Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of posts this week about AIDS LifeCycle which will conclude Saturday in Westwood.
If you want to ride in next year’s event, you can save $40 on registration by using codes GayStarNews or GIH by Monday, June 11.
On the day that the military’s anti-gay Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy officially ended last September, Airman Randy Phillips decided to come out to his father – live on YouTube.
Their conversation went viral and has been viewed by nearly 6 million people. Phillip’s father took it well and assured his nervous son that he would always love him and that he was ‘very proud’ of him. (See second video below).
Phillips is using his newfound internet fame for a good cause: He is one of 2,225 riders participating in this week’s AIDS/Lifecycle, a 545-mile bike ride that is the world’s most successful HIV/AIDS fundraiser.
‘I kind of wanted to parlay what little attention I got from YouTube into something that I think is taboo for our generation,’ he says in a video taken during a break from riding. ‘Not very many people [in their] early 20s like to think about AIDS. It’s such our parent’s generation. We kind of like to think we have it under control. But we don’t. It’s still very big and it shouldn’t be taboo. It should be something we talk about and discuss and fund raise for and try to fight.’
While on the ride, Phillips met a 24-year-old fellow rider who is HIV-positive.
‘AIDS doesn’t have a face,’ he says. ‘It doesn’t have an age, it doesn’t have a demographic. It can happen to anybody.’
By the way, Randy’s mother didn’t take the news of him being gay nearly as well as his dad: “She couldn’t think of any, couldn’t relate to another gay person who had had a normal life, who grew up healthy and had a successful life and a career and lived a long life and maybe got married and found somebody and possibly had some kids. She didn’t think that’s what my life would be like. She thought it would be absolutely a horror story and that I’d die 10 years later alone, a drug addict, from HIV.”
Harvey Fierstein wrote and starred in Torch Song Trilogy off-Broadway, on Broadway and the big screen, wrote the book for La Cage aux Folles, wrote and starred in A Catered Affair on Broadway, starred in Hairspray on Broadway, and most recently adapted the film Newsies into a Broadway musical and is up for a Tony Award for it on Sunday.
And that’s just highlighting his stage work! He’s done many films and television shows, is a busy voice actor and is a champion for gay rights.
Harvey has been out and proud for most of his career, at a time when there weren’t many other out stars.
Here is are three random videos to celebrate Harvey with on his milestone birthday:
When I posted earlier about Gale Harold missing out on this weekend’s Queer as Folk reunion in Germany, I didn’t realize that he had released a statement explaining his absence last week.
Here it is:
The first thing I’d like to say is that I truly regret not being a part of Rise’n Shine 2012. I am very proud of the American adaptation of Queer as Folk that I had the good grace to be a part of. I have to thank Dan Lipman and Ron Cowen for giving me that chance.
I’d love to be there to celebrate with you. Obviously QAF changed all of our lives. And that fact is more than just the echo of a well-worn phrase. In the years since the series completed, one thing has become very clear to me; there were many lifelong transformations that I, and I think my cast-mates went through while living through our characters.
I had been greatly looking forward to attending the convention, reuniting with all my old cast-mates and meeting all of you. A wonderful work opportunity has only recently come my way and unfortunately the scheduling of that project does not allow me the time to come to Cologne and join you. This disappoints me just as much as I fear it will disappoint many of you. I hope you will all understand and forgive my absence.
Whatever I gave to others through QAF, I received vastly more in return. I can remember when we started to hear the stories from those first watching the show. I will never forget being told by some of my brothers and sisters in the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender community that they were hearing their own voices and seeing themselves, some for the first time, on screen. Not everyone in the community saw, or even liked the work we did. But there were many who found hope and solidarity in the stories we tried to tell. I’ve heard that directly from many of those who did. That is undoubtedly what I treasure most. The best we can do as story tellers is tell the truth and find someone to listen to us and respond; however it affects them and however we get there. We told the truth.
I had looked forward to being in Cologne with all of you and hearing some new stories.
I will deeply miss hearing them.
It would have been great after the years that have passed to be with the boys and girls from Pittsburgh together in a new city far,far away…
No one who has played in the National Football League has ever come out publicly during their playing days.
But Wade Davis, who was a cornerback with the Tennessee Titans, the Washington Redskins, and the Seattle Seahawks, has just joined a select group of former NFL players to declare to the world that they are gay.
‘You just want to be one of the guys, and you don’t want to lose that sense of family,’ Davis tells Outsports.com in an exclusive interview. ‘Your biggest fear is that you’ll lose that camaraderie and family.’
By talking about his sexuality publicly, David goes down a path only David Kopay and Esera Tuaolo and Roy Simmons have taken before.
During his 2000-03 NFL career, Davis struggled with injuries and did not go on to enjoy the successful careers those other then-closeted gay players had. He suffered a series of injuries during three different training camps and never got to play a regular season game. The most action he saw was during a season with NFL Europe’s Berlin Thunder and another with the Barcelona Dragons.
‘There was a part of me that was a little relieved because, when I knew football was over, my life would begin,’ Davis said. ‘I had this football life, but I didn’t have another life away from that. Most of the guys had a family and a wife, but I had football and nothing else.’
With the NFL long behind him, Davis works at the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York City which serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning youth. His job is preparing the youth there for the workplace.
‘How many people get to live out their two dreams?’ he says. ‘I got to play in the NFL, and now I get to change the world.’
While in the NFL, Davis never uttered a word about his sexuality and was popular with teammates due to the likable persona he projected.
