Like plenty of gay men, as a kid I would cringe anytime I heard my voice on a tape recorder. I thought I sounded so gay and it was mortifying.
So I consciously worked on sounding less gay while being sure to also try to not have any kind of Hispanic accent.
It was a lot of hard work!
I wasn’t bullied in school so perhaps I was somewhat successful in my efforts -or so I thought.
I’ll never forget an incident that took place a few weeks before I was moving away to go to college. My oldest brother was in another room talking to my mom and I overheard him say: ‘Everyone thinks Greg’s gay because of the way he talks.’
It ripped a hole in me in a way that only other gay people can understand.
I vowed to myself that I would work to butch it up as much as possible to fit in at San Diego State and I did. So much so that when I came out to all my college friends five years after college, they were all shocked.
This leads me to a movie I saw at Outfest on Monday that really resonated with me and a lot of other guys in the audience at the Harmony Gold Theater.
Filmmaker David Thorpe wondered if other gay men were as distressed about the way they talk as he was.
So in his new documentary, Do I Sound Gay?, he asked some very famous ones including actor George Takei, designer Tim Gunn, author David Sedaris, newsman Don Lemon and columnist Dan Savage to weigh in.
Comic Margaret Cho also shares some insights in the film which opened today in Los Angeles., Atlanta, Philadelphia and Denver.
‘Sometimes a voice is just a voice and sometimes it’s a symbol of something much bigger,’ Thorpe told the audience after the sell-out screening.
Thorpe shares in the film his life-long struggle with ‘gay voice’ – something you can’t quite define but you know it when you hear it.
He examines the questions ‘Do gay men who talk like gay men do it naturally or it is learned?’ and ‘Why are so may gay men so hung up on not sounding gay?’
One of the reasons is survival and how sounding gay as a boy or a teen can lead to bullying, says Savage who founded It Gets Better Project.
Thorpe said that while growing up, ‘if something sounds gay it’s like the worse thing ever. It’s associated with a lot of shame and a lot of stigma. … It’s amazing to me how many of my gay friends had speech therapy as kids.’
When he came out in college, he believes he got a lot less self-conscious: ‘I wanted to look gay and sound gay. I was so excited to be out of the closet.’
But later he began to wonder: ‘How did I get this gay voice stuck on me? Is it my real voice or this voice I reached for after I came out?’
In the film, he works with two different noted speech therapists in an attempt to see if he could change his voice to make it sound ‘less gay.’
In the end he learns that the real issue is this: ‘Coming to terms with my voice is coming to terms with myself.’
Yeah, she got her first TV series job on her mom’s TV show Here’s Lucy but it was clear from the beginning that Lucie Arnaz deserved to be there.
I grew up watching her as Kim Carter and thought she was so funny and cool. She went on to conquer Broadway (They’re Playing Our Song, Pippin), the London stage (Witches of Eastwick), movies (The Jazz Singer) and continues to dazzle in live shows around the world.
Through it all, Lucie has protected her mother’s legacy and the masterpiece that is I Love Lucy winning an Emmy for a TV documentary about the classic series that starred her parents Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
Lucie, who turns 64 today, paid the most unbelievable tribute to her mom in 1984 when Miss Ball was one of the first seven to be inducted into the very first TV Hall of Fame. Lucie was appearing on Broadway and could not make the show in Hollywood but her musical number via video and remarks from her and her brother Desi left the TV legend in absolute tears.
I remember this number because I had audio recorded it but it was not until today that I found it on YouTube. So this is the first time 30 years that I got to watch this again.
Kathie Lee Gifford chatted with Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live this week about Caitlyn Jenner and had some interesting things to say.
Gifford, a co-host of NBC’s The Today Show, says Jenner’s transition from male to female came a complete surprise to her.
‘I never saw that coming at all. No no. Not in 35 or so years of being dear friends – we went around the world together as families.’
Before Jenner’s widely-seen interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer aired in May, Gifford says they spoke on the telephone after not having spoken in awhile. She and her husband, retired NFL great Frank Gifford, are godparents to Jenner’s two youngest daughters.
‘It was weird because it’s still Bruce’s voice but it’s coming out of Caitlyn’s mouth now,’ she said.
‘I don’t have gaydar at all so I’m certainly not going to have transgendergar – I just don’t. People are people to me.’
Of Jenner quickly becoming a fashion icon and world fascination Gifford said: ”I think it’s much easier to get used to it when you don’t know her as a person and I don’t know her. I’ll look forward to knowing her but it’s bizarre.
‘ … It’s a lot for people (who know her) to digest and I think they’re all trying really hard to and they’re trying to be loving. Bruce was one of the most loveable, adorable, sweetest guys in the world – that is all still there in Caitlyn. Let’s be honest, you’ve gotta come to grips with it somehow.’
