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December 2010

The Year in Gay History: 2010



Feb. 3, 2010 - On Ugly Betty villainess Wihelmina (played by Vanessa Williams) is furious to discover she has a drag impersonator.  RuPaul makes a guest appearance.   

Feb. 11, 2010 - Acclaimed British fashion designer Alexander McQueen commits suicide at the age of 40.

Feb. 12, 2010 - The movie Valentine's Day, which opens this weekend, features a largely downplayed gay subplot about a closeted NFL star (played by Eric Dane of Grey's Anatomy) and his frustrated boyfriend (Bradley Cooper).




Feb. 18, 2010 - The U.S.'s Evan Lysacek wins the gold medal in Men's Figure Skating at the Vancouver Olympics.  Johnny Weir finishes sixth.

March 4, 2010 - The first same-sex marriages are performed in Mexico City after they were made legal on December 29, 2009.

May 27, 2010 - The second Sex & the City movie opens and moviegoers are subjected to a cringe-worthy performance of Single Ladies by Liza Minnelli at the wedding of Stanford and Anthony.




June 5, 2010 - Elton John is paid $1 million to perform at homophobic right-wing gas bag Rush Limbaugh's fourth wedding.

June 5, 2010 - Portugal becomes the eighth nation where same sex marriage is legal.

July 15, 2010 - Argentina is the first South American country to legalize same sex marriage.




Aug 9, 2010 - After having an on-board altercation with a passenger shortly after landing at JFK, a gay Jet Blue flight attendant has a meltdown and exits the plane, using one of its emergency slides.

Aug. 25, 2010 - Joe Miller, a gay philanthropist from Indianapolis, and owner of the company that produced the well-known line of Rush and Jungle Juice "poppers", commits suicide.  His age was uncertain, but he was thought to be around 60.

Sept. 20, 2010 - At a political rally in Portland, Maine Lady Gaga gives a fiery speech demanding the end of the US military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Sept 30, 2010 - Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi jumps to his death from the George Washington Bridge after his roommate shows a video of him online kissing a man in their dorm room.




Oct. 17, 2010 - The Liberace Museum in Las Vegas closes after 31 years.

Nov. 9, 2010 - On tonight's episode of Glee, Kurt (played by Chris Colfer) confronts a football player who's been bullying him, and in the heat of the confrontation the jock gives Kurt a passionate kiss.  In the same episode Kurt meets Blaine.

Dec. 7, 2010 - Kurt and Blaine sing a saucy duet of Baby It's Cold Outside in a Christmas-themed episode of Glee.

Dec. 18, 2010 - Congress votes to repeal the US military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.


(To read about LGBT pop culture and history from other years double click here.)



The Tops & Bottoms of 2010 (December 30, 2010)




Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".  What a great way to end the year!  Not only was it the highlight of 2010 but ranks as one of the most important gay milestones of all time, reversing the ban against gays in the military dating back to 1942.  Of course, the nearly 40 countries that already accept gay soldiers into their armed forces (e.g. Canada, Great Britain, Germany) shrugged their shoulders.  




Honors for Modern Family and Glee.  Straight actor Eric Stonestreet won an Emmy for Best Actor in a sitcom for his portrayal of 1/2 of gay couple/daddies Cameron & Mitchell on Modern Family while lesbian actress Jane Lynch won an Emmy for Best Actress in a sitcom for her portrayal of nasty cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (sexuality undetermined) on GleeModern Family also won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy.




Gay Bullying/Gay Suicide.  In October Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after his roommate showed him online kissing another man.  Coming in the midst of a spate of gay suicides in the autumn, Clementi's death was the tipping point.  In response a video series titled "It Gets Better" was produced, starring celebrities (including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) and regular Joe's.  




Celebrating Sondheim.  In celebration of Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday there was a celebration of his oeuvre at Lincoln Center and during the summer a limited-run salute on Broadway, Sondheim on Sondheim, ran.  He also published a book Finishing the Hat and a DVD was released of a primetime musical from 1966, Evening Primrose, that Sondheim wrote the music for.  




Paris, Berlin, ... Houston?  Lesbian Annise Parker was sworn in as mayor of Houston on January 4.  Governing a city of nearly 2 million, Parker became the gay/lesbian with the largest constituency in the U.S.  (Not to negate the influence of Barney Frank or Lady Gaga!)








Razzle Dazzle at Winter Olympics.  Johnny Weir's performance in the Men's figure skating competition at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver was breathtaking, but unfortunately the judges weren't as enamored and he placed sixth.  Another American, the more masculine (relatively speaking) Evan Lysacek (pictured, above, in black, near left) won the gold.  The jury is still out on his sexuality, but an ongoing cat fight between the two skaters raised eyebrows.    


Gay-themed Movies.  Highlights for me were The Kids Are Alright (Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo), I Love You, Phillip Morris (Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor) and the Peruvian film Undertow.   




