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July 2018

LGBTQ News Headlines of 2018




January 17 - The limited series The Assassination of Gianni Versace (produced by Ryan Murphy) premiered on FX.  It starred Edgar Ramirez as Versace; Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan; Ricky Martin as Versace's lover; and Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace.


Versace in pool


February 7 - Bermuda became the first country to repeal its law that legalized same-sex marriage.

February 7 - A revival of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (2003-2007), now simply called Queer Eye, premiered on Netflix.

March 4 - James Ivory won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Call Me By Your Name.

March 16 - The gay teen romance Love, Simon opened in theaters and became the eleventh highest grossing film with a gay theme or prominent gay character, taking in $41 million at the domestic box office.


Love  simon


March 25 - 25 years after its first Broadway run, a revival of Tony Kushner's AIDS drama Angels in America opens.

April 27 - A documentary about former Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley, The Gospel According to Andre opened in theaters.

May 21 - Although he didn't win a medal for the US in the Men's Singles Figure Skating competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics, openly gay figure skater Adam Rippon won Dancing with the Stars: Athletes.




May 31 - A revival of Boys in the Band opened on Broadway in the 50th anniversary year of the play's original Broadway debut.

June 4 - In a 7-2 vote, the US Supreme Court ruled that a baker in Lakewood, Colorado could refuse to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.


Gay wedding cake


July 9 - After a previous rainbow sculpture celebrating gay pride in Warsaw (the capital of Poland) was repeatedly vandalized, a new one was unveiled that is "unbreakable" - a hologram projected on a curtain of water, making it resistant to most forms of defacement.


Warsaw rainbow

July 20 - Eight years after his suicide, at the age of 40, a documentary about fashion designer Alexander McQueen opens in theaters.

July 25 - Cher is announced as one of this year's recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors.

July 30 - Land O'Lakes Inc. named Beth Ford as its CEO, making her the first openly gay woman to head a Fortune 500 company.


Land o lakes

September 18 - Sesame Workshop, the education organization behind the children’s program Sesame Street, issued a press release stating that the beloved characters Bert & Ernie “do not have a sexual orientation.”

November 6 - 43-year-old Jared Polis became the first openly gay person elected governor of a US state (Colorado).

November 22 - A same-sex kiss was aired on Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade for the first time. The kiss was between two female characters during the conclusion of a number from the Broadway show Mean Girls.


Macys thanksgiving parade same-sex kiss

Adam Rippon - The Pumpkin Spice of Gay Celebrities?



Adam Rippon is everywhere, and I wouldn't be surprised if his middle name were "Ubiquitous".  It all began at this year's Winter Olympics where he competed in Men's Figure Skating.  (Prior to 2018 Rippon had a modicum of success upon winning the 2017 Men's US Figure Skating Nationals).  And although he didn't medal in the individual competition (and his two teammates finished ahead of him) he, curiously, received media adulation usually reserved for a medal juggernaut such as swimming icon Michael Phelps


Since the Olympics Rippon has taken the world by storm.  He's been on Dancing with the Stars (which he won); attended the 2018 Academy Awards; was chosen as one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential (with a gushing tribute penned by Cher!)' modeled in the buff for ESPN Magazine's 'Body Issue'; and has made appearances on just about every daytime and late night TV talk show.  Reese Witherspoon and Sally Fields both made a huge fuss about him on social media.


Adam Rippon - Figure Skating Magazine
A year before the media frenzy
Adam rippon - 2018 oscars - getty images
And at the 2018 Oscars wearing, inexplicably, a leather harness


Back in the 1990s Harvey Fierstein was everywhere as the media's go-to person for gay commentary, but that was understandable since in that era there were almost no openly gay celebs to talk to except for Harvey.  That's not the case these days, where it seems there are more openly gay and transgendered personalities in the public eye than there are straight celebrities.  Yet Rippon has managed to monopolize the media's attention.