Caitlyn Jenner has been getting well-deserved acclaim for her magnificent acceptance speech while accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards on Wednesday that I hope will silence the haters – if they bother to even listen to what she had to say.
It was surprising that among those going ballistic over Caitlyn getting the award was director-producer Peter Berg.
Berg, producer of the television series Friday Night Lights and director of the films Battleship, Lone Survivor and Hancock, posted a photo of Jenner on his Instagram account alongside that of Army veteran Gregory Gadson who played a role in Berg’s Battleship and who had lost both of his legs in combat.
Berg wrote as a caption: ‘One man traded 2 legs for the freedom of the other to trade 2 balls for 2 boobs. Guess which Man made the cover of Vanity Fair, was praised for his courage by President Obama and is to be honored with the ‘Arthur Ashe Courage Award’ by ESPN?’
While the photo received more than 3,000 likes, many others took Berg to task.
Wrote one woman: ‘Considering transgendered people are being killed for being themselves, I think it’s pretty brave for an American, masculine sports hero to be a role model. Some trans kids want to kill themselves because they are bullied, looked down upon and shunned, even by their own family. Shame on you.’
Berg created the opening animation sequence for ESPN’s Monday Night Football in 2013 and has a professional relationship with Friday Night Lights book author Buzz Bissinger who interviewed Jenner and wrote the cover story for Vanity Fair’s July issue.
Jenner addressed her critics in her acceptance speech.
‘If you want to call me names, doubt my intention, the reality is, I can take it,’ she said. ‘But for thousands of kids out there coming to term with who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it … So for the people out there wondering what this is all about, whether it’s about courage or controversy or publicity, I’ll tell you what it’s all about: It’s about what happens from here. It’s not about one person, it’s about thousands of people. It’s not just about me. It’s about all of us accepting one another. We’re all different and that’s not a bad thing — it’s a good thing.’
Following considerable backlash, Berg took to Instagram again on Thursday and struck a different tone: ‘I have the utmost respect for Caitlyn Jenner and I am a strong supporter of equality and the rights of trans people everywhere. I also believe that we don’t give enough attention to our courageous returning war veterans, many of whom have sacrificed their bodies and mental health for our country and our principals- principals that include the freedom to live the life you want to live without persecution or abuse.’
I attended the Outfest screening for the excellent documentary Out to Win the other night and will write more about it in the coming days.
But for now I want to share this little tidbit from the post-screening panel during which retired NBA player Jason Collins hinted that men’s pro tennis might have its first coming out ever.
‘I’m friends with a former player and trying to get him to publicly come out,’ Collins said. ‘He’s on his own path and I think ultimately he will (come out).’
Collins refused the name the former player and I have absolutely no friggen idea who it is.
Collins came out publicly on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2013 and retired last year after playing with the Brooklyn Nets. He and other panelists wondered why more retired athletes in all sports aren’t coming out at a time when it would seem less risky for them personally and professionally.
Not a single hockey player, active or retired, has ever come out for example and the same goes for men’s tennis.
Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova were both outed in 1981 and since then women’s tennis has had such out players as former number one Amelie Mauresmo, 1994 Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez and former number one ranked doubles players Lisa Raymond and Renee Stubbs.
Male tennis pros rarely address the topic of gays in their sport and so far, the most outspoken straight allies have been retired tennis stars Andy Roddick and James Blake. The two American stars are part of the group Athlete Ally to fight homophobia in sports.
Another former top-ranked American, Mardy Fish, is also a part of the effort and said in 2013: ‘Everybody deserves a shot at playing sports. It shouldn’t matter in the least if that person is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Building community through healthy and inclusive activities should be one of the main focuses behind athletics, and that isn’t possible if you exclude LGBT individuals, especially our youth.’
Fish is currently attempting a comeback after years of health issues.
Special request from reader Daniel who is one of my Outfest buddies.
This is 36-year-old Irish actor Emmett J. Scanlan who played the head riot guard in Guardians of the Galaxy but is best known for playing the villain Brendan Brady in Hollyoaks from 2010-13. Brendan was involved in a relationship with the character of Ste Hay (seen kissing below).
Since leaving the soap, he’s been busier that ever appearing in the TV series The Fall and Constantine and the miniseries In the Flesh and AD. The Bible Continues.
Every year when the Kennedy Center Honors announces the recipients of its lifetime achievement awards, I’m usually rolling my eyes and feeling frustrated.
But this year I’m pleased as punch with the group that includes filmmaker George Lucas, singer-songwriter Carole King and dancer-actress Rita Moreno, the Eagles, actress Cicely Tyson and conductor Seiji Ozawa.
I’m not much of a sci-fi dude so Lucas is not what has me excited nor does Ozawa although I’m sure they are deserving.
