10. After premiering at the Sundance film festival in January 2009, the outrageous comedyI Love You Phillip Morrishad its theatrical release date postponed at least five times, reportedly due to either explicit content or the legal woes of its distributor. The hilariously off-color true story of a gay con man (memorably played by Jim Carrey) who finds true love (a winsome Ewan McGregor) while in prison finally opened in December to mostly positive reviews.
9. Lindsay Lohan finally went to court-ordered rehab
at the Betty Ford Center, where she'll remain until January 3. Most of the bisexual starlet's headlines during the year— including court appearances, jail stints, assault accusations
, a Twitter war with Joan Rivers, being replaced in biopics of porn stars
— were so depressing that it was almost heartwarming to learn Lohan spent Thanksgiving with ex-girlfriend DJ Samantha Ronson.
8. A joke delivered by actor Vince Vaughn in the trailer for the Ron Howard–helmed film The Dilemma
that suggests "electric cars are gay," using "gay" as a pejorative, ignited a brouhaha in the media. GLAAD expressed concern, as did Anderson Cooper, who while guesting on The Ellen DeGeneres Show admitted to being shocked
watching the trailer. Vaughn says he's happy the joke will remain in the picture
, which is due for release in January.
7. Reminiscent of the 1989 controversy surrounding photographer Andres Serrano's Piss Christ,
the Smithsonian Institution's removal of David Wojnarowicz’s 1987 video A Fire in My Belly,
a provocative piece of art that depicts ants crawling on a crucifix, from its LGBT-themed "Hide/Seek" exhibit in November, has sparked a national debate and outrage over censorship. The move has also prompted the Mapplethorpe and Warhol foundations
to pull future financial support and, naturally, increased popularity of the video at other museums.
6. Gaga mania continued unabated, culminating with a sold-out world tour, a multitude of music awards, six 2010 Grammy Award nominations, two attention-grabbing videos ("Telephone" and "Alejandro"), and being picketed by the homophobic Westboro gang — a rite of passage for any LGBT icon. The singer even had the audacity to ask Cher to hold her meat purse during her acceptance speech at the VMAs. The Lady also emerged as one of our fiercest allies by stumping for the repeal of DADT. Not since a certain Material Girl's heyday has there been anything like it.
5. One of the year's more gratifying success stories is the acclaim and box office appeal that greeted the indie hit The Kids Are All Right upon its release in July. Lisa Cholodenko
directed and cowrote (with Stuart Blumberg) the trenchant dramedy of a
lesbian-headed family at a crossroads, which irked some with its
portrayal of sexual fluidity, but emerged as a bona fide awards
contender with widely hailed performances by Annette Bening, Julianne
Moore, and Mark Ruffalo.
4. An abundance of strong LGBT characters featured prominently in the story lines of many must-watch television series. Among the most popular are Fox's Glee,
which finally gave Chris Colfer's Kurt a romantic interest
. HBO did the same for Nelsan Ellis
's stereotype-shattering Lafayette on True Blood
. NBC's The Office
gave Oscar Nunez's Oscar a brief workplace flirtation, while ABC's Modern Family
made stars of Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Emmy-winner Eric Stonestreet
as a pair of gay dads, and the same network's Brothers & Sisters
had Ron Rifkin
's Uncle Saul come out as HIV-positive.
3. Hot-button LGBT issues, such as "don't ask, don't tell" and the struggle for marriage equality, moved to the forefront of mainstream discourse thanks to allies like Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, HBO's Bill Maher, and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, plus Olbermann's out lesbian MSNBC colleague, Rachel Maddow. Joy Behar gave us double exposure as a cohost on ABC's The View and on her eponymous HLN series, on which she interviewed a seemingly endless list of LGBT newsmakers.
2. Many entertainers, including actor Michael Urie
and country singer Chely Wright
, opened up to The Advocate
about being gay this year, yet few caused as many ripples as Ricky Martin
The singer ended years of speculation by announcing on his website that
he's "a fortunate homosexual man" and saw his career and creativity flourish. He received amfAR's Award of Inspiration in June, and his
became a best seller. 2011 will see a new album and tour, plus
there's a stint on Broadway in Evita
on the horizon.
1. Sean Hayes appeared on the cover ofThe Advocate
in April, admitted that he's gay, and generated discussion on when a public figure should come out. While his acclaimed performance in the Broadway musical Promises, Promises
garnered him a Tony nomination, it also incurred the wrath of Newsweek
writer Ramin Setoodeh, whose vicious rant
against openly gay actors playing straight romantic leads unleashed a passionate cultural debate that continued throughout the year.