By Advocate Contributors
Originally published on Advocate.com May 17 2011 4:00 AM ET
Click here to read part one and click here to read part three of The Advocate's "193 Reasons to Have Pride in 2011."
GAY FAVES ARE HITTING THE ROAD THIS SUMMER
Sizzling music acts are going to make the hottest months of the year even more scorching. While Janet Jackson, Kylie Minogue, Ricky Martin, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, and Britney Spears all have dates lined up across the country, Melissa Etheridge, the Indigo Girls, Cyndi Lauper, and k.d. lang are playing a few select dates. And if you like the Vegas heat, there’s always Céline Dion, who’s once again holding court at Caesars Palace in Sin City.
And while we’re speaking of the devils, P!nk, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry have proved they care about their gay fans with a quartet of gay rights anthems — “Raise Your Glass,” “We R Who We R,” “Born This Way,” and “Firework.” Now we just need some from the fellas. Ricky? Enrique?
WE’VE WON OVER THE VOTERS
The November 2010 election saw record wins by out LGBT candidates. Among the 106 elected were our fourth member of Congress, Rhode Island’s David Cicilline; another mayor of a major Southern city, Jim Gray in Lexington, Ky. (after Annise Parker’s 2009 Houston victory); the nation’s first openly transgender elected judge, Victoria Kolakowski in Alameda County, Calif.; and one of our few statewide officials, Connecticut comptroller Kevin Lembo. Wins have kept coming in communities large and small, with April’s election of James Cappleman as Chicago’s second out gay city council member (joining the reelected Tom Tunney) and John Buchheit as mayor of Delaware City, Del. (population roughly 1,500).
A GLBT HISTORY MUSEUM OPENED IN SAN FRANCISCO
Harvey Milk’s pink-rimmed sunglasses are among the items on display at the GLBT History Museum in San Francisco. Believe it or not, the 1,600-square-foot space operated by the GLBT Historical Society in the Castro is the first gay museum in the country. San Francisco seems like the ideal place.
HE DOESN’T NEED A WAND
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe will be honored with the Hero Award by the Trevor Project, the LGBT-teen suicide prevention organization he’s tirelessly supported since 2009.
BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, A GAY MAN IS LIKELY TO HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED TO THE FEDERAL BENCH
President Barack Obama nominated J. Paul Oetken, a Yale law graduate who once worked for President Bill Clinton, to the U.S. district court for the southern district of New York. He appeared on track to be confirmed before Edward DuMont, an out nominee for the U.S. court of appeals for the federal circuit, who still awaits a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Alison Nathan, an out lesbian nominee, could join Oetken in the southern district.
BARBARA BUSH SUPPORTS MARRIAGE EQUALITY
Former first daughter and Manhattan resident Barbara Bush appeared in the New Yorkers for Marriage Equality video series from the Human Rights Campaign, leaving advocates to wonder, Would her voice encourage state senate Republicans to support the bill?
WE HEIGHTEN THE REALITY
Our people spice up many a nonscripted TV program. Project Runway has made it work for eight seasons and counting because of silver-fox mentor Tim Gunn and a bevy of fabulous gay contestants like season 4 winner Christian Siriano, who put “hot mess” in the national vocabulary, and Mondo Guerra, whose splashy, inventive designs really should have made him last year’s champ. Top Chef Just Desserts’ first-season winner was the supercompetitive Yigit Pura. The Amazing Race has been more so thanks to gay participants such as likable father-son pair Mel and Mike White, BFFs Oswald Mendez and Danny Jimenez, and gay Christian brothers Sam and Dan McMillen. Josh Flagg (pictured) and Madison Hildebrand make Million Dollar Listing an even hotter property. And in Orange County’s Fernanda Rocha, we have a Real Housewife who’s a real lesbian.
DROPPING THE F BOMB CAN RAISE CONSCIOUSNESS
Forget what your mama told you. Dropping f bombs can be socially rewarding. FCKH8, which started as an expletive-laced stance for marriage equality, has become a powerful voice against hatred, selling T-shirts and calendars of hot straight men to raise $300,000 in its first six months for worthwhile beneficiaries like the Trevor Project, the American Foundation for Equal Rights, Equality California, the Courage Campaign, and Lambda Legal.
KIDS IN FLORIDA WHO NEED FAMILIES CAN FINALLY BE ADOPTED BY GAY COUPLES
For 33 years Florida was home to the most draconian gay adoption ban in the country. When an appeals court decision struck down the law last fall, the state decided not to challenge the ruling. Still, some state lawmakers may have other ideas, so we must remain vigilant.
