List, Glee, Top Chef: Just Desserts, Thintervention, Caprica, Brothers & Sistersand 90210. So what did I decide to do this week? Go back and do a subtext recap of the first three episodes of Hawaii 5-0! Oy vey!
"So what?" you might rightfully ask. Well, given that I don’t really have time for 90210 (which I’m only doing because our other recapper fell through at the last minute), the idea of adding another show to my workload is, well, nuts. But so many folks said it was ripe for recapping that I had to take a shot at it!
Alas, I won’t be able to do that every week, but I promise to try and check in a couple of times during the season and catch you up on all of the homoerotic subtext going on between Danno and Steve.
Oh, and to take matters even worse, I’ve been sick all week, coughing so hard I’m certain I coughed up a lung at some point. If you happen to see one that looks really gay laying around, please return it me. Thanks!
Speaking of recaps, we did this week’s episode of The Good Wife since it introduced Alicia’s gay brother Owen played by Dallas Roberts. As of now, Owen is only supposed to appear in three more episodes, but his next appearance might not be for quite some time as when I checked with a publicist this week, I was told he wasn’t in any of the eps that had already been shot.
To which I say "Boo!" because I quite liked the character and I’m loving the show. It’s an incredibly smart, well-written drama that doesn’t let the legal cases overshadow the actual characters. And in just one episode and a few scenes, Roberts and the TGW writers not only made Owen and Alicia’s relationship believable, but made him a complicated, three dimensional character I wanted to know more about. I appreciated he wasn’t some perfect gay urban stereotype, but actually seemed a little dissolute and less than perfect, even though he clearly loved his sister.
So listen up, CBS! You’ve got a good character here. Bring him back
ASAP because otherwise your headed for another F from GLAAD.
On the other end of the spectrum, Fox’s Running Wilde did a gay inclusive episode that I think was supposed to positive, but mostly came off as really creepy. The episode was all about Will Arnett’s character finally finding the father figure he always wanted, in this case in a character played by Andy Richter. The joke was that Richter’s character was actually gay and Arnett’s character didn’t know that. So the whole daddy/son aspect was happening without either of them knowing it. As you can see in the clip below it didn’t really work.
I can overlook the whole daddy/son thing as a joke that missed its mark, but what really bugged me was having Mr. Luntz leering from the window and seemingly perving out on the guy he supposedly does see has a son.
Speaking of "Ewww…" what was The Arrangement thinking having an effeminate gay villain as part of their "Heroes/Villain" challenge? Honestly, I’ve seen more than enough of that from heterosexuals, thanks very much. And will someone tell host Gigi Levangie Grazer that she might be overdoing the botox because her performance is a tad, um, wooden.
Separated at birth?
Next page! Really, Elton? Haven’t you said enough?
DEAR ELTON JOHN, PLEASE STFU. LOVE AMERICA
This week Elton John finally addressed his reasons for performing at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding. Other than the big paycheck. Said Elton:
We [partner David Furnish] talked a lot before I did it, and I was surprised how much I liked [Limbaugh]. If I had done it just for the money, I could have seen 40 years of my reputation go down the tube. As a gay man, I felt it my duty to find out what this guy thought. I did that before I played there. I felt there was a real reason for me going. There’s much more of a person in there than the public knows. I believe dialogue is a way forward. Come on, what era are we living in?"
I’ve written before how utterly baffling I find John’s decision to perform at Limbaugh’s wedding since Limbaugh, while not the homophobe that some of the wingnuts on the right are, is still plenty homophobic. Here are some of his most homophobic comments including calling Barney Frank the "Banking Queen." And who performed Limbaugh’s wedding? The insanely homophobic Ken Hutcherson who hates gay people.
So forgive me if I’m a little skeptical of how "more of a person" there is inside the husk of the shell that is Limbaugh.
