This year i have
officially become a professional queer. My travels took
me to a gay bar in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and a drag bar in
Denver. I attended a blur of circuit parties and a
marathon of gay weddings in California. I stood up in
front of gay crowds in places as predictable as Miami
and as unexpected as Warwick, R.I. And to keep it all
straight, I wrote a journal. Here are the highlights.
February 14, Phnom Penh, Cambodia Who knew Valentine's Day was such a big
deal in Cambodia? Everywhere people peddling
heart-shaped candy and flowers identical to the
plastic-wrapped variety they sell at stoplights in L.A. As
part of my assignment for The Out Traveler
magazine, I went to three different gay bars and ran
into gossipy people I knew at all three places. Great.
I'm now considered a whore on a global scale.
But the Khmer scene is new and lovely. Androgynously
handsome Southeast Asian men laugh, flirt, and dance
as if they've never had their hearts broken.
I'm envious and bewildered -- I can't remember
the last time I felt the same way.
February 24, West Hollywood As host of the Trevor Project's Oscar
viewing party/fund-raiser, I turned the most boring
Academy Awards in recent memory into a series of drinking
games. Standing on the bar, I shouted things like,
"If you haven't seen any of the films
nominated for Best Picture, take a shot!" and
"If you agree that Heidi Klum's dress
makes her look like Dracula's mom, down the
hatch!" The entire bar was bombed before the actual
ceremony went live. Add to that the little-known fact
that if you stand in one place long enough
you'll hear everything: Beautiful men confessed to
being former fatties or headgear-wearing geeks.
Lacquered, coiffed, poised, and pumped, L.A. men are a
gang of Adonises terrified of looking foolish. Nobody
feels good enough. My favorite overheard comment of the
night came when Tilda Swinton won:
"Doesn't Clay Aiken look lovely?"
March 17, New York City Wearing a khaki suit I'd bought off the
rack in Singapore with a pair of Marc Jacobs wing
tips, I walked the red carpet at the GLAAD Media Awards
feeling perfectly presentable until I was stopped by Tim
Gunn. Apparently the back vents of my suit were still
sewn together and I was trailing thread. He borrowed
scissors from a cameraman and cut them open right
there with cameras clicking. I sat at a table next to
Barbara Walters and was so starstruck I stared at her
like she was a painting. I sat next to Randy Jackson;
his feet are enormous.
April 19, Palm Springs, Calif. Attending the White Party without taking drugs
is like watching a 3-D movie without the glasses. I
was mobbed by a bunch of teeth-grinding circuit
queens. It was like standing in front of a wood chipper -- I
thought I was going to catch bits of molar in the eye.
Having done my share of partying, I hold no judgments
about drugs, but I find that steroids and crystal meth
make everyone look unreal and crazy. Everyone I danced
with looked like either a professional wrestler or Wile E.
July 8, Naples, Italy After appearances at six gay prides and four gay
film fests, I'm now performing on an Atlantis
Mediterranean cruise. You know you're on a gay
cruise when the headliners are Nikki Blonsky, Chita Rivera,
and...you. I think I've hit my gay
ceiling. I find myself wondering if there's a place
left on the planet that doesn't have a tea dance
every day at 4 p.m. I now have a ton of Facebook
friends who are porn stars.
September 20, Seattle At the Human Rights Campaign's Pacific
Northwest Gala Dinner, I joked that Sarah Palin not
believing in evolution is ironic seeing that she has a
baby that looks like it could peel a banana with its feet.
Somebody at the dinner got really angry and
complained. I apologized, explaining that I
didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings but that
I was fresh off the set of Ugly Betty in New
York -- and immediately after a wholesome bit like
that, I sometimes feel like I have Tourette's
syndrome. I should've stuck up for myself and
said that political correctness is just another form
of censorship, but I had another plane to catch in a few
hours and was simply too exhausted to fight.