MASCULINITY IS NOT BLACK AND WHITE
Aside from being one of the most revered fashion designers in the world, Marc Jacobs routinely upends gender stereotypes with his own image, pairing muscles and facial hair with skirts and heels.
OUR ROLE MODELS ROCK
And we thought Adam Lambert’s guyliner was progressive. Kim Petras is a 17-year-old post-op trans young woman, who starting transitioning at 12. Petras is also an emerging pop star in her native Germany, amassing fans for her bubbly dance music, gorgeous looks, and keen style. Is the world ready for a transgender teen pop star? It hardly matters, because Petra’s not waiting until it is.
WE WORK THE NEW MEDIA
Well, we did help to create it, after all — Chris Hughes was one of the founders of Facebook (and Peter Thiel was an early investor). But we keep finding new ways to use it to advance our causes. Many of the demonstrations against Proposition 8, antigay corporate donations, and “don’t ask, don’t tell” were publicized on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. The YouTube generation has brought us not only cute gay parodies of Katy Perry songs but also political news, like this year’s mayoral election preview by Chicago’s Video Action League, which has also put footage of its Valentine’s Day marriage protest and other actions online. This medium, says Video Action League cofounder Lindsey Dietzler, is key to “inspiring new people to care about the issues.” Online video’s coming from other nations as well: No matter what you think of pie-throwing as a form of protest, a European group’s recent custardy bombardment of Belgium’s antigay Catholic archbishop made for mesmerizing viewing.
THERE’S ENOUGH LESBIANS WHO LOOK LIKE CONAN O’BRIEN TO WARRANT A BLOG
Coco-like ladies rule on LesbiansWhoLookLikeConanOBrien.Tumblr.com — so no need to bring up those oh-so-2010 Justin Bieber references anymore.
THERE’S A VERY STRONG POSSIBILITY THAT GAY PEOPLE COULD LEAD NEW YORK CITY AND SAN FRANCISCO
Both Christine Quinn, the current speaker of the New York city council, and San Francisco’s Bevan Dufty, a former city supervisor, are in strong positions to take over as mayor in their respected metropolises. Dufty is hoping to take the seat once held by California lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom and U.S. senator Dianne Feinstein, while Quinn is a likely contender to succeed hizzoner Michael Bloomberg in 2013.
DAVE FRANCO AND MCLOVIN FROM SUPERBAD MADE THE MOST HOMOEROTIC FUNNY OR DIE VIDEO EVER
In the homoerotic “You’re So Hot” video, Dave Franco proves he’s just as sexually provocative as his brother James when he teams up with Superbad actor Chris Mintz-Plasse for a game of verbal one-upmanship in which the two graphically describe sex acts they want to perform on each other. Get ready to add the phrase “World War II–style” to your vocabulary.
IT KEEPS GETTING BETTER
Edited by Dan Savage with partner Terry Miller and born out of their It Gets Better antibullying initiative, the new It Gets Better anthology collects more than 100 inspirational essays from ordinary folks and celebrities ranging from Tim Gunn to President Obama. All of the proceeds from the book benefit LGBT youth charities, and a $25 donation can put a copy in a school library of your choice.
WE SPEND CASH ON WEDDINGS TOO
With the average wedding costing about $20,000, suddenly adding gay couples to the throngs of couples forking over cash for a seven-piece band, tiered cakes, and a photographer equipped with a wind machine and soft lighting may not seem like such a terrible boost to the economy. Since Washington, D.C., legalized marriage for same sex-couples in 2010, the local wedding industry has reported an increase in business, with the Williams Institute projecting a rise of $52.2 million in wedding-related spending there during the first three years of marriage equality.
“EXCLUSION IS NOT AN IRISH THING”
Sadly, antigay discrimination is to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan what green is to leprechauns — just a regular part of the ensemble. Every year, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, which coordinates the parade, prohibits gay and lesbian marchers from participating with any identifying banners. Last March new Irish foreign minister Eamon Gilmore criticized the policy and told a meeting of LGBT activists in New York, “Exclusion is not an Irish thing.” He indicated that Ireland might consider marriage equality in a new constitution to mark the centennial of home rule in 2016. By then Sen. David Norris may have won the election — happening this November — to become the first openly gay president of Ireland.
EVEN WWE WANTS TO STOP THE BULLYING
After pro wrestler John Cena caused a stir with antigay remarks targeted at The Miz and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, World Wrestling Entertainment and GLAAD teamed up to promote a campaign for WWE fans denouncing bullying and homophobia.