But this California gay boy is over the moon that both The Eagles and Miss King are in the group because they are part of my soul. Bought their records as a kid in the 70s and listened to them over and over and over. Hotel California brings back memories of summer days at my neighbor’s pool and I may hold the world’s record for playing Tapestry more times than anyone else on the planet.
And then they have the excellent sense to honor Miss Tyson who I will never, ever forget in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Roots, Wilma, A Woman Called Moses and more recently in The Help, How to Get Away with Murder and A Trip to Bountiful.
Then there is Miss Moreno, the first performer to win the Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony awards. The original EGOT!
She’s a goddess and an icon and has been dazzling us since West Side Story to The Ritz to HBO’s Oz and throughout my childhood as a cast member of the PBS children’s series The Electric Company.
Four-time winner Jim Parsons was snubbed as were Modern Family’s Cam and Mitch.
But there is still plenty of LGBT representation in this year’s Emmy Award nominations which were announced earlier today.
The series Transparent, about a father of three adult children transitioning to female at the age of 70, was nominated for outstanding comedy series and star Jeffrey Tambor was nominated for lead actor.
It is Tambor’s seventh Emmy nomination overall – the others were for Arrested Development and The Larry Sanders Show – and he has yet to win but I have a feeling that will change this year. Tambor won the Golden Globe Award in January.
Orange Is The New Black, the Netflix series about life in a women’s prison, was nominated for outstanding drama series after competing as a comedy last year.
OITNB’s Uzo Aduba was nominated for outstanding supporting actress for her performance as lesbian inmate Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren. Aduba won last year in the guest actress in a comedy series category.
Two-time Emmy winner Andre Braugher earned his ninth nomination overall with a nod in the Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series category for his performance as gay cop Captain Ray Holt in Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
The HBO film Bessie, about bisexual singer Bessie Smith, was nominated for outstanding television movie and star Queen Latifah earned a nod in the lead actress in a limited series or a movie category.
Out actress Lily Tomlin, a six-time Emmy winner, was nominated in the outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for her role opposite Jane Fonda in the Netflix show Grace & Frankie. She and Fonda play women who must lean on each other after their husbands fall in love and leave them.
Other out stars nominated: Sarah Paulson for American Horror Story: Freak Show (Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Series Or A Movie); Denis O’Hare for American Horror Story: Freak Show (Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Limited Series Or A Movie); Alan Cumming for The Good Wife (Supporting Actor In A Drama Series); and Kate McKinnon for Saturday Night Live (Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series).
The Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition category includes last year’s winner Jane Lynch for Hollywood Game Night and Tim Gunn for Project Runway.
Parsons won his fourth Emmy just last year for The Big Bang Theory but was not nominated this year. The CBS comedy was also snubbed in the comedy series category.
The ABC comedy Modern Family, however, was nominated and has the opportunity to win for a record sixth consecutive year. But Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who play gay couple Cam and Mitch on the show, were both passed over this year.
Stonestreet has been nominated three times and won twice while Ferguson had been nominated five consecutive years but never won.
I originally featured Matthew McKelligon on Apr 24, 2013 and am posting it again because I just watched him last night in the hilarious horror spoof You’re Killing Me at Outfest. I think big things are in store for this movie and for Matthew who reminded me a bit of Christian Bale in American Psycho.
I first became quite taken with Matthew while watching the web series Eastsiders.
Matthew has an interesting background which includes serving as an exchange student in a rural village outside of Berne, Switzerland, where he lived with a Swiss family. He speaks a rare dialect of Swiss-German fluently.
His father is an ex-Lieutenant Colonel of the Marine Corps and the family moved around quite often and he spent several years of his childhood in Okinawa, Japan.
Matthew graduated summa cum laude with a degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. He worked for several years as an architect and landscape designer before returning to his acting career.
He speaks five languages fluently, having served as an exchange student in both Berne, Switzerland and Berlin, Germany.
Since his return to acting, Matthew also landed a role in the James Franco film Interior. Leather Bar. which re-imagines the lost 40 minutes from the early 80s film Cruising which starred Al Pacino.
Did a double feature at Outfest tonight so it’s only just now that I’ve watched Caitlyn Jenner’s speech at the ESPYs as she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
The video below features both the video narrated by Jon Hamm about Jenner’s life and interviews with Jenner, her mother and sister, and the outstanding speech in which she shines a light on the issues transgender people less fortunate than herself must endure.
t is an honor to have the word ‘courage’ associated with my life, but this night another word comes to mind: ‘fortunate’,” Jenner said. “I owe a lot to sports. It has shown me the world. It’s given me an identity” and enabled her to withstand criticism and attacks. “The same thing goes tonight; if you want to call me names, doubt my intention, the reality is, I can take it. But for thousands of kids out there coming to term with who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it … So for the people out there wondering what this is all about, whether it’s about courage or controversy or publicity, I’ll tell you what it’s all about: It’s about what happens from here. It’s not about one person, it’s about thousands of people. It’s not just about me. It’s about all of us accepting one another. We’re all different and that’s not a bad thing — it’s a good thing. “
Jenner also said: “Trans people deserve something vital. They deserve your respect. And from that respect, comes a more compassionate community, a more empathetic society and a better world for all of us.”