But this isn’t what really got me about Elton’s interview. After decrying the deaths of the bullied gay teens and vicious antigay attacks that took place in New York last weekend, USA Today says Elton had this to say about the issue of gay rights in America:
If opposing parties stopped hurling epithets from rooftops and learned to exchange ideas, the rancor might subside, John says.
Yeah, it’s the gay community that needs to stop hurling epithets. We’ve been so unreasonable all these years. If only we were nicer to the Pope, then the Catholic Church would stop calling us diseased predators and opposing any measure recognizing our rights. And I won’t even get started on the rest of the homophobia coming from the right.
Remember, John is the fellow who after Prop 8 passed said, "I don’t want to be married. I’m very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships."
Said the billionaire living in a country with civil partnerships.
You know what Elton is really good at? Writing pop songs? You know what he sucks at? Commenting on what is happening to the GLBT in community.
BTW, the "new" Perez Hilton immediately weighed in on Elton’s comments saying:
Wonderful insight! And such a way with words! You can’t deny that the man makes a strong case for himself! We think John has the right attitude with this! At the end of the
day, we all don’t have to agree with one another, but there is no
reason and no excuse for anyone to make anyone else feel as if they are
any less of a human being, or treat them as such! It’s time to not only promote tolerance, but also respect!
So the new Perez is as much of a twit as the old Perez but rather than drawing semen all over celebrities, he’s going to slobber all over them instead.
Oh, and speaking of Perez, he told Out Magazine he would still publish those incredibly private pictures of a certain GLBT luminary who has done nothing but good for the GLBT community. Which tells me all I need to know about the new "improved" Perez.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
To help us wash the bad taste of the John/Limbaugh "hug hug kiss kiss" love fest out of our mouths, allow me to present you the totally rocking Kilodavis family who can teach the world a thing or two about love, tolerance and acceptance.
Next page! Oh, yeah, baby! It’s the asshat! Or just go here instead!!
AND WE THOUGHT YANKEE FANS COULD BE HOMOPHOBIC
It looks like the outrage over lady wingnuts trying to use the suicides of gay teens as a way to further their own hateful agenda pushed a lot of readers buttons as Candi Cushman of True Tolerance and Linda Harvey of Mission America walked off with nearly half the votes.
On to this week’s nominees!
1) The New York Yankees, the Bleacher Creatures and Major League Baseball
WHY? See what I wrote back on page one of the column. The fact that some fans engaged in that behavior and that the Yankees and the rest of Major League Baseball has tolerated this is just astounding.
Note: Just before finishing the column, I got word the Yankees are going to act on this. Feel free to take that into consideration.
2) New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino
WHY? While speaking to a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders, Paladino delivered a gay-bashing speech where he not only bragged about how proud he was not to have ever marched in a gay pride parade, but how he didn’t want children brainwashed into "thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option" and then added "that’s not how God created us and that’s not the example that we should be showing our children."
Paladino later lashed out at the media and demanded an apology because, while his written speech did include the statement "There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual", he didn’t actually say those words as initially reported and nothing else he said was offensive.
Captain Jack then appeared and whisked Paladino back to late 18th century America where Italians were routinely denigrated, discriminated against and even lynched.
Later Paladino, sensing the outrage his comments had stirred, issued an apology where he talked about what a rocking friend of the GLBT community he’s been, how he’d only been reading a speech written for him by the Orthodox Jewish leaders he was meeting, and that he was sincerely sorry for any comment "that may have offended."
Captain Jack then reappeared and fed Paladino to Abbadon.