Memoirs.  Patti LuPone published her memoirs, Patti LuPone: A Memoir, in September (and also co-starred in the short-lived stage musical Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.)  Ricky Martin (who finally came out in 2010) and Ellen DeGeneres' partner, Portia de Rossi, also published their respective memoirs, Me and Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss & Gain.  Finally, Project Runway's Tim Gunn published Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work, a book on style that also touched upon some of his own life.   


Same Sex Marriage.  In March Washington, D.C. joined five other states (MA, IA, CT, NH and VT) in legalizing same-sex marriage.  Meanwhile, in August a U.S. district court judge in San Francisco overturned Prop 8 saying it was unconsitutional; however, resumption of marriages was put on hold while a Court of Federal Appeals in District 9 reviewed the decision.





Baseball?  The San Francisco Giants won their first World Series championship for the city, helped mightily by stud relief pitcher Brian "The Beard" Wilson.  His intent stare, beard dyed a jet black, how he left the top buttons of his uniform unbuttoned, his well spoken manner - all were part of his appeal (for me at least).  Eyebrows were raised upon the introduction of his friend, referred to as "The Machine", who walked around in a leather hood, harness and jock.  The blog The Gay Highwaymen speculated whether Wilson might be gay.  Curiously, after receiving considerable attention for a few weeks after the World Series, Wilson has kept a low profile ever since.  Perhaps the Giants and Major League Baseball ordered him to tone it down?         




However, not all that was gay glittered:  Elton John sang at Rush Limbaugh's wedding; JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater (above) threw an alcohol-fueled hissy-fit; the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas closed after 31 years; Ricky Martin's aforementioned memoir had no photos in it and, sadly, the worst movie I saw all year was Burlesque (with apologies to Cher).  





The Homoeroticism of Rockefeller Center




I was amused and transfixed by the cover of an issue of The New Yorker from December 2010.  It shows a little boy looking up in wonderment at the huge bronze statue of Atlas that stands across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral on 5th Ave.  Atlas is part of the Art Deco statuary and wall carvings found throughout midtown Manhattan's famed Rockefeller Center complex which was built in the 1930s.  My interpretation is that the boy is drawn to this masculine presence looming over him - perhaps it might be the first stirrings of same-sex attraction. 


This made me think back to the moment it happened to me for the first time.  I venture to guess it was either while watching Seahunt in the early 1960s and gazing at its star, a hairy chested Lloyd Bridges.  Or catching a glimpse in my father's copy of Sports Illustrated of bare chested football or baseball players celebrating in the locker room.    





Atlas isn't the only representation of masculinity found in Rockefeller Center.  The testosterone from the studly Greek gods and bare chested laborers carved into the limestone walls and grand entrances of the various buildings pervades the complex.  They may very well be overlooked but they're worth seeking out. 




And at Christmas time, cute, cherubic buglers ring the upper plaza above the world famous ice skating rink.  And then, of course, there's always golden Prometheus reigning over the rink.





Magazine Ads with Sex Appeal - the Sequel


Back by popular demand, here are half a dozen more magazine ads chosen for their use of male sex appeal to pitch general market products (non-underwear division). 


  • Avon.  This charming and sexy ad features Olympic medalist Aileen Riggin, a gold medal winner for the US in diving at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium.  She's surrounded by participants from the 1996 Games held in Atlanta.  The ad appeared in Vanity Fair.  (Ms. Riggin died in 2002 at the age of 96.)




  • Gleem.  Long before the TV show Glee there was Gleem, a leading toothpaste brand in the 1950s and 1960s. (The '50s was the heyday of one-syllable brand names such as Fab, Wisk, Tang, Trix, Cheer and Duz).  This ad appeared in the mid-80s.




  • Olympus.  Here's another sexy, friendly face looking at the reader.  Yeah, I'd be able to easily smile back.




  • Nautica.  This is an ad for Nautica's line of bedding.  Unfortunately Wee Willie Winkie here doesn't come with the comforter - you'll need to find your own.




  • US Postal Service.  Woof!  This ad ran in 1980.  Who exactly was the target audience here?  If you have any gay friends who are stamp collectors this ad may have been the impetus behind their hobby. 




  • Kellogg's Smart Start.  If you believe the adage that you are what you eat then this god coming out of the water tells you all you need to know about the wisdom of choosing this breakfast cereal.







Ricky Martin's Autobiography: Where's the Beefcake? (December 2010)



Last night (in Dec. 2010) I stopped into the store Rainbows & Triangles in Chelsea (long since closed) and came across Ricky Martin's new book, a memoir titled Me. (Not to be confused with Katherine Hepburn's similarly titled autobiography.)  However, paging through it, I was sorely disappointed to discover that there were no photos in it.  Sure, the cover is sexy as hell but that should've served as the appetizer.  He's taking himself much too seriously if he thinks fans are going to buy the book solely for his writing.  Bottom line, a book about Ricky Martin without photos is like buying a CD of his greatest hits without the hit song La Vida Loca on it


This is the kind of eye candy I was hoping to see - times 10!