Caitlyn only got emotional when giving thanks to Diane Sawyer who did her coming out interview for ABC News and who has become a friend and when thanking his children and stepchildren who were in the audience as well as his 88-year-old mother who sat next to Caitlyn in the audience along with his sister.
This is from last week but I missed it. Love Kathy Griffin sharing her experience at a recent Bette Midler concert in LA and what happened when Barbra Streisand arrived to take her seat. Kathy describes the reaction as ‘a gay thunder.’ Also, Jimmy Kimmel was unable to name three Midler songs. He got The Rose and Wind Beneath My Wings then tried to include Beast of Burden which she sang back-up on. The easy third mention would be From a Distance which was a HUGE hit 25 years ago.
Here’s an extra little tidbit from the Nick Jonas appearance at Outfest on Sunday.
The cutie patootie credits his Protestant minister father and a lesson he taught him when the singer-actor was just eight with shaping how he feels about gay people.
He was performing as a member of the Jonas Brothers and realized one of the performers in their show was gay.
‘One of my friends who was one of the guys in the show – his name was Mark – was leaving the theater one day and I saw him leave with his partner. I looked at my dad and said, “Oh, that’s different,” and he was like, “It’s all love, it’s all the same.”
‘It just connected with me immediately,’ he told the crowd at the Harmony Gold Theatre. ‘I came from a religious background and my dad is actually a pastor. But he is an incredible man with an amazing open mind and heart.’
Last night, Chilean director, screenwriter, painter and musician Sebastián Silva came to Outfest with his provocative new film Nasty Baby.
He wrote, directed and stars in this film which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was screened in the Panorama section of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival where it was named winner of the Teddy Award for best LGBT-themed feature film.
The film centers on Freddy (Silva) and Mo (Tunde Adebimpe), a gay couple trying to have a baby with the help of their friend Polly (Kristen Wiig).
The acclaimed filmmaker is openly gay and has many credits as a writer and director including La Vida Me Mata, The Maid, Old Cats, Crystal Fairy and Magic Magic.
Here are today’s scenes which have Sonny and Will mostly talking about other people. Sonny’s upset over his parents’ impending divorce and Will tries to show him the ropes of being a child of divorce. Sonny wonders if that’s why Will is so “desperate” to hang on to their marriage. And, annoyingly, Will is Abigail’s confidante in her pregnancy surprise and filled with advice. He’s the last person to be advising anyone – about anything!
My Facebook friend Carol Bayer Sager just posted this on Twitter: I am so saddened to have just learn of the passing of the wonderful songwriter, Michael Masser. He wrote great songs like, “Touch me In The Morning”, and “Do You Know Where You’re Going To for Diana Ross. Though we had lost touch in recent years i will never forget our writing “It’s My Turn” for Diana , as well as all his beautiful hits for Whitney Houston; my favorite being “Greatest Love of All”.
He was smart and funny and passionate about his work. When we would write he would have complete certainty his melody was a hit and i would eventually believe him. I will miss his music, his beautiful smile, his laughter and his unique being. My condolences to his family. R.I.P. Michael you will always be remembered.
Here are some of his classic hits that are part of the soundtrack of my gay life:
Caitlyn Jenner is quickly establishing herself as a style icon. I have to say, I’m kind of giddy that after spending 65 years as Bruce Jenner, she is finally able to strut herself as a woman and to look so damn good doing it.
A few nights ago on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, actress Laverne Cox and Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley chatted with host Andy Cohen about Caitlyn’s style.
Laverne thinks she looks ‘fabulous – I love what she’s wearing’ but also said ‘I think it’s important that we focus on the woman and beyond what they look like.’
Talley also described Jenner’s look as ‘fabulous.’
He added: ‘She looks like a wealthy, affluent, white women who’s privileged.’
So on Sunday afternoon at Outfest, there was the sexiest Chilean movie called In the Grayscale and one of the stars was Francisco Celhay who many of us were raving about after.
Sadly, the wasn’t the present at the screening to meet his many new fans.
In the film, he played an architect named Bruno who seemingly has a perfect life with a nice family and a good job. But he decides to leave his wife to be alone and have time to find himself. A business man offers him an opportunity to design an iconic landmark in Santiago city and he starts working with a young history teacher who is gay.
They begin an unexpected and intense romance and at this point, Bruno must decide his path.
Celhay has also appeared in the films Grado 3 and Night Across the Street.