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Why Aren't Heterosexuals Designated as SWSMBTQ?

Puzzled man


I scratch my head over the acronym LGBTQ because, like an "Everything" bagel, it seems to have all sorts of conditions attached to it.  "Straight", however, is left unadulterated.  In our era of political correctness how have heterosexuals escaped being referred to as SWSM?  And which governing body had the power to change the simple descriptor of "Gay" to alphabet soup?  For instance, why is, 'B' (bi-sexual) and 'Q' (questioning), part of LGBTQ, but not Straight?  After all, these letters indicate a person is uncertain, so shouldn't they fall into both sexual orientation camps?


Everything bagel


And as far as the 'T' (transsexual) is concerned, why is it attached only to LGBTQ - or not given its own standalone designation?  As I understand it, if a person transitions to the other gender, the gender they're attracted to doesn't also flip (going on the assumption that sexual orientation isn't a choice).  So, shouldn't hetero Tommy, whose girlfriend is hetero Sally, now be considered gay when he transitions to Tammy?  (Unless pre-transition Tommy was closeted and decided that becoming a woman was easier than coming out - Caitlyn Jenner, anyone?)  Likewise, when gay Greg, whose boyfriend is Esteban, transitions to Gerta, isn't she now straight?




It just seems that "the gays" get all of the baggage beyond "Gay" because the Heterosexual Establishment, like the Aryan Nation, wants to remain "pure"; therefore, any deviation from the norm must be part of the "other", i.e. Homosexuals.  How about we make a deal?  We'll continue to shoulder the grill-work of LGBTQ if heteros adopt the moniker SWSMBTQ.  Discuss.





























FourTwoNine Magazine - Does an Upscale Magazine for Gay Men Have a Chance?

FourTwoNineMagazineThe magazine industry has struggled in the 21st century as digital media pulls ad dollars away and the Great Recession of 2008-09's effect on ad revenue lingers.  Magazines targeting a LGBT audience may be even more challenged since potential readership is 1/10 the size of the general population, and many of our interests are addressed in general market publications such as Vanity Fair, Opera News, Men's Health, Dwell, GQ and websites such as Towle Road, Just Jared, Outsports, etc.  Still, new magazines continue to be introduced.  One of them is a high-end gay lifestyle magazine with the title FourTwoNine (429 spells "GAY" on a telephone key pad.)  I was unfamiliar with it until I saw it among a stack of magazines in the pantry at my office.  It's a handsome publication, with large-sized pages (9" x 11") that makes it stand out from other magazines that, as a cost-cutting measure, have reduced the size of their pages.  As I paged through the last few issues it brought to mind a cross between Out and Metrosource, but at a premium cover price of $12.99.


Published out of San Francisco, FourTwoNine launched in September 2013 (after a rather tepid Kickstarter campaign raised $18,700).  Sarah Jessica Parker and Andy Cohen were featured on the cover of the premiere issue.  Kevin Sessums of Vanity Fair fame, and writer of the critically acclaimed memoir Mississippi Sissy, was editor-in-chief until last summer.  So far, just six issues have been published in 2½ years.  According to the publication's media kit a spring Film and Fashion issue was scheduled to be published in March 2016 but I've seen no evidence of it.  Its print circulation is just under 100,000.




According to a subscriber survey, median personal income of a subscriber is $125,000 (four times that of a typical US wage earner).  With such monied readers to boast about, it's no surprise the magazine carries ads from an array of high-end companies such as Lexus, Piaget, Grey Goose, Saks and the Tribeca and SoHo Grand hotels - but ads for HIV meds are conspicuously absent (a huge revenue generator for many LGBT publications). 


The publication touts its photography, features poetry and carries interviews with accomplished players in the worlds of fashion, literature and the arts - gay as well as straight (e.g., in the Summer 2015 issue there was a profile of San Francisco Giants baseball player Hunter Pence).  As part of its somewhat avant-garde vibe, the pages aren't numbered.  Issue Four received  attention for its feature on a James Franco interview with himself that broached the subject of his sexuality: "I like to think that I'm gay in my art and straight in my life.  Although, I'm also gay in my life up to the point of intercourse, and then you could say I'm straight."  Below are some photos that were published in issue Five:


Daveed Diggs plays the roles of Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette in the Broadway smash "Hamilton".


The Riker twins, Derek and Drew, are celebrity photographers.


Part of a "Boys of Summer" fashion feature.


