For the past year, I have been trying to get The Advocate to stop sending my subscription covered in a plastic bag. I've written letters and called that number repeatedly, but still, every month it comes wrapped. I'm out and actually proud that I support and subscribe to The Advocate and other gay publications.
However, this month, when Perez Hilton appeared on the cover , I was actually glad that it came still wrapped.
I hated that The Advocate put Perez Hilton on the cover. I expressed my feelings on my Facebook page pretty strongly, wrote editor in chief Jon Barrett, and immediately got an e-mail back, asking me to call him. I did and we had an intelligent, civil conversation. He told me that they had gone to press BEFORE the will.i.am incident, but AFTER the Dustin Lance Black incident. The implication I got was that if he could, he would have pulled the cover after the will.i.am antigay slur and punching incident. But why not after Perez posted the pictures of Black? Why wasn't that enough?
I actually took Perez to task before the will.i.am incident, when Perez chose to post the private photos of Black. I found his decision to post them despicable and posted a note on my Facebook page asking not only for a boycott of PerezHilton.com but also of Perez himself at gay functions.
My position -- we do not need people thinking he is a representative for us. Many agreed with my position, some didn't. But I stand by my statement (found in the "Notes" section of my Facebook page). During this time, when we are fighting hard for equal rights, we certainly don't need someone like Perez representing and speaking for our community, while simultaneously tearing it down and attempting to bring down one of our heroes -- Dustin Lance Black -- who actually uses his celebrity, his platform, to elevate our cause and to save young gay lives.
But back to Perez on the cover of The Advocate . I think it was a glaring error. The Advocate did exactly what Perez did by posting the DLB pictures. PerezHilton.com got lots of hits, translating into revenue. The Advocate thought Perez Hilton, a controversial figure, would sell magazines. But in that, they hurt our fight just like Perez did. Across America and beyond -- on newsstands and in book stores -- people saw Perez's image right below the words The Advocate -- the words that are supposed to describe their magazine.
But we all make mistakes. Hey, I had lunch with Perez and Rue McClanahan in exchange for him posting the trailer of Sordid Lives: The Series on his site. I did it to sell my show. I wish I hadn't. In hindsight, it wasn't worth it, and I'm sorry.
Let's not forget that The Advocate has been doing great work for over 40 years. So let's not throw out the baby with the bath water, folks. I'm sure that Jon Barrett, the publishers, and staff wish that they could do it over. I challenge them to do better. There are lots of people who have not appeared on an Advocate cover -- Dan Jinks, Bruce Cohen, Angela Robinson, Leslie Jordan, Alan Ball, Bruce Vilanch, Cherry Jones, Ben Patrick Johnson, Rob Marshall, Marc Shaiman, Cynthia Nixon, Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, to name a few -- who are worthy.
So, I'm not boycotting The Advocate over this or canceling my subscription. I'm just tearing off the cover of Perez and throwing it into the trash. That feels appropriate.
And as you know, I do know trash.