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Leave Lindsay

Leave Lindsay


The media is especially light on Lohan and Ronson. What gives? Plus, Newsweek mirrors TheAdvocate's cover story on Lawrence King, the Democrats attack "don't ask, don't tell," and the isle of Lesbos hasn't seen this much action since Sappho

Welcome to the celebrity-friendly version of The Week in Gay. The most salacious story hitting the blogs and the big papers was the Los Angeles Times' two-page Sunday spread devoted to the media's treatment of the relationship between Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson.

The piece by Kate Arthur talks about the usually voracious celebrity media's rather demure handling of the Lohan-Ronson pairing. In this case, the relationship seems to be met with the print version of a shrug -- at least until Life & Style dared to run a cover asking "Is Lindsay Gay?"

Perhaps, as Village Voice columnist Michael Musto suggests to the Times, "they don't consider gay a dirty thing anymore. And it's very cool."

Or maybe they are just taking the lead from the couple themselves, who are out about it without stating it for the record. Sheila McClear of argued in a post last month ("Why Lindsay Lohan Is a Gay Hero") that Lohan's casual openness is revolutionary because it treats her same-sex relationship the same as her straight ones. She writes: "Here's what's cool: Lohan has been entirely matter-of-fact about the whole affair. She's continued to appear in public with her rumored lover. There has been no moaning from her about private-life intrusion from the media, and no cries from her cougar mom to `Leave Lindsay ALONE!' "

The other possibility to consider -- and not a pleasant one -- is that the mags aren't using the words gay and homosexual and lesbian because they don't want to upset the more conservative segments of their readership. They are just putting out the story and the accompanying photos as if to say "Nothing unusual here!"

The Life & Style cover seems to have helped open the gateways for more explicit coverage -- New York Daily News gossip columnist Jo Piazza ran an item about Dina Lohan's approval of the couple. She writes: "Dina was all smiles, telling partygoers just how cute she thought the pair looked, making sure reporters were never out of earshot." Such a thing would have been unthinkable even five years ago.

Of course, like any celebrity couple, they have their ups and downs, as illustrates in another post. Hopefully, the relationship will go back up.

In more serious news, Newsweek ran a 5,000-word cover story about Lawrence King, the 15-year-old who was murdered at point-blank range during class earlier this year. The piece wonders, just as The Advocate's earlier cover story on the subject did, if kids coming out younger is endangering their lives rather than freeing them. The article by Ramin Setoodeh details King's flamboyant personality: "On some days, he would slick up his curly hair in a Prince-like bouffant. Sometimes he'd paint his fingernails hot pink and dab glitter or white foundation on his cheeks." His boldness caused one teacher to comment: "He was like Britney Spears."

Interestingly, the piece paints Larry as someone who pushed the boundaries as far as possible, describing his behavior as purposely taunting. According to Newsweek he had told one teacher, "It's fun to watch them squirm."

Central to the piece is the rock-and-a-hard-place dilemma the school's teachers found themselves: They were told not to admonish his behavior, lest they be considered to be discriminating against gender expression -- even if they didn't mind his behavior personally yet thought it might cause problems. The school facility was so distressed that an e-mail went out.

Reports Newsweek: "The commotion over Larry's appearance finally forced the school office to take formal action. On Jan. 29, every teacher received an e-mail with the subject line STUDENT RIGHTS. It was written by Sue Parsons, the eighth-grade assistant principal. `We have a student on campus who has chosen to express his sexuality by wearing make-up,' the e-mail said without mentioning Larry by name. `It is his right to do so. Some kids are finding it amusing, others are bothered by it. As long as it does not cause classroom disruptions he is within his rights. We are asking that you talk to your students about being civil and non-judgmental. They don't have to like it but they need to give him his space. We are also asking you to watch for possible problems.' "

Unfortunately, it wasn't enough.

In Congress, the Democrats called a hearing in hopes to reversing the "don't ask, don't tell" military policy, reports USA Today -- as troops try to head off the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan in addition as well as numerous insurgencies in Iraq.

The piece, which points out that 627 members were discharged last year under the policy, notes that even former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman John Shalikashvili is in favor of repealing it. He told the paper that without the Dems' hearing, "you will never repeal the law. [Repealing the ban is] a great idea." Shalikashvili is "among more than 50 retired generals and admirals who have said it is time to rethink the policy." The piece also reports on the different opinions of the presidential candidates on the policy: Barack Obama is for repealing it, while John McCain wants to maintain the status quo.

Now to an antigay law that is being repealed: Impossible as it would be to believe, the United States since 1987 has made it nearly impossible for HIV-positive immigrants and visitors who weren't seeking asylum to get visas or green cards. Until now: National Public Radio ran a report about a new bill passed by the Senate that would end this ban. The group Immigration Equality says it expects President Bush to sign it into law.

And finally: On the isle of Lesbos, its citizens must deal with the fact that same-sex-lovin' ladies get to use the "lesbian" moniker. Three Lesbos residents wanted to ban the use of the word in reference to gay women, but an court in Athens ruled against them. As the BBC notes: "The man spearheading the case, publisher Dimitris Lambrou, had claimed that international dominance of the word in its sexual context violated the human rights of the islanders -- who call themselves Lesbians -- and disgraces them around the world."

Actually, some lesbians might argue that Lambrou is the disgrace.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

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Tricia Romano