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The Sissy Awards

The Sissy Awards


Among many gays, "sissy" is a distinction worthy of honor, sort of like the red badge of courage. But among closed-minded straights, it's a devastating insult, which is why The Advocate bestows the word on the following irritants of 2008.

Go to Bed, Old Sissy: John McCainIn a year dominated by news of the presidential campaign, John McCain demonstrated time and again that he wasn't particularly mavericky about gay rights. Here are just a few examples:

* He sought the endorsement of Pastor John Hagee, a cleric who has said that gays were to blame for Hurricane Katrina; his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, once railed "against the agenda of America's tortured and angry homosexual population."

* He told The New York Times he was against adoption by gay people. Then his campaign said he thought the states should decide. When asked again by ABC's George Stephanopoulos, he gave a vague answer about family values and two-parent homes, while also encouraging adoption.

* The McCain camp didn't like the donation by Jonathan Crutchley, cofounder of the gay hookup site, much more than the gays did. While McCain said the contribution would be returned, six weeks later,'s Ben Smith reported no such refund had been made.

* In August, McCain told The Weekly Standard that he would be open to a pro-choice running mate (like Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman) but not a pro-gay rights one (like Michael Bloomberg). Of course, he wound up choosing neither.

Sissy Moose-alini: Sarah PalinOh, Sarah, just when the campaign was getting a little too dry and stuffy, you blew in like a fresh breeze from the Yukon, so very mockable with your folksy fakery and your smiley no-abortions-or-rape-kits-ever ways. We loved watching Tina Fey and Katie Couric take you down a peg, but let's not forget that Anita Bryant was also a former beauty queen and that a TV-ready smile can hide lots of homophobia.

* As mayor of Wasilla, Ala., Palin made inquiries about banning books from the local library. On the top of her hit list? Pastor, I Am Gay and the kids' book Daddy's Roommate.

* As governor of Alaska, she opposed extending benefits to same-sex partners of state employees (though she didn't contest the state supreme court's ruling that it must be allowed), expanding hate-crime laws, and same-sex marriage.

* She used the term "San Francisco," a loaded conservative buzzword, whenever possible during discussions of Barack Obama.

* She thinks homosexuality is a choice and belonged to a church that sponsored a "Pray the Gay Away" event.

* As governor, she refused to sign a proclamation honoring National Coming Out Day in Alaska.

Runner-up Republican Sissies

Dishonorable achievement ribbons to Mike Huckabee -- whose brief run for the White House lasted long enough for him to compare homosexuality to bestiality -- and the Virginia delegation to the Republican National Convention, who canceled an order of Minneapolis-St. Paul guidebooks when they discovered they included a section on LGBT culture and nightlife.

No, Actually, You Can't Sissies: Barack Obama and Joe BidenExcited to have you in the big house, fellas, but let's have less of that "we're against gay marriage" rhetoric and more work toward recognition of equal rights in all 50 states.

Public Policy From Crap Movies Sissy: Howard C. WeizmannThe deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management was the only person at a Senate hearing in September who didn't approve of legislation that would give federal workers insurance benefits for their same-sex partners. Why? Weizmann cited the movie I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry as evidence that such benefits could be given to fraudulent couples.

No Respect for the Dead Sissy: John GibsonHours after the tragic death of actor Heath Ledger, the Fox News bloviator featured a snippet of Brokeback Mountain's Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) saying, "I wish I knew how to quit you." Gibson added, "Well, he found out how to quit you," before laughing and playing a clip of Ledger's character saying, "We're dead," which Gibson repeated. He also called Ledger a "weirdo" with a "serious drug problem." Stay classy, Fox News!

Talking Without Thinking Sissies: Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri ShepherdThe View's voices from the Right decided to top their own stupidity -- Hasselbeck's bleatings about William Ayers, fundamentalist Shepherd's uncertainty over the shape of the planet -- by voicing all the disproven canards of how California's Prop. 8 meant that ministers could be jailed for refusing to perform gay marriages or for preaching against homosexuality. Despite phone calls from Ellen DeGeneres and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, they continued their misinformation campaign on the next episode.