J.LO THINKS WE’RE READY FOR A GAY IDOL
Many people blamed conservative voters after Adam Lambert came in second on American Idol, but new judge Jennifer Lopez recently told The Advocate that she believes America is finally ready to elect an openly gay idol, adding, “I think they vote for whom they like and who touches them the most.”
“LGBT ICON AND HIV/AIDS ACTIVIST” WERE PART AND PARCEL OF THE HEADLINES FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF ELIZABETH TAYLOR
The Academy Award–winning actress, among the last living legends of Hollywood’s golden era, passed away in March at the age of 79. Even more than her talent, beauty, and glamour, her legacy as a fierce fighter in the darkest hours of the AIDS crisis captured the spotlight.
HE’S GOT THE WRITE STUFF
Dustin Lance Black continues to lure Hollywood’s hottest talents to tell our most passionate stories. Milk, his Oscar-winning screenplay about the slain activist, paired James Franco and Sean Penn as star-crossed partners. Now in Black’s latest biopic, J. Edgar, Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer will lock lips when they star as closeted cross-dresser FBI honcho Hoover and his alleged longtime lover, Clyde Tolson.
IF YOU’RE LGBT, TOP AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES WANT TO KNOW
As the tragic series of suicides and antigay assaults demonstrates, more work needs to be done to make American campuses safer for LGBT students. One attempt in that direction involves asking applicants about their sexual orientation and gender identity in order to match them with members of the campus LGBT group. Participation is completely voluntary and has no bearing on admission, but leading schools like the University of Pennsylvania and Dartmouth (pictured), which have launched such efforts, believe that connecting accepted students to resources could make all the difference in their college careers.
WE HAVE IMPECCABLE TASTE
With a bold yet sophisticated modern aesthetic full of drama and whimsy, curator-designer Craig Van Den Brulle’s eponymous upscale home furnishings showroom in Manhattan’s chic Nolita neighborhood — his new Delaunay collection includes a $75,000 laser-sintered metallic dining table—attracts a discerning clientele that includes Tom Ford, Gwyneth Paltrow, Oprah Winfrey, and Anna Wintour. Though he hesitates to credit his sexuality with informing his coveted sense of style, Van Den Brulle is a vocal gay rights advocate who regularly donates to the Human Rights Campaign and other LGBT organizations. “It’s everyone’s responsibility to give back to our community in any way possible,” he says, “because there are so many fanatical groups out there trying to take us back to the dark ages.”
BEING GAY SHOULDN’T BE A STICKY WICKET ON THE PITCH
Steven Davies is the first active professional cricketer to announce he’s gay. “I’m comfortable with who I am — and happy to say who I am in public,” England’s handsome cricket star told London’s Daily Telegraph. Both his team captain and team director supported him 100%.
GEORGE TAKEI IS ON TWITTER, OH MY!
Many gays remember George Takei as the solemn Sulu on Star Trek, but a whole new generation can engage with the saucy actor, now known as @GeorgeTakei. Some gems:
• I “finally figured” out what #FF means. It wasn’t what I thought, but I’ll take it anyway. Will you ask others to #FF me? Oh, myyyyy!!
• SNL’s Victoria Jackson thinks Glee is turning boys gay. Frankly, I think Victoria Jackson is more to blame for that.
• On this Nat’l Alien Abduction Day, I remind non-humans of the Prime Directive and demand cavity probes be strictly voluntary.
LAUGHING BEATS WHINING ANY DAY
As the sassy host of “That’s Gay,” a segment on Current TV’s infoMania since summer 2009, writer-comedian Bryan Safi satirizes the media’s treatment and representation of gay people and issues with viral-ready spoofs on hot topics ranging from the Chick-fil-A controversy to Logo’s The A-List.
WE LOVE PARIS WHEN IT SIZZLES
Ooh la la. Taking its name from Jules et Jim, Truffaut’s celebrated 1962 film about a torrid ménage à trois, Hôtel Jules & Jim, a stunning new property in the Marais, Paris’s famed gay quarter, offers LGBT guests a peaceful oasis from the bustling city and bills itself as a “straight-friendly” hotel.
THE COUNTRY’S MOST BAD-ASS ATTORNEY GENERAL IS ON OUR SIDE
California AG Kamala Harris squeaked to victory late last year, cementing a pro-gay administration throughout Sacramento’s halls of power. The youthful, mixed-race Harris has repeatedly stood by her gay constituents, vowing to fight Prop. 8 even when she served as San Francisco’s district attorney. Her refusal this year to defend Prop. 8 in a federal appeals court could help kill the insidious initiative for good.