At $12.99 FourTwoNine is a bit too pricey for my taste, and I find that Out (the largest circulation gay magazine) serves my interests in LGBT culture just fine.  However, I'd be happy to pick it up if I again see it in the office, or if I find it in the waiting rooms of my doctor, dermatologist or eye doctor.





New York's Gay Pride Parade - A Celebration or An Ordeal?




New York's Gay Pride Day Parade, which falls on the last Sunday in June, is the culmination of Gay Pride Week.  Its colorful floats and enthusiastic marchers display an array of LGBT interests; nearly every aspect of life is represented with a rainbow twist.  But while the parade is a wonderful event, for those of us who live in the West Village it's a one-day ordeal that sorely tests our patience.  Once the parade squeezes itself into the heart of the Village the neighborhood serves as a dumping grounds for thousands of crass, loud and disruptive parade goers, many who treat the neighborhood as a public toilet or a staging area for acting out personal drama.




Celebrants who descend upon the beleaguered area congregate around Christopher, Grove and Bleecker Streets and show little regard for those who live there.  When I had a summer share on Fire Island I made sure to be out there on this final weekend in June.  The few times I stayed in town I felt like a prisoner in my apartment, and if I went to the parade it was a challenge getting back to my place because of barricades, blocked streets and the mass of humanity.  I'm happy when it rains on this day.  (Last year I visited my mother in Pittsburgh and I'll be doing the same this year.)


Don't get me wrong, watching the parade on Fifth Avenue is a fun experience, but those who march are largely different from the masses who inflict themselves upon the West Village afterwards.  While a sense of pride emanates from the marchers, a passive-aggressive hostility characterizes those who loiter in the Village, waiting to be challenged for blocking doorways, vomiting on sidewalks or screaming with friends in the middle of streets.  For the most part they seem to be from the lower social strata, and their incongruence with the neighborhood has become more noticeable in the past ten years as it has been transformed by luxury condos and pricey boutiques - and, ironically, fewer LGBT residents.  (In other words, this is not their father's Greenwich Village.)




Those who congregate on the stoops of brownstones and block sidewalks are similar to those who regularly flock to the Village on other nights, but on Gay Pride Sunday there are thousands more.  What's troubling is that rather than appreciate the Village for serving as a refuge from their intolerant neighborhoods in places like the Bronx or Newark, they disrespect it by flouting the norms of civility with their shrieking, scuffling and disruption of traffic and businesses.  Some activists who defend the rights of these young people to "hang out" usually don't live here and therefore don't witness first hand the problems they create.  And what is viewed as police harassment is likely a reaction to bad behavior.  Lastly, just because these unruly kids are gay doesn't mean gay Villagers turn a blind eye to their bad behavior - no matter how disadvantaged they may be.    



Learning About Gay Life Before Stonewall

SageSAGE is a social welfare organization that looks after the needs of elderly gay men and lesbians.  In the summer of 1985, when I was 28, I volunteered for its Friendly Visitor program, which matches volunteers with a SAGE client for weekly visits - to talk, do light errands or have a meal together.  My client was 75-year-old Jim Chesbro, who lived on East 21st St.  He grew up in Albany and was in the Merchant Marines where he was involved in resettling European refugees after World War II.  Like Sammy Davis Jr., he lost an eye in a car accident when he was in his 20s.  His voice reminded me somewhat of Truman Capote's.  Every other week I'd visit with Jim after work for an hour or so.  Besides being gay we were also both Mets fans.  


My visits proved beneficial for both of us.  Over a cocktail or a glass of wine he'd tell me stories about his life in the 1930s, '40s and '50s, and I enjoyed getting a first-hand history lesson about what gay life was like back then.  In some respects Jim was the grandfather (s) I never had.  He told me that in Albany everyone in his gay circle had an assigned woman's name (his was Laura) and he'd go to house parties where everyone changed into drag upon arriving.  And in Cherry Grove of the 1950s there was no electricity so dinner parties were held by candlelight and guests often wore tuxes.




Occasionally we'd eat at his favorite Chinese restaurant, and he insisted on paying.  He also gave me cash gifts at Christmas, Easter and on my birthday - which was against SAGE regulations.  For Thanksgiving 1985 I made a pumpkin pie for him and we went to dinner at The Old Forge on 3rd Ave. and 17th Street.  And while Jim was always a gentleman, during one visit he said that he'd like to see me in a sailor's suit and have me pretend that I was "rough trade"!  