Lovesexy Sissy: PrinceGiven that most of the American population thought that Prince was gay until the release of Purple Rain (only to reconsider the question after they saw Under the Cherry Moon), it takes some cast-iron gall for the singer to come out as a Bible-thumping homophobe. Prince -- who became a Jehovah's Witness more than five years ago -- told The New Yorker, "God came to Earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, 'Enough.' " Oh, and he literally tapped his Bible while saying it. Perhaps Prince's brain is partying like it's 1899.

Also Blames Us for Hay Fever Sissy: Rep. Sally KernThe Oklahoma state representative said in March -- and repeated in October -- that homosexuality is the biggest threat facing the United States and that it causes more deaths than terrorism. What's her take on terminal stupidity?

Late-Night Sissy: Jay LenoWhen Ryan Phillippe went on The Tonight Show to plug Stop/Loss, the lantern-jawed host brought up Phillippe's early work playing a troubled gay teen on One Life to Live. (I totally cried when the AIDS Quilt came to Llanview.) Leno then asked the befuddled actor to give the camera his "gayest look." Leno later apologized, but not before a website was created where gays and lesbians gave the talker their own gayest looks, all of which required the use of the middle finger.

Bluestocking Sissies: The "No More Pornography" Group at the University of UtahThese activists put their collective foot down about assigned reading for an English class at the university. Tropic of Cancer? Lolita? Nope, it was lesbian author-cartoonist Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir (as in "graphic novel," not "graphic sex") Fun Home. After all, the racy tome was selected as the best book of 2006 by Hustler magazine. Oh, wait, no, it was Time magazine. Never mind.

Sissy Cult: The Church of ScientologyFollowers of L. Ron Hubbard insist that the church isn't homophobic. But after being in a car accident, actor Jason Beghe (Cane) was told by church elders that, at his level within the church, the actor should be "practically immortal" and that the accident was the fault of a gay friend of Beghe's who was "suppressing" him. Does pointing this out make us "glib"?

Sissy Series: Grey's AnatomyJust when we'd gotten over Isaiah Washington and Faggotgate, Grey's goes and fires Brooke Smith, whose character Erica Hahn was one of TV's most interesting lesbians. Series creator Shonda Rhimes blamed the decision on a lack of "magic and chemistry" between Erica and Sara Ramirez's character Callie Torres. But when Melissa George's recently added character got downgraded from "Callie love interest" to "vaguely bisexual, maybe" it became clear that gay story lines are not welcome amid all the hetero dry-humping at Seattle Grace.

Sissy Bureaucrat: Jacqui SmithDespite reports of persecution, imprisonment, and death sentences for gay men in Iran, the British home secretary turned down asylum requests from multiple Iranian gays. In a letter to one of her peers, Smith said that gay and lesbian Iranians didn't need to worry about suffering "adverse action" from the authorities as long as the parties in question remained "discreet." Someone build Smith a time machine so she can go back 70 years and tell persecuted Poles to stop acting so Jewish.

No Irony Whatsoever Sissy: Elizabeth DoleThe senator from North Carolina -- defeated this November after running an ad suggesting her Sunday school-teaching opponent was an atheist -- actually dared to suggest that an international AIDS relief bill be named after the venomously homophobic Jesse Helms, who once suggested that people with AIDS didn't deserve help from the government because they got sick due to "deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct."

Armed and Dangerous Sissy: Jim AdkissonOn a Sunday morning in July, Adkisson entered a Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville, Tenn., and shot eight people, killing two. He later claimed he was driven by his hatred of liberals in general and gays in particular. Police seized three books from his home -- Bill O'Reilly's The O'Reilly Factor, homophobic radio personality Michael Savage's Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder, and Sean Hannity's Let Freedom Ring.

Rappin' Sissy: Trick TrickAttention, gay shoppers: Don't even think about buying Eminem protege Trick Trick's album The Villain. He told a website, "I'm a go on the record right now with this. Homosexuals are probably not gonna like this album. I don't want your faggot money any goddamn way. I don't like it [homosexuality]. Carry that shit somewhere else." Which, of course, is hip-hop speak for, "Hey, sexy DL thug, let's light some vanilla candles and watch the Sex and the City movie on DVD before we make sweet booty-love all night long."

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