Harvey fierstein

As a skater Rippon has beautiful, ethereal style, and I applauded him for turning down a meeting with our homophobic vice president at the Winter Olympics.  It's also to his credit that he's openly gay, a decision that may have even hurt him with some of the judges at the Olympics, who seem loathe to acknowledge the participation of gay men in the sport.  However, I'm put off by how self-absorbed he seems, and his need to tell interviewers how fabulous he is. 


Adam rippon and reese witherspoon


The media's gushing over him brings to mind its obsession with the unbearable personalities of reality shows, which celebrate anti-social behavior (I've previously bemoaned the toxic "entertainment" Bravo's Andy Cohen has inflicted upon us with his 'Housewives of' franchise).  And like a reality star, Rippon embraces these vapid personality traits, boasting in interviews of being trashy, slutty and fierce.  GLAAD recently stated that Rippon is someone every LGBTQ teen can look up to.  But is he, really?  While self-confidence and a sunny disposition are wonderful personality traits to possess, it's undermined by boastfulness.  The intoxication in our culture with this type of "celebrity" is what helped put the disgrace we call president in the White House.  But I digress ...


As with pumpkin spice flavoring, does Rippon have to be an ingredient in everything of our pop culture?



Review of "The Cakemaker" - Affection Through Confection

The cakemaker


No, The Cakemaker isn't a documentary about the Colorado cake maker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.  Rather, it's a touching (albeit slow-moving) drama about the life of a Berlin baker, Thomas, after his married Israeli boyfriend, Oren, is killed in a car accident (the actor who plays Oren bears a striking resemblance to Daniel Day- Lewis).  Seeking some sort of solace Thomas goes to Jerusalem where he ends up befriending Oren's widow, Anat, gets a job working for her at her newly opened cafe and draws customers with his delectable baked goods.  Oddly, Anat shows no curiosity about Thomas's background nor does she ask him about his reasons for coming Israel.  Meanwhile Anat's brother isn't thrilled that a German Gentile is working in a kosher establishment.  (There are subtle jabs at Orthodox Judaism as it applies to its strict dietary laws.) 


Thomas the Cakemaker


The cherubic Thomas has a doughy, but surprisingly sexy, physique which, we get to see in a number of scenes when he's showering, lounging in Oren's red Speedo or, in flashbacks, of he and Oren making love.  He's a gentle soul who came to Jerusalem with no sinister agenda in mind.  (An aspect of the movie I liked was having it set in Jerusalem rather than cosmopolitan Tel Aviv.)


Thomas at the pool  The Cakemaker

Although the movie falls into the "gay" genre the story doesn't immerse itself in depictions of gay life.  In fact, considerably more time is devoted to showing his interaction with Anat (which turns romantic) than with Oren.  There are some furtive cruising done at a gymnasium and at a park but Thomas never acts on it.  Touching scenes with Oren's mother suggest that she knew that Oren was gay and seems to intuit it about Thomas as well.  She acts in a caring, motherly fashion towards him but I didn't know if it was because, perhaps, Oren confided in her, or because, sensing Thomas was gay, she liked having him around because it may have brought back memories of her son.  


Near the end of the movie comes a heartrending reveal when Oren's widow, who still isn't aware of the romance between Thomas and Oren, confides in him about what transpired shortly before Oren's accident, a story that devastates Thomas because he learns that Oren's feelings for him were deeper than he imagined.  Little did he know how very close they came to being together in Berlin in a full time relationship.  His restrained emotional reaction upon hearing this account is difficult to watch.


Oren and thomas  the cakemaker

This is the second Israeli film I've seen with a gay theme.  The first was Yossi & Jagger, which I saw in 2002.  It told the story of two Israeli soldiers, stationed in the no-man's land between Israel and Lebanon, who are surreptitious lovers.  This made the affection between them even more affecting.  Death also separates the two but, unlike The Cakemaker, it comes near the end of the movie.




Other movie reviews that may be of interest:  

Call Me By Your Name

In God's Country

Paris 05:59 - Theo & Hugo

Do I Sound Gay?

Stranger by the Lake