It seemed that most of Jim's gay experiences were with hustlers or furtive moments with straight sailors.  However, he did tell me of one long-term romance.  In the 1930s, before joining the Merchant Marine, he was a teacher and librarian at a prison near Albany, where he carried on a 7-year relationship with a prisoner.  He was able to pull some strings and get him an early parole and they moved to Jacksonville, Florida.  However, it turned out the fellow was more or less straight, so Jim moved out after five months.




Jim's mobility was severely impaired by arthritis, which forced him to curtail traveling, something he used to love to do.  The few times we ventured out he'd use a cane and hold on to me.  It was quite a challenge crossing the street with him before the light changed.  Because of his frail condition Jim wanted me to accompany him to the Jersey shore for a vacation and to Fire Island, where a friend owned a home.  In fact, a weekend visit out to the Pines was planned during the summer of 1986, but Jim took ill and it was postponed. 


Jim was a client for little more than a year when he died of a heart attack at the end of July 1986.  I got a call at work from one of the friends he often spoke about, Bill Funck.  Later that day I went down to Jim's apartment and met Bill and a few of the friends he mentioned as well as his sister, Mae, who still lived in Albany.  Bill was the friend of Jim's with the house in the Pines and he invited me out a few weekends later.  (He also owned one of the liquor stores in the harbor.)  His house was on Driftwood Walk, and when I took a share in the Pines ten years later my house was on the same walk.




After Jim's death, Arlene, the manager of the Friendly Visitor program sent me a note expressing her condolences and encouraging me to call her if I needed to talk.  She also hoped I would continue with the program, but I didn't because I didn't want to experience another client's decline and death.  Also, I had heard from other Friendly Visitors how high maintenance some of the clients could be and I realized how easy I had it with Jim.


What struck me as I listened to Jim's stories was that despite the  homophobic times Jim lived in he had fun and interesting experiences, even while living a closeted life.  Nowadays I wonder if gay men in their 20s and 30s think living in the 1970s and '80s was also somewhat of a Dark Ages for acceptance for gay men of my generation.





Tattoos - Why?

Tattoo1In the late 1970s gay men embraced what became known as the "clone" look, which featured a flannel shirt, mustache and a hanky in a rear pocket (one's sexual proclivities were communicated by the color of the hanky and in which pocket it was displayed).  Painter's pants and a Lacoste shirt with an upturned collar were de riguer in the early eighties.  Then the look transformed into that of the AIDS activist, which was characterized by a Silence=Death t-shirt and Doc Martens.  Come the mid-nineties and the "Chelsea Boy" look emerged, characterized by earrings, piercings, soul patch, a shaved chest and a gym body to show it all off.  And now in the 21st century tattoos and beards predominate.  But while you can take off a flannel shirt or remove piercings, that's not so easy with a tattoo.  Like a mole or birthmark, it's more or less permanent (and will likely clash with whatever new fads come along.)


Tattoos.comparisonWhat compels someone to adorn themselves with these irreversible markings?  Narcissism easily comes to mind, or an extreme need for attention (especially true for those sporting expansive/intrusive tats).  Probably more people observe such body art with puzzlement as in admiration.  As I see it, getting a prominent tattoo would be akin to me being so enchanted with a necktie that I never want to take it off, no matter the occasion.  I'd wear it with a suit, at the gym, on the beach, in the shower, etc. 


Tattoo.on.ass.paul.doran.jonesDon't get me wrong, some of the more complex tattoos are works of art, and they're further enhanced when displayed on a beautiful body.  But why would someone want to look like they should be hanging on the wall of an art gallery?  (If Michelangelo were alive today perhaps he might have chosen to etch his masterpiece on his boyfriend's muscled back rather than on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel!)  I admit that some tattoos enhance sex appeal, especially if they're found at the nape of the neck, on the lower back or the buttocks (as pictured).  Understated, sparse and concealed adds to the appeal.  However, when I'm in bed with a man I prefer my mind not be distracted by an expansive tattoo covering pecs, stomach, back, neck, etc.  If I want to see a work of art I'll visit MOMA.


SailorsandtattoosOf course, tattoos aren't a gay-only adornment.  In fact, they've been handed down to us by generations of dockworkers, sailors, boxers, Maori tribesmen and other hyper-masculine archetypes - which may be why some gay men are drawn to them (similar to the appeal of "bears" and the '70s clone look).  But is worshipping at this altar of virility worth the price?  (The same question can be asked about steroids.)