3) Tony Perkins of the Family
Hate Research Council and the Washington Post
WHY? Want to know how the Washington Post celebrated National Coming Out Day? They posted one of Tony Perkins’ patented "We really love you homosexuals so we’re going to persecute and lie about you" editorials he specializes in. Like last week’s winners, Cushman and Harvey, Perkins used the issue of gay teen suicides to suggest us ’mos are actually responsible for driving gay teens to kill themselves. Says Perkins,
Some homosexuals may recognize intuitively that their same-sex
attractions are abnormal–yet they have been told by the homosexual
movement, and their allies in the media and the educational
establishment, that they are "born gay" and can never change. This–and
not society’s disapproval–may create a sense of despair that can lead
Perkins then goes on to cite studies about the supposed greater mental health problems of the GLBT community, never once acknowledging that it is evil, evil men like Perkins who create the conditions that certainly contribute to an increase in depression in the gay community.
I get why Perkins wants to spread his hateful anti-gay bigotry as far and wide as possible. What I don’t get is why the Washinton Post chooses to print this kind of bullsh*t. Yes, Perkins has a right to his opinion but that doesn’t mean the Post has to help him. Why not publish screeds from the KKK while they are at it? Shouldn’t we hear what they have to say about the issue of race?
WHY? While I have no doubt there are plenty of cool, gay-friendly Serbians out there, you sure wouldn’t know it from the news coming out of there of late. Long a bastion of virulent homophobia, more bigotry erupted during a gay pride parade when anti-gay protestors attacked police protecting the marchers with gasoline bombs and stones.
Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said the march should be allowed to take place with this ringing defense of freedom and tolerance, "It is very important that the event, which might be disagreeable to most of Serbia’s citizens, goes by without incidents."
Then on Wednesday, some of these fine Serbians decided to demonstrate their continuing displeasure by rioting at a soccer game in Italy. What it has to do with the gay pride parade isn’t clear, but then again, these folks aren’t exactly excelling in the critical thinking department.
Meanwhile, I just dropped Belgrade off my "Must See!" list for my next vacation.
Next page! Come on down, Kitty!
HERE, KITTY, KITTY, KITTY!
This week’s AfterElton reader interview has two firsts! Our first lady reader and our first bisexual reader. Kitty is a college student and has officially been an AE member for nearly two years. She was a huge fan of As the World Turns before, well, you know. And she probably hasn’t forgiven me yet for making the GOOL monthly instead of weekly, but hey, what’s an editor gonna do? Maybe doing this interview with her will get me back on her good side!
Let’s meet Kitty, shall we?
AFTERELTON:How did you first find your way here?
KITTY: I was watching ridiculous amounts of Nuke on YouTube and wanted to learn more about them. I went to their Wikipedia page, and found several interviews from AE. From there, while visiting the site, I found out about Oz, Queer as Folk, and Noah’s Arc for the first time. I’ve been addicted ever since.
AE: Based on your favorite movies — Latter Days, Brokeback Mountain, The Crying Game — I’d say you have excellent taste … except you also include Twilight. That’s a typo right?
K: Well this is embarrassing, but yes, I am quite fond of the current Twilight movie franchise. I mean, it is truly so bad, that it’s good. My view is that if you don’t take Twilight seriously, and see it for the improbable and melodramatic teenage soap opera that it is, it’s great!
AE: Your occupation is listed as "Student." What are you studying and is it your heart’s desire?
K: I am working towards my Master’s in Civil Engineering, and plan to graduate this December. Of course now you’re asking yourself, what in the heck is a civil engineer? Well, us civil engineers design, build, and maintain city infrastructures such as roads, bridges, and buildings. Also, while I have honestly always wanted to be an engineer, I thought I’d be something cooler like a robotics or aerospace engineer. It’s amazing how an instinctive hatred for physics can really change your life.
AE: How are you coping with your As the World Turns’ withdrawal symptoms?
K: Quite well since after two years of faithful devotion, TPTB screwed me over. I don’t miss the dysfunctional relationship between me and the last months of ATWT, but I do miss the initial love/hate relationship with Reid and most of Nuke (that is when Noah wasn’t married to girl-who-shall-not-be-named or blaming Luke for one thing or another). I have been able to cope so well because I despise how both of those relationships ended, and have been left with no reason to look for a happily ever after that will never come. *sighs* I need to go watch Modern Family now, because reminiscing about all that is depressing.
