I love end of the year issues, because they gives us a chance to look back at the best things that happened in the past 12 months. And, despite the political dumpster fire this year has been, there’s always something worth celebrating. In this issue, it’s our Best of 2018 — an entertainers of the year celebration of sorts. Since we completed the issue this fall, it’s too soon to say what the rest of the year will bring, but here’s who and what has impressed us so far.
By the time you read this, we’ll be rolling out our Person of the Year feature on Advocate.com, one of the favorite pieces we do all year. You can argue that folks like Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, Alex Azar, and Betsy DeVos have had an outsized influences on LGBTQ lives this year (based on their rollbacks of our rights) but I’m always in favor of instead recognizing the people who pushed forward through the B.S. to make our lives better or to challenge us to do so ourselves.
So, while I was shocked and frightened by news as we went to press that the Trump administration planned to basically redefine gender and wipe out the existence of trans (and intersex) people in a legal sense, I buoyed myself with the discovery that my friend Fiona Dawson’s groundbreaking documentary TransMilitary will finally be broadcast on TV (Logo). Another friend, Advocate contributor and former naval aviator, Brynn Tannehill, will have a new book out in the new year, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Trans* (But Were Afraid to Ask), which essentially debunks many of the myths the White House has been pushing to create a backlash against trans people.
We go to press before the midterm elections, so our fingers are crossed that the new year will also usher in a new balance of power. Regardless, you’ll find plenty of inspiration in this issue, including in our interview with Rami Malek, the Arab-American star of Bohemian Rhapsody, Mr. Robot, and my favorite Netflix series, BoJack Horseman. The soft-spoken and whip-smart actor went all out to do justice to his portrayal of queer but closeted Queen front-man, Freddie Mercury. From Keira Knightly to Troy Sivan, Janelle Monáe to Hayley Kiyoko, and Ryan Murphy to Ty Defoe, this issue is packed with entertainers who made 2018 a little better (and a lot queerer).
You’ll also find a holiday gift guide, tips on surviving your first trip home with an LGBTQ partner, and why parents are embracing “theybies.” Indeed, we had so much to cover, we couldn’t fit it all in! You can find additional material, including “LGBTQ Artists Over 50 You Should Know,” on Advocate.com.
Happy holidays and may your new year be democratic!
Editor’s Pick: Associate Editor Desirée Guerrero
Now on DVD and streaming, Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist is a raw and revealing portrait of one of the most fascinating and influential women in fashion, Dame Vivienne Westwood. However, the celebrated designer was famously unhappy with the final cut, because it didn’t include enough of her environmental activism. Visual artist and filmmaker Lorna Tucker says her intentions were to make an honest documentary about an artist, not a “propaganda piece” about Westwood’s activism, a topic the two butted heads over. Tucker, who still has nothing but love and respect for Westwood, takes the punk icon’s criticism with a grain of salt: “If it was anyone else I’d be upset, but with her, I’ll take it.” (VivienneWestwoodFilm.com)
What I'm Loving Now
This t-shirt. PrEP activist Damon Jacobs is sporting the smart, sexy “Shoot Loads” Tee ($30, AdamsNest.com). A portion of sales goes to Gays Against Guns.
When pics from the new She-Ra, by queer artist Noelle Stevenson, came out, some fanboys were hysterical. Kristy Puchko, managing editor of Pajiba.com, said it best: “The first images of Netflix’s She-Ra reboot have hit the web. And fans are divided. And by divided, I mean a lot of people are stoked, and some dudes have decided their boners matter more than the show’s intended demographic of young girls.”
I was thrilled when Sugar Land (Red Hen Press) arrived. Author Tammy Lynne Stoner wrote for me at Girlfriends and Alice magazines (two magazines I cofounded) when she and I were both little baby dykes. Sugar Land follows a smart and feisty lesbian liberating herself from prisons literal and figurative in Depression-era West Texas. She meets real-life blues legend Lead Belly, marries a warden (part of both her escape and imprisonment), and becomes a stepmother — but her life spirals downward with the deaths of the two men. Crumpling under the weight of life, she purchases a mobile home, falls in love with a local seamstress, and becomes matriarch of a family of misfits. The author, who once worked for The Advocate, was already famous for launching the first LGBTQ kids’ TV show, Dottie’s Magic Pockets, in 2007. But Sugar Land is a beautiful next step — a book that will remind you a bit of Fried Green Tomatoes and could one day be a film about a determined woman struggling against her own secrets, as well as homophobia and misogyny in small- town Texas. —DA-M