Smoothskin Excessive.tattoosThe gay tattoo fad seems to have lasted longer than most, probably because so many "trendsetters" themselves have tattoos.  Stuck with them, they're likely loathe to admit to being stuck with a tired look.  However, when a new generation of ink-less fashionistas annoints the next must-have look, it may be traumatic for those saddled with tattoos.  A new support group may be on the horizon.



Pondering the Treatment Link Between ADHD & Homosexuality

Ritalin AdderallIn an opinion piece that ran in the "Sunday Review" section of the New York Times on Nov. 3, Richard A. Friedman, professor of clinical psychiatry/director of pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College wrote that he was in favor of not treating ADHD with prescription medications like Ritalin or Adderall.  He argued that many of the children diagnosed with hyperactive disorder are naturally hard-wired for excitement or novelty seeking and aren't getting sufficient stimulation at school or home.  He posited that these kids aren't defective; rather, they just happen to possess behavioral traits that don't match the expectations of contemporary culture.  Long ago their hyperactivity would have given them a distinct advantage in societies that prized hunting and constant physical activity. 


ElectroshocktherapyThe Times article continued that nearly 11% of kids between the ages of 4 and 17 are now diagnosed with hyperactivity disorder at some point in their lives.  This got me thinking about how medical solutions were also once sought to treat homosexuality.  Fortunately there were medical professionals similar to professor Friedman who came to our defense, claiming that just because homosexuals didn't conform to the norms of society didn't mean they were defective.  In other words, even if it wasn't very prevalent, homosexuality is a naturally occurring phenomenon.  And their outlier status was the reason some societies held homosexual individuals in high regard, anointing them as healers or shamans.


Ritalin2Although stories abound about homosexuals undergoing lobotomies, electroshock, even castration, these widespread medical solutions weren't instituted.  With hyperactive children, however, it's a different story since they're too young to push back if their parents decide to go the pharmaceutical route.  Parents who don't want their children running around uncontrolled brings to mind those individuals, even today, who frown on sashaying, flamboyant homosexuals.






Remembering Our Gay Ancestors

Barbara.jordan2Truman.capoteFour years ago I wrote a post about popular LGBT personalities, and another about gay icons over the age of 75.  This latest post provides an overview of accomplished gay men and lesbians who are no longer with us.  I've drawn up a list of just over 250 individuals who've made their mark in their respective professions.  Of them, about two-thirds were open about their sexual orientation. (Please note that this post was published in 2014.)


The median age of these gay pioneers at the time of their death was 63.  Taking out the 20% who died of AIDS (at a median age of 45), the median age of those who died from other other causes rises to a still relatively young 68.  The oldest, architect Philip Johnson (in photo below) was 98 when he died in 2005.  Del Martin and Mabel Hampton were the oldest lesbians, both 87 at the time of their deaths in 2008 and 1989, respectively.  The youngest person on the list is Pedro Zamora, a cast member of MTV's The Real World, who died from AIDS at the age of 22.  He's followed by actor James Dean who was 24 when he was killed in a car accident.  The woman who was youngest at the time of her death was Lorraine Hansberry, who wrote Raisin in the Sun.  She was 34.




Philip Johnson Architect 98
John Gielgud Actor 96
Gian Carlo Menotti Composer/Conductor 95
Paul Cadmus Artist 95
Arthur Laurents Playwright 93
Bunny Breckinridge Actor & Drag Queen 93
Horst P. Horst Fashion Photographer 93
Michael Tippett Composer 93
Van Johnson Actor 92
Virgil Thomson Composer 92
EM Forster Author 91
M. Somerset Maugham Playwright/Novelist 91
Aaron Copland Composer 90
Harry Hay Gay Rights Activist 90
Merce Cunningham Dancer/Choreographer 90
Quentin Crisp Writer/Raconteur 90
Jermaine Stewart Singer 39
Willi Smith Fashion Designer 39
Federico Garcia Lorca Poet/Dramatist 38
Larry Levan DJ 38
Michael Callen Songwriter/AIDS Activist 38
Arthur Rimbaud Poet 37
Marlon Riggs Filmmaker 37
Rainer Werner Fassbinder Director/Screenwriter 37
Cyrano de Bergerac French Dramatist 36
Sal Mineo Actor 36
Joe Orton Playwright 34
Lorraine Hansbury Playwright  34
Casey Donovan Porn Star 33
Brian Epstein Manager of Beatles 32
David Cole Record Producer 32
Hart Crane Poet, Life Savers heir 32
Patrick Cowley Disco Producer 32
Franz Schubert Composer 31
Keith Haring Urban Artist/Activist 31
Rudolph Valentino Actor 31
James Dean Actor 24
Pedro Zamora Reality Star 22


Sixty-one persons (about 25% of the total) were born before the 20th century.  The furthest back in time was the Roman emperor Hadrian, followed by Richard the Lionhearted and Henry II.


