Well, another year has come and gone. But don't be down about it! Tis the season for merriment! Just ask my Aunt Carol. She LOVES Christmas. She's also a paranoid schizophrenic. Did I make this sad? Yes.
But here's something to be happy about! The decade's done! The year is over! And what a year it was for gays. Let's count down the high and lows.
10. The A-List
Love it or hate it - and you hate it - the fact is we finally had the opportunity to make television worse, just like everybody else has for years. It was a profound moment of equal opportunity mixed with a profound moment of embarrassment. But, as one of my friends told me over a 12-pack of Bud Light Lime recently, "We all agree this show is ridiculous, so why is this the third time we're talking about it in less than an hour?" So, there's that.
9. Chris Colfer and Eric Stonestreet: Nuanced Stereotypes
The first time I saw Glee, I was unimpressed that the gay character was a swishy fashionista with a lisp. And when I saw Modern Family, I thought it was a poor choice to depict gay parents as people who dress up their toddler like Diana Ross. And then I said to myself, "Remember when you had a sense of humor? Remember how you watch these shows for these characters who really are making things better on television? And remember how someone made Katy Perry not completely awful?" Then I decided that with all those questions I was asking myself out loud, I was well on my way to a life of schizophrenia. And enjoying Christmas.
8. Black Swan/Burlesque
Sorry everyone, we're taking credit for the success/complete mess of these. I've seen Black Swan four times, and there's basically no end in sight. Whenever Barbara Hershey comes on-screen during the film and acts like the mother of most people's nightmares and my dreams, I hear a few fits of laughter in the dark theatre. And I know that it's the voices of those who understand why terrible mothers are important - gay men.
And Burlesque was - well, Burlesque was awful. There was no actual burlesque in the movie. There was, however, the most bonkers soundtrack in the history of movies including three songs that ask you to ponder whether or not you are burlesque. But someone in Hollywood greenlit a big budget "film" with Cher and Christina Aguilera. And I promise at no point in time did anyone say, "This will go over really well with a typical middle-American family." No, they knew the audience for this one and pushed it through. Small steps, Hollywood! By the way, why is no one talking about how it got nominated for Best Picture at the Golden Globes? Bad choices and kitsch have become a global affair.
7. It Gets Better
There are now plenty of jokes about this phrase. Even I slip it into my everyday conversation with my friends.
"Bryan, I couldn't get a reservation at that sushi place."
"Don't worry. It gets better, Angela Bassett." (I eat sushi with Angela Bassett).
But the fact is, this was some groundbreaking stuff. The President of the Unites States talked to gay teens, Hillary Clinton sent a message, and most importantly, been-there-done-that-and-did-it-his-way-goddamnit Justin Bieber delivered a simple, clear message to the people who needed to hear it the most. It hopefully made gay teens feel better, and definitely made a ton of celebs pat themselves on the back and say, "Now I know for sure that I am a good person. I AM A GOOD PERSON."
6. Constance McMillen
And speaking of teens, this revelation: Constance McMillen - the girl who didn't back down when her school told her she couldn't take a female date to the prom. She proved that even gays and lesbians should get the opportunity to have a night of buying corsages, doing the Cabbage Patch, huffing a dozen or so whip-its, vomiting, and waking up on a trampoline with a glass of grape juice perfectly intact - seriously, the grape juice didn't spill on a trampoline, you guys! Everyone had that prom experience, right?
5. Johnny Weir
This was definitely one of the most bizarre stories of the year - a figure skater who the media and the Olympics themselves dubbed too gay to skate. And through it all, this guy was a class act. But it showed us all that the sports world is still not ready for a gay athlete - even when the sport is the gayest sport in the entire universe.
4. Being anti-gay is the new mincing priss-pot.
It's something we've known for awhile. If you hate gay people, you could be gay. We saw it this year with former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman and California Congressman Roy Ashburn. And the jury's still out on anti-gay preacher Eddie Long, who texted pictures of his torso to young men, and obsessive defense attorney Andrew Shirvell. So, straight dudes, here's your lesson: the best way to no come off as gay is to not be a dumb dick. It's to be cool with gayness.
3. Steven Slater
He's done what I think many of us have wanted to do for years - tell everyone to just fuck the fuck off. And a hero was born. And apart from the vicious intrusions on his personal life and complete untruths about the events (Slater was NOT having sex when he was busted), we got our own real-life version of a gay Howard Beale. He's mad as hell, and girl, he just wasn't gonna take it anymore.
2. Prop 8
We're still talking about this one, aren't we? Here's the upside: More than ever, 2011 sounds like the future. I mean, that's a year that actually sounds like something Henry Miller may have talked about at some point. So I'm thinking, we'll put a man on Mars, poodles will breed with cats to form living, breathing Kaboodles, and gay marriage will be legalized.
1. Don't Ask Don't Tell Is Repealed
It happened! It finally happened! Don't Ask Don't Tell was repealed right before it might have been too late. We are one step closer to full equality. And I am now in need of a new excuse should I ever have to dodge a draft. I'm thinking I'll just put a cigarette out in my eye. Unless someone has a better idea.