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The Year in Queer

The Year in Queer

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Timeline

January 4: The 110th Congress is sworn in with Nancy Pelosi -- in a baby-blue power suit -- as House speaker. The same day Democrat Deval Patrick takes the oath of office as the first African-American governor of Massachusetts -- and just the second black governor in U.S. history. The gay-friendly Patrick ushers in a new age for the Bay State, which endured four years of the homophobic Mitt Romney. 15: Two months after Grey's Anatomy star Isaiah Washington spat out the other f word during an on-set scuffle with costar Patrick Dempsey -- prompting series star T.R. Knight to come out of the closet -- Washington drops that f bomb again at the Golden Globes telecast, then lies to reporters about having used the word in the first place. Grey's creator Shonda Rhimes finally kicks him to the curb in June. 31: Overwhelmingly Catholic Mexico registers its first civil union when two 29-year-old lesbians sign papers in Coahuila, the first of the nation's 31 states to legalize gay unions.

February 2: "Gay American" and former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey files for divorce from wife Dina Matos. Dina later publishes a book blasting her husband and appears on Oprah. 3: The president of the African nation of Gambia claims AIDS can be cured by a green herbal ointment, a bitter yellow drink, and a banana chaser. 25: Finance guru and Oprah regular Suze Orman comes out in The New York Times Magazine. 27: Having exited the closet earlier in the month, John Amaechi, the suave 6-foot-10 former NBA center for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, and Utah Jazz, tells The Advocate, "I call on [gay NBA players] to try and live more openly.... I call on them not to lie and become [outwardly] homophobic." 28: Mr. Alva goes to Washington: Gay marine Eric Alva, the first American soldier wounded in the Iraq war, urges Congress to abandon "don't ask, don't tell."

March 2: Calculating harpy Ann Coulter calls Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards a "faggot" during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Outrage ensues. 21: Less than two months after Penn State settled a lawsuit by Jennifer Harris, a former basketball player who accused coach Rene Portland of "humiliating, berating, and ostracizing" her because she believed Harris was gay, Portland resigns. She must have wanted to spend more time with her family. 21: Best-selling author Terry McMillan slaps gay ex-husband Jonathan Plummer with a $40 million lawsuit, contending that he intentionally smeared her during their explosive 2005 divorce.

April 12: In a victory for all minorities, shock jock Don Imus is sent packing after referring to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed ho's." Justice is short-lived; Imus lands a new on-air job -- and a $20 million settlement from ex-employer CBS -- before the year's out.

May 17: Dashing Ohio governor Ted Strickland, by executive order, bans discrimination against LGBT state employees. Can you guess his party affiliation? 23: Second daughter Mary Cheney, with partner Heather Poe by her side, gives birth to Samuel David Cheney. The White House circulates a photo of baby Samuel with grandparents Dick and Lynne, which many in the press mistake as marketing materials for Rosemary's Baby 2. 23: Rosie O'Donnell is caught up in a knock-down, drag-out fight with View cohost Elisabeth Hasselbeck over their differing stances on the Iraq war. It will be Rosie's last day on the job.

June 8: Sweet irony! While roadies set up Vegas's MGM Grand Garden Arena for the first night of Cyndi Lauper's True Colors tour -- donating $1 for each ticket sold to the Human Rights Campaign -- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announces that he is not recommending another term for the homophobic Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Gen. Peter Pace, who had called homosexual acts "immoral" in a Chicago Tribune article. Pace's term would expire October 1. 21: Instead of seeing an innocent picture of two boys kissing, seniors at Newark, N.J.'s East Side High School find a blacked-out box in their yearbooks. After the books had been printed, the Newark superintendent of schools had pronounced the photo "illicit" and inappropriate, ordering her staff to censor the image from every copy with black markers. The school district soon apologizes to the gay grad, who had paid $150 for the personal page that was to display the photo.

July 11: Republican Florida state representative Bob Allen is arrested in a public park restroom for offering an undercover cop $20 to allow Allen to service him. His explanation? There were "black guys around in the park" and he feared he "was about to be a statistic." Mmm-kay, says a jury in November, finding him guilty of soliciting a sex act.

August 9: The Human Rights Campaign and Logo host a Democratic presidential debate on LGBT issues. New Mexico governor Bill Richardson savors the taste of his own foot when he declares being gay is a choice. He visits The Advocate's Los Angeles office the next day to atone, saying that flying red-eye had made him foggy. 27: The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call hits the mother lode, breaking the news that GOP U.S. senator Larry Craig of Idaho had been arrested in June for lewd conduct -- i.e., toe-tappin' man love in adjacent bathroom stalls at the Minneapolis airport. Earlier in the month Craig had quietly pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct. The antigay senator first promised to resign his office, then took it back. When his term expires in 2008 he'll have plenty of time to look for love in all the wrong places. 28: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.'s blowhard (Democratic!) mayor, Jim Naugle, is booted from the city's tourism board after a spate of antigay comments that began in July, when he declared that gays are "unhappy" and that they habitually hump in public restrooms. Hey, we're not all politicians.

September 19: San Diego's GOP mayor, Jerry Sanders, throws an emotional press conference to announce his newfound support for same-sex marriage, saying he could no longer justify denying his daughter and her partner equal rights. 24: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has 'em rolling in the aisles during his visit to Columbia University when he declares, "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country."

October 16: The generally upbeat Ellen DeGeneres sobs on her talk show, begging a Los Angeles-area animal rescue agency to return a puppy she had regifted. Ellen got a dog; the dog didn't get along with Ellen's cats; Ellen gave the dog to her hairdresser, which turned out to be a breach of contract with the agency, which responded by taking the dog away from the hairdresser and her two young daughters. And those Iraqis think they have problems. 31: A federal jury in Baltimore hands down a $10.9 million verdict against Fred "God hates fags" Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church for picketing at the funeral of a fallen marine. Guess God doesn't hate karma.

November 7: After a protracted tug-of-war over whether to include transgender protections in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the House passes Barney Frank's noninclusive ENDA bill. It's in for an even tougher battle in the Senate, and Bushie says he'll veto the bill if it hits his desk.

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