Roman Emperor Hadrian


Hadrain Roman Emperor 76-138
Richard the Lionhearted English King 1157-1199
Edward II King 1284-1327
Leonardo da Vinci Painter/Sculptor 1452-1519
Cyrano de Bergerac French Dramatist 1619-1655
Jean-Baptiste Lully Composer 1632-1687
Arcangelo Corelli Composer/Violinist 1653-1713
Franz Schubert Composer 1797-1828
Ralph Waldo Emerson Essayist 1803-1882
Elizabeth Cady Stanton Feminist 1815-1902
Henry David Throeau Author, Poet 1817-1862
Walt Whitman Poet 1819-1892
Susan B. Anthony Feminist 1820-1906
Emily Dickinson Poet 1830-1886
Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky Composer 1840-1893
Henry James Writer 1843-1916


Looking at how many search results their names turn up on Google, the median number is 440,000 (note: from the summer of 2014).  Sixty-one generated more than 1 million search results, with Alexander McQueen (pictured below) and Leonardo Da Vinci the top two, well ahead of the rest.  After them, the three others with 5 million or more search results are Oscar Wilde, Divine and Andy WarholFrida Kahlo is the woman with the most, ranked twelfth with 2.8 million.  Sixty-four have fewer than 100,000, with the lowest number being for Mabel Hampton, Franciscan Friar Mychal Judge and drag performer Bunny Breckinridge, all who turned up 7,000.




Alexander McQueen Fashion Designer
Leonardo da Vinci Painter/Sculptor
Oscar Wilde Writer/Poet
Divine  Actress
Andy Warhol Artist
Yves Saint Laurent Fashion Designer
James Dean Actor
Freddie Mercury Musician
Sylvester Disco Singer
Christian Dior Fashion Designer
Frida Kahlo Artist
Perry Ellis Fashion Designer
Virginia Woolf Writer
Ralph Waldo Emerson Essayist
John Gielgud Actor


By profession, actors/actresses and authors/novelists have the greatest representation, comprising close to 40% of the total.  Then there are occupations with just one LGBT person associated with them, such as architect (Philip Johnson); mathematician (Alan Turing); chef (James Beard); economist (John Maynard Keynes); marine biologist (Rachel Carson); and astronaut (Sally Ride).


Economist John Maynard Keynes


Actors/Actresses 67 26%
Authors/Novelists 34 13%
Activists (Various Causes) 21 8%
Composers/Songwriters 21 8%
Poets 17 7%
Directors (Movie/B'way/TV) 15 6%
Playwrights 12 5%
Choreographers/Dancers 11 4%
Fashion Designers 10 4%
Singers 9 4%
Artists 7 3%
Athletes 6 2%
Photographers 6 2%


Finally, regarding their deaths, more than half died from either AIDS, various forms of cancer or heart attacks.  Additionally, nine were murdered, eight took their own life, seven died in various accidents and two died from drug overdoses.  It should be noted that not everyone who died before they turned 50 died from AIDS as nearly half died from other causes.  







LGBT History: A Salute to Our Gay & Lesbian Elders (Age 75+)

Stephen.sondheim Giorgio.armani Edith.windsorThis post celebrates nearly three dozen accomplished gay and lesbian individuals who are at least 75 years of age.  In their formative years, mostly during the 1950s and 1960s, life posed many challenges because of their sexual orientation.  However, they managed to excel in their careers even if it required hiding their true nature.  Most are now open about their orientation and are beacons of inspiration for young LGBTs.  What follows are some top-line findings.  (The list can be found at the end of the post.)


  • The oldest of the group is gossip columnist Liz Smith, who is 91, ten days older than director Franco Zeffirelli.  Prolific composer Ned Rorem is 90.  (Deceased gay icons who lived beyond 90 include architect Philip Johnson, who died at 98; actor John Gielgud, who lived to 96; and artist Paul Cadmus, who was 95 when he died in 1999.)
  • Probably the most famous are composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim (84) and fashion designer Giorgio Armani (78).
  • Only four of the thirty-four persons on this list are women: Liz Smith; same-sex marriage activist Edie Windsor (84); director/producer Jane Wagner (79) and author Patricia Nell Warren.
  • Only one person on the list is Black, singer Johnny Mathis (78) and just one is of Asian heritage, actor George Takei.  None are Hispanic (the oldest is Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez, who is 66).


