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Clay and Lindsay are Gay -- Shock!

Clay and Lindsay are Gay -- Shock!

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Dear gay celebrities: We know. We have eyes. We can tell. We don't need announcements like the one on People featuring the oh, so obviously gay Clay Aiken, shouting from the cover, "Yes, I'm Gay." Or of Lindsay Lohan's casual admission of her relationship with Samantha Ronson. Heck -- MTV News wrote, "Lindsay Lohan has made being a lesbian an afterthought."

Dear gay celebrities: We know. We have eyes. We can tell. We don't need announcements like the one on People featuring the oh, so obviously gay Clay Aiken, shouting from the cover, "Yes, I'm Gay." This is like Clay saying, "I have red hair." Or "I was on American Idol." And just like Lindsay Lohan's giggly utterance on Loveline where she admitted, or rather, just confirmed, that she had been dating Samantha Ronson, "for a very long time" was also totally obvious. Because we've seen so many pictures of the twosome together, what was once sort of amazingly exciting is about as mundane as pictures of Brangelina toting 20 kids around, the Lohan admission was also a nonrevelation

Still, this is not to say we're not appreciative. It's only good when high-profile celebrities come out in huge mainstream mags like People (which is in the running for the most gay-friendly mag outside of TheAdvocate, when you combine the Ellen-Portia wedding cover with Aiken's). Aiken told People, "I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn't raised that way, and I'm not going to raise a child to do that."

Not everyone was so thrilled by the news. Newsweek ran an article by Ramin Setoodeh asking, "Is it too little, too late?" which amounted to a public spanking for Aiken's years of awkward denials.

Writes Setoodeh: "But unlike other gay celebrities who have come out recently, like Neil Patrick Harris or Lance Bass, Aiken denied that he was gay long beyond the point of ridiculousness, and he did it in a way that bordered on homophobic."

The blogs, papers, and other news outlets were aflutter with Lohan's casual admission of her relationship with Ronson; MTV News, MSNBC, and the San Francisco Chronicle were among the many that picked it up. Though it garnered lots of press, it was met with a media yawn -- the coverage ended with a period and a shrug rather than an exclamation point.

Kim Stolz at MTV News wrote that "Lindsay Lohan has made being a lesbian an afterthought."

There was also a healthy amount of pickup by the blogs like Queerty.com and Gothamist.com of the rumor that Ronson didn't want to play a lesbian bar in New York called Rubyfruit. The story, first reported by the New York Post, claimed that Ronson was approached to play a benefit for the club, which is on its last legs. The publicist later said he was never approached on behalf of Ronson. (however, we must say, Ronson -- like her brother -- plays for the cutting-edge crowd; this bar's clientele is not that).

What's been more interesting to watch this week is what the mainstream media is not covering.

Remember those pretty weird but kind of compelling rumors about Condoleezza Rice being a lesbian? Last year there was a pretty interesting report that Rice co-owned property in Palo Alto, Calif., (and a credit line) with far-left Dem woman named Randy Bean; everyone sort of forgot about it or dismissed it, but an investigative reporter Ian Halperin is reporting that his reliable, unnamed GOP source is saying that once it was clear Barack Obama wouldn't pick Hillary Clinton as his running mate, Rice was John McCain's number 1 choice for VP, way preferred over Sarah Palin.

The rationale was that Rice could pull some of the black and female vote away from Obama and that her love of football would help her score with the so-called "Bubba" crowd and siphon just enough votes away from Obama in swing states that the election would shift. However, Halperin's source says that the unmarried Rice's relationship with Bean wouldn't survive scrutiny under the media spotlight and wouldn't sit well witthe base. Says the source: "Whether or not her relationship with Bean means Condi is light in the loafers is not the point ... It's hard to prove one way or another. The fact is that by the time the media finished dissecting it, not a Christian conservative in the country would have gone to the polls in November, and that's ultimately what nixed the Rice candidacy."

While gay blogs like GayWired.com, Queerty, and EdgeBoston picked up the story, it didn't appear anywhere in the mainstream media. Halperin has a good track record: He's won an award for investigative reporting from Rolling Stone and covered Scientology's attempt to convert gays in his book Hollywood Undercover, something he experienced firsthand by posing as an actor.

Other big stories this week also involve high-profile public figures and celebrities. After Brad Pitt gave $100,000 to the effort to defeat the anti-gay marriage initiative in California, Proposition 8, John Henning asked on Huff Po, "Thank You Brad ... Now, Where Are the Others?"

He writes, "The word on the street is that some A-listers may be wondering what's in it for them -- what building will be named in their honor, what award they'll receive -- if they chip in against Prop. 8. How about the knowledge that on November 5th, a gay kid somewhere will wake up feeling equal?"

Not long after Henning's public plea, Steven Spielberg and his wife, Kate Capshaw, stepped up to the plate with $100,000 to fight the proposition. E! Online wrote, "As goes Brangelina, so goes Hollywood."

The story was juicy enough for Entertainment Tonight and Variety, among many others.

That plea for celeb help turned out to come just in time. Spielberg and Pitt put but a tiny dent in the bounty raised by the proponents. TheLos Angeles Timesreports that the people who want to ban gay marriage have raised way more money and helped drive the once-lopsided poll numbers (in favor of ixnaying the proposal) to a dead heat. (Sounds sorta like the presidential contest, doesn't it?) So far the anti-gay marriage forces have raised $17.8 million compared to their adversaries, who've accumulatted $12.4 million, says the Times. The article notes the importance of raising money:

"The weekly cost of a statewide television campaign intended to ensure that typical California viewers would see a spot seven to 10 times is about $3.5 million to $5 million."

Let's hope the celebrity involvement isn't -- like Clay Aiken's confession -- too little, too late.

In addition to the Aiken article, Newsweek also ran an interactive piece online (with a video) about aging gays and lesbians who are forced to go back in the closet. Unlike the generation who came of age post-Stonewall, the older gays and lesbians who find themselves in retirement are faced with peers who still harbor old-fashioned ideals, thus forcing them back into solitude. The article notes that over the next 25 years America's senior citizen population will grow about eight percent; gay seniors are "twice as likely as straights to live alone." It cites other scary statistics: "80 percent are single" and "90 percent have no children." That means, more than their heterosexual counterparts, gays and lesbians rely on nursing homes in their final years.

In more uplifting news, a report by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation revealed that broadcast television has more than double the number of gay characters than a year ago -- up from seven to 16. Shockingly, the right-leaning network Fox has the five regular gay characters. According to CNN.com, the number of gay characters represents 2.6% of all the characters on TV. We're a long way from the 10% mark regarded at the number of gays and lesbians in the general population but inching ever-closer, still.

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Tricia Romano