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Friday, November 26, 2010

The Gay Gratitude List

Posted By on Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 11:25 AM

click to enlarge Oh happy day...
  • Oh happy day...

The Week in Gay

In recognition of the Thanksgiving holiday and the importance of the acknowledgment that things aren't all that bad (or maybe they are and we need to stop and smell the roses) I offer a list of events and persons worthy of gratitude.

For example: Skating with the Stars has begun!  ABC's spinoff to Dancing with the Stars started airing this week. And although both shows offer no redeeming value whatsoever, Skating features Olympic skater Johnny Weir as a judge and washed-up actress/former stalker of James Woods Sean Young in competition. What a coup! Added bonus: Dick Button! He's got credentials (blah blah blah), but he's also got a hilarious name! This show is what gratitude is all about.

I wonder which member of the Palin family will join the competition next season.

Next on the list:  Dan Savage and Kerry Eleveld. These two writers have made a huge difference in the LGBT universe in 2010.

click to enlarge Thanks, Vaughn!
  • Thanks, Vaughn!
Just before an onslaught of queer youth suicides started to grab the attention of the media Dan Savage launched a project using the internet to reach youth in crisis. The It Gets Better project now offers thousands of video clip messages of support from celebrities, politicians and regular folk from all over the world that hopefully will make a difference. This week Dan held CNN accountable during an on-air interview for giving right-wing supremacists a platform to disseminate their bigotry and defamation. Savage was criticized by a right-wing media source for his advocacy (which is unwaveringly fierce) and received some ugly hate mail on Thanksgiving Day. Dan can dish it out and he can take it and he has earned thanks for good work.

Kerry Eleveld has single handedly made the aged and fading gay periodical The Advocate relevant again. She has been THE reporter at the front lines of all the big stories involving the LGBT community this year and has provided intelligent and insightful analysis when needed. This week Eleveld and The Advocate launched a video show called A View From the Hill where Eleveld discusses the odds of DADT repeal during the lame duck session. Her reporting has become the standard for LGBT citizens.

The unlikely mention: Republican gay rights organizations! Both the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud

have made a difference -- and continue to make a difference -- in the

lives of all American gays. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit, but it's true!

Because of the lawsuit filed in federal court

against the military policy against LGBT personell (DADT) by the LCR,

the legislative and executive branches of government felt pressure to

act on the policy they put in place back in 1993. California Judge

Virginia Phillips found that DADT was unconstitutional and we can

thank the Log Cabin Republicans for that victory.

The other group, GOProud, earns our gratitude for an entirely different

reason -- entertainment value. Not long ago we only had LCR around

hogging the microphone during the Ayn Rand karaoke hour. Now we can thank

GOProud for hosting Homocon 2010 a fund-raising event that featured an insulting and hateful speech by Ann Coulter that belittled the idea of LGBT equality. As an added bonus, GOProud recently picked a fight on CNN with other extreme right-wing groups over the inclusion of anti-gay positions in the Republican agenda. I thank you, GOProud, for helping me laugh through the pain of trying to understand you.

The likely mention: AFER / Olson & Boies / Judge Vaughn Walker. The American Foundation for Equal Rights hired ideological opposites David Boies and Ted Olson to challenge Prop. 8 in federal court. That story broke in 2009, but the trial happened early this year and we are STILL wallowing in gratitude for what they accomplished. By midyear the dragged-out drama came to a conclusion and Walker (a San Francisco treat who won't commit to being openly heterosexual) tossed Prop. 8 in the compost heap. Months later, Walker announced his retirement. The drama in this story NEVER stopped. For a year full of suspense, righteousness, justice and victory we thank ALL of you!

Next up:  Dec. 6 -- the Court of Appeals hearing on the next (and maybe last) phase of the case. Stay tuned.

Finally an honorable mention of gratitude is being extended to Antoine Dodson, the unwitting gay internet music sensation. Dodson was interviewed on the local news in Huntsville, Ala. following the attempted rape of his sister. Fortunately, he chased away the perp. Shortly thereafter The Gregory Brothers  got their hands on the news footage and turned the interview into the YouTube song of the year. The clip has been played more 40 million times. Debates raged about the potential racist and/or classist objectifying of Dodson and his sister but he didn't engage the chorus of naysayers. In August, a New York Times blog covered the story and included a video of Antoine acknowledging his sexual identity. He is gay, he defended his sister, he later appeared on the BET music awards (with assist by a Gregory Bro), sold a Halloween costume based on the song and used his newfound riches to move his family out of the housing projects.

Thank you, Antoine Dodson, for being sweet, fierce and smart ... and for the warning.

Patrick Connors is an uppity fag that is grateful to have a husband to hide.

Follow him on Twitter at @UppityFag and @TheSnitchSF    

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