Johnny Mathis


Edward Albee


Larry Kramer


Tommy Tune


  • This seasoned group has worked in sixteen different occupations, with fashion designers and playwrights represented the most, by four names each.  Arnold Scaasi; Valentino; Karl Lagerfeld; and Giorgio Armani are the designers (all foreign born), while Edward Albee; John Glines; Mart Crowley; and Terrence McNally are the playwrights.   In addition, there are three directors, three composers and three authors.  
  • Ian McKellen will join this group next month when he turns 75 on May 25 ) and Lily Tomlin on Sept. 1.  Three more will turn 75 next year: author Edmund White, fashion designer Bob Mackie and former Congressman Barney Frank.  The most recent death of someone in the 75+ group was pianist Van Cliburn who was 78 when he died in February of 2013.
  • If there lives weren't cut short by AIDS some well-known gay men would no doubt be part of this group, including choreographers Robert Joffrey and Alvin Ailey; athlete Tom Waddell; dancer Rudolf Nureyev; actors Rock Hudson, Anthony Perkins, Larry Kert and Robert Reed; pianist Liberace; and French philosopher Michel Foucault.


(Ages as of May 1, 2014)
  Profession Age Best Known For
Franco Zeffirelli Movie & Opera Director 91 Worked with Maria Callas
Liz Smith Gossip Columnist 91 New York Post
Ned Rorem Composer 90 Prolific composer of 300+ pieces; Fullbright Scholar; Pulitzer Prize for Music  
Edward Albee Playwright 86 "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?"
James Ivory Director 85 Merchant Ivory Productions has produced 50+ films 
Arnold Scaasi Fashion Designer 84 Designed gowns for four First Ladies
Stephen Sondheim Composer/Lyricist 84 8 Tony Awards, 8 Grammys, 2 Oscars, 1 Pulitzer Prize
Jasper Johns Artist 84 "Three Flags"/Partnered with Rob't Rauschenberg
Edie Windsor Mathematician/Activist 84 Lawsuit led to Supreme Court striking down DOMA
John Rechy Author 84 "City of Night"/"Numbers"/"The Sexual Outlaw"
Martin Duberman Historian/Professor 83 Founded Center for Lesbian/Gay Studies at CUNY 
Paul Taylor Choreographer 83 Worked with Martha Graham 
Clive Davis Record Executive 82 Managed Whitney Houston
Jerry Herman Composer/Lyricist 82 "Hello, Dolly!"/"Mame"/"La Cage aux Folles"
Tab Hunter Actor 82 Blonde/"Polyester"
Valentino  Fashion Designer 81 Last name is Garavani/Documentary: "Valentino - The Last Emperor" 
Jim French Photographer 81 Founder of Colt Studios
James Hormel Diplomat 81 1st openly gay US ambassador (Luxembourg)
Richard Chamberlain Actor 80 "Dr. Kildare"/"Shogun"/"The Thornbirds"
Don Bachardy Portrait Artist 80 2008 documentary about life w/Christopher Isherwood: "Chris & Don:  A Love Story"
John Glines Playwright/Producer 80 Tony winner for "Torch Song Trilogy"
Karl Lagerfeld Fashion Designer 80 Chanel/Fendi
Jane Wagner Writer/Producer/Dir 79 Partnered w/Lily Tomlin for 40+ years
Mart Crowley Playwright 78 "Boys in the Band"
Larry Kramer Writer/Activist 78 Co-founded GMHC/"The Normal Heart"
Giorgio Armani Fashion Designer 78 Personal worth of $8.5 billion
Johnny Mathis Singer 78 "Chances Are"
George Takei Actor 77 "Star Trek's" Mr. Sulu
Patricia Nell Warren Author 77 "The Front Runner"
David Hockney Artist 76 Born in England, fell in love with So. Calif.
Tommy Tune Choreographer/Director/Actor 75 Nine Tony Awards/Twiggy/Known for his height (6'6")
Terrence McNally Playwright 75 "Love! Valour! Compassion!"/"Master Class"/"Ragtime"/4  Tonys
Rex Reed Film Critic 75 Lives in The Dakota/pals with Liz Smith
Jonathan Ned Katz Queer Studies/Historian 75 Created OutHistory.org website
Source:  Wikipedia      

Gay Celebrities & Their Twitter Followers

Twitterbird.rainbowRecently I wrote a post about overexposed LGBT celebrities based on how many Google search results they had.  This latest analysis gauges the popularity of these gay and lesbian "A-listers" based on the number of followers each has on Twitter.  Similar to the the Google analysis, I chose close to 450 gay and lesbian "personalities", 70% of whom have Twitter accounts; those with accounts have a median age of 50, with thirty over the age of 65 and thirteen younger than 30. 