AE: Finish this sentence, "If I were going to be a gay man, I’d be BLANK because BLANK."
K: If I were going to be a gay man, I’d be a time traveler because then I could go back in time and find a way to marry John Barrowman.
AE: What was your coming out like?
K: Drama free! I told my mom and at first she was like, “I’m sure it’s just a phase, but even if it’s not, it’s okay. I’m going to love you no matter what.” Now, she sees that this is how I really am, and I’m not going to change anytime soon. I had about the same reaction with all the other members of my family, but of course some were more awkward than others. So, in the end, it has definitely been a very positive experience all around.
AE: What is your favorite part of AfterElton?
K: Well, not to be downer, but it really was snicks’ ATWT liveblogs and Anthony’s GOOL. I never missed one of them. Now that it’s over though, I still come back for the new shows, movie reviews, and any other interesting gay characters that AE subliminally forces me to watch.
AE: Given that your name is "Kitty" has Ed harassed you in some way that I should know about?
K: No, but that’s because I’m not trying to take over the world…. Or am I?
AE: If you could’ve voted in the Hot 100, who would your top five choices have been?
K: Van Hansis, Jake Silbermann, Justin Timberlake, Wilson Cruz, and Adam Lambert.
Next page! Meet your moderators!
I GUESS WE ARE A RATHER GODLESS BUNCH
After last week’s Glee episode had Kurt come out as an atheist, I did a very unscientific poll asking how AfterElton readers felt about god and religion. Here are the results.
So fewer than 10% of our readers attend church (or maybe it’s just readers of my column?). I can’t say I’m terribly surprised by that, but I am surprised so many identify as Atheist/Agnostic.
Quick story. One time I had a co-worker who hadn’t yet figured out I was gay before I came out to her. Once I did, it was no big deal, but then the conversation turned to religion and when I told her I was an atheist, she was horrified. It was so funny to not be judged for being gay for a change, but because of my religious beliefs.
Last week, I mentioned we were looking for a couple of moderators and I’m happy to say we have two volunteers. Meet Campion and Tiger Cub! Campion has been an AE member for more than two and a half years, hails from Ontario, Canada and is currently single. His favorite shows are Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Brothers & Sisters and he has excellent taste as evidenced by his favorite musicians/bands being Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics. (Take that, snicks!)
Meanwhile, Tiger Cub comes from Eastern Washington, is bisexual and in a longterm relationship. Tiger Cub also demonstrates good taste as we can see by having picked Veronica Mars, Glee and Buffy the Vampire Slayer as favorite shows. (I’m just going to pretend I didn’t notice the awful Enterprise listed there. Allowances must be made after all.)
As our official moderators, Campion and Tiger Cub are going to help maintain what is already a pretty civil attitude that we manage to keep around these parts. You can see our pretty simple rules here (plus what’s in our user agreement when you sign up).
Mostly Campion and Tiger Cub are going to be making sure no one puts profanity or spoilers in a subject line, abuses the star rating system, behaves like a troll or becomes abusive in anyway. Feel free to contact either of them if you notice anything in the comments that needs attending to and they’ll be happy to deal with it. (And, of course, you can always email me or Dennis and we’ll be happy to help.) All of the contact info is right there on the front page!
Normally, at this point, I’d highlight what’s new in the forums this week, but not only have I been sick all week, Comcast crashed my internet all day on Thursday, putting me way, way behind. But I will quickly tell you there are threads on Parenting Advice, a recap of Merlin, and an interesting thread asking Where do I find a longterm partner?
And be sure to check the forums tomorrow for F’losrix’ Project Runway recap which is getting more popular every week, as well as Alessar’s recap of The Vampire Diaries which is having an awesome season.
Now I’m going to shut up (and cough my head off) so you can have the BEST.GAY.WEEK.EVER!