EllenshowThe median number of followers is 25,000.  Twenty-two have more than 1 million, led by Ellen DeGeneres, who has more than 28 million (she also ranks in the top 10 among all celebs).  She is  followed by Ricky Martin and Neil Patrick Harris who have 10 and 8.4 million followers, respectively.  Four of the celebs with 1 million+ followers are over the age of 60, with George Takei, at 77, being the oldest.  Three are under 30, with British diver Tom Daley, at age 19, the youngest. 


The following chart lists the gay and lesbian celebrities with 1 million or more Twitter followers:


      # of
Celeb Profession Age (In Millions)
Ellen DeGeneres Comic/Talk Show Host 57 28.30
Ricky Martin Singer 41 10.00
Neil Patrick Harris Actor 44 8.39
Stephen Fry Comic/Actor 56 6.72
Perez Hilton Blogger 36 5.98
Anderson Cooper  News Anchor 46 4.91
Alan Carr Comic/TV Personality 37 3.96
Rachel Maddow News Anchor 41 2.87
Tom Daley Diver 19 2.62
Chris Colfer Actor 23 2.39
Adam Lambert Singer 27 2.25
Robbie Williams Singer 40 2.22
Michael Kors Fashion Designer 54 1.91
Jane Lynch Actress 53 1.75
Calvin Klein Fashion Designer 72 1.72
Samantha Ronson DJ/Musician 36 1.57
Suze Orman Financial Advisor 62 1.53
Marc Jacobs  Fashion Designer 51 1.53
Andy Cohen TV Executive 45 1.37
Michael Ausiello TV Journalist 42 1.16
George Takei Actor 77 1.12
Jillian Michaels Fitness Guru 40 1.04
(As of 4/7/2014)      



GusvansantAt the other end of the spectrum, 39 persons have fewer than 1,000 followers, including personalities such as director Gus Van Sant, New York Times theater critic Bill Brantley, designer Todd Oldham and author Kevin Sessums.



Stephen.fryThe biggest head scratcher, for me at least, is the wild popularity of British actor Stephen Fry, who has the 4th highest following, with 6.7 million.  Other surprises include British TV personality Alan Carr at #7; pop singer Robbie Williams at #12; DJ Samantha Ronson at #16; financial advice doyenne Suze Orman at #17; trainer Jillian Michaels at #22 and actor Ian McKellen at #23.  



Matt.bomerThe median number of tweets is 2,500.  This includes five who have yet to send their first tweet: Matt Bomer, entrepreneur Peter Thiel, Jason Gould (Babs' son), Ben Brantley and Cynthia Nixon.  Bomer's lack of tweets is particularly noteworthy considering he has 168,000 followers (akin to subscribing to a magazine that doesn't publish).  In addition to these five, there are eleven others who have sent fewer than ten tweets.   


BuckhollywoodEntertainment blogger Michael Buckley (aka Buck Hollywood) has sent the most tweets, 87,600, followed by porn director Chi Chi La Rue with 78,3000.  Then weatherman Sam Champion, journalist Glenn Greenwald and Boy George have each tweeted between 44,000 and 46,000 times (includes retweets).  In total, there are 52 LGBT celebs who have sent more than 10,000 tweets.


The following chart lists the 15 most prolific tweeters:


    # of
Celeb Profession Tweets Followers
Buck Hollywood Blogger 87,600 635,000
Chi Chi LaRue Porn Director 78,300 51,000
Sam Champion Weatherman 46,100 194,000
Glenn Greenwald Journalist 44,900 345,000
Boy George Singer 44,000 301,000
Bobby Rivers TV Personality 38,800 3,167
Anderson Cooper* News Anchor 36,500 417,000
Jonathan Capehart Journalist 36,300 92,300
Susan Powter Motivational Speaker 35,800 5,674
Andy Cohen TV Exec 35,400 1,370,000
Suze Orman Financial Guru 24,000 1,530,000
Alec Mapa Comic/Actor 22,100 27,600
Michael Ausiello TV Journalist 21,200 1,160,000
Chely Wright Country Singer 20,100 47,400
Samantha Ronson DJ/Musician 20,000 1,570,000
*for his show "Anderson Cooper 360"



Although the median number of followers gay A-listers have is 25,000, the number of persons they follow back is just 295, which works out to about one out of every hundred persons who follow them.  Neil Patrick Harris, who has more than eight million followers, follows just 69, or one out of every 125,000 of his followers; Ricky Martin follows one out of every 33,000 and Ellen DeGeneres follows one out of every 600. 


RyanmurphyNine can't be bothered to follow anyone, with the most arrogance (or is it chutzpah?) displayed by Ryan Murphy (who has 639,000 followers) and Matt Drudge (262,000).  However, there are 25 of the gliterrati who follow more than 2,500.  Ellen follows 46,500 but that's a tiny amount when you consider that she has 28 million followers.  Steven Fry has follows the most of any celeb, with 51,500.  That's 5,000 more than Ellen even though he has 21.5 million fewer followers.  And photographer Mike Ruiz also follows more than Ellen, with 49,000 - but has only 100,000 followers in total. 


New York Times advertising reporter Stuart Elliott stands out because he is the only person in this analysis who follows more people than his number of followers (27,700 vs. 27,200). 


The following chart shows those with the highest ratio of persons followed: to followers (of those with at least 10,000 followers): 


(Those with 10,000+ Followers)
  Profession Follow Followers Ratio
Stuart Elliott Journalist 27,700 27,200 1.018
Cazwell Singer 37,900 58,000 0.653
Mike Ruiz Photographer 48,000 109,000 0.440
Bruce LaBruce Filmmaker 8,164 19,400 0.421
Paula Poundstone Comic 36,500 88,900 0.411
Jerry Mitchell Choreographer 3,043 10,000 0.304
Jack Mackenroth Model 26,500 90,600 0.292
John Amaechi Former Athlete 4,532 18,500 0.245
Tammy Baldwin US Senator 5,010 24,700 0.203
Laverne Cox Actress 1,376 68,400 0.201
Dyana Nyad Swimmer 7,773 43,400 0.179
Average   295 25,000 0.012



Jonathan.groff.outmag30% of gay movers and shakers aren't on Twitter; their median age is 57, which is seven years older than those with Twitter accounts.  Rap singer Frank Ocean had an account until the summer of 2013 when he deleted it.  Chipotle CEO Steve Ells had one last week but it has since been closed.  And although actor Jonathan Groff has a Twitter account, he last tweeted in August 2011, so it's as if he didn't have one (to the chagrin of his 5,300 followers). 

Shrinking Violets & Hothouse Flowers in the Men's Locker Room

Lockerroom2 MenslockerroomsignA locker room is a cross-section of gym members all possessing unique quirks when it comes to body image.  I find myself most fascinated by two types - those guys who timidly change and, at the other end of the spectrum, the extroverts who can't spend enough time strutting around and putting on a little show.  And their lockers are often side-by-side, making the contrast even more striking. 


The "hothouse flowers" take their time drying off, shaving, putting on moisturizer.  Some do this with everything swinging in the breeze.  Others wear stylish/sexy briefs that they like to prance around in.  If a rotating stand was available I'm sure these preening peacocks would eagerly step up on it (a la American Bandstand's "spotlight dance"). 




Meanwhile, the shrinking violets change under their towels (aka "the towel dance") as if they were at a school for Muslim girls (I'm sure the Taliban would approve of their modesty).  And it's not the older, out-of-shape guys - it's the younger, cute ones.  Curiously, I've seen some of them strutting around on the workout floor in tight fitting shorts and tanks, yet they become blushing virgins in the close confines of the change room.  Perhaps it's generational, as many young adults when in high school weren't required to take showers after Phys Ed.  (Or, perhaps, it's one more anti-social behavior to blame on social media?)




As for me, I lean towards the hothouse category, i.e, I walk to the shower without wrapping my towel around myself because it's just a 10-scond walk, so why bother?  But I do hang my towel in front of my privates as I walk (after all, I didn't read Emily Post's book on etiquette for nothing.)




(While doing research on this subject I came across a post on the blog The Straight Dope titled, Why Do Men Do the "Underwear Towel Dance at the Gym?  The responses it elicited were very illuminating.)