But the cloud was always there. Davis said there was a guy on the team who players suspected of being bisexual and one teammate suggested he stay clear of the guy or it would hurt his chances of making the line-up.
‘They’d say, ‘You know what Wade? You have a chance to make this team. You probably shouldn’t associate with that guy,” Davis remembered. ‘It wasn’t said as though [his bisexuality] was a bad thing, it was just that I should not let this perception be on my shoulders too.’
While football was a major passion, so is his current job.
‘It’s the first job since football that I wake up excited for work,’ he said. ‘For these kids, the question isn’t whether they are shooting a basketball well, it’s whether they have a place to sleep tonight, whether they’ve eaten today. Sports is less significant than what I see these youth go through every day.’
Most of the cast of Showtime’s Queer as Folk are gathering this week in Cologne, Germany, for their first official reunion in seven years.
‘Can’t believe I am about to get on my flight to Germany for the first ever QAF Convention,’ Peter Paige, who spent five seasons playing Emmett Honeycutt posted on Twitter Tuesday ‘Can’t wait to meet the fans.’
Paige will be joined by Randy Harrison (Justin Taylor), Hal Sparks (Michael Novotny), Michelle Clunie (Melanie Marcus), Thea Gill (Lindsay Peterson), Scott Lowell (Ted Schmidt), Sharon Gless (Debbie Novotny), Harris Allan (Hunter Montgomery) and Robert Gant (Ben Bruckner).
But Queerty.com reports that there will be one notable exception: Gale Harold who played bad boy Brian Kinney. The site says Harold had been scheduled to appear but cancelled his appearance at the last minute due to ‘a wonderful work opportunity [that] has only recently come my way.’
Even though I am featuring one of the male contestants from the current season of ABC’s The Bachelorette, let me make clear that I think the whole franchise is a joke.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate some of the hot men on the show!
One of them is race car driver Arie Luyendyk Jr. who, so far, appears to be one of the favorites to win the heart of Emily Maynard.
Arie is 30 years old and the son of Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk. He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, but he’s originally from s’Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.
The the way, the mug shot photo above was taken in October, 2008 after he was arrested twice in one week in his hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona. The first arrest was for driving on a suspended license, and then, six days later, he was arrested a second time for not having a valid registration.
I included this photo of me with finance guru Suze Orman because she is a famous person who just completely exceeded my expectations when I met her last year.
It wasn’t an interview, it was just a casual chat at a party thrown by OWN and Suze was so wonderfully warm and lovely. She introduced me to her wife Kathy Travis and we talked about marriage equality – not as reporter and interviewee, but as gay people.
It’s a nice memory for me.
Suze is just the picture of happiness, self-confidence and success and I just love what she said in the It Gets Better video she made last year: “I am proud of my accomplishments. But I am proud that I can stand in my truth and I am not afraid to tell anybody who I am.”
Had a nice chat with Chandler Massey (aka our Will Horton) just a little while ago about Days of Our Lives winning a GLAAD Media Award over the weekend.
Chandler, up for a Daytime Emmy later this month, traveled to San Francisco to accept the award along with co-star Freddie Smith who plays Sonny.
‘I think it’s great the show won the award and it was my privilege to accept with Freddie on the show’s behalf,’ Chandler tells me. ‘I’m glad everyone involved with the telling of the story was recognized.’
Kamala Harris, California’s attorney general, was a big hit at Sunday’s LGBT garden party thrown by LA Mayor Antonio Villariagosa.
After she addressed the card, her staffer sought me out in the crowd to keep his promise of a quick chat with Miss Harris who is the recipient of the George Moscone Ally Award at this year’s LA Pride.
I asked if she ever looked at standing up for LGBT equality as politically risky.
‘I tend not to think of issues from that perspective,’ she said. ‘If I did, we would not having been fighting for not only the LGBT community’s rights in terms of just equality and civil rights, we wouldn’t have fought for a homeowner bill of rights which we are currently doing in Sacramento. There are a number of issues. The reality of it is it’s simply the right thing to do. Certainly sometimes it takes courage to take a position that may not have been fully accepted yet because people haven’t evolved, but that can’t be a deterrent.’
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today declined to reconsider the decision by a three-judge panel which found California’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.
There are now only two things that can happen: Couples can start getting married again in California or the landmark case goes to the US Supreme Court.
Proponents of California’s Proposition 8 had petitioned the court in February to review the ruling of a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit which had found that Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The judges wrote then that Prop. 8 ‘serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.’
Prop. 8 proponents have 90 days to file an appeal to the US Supreme Court.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the group which brought forth the lawsuit that led to the court case, said Tuesday’s decision not to rehear ‘marks a monumental turning point in our case for equality.’
‘Today’s order is yet another federal court victory for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples in California and around the nation,’ AFER co-founder Chad Griffin said. ‘The final chapter of the Proposition 8 case has now begun. Should the United States Supreme Court decide to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision in our case, I am confident that the Justices will stand on the side of fairness and equality.’
The lawsuit challenging Prop. 8 was filed on behalf of two California couples who want to marry: Kris Perry and Sandy Stier and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo.
The lead co-counsel for the plaintiffs, David Boies and Theodore B. Olson, held a telephone press conference after Tuesday’s court decision was announced.
‘Today’s decision affirms what we have said from the beginning: marriage is a fundamental right and the unjustifiable denial of that right seriously harms gay and lesbian couples and their families,’ Boies said.
Added Olson: ‘Today is a monumental day for the values that we all cherish as Americans: liberty, equality, dignity, and respect. Our Constitution not only protects these principles, it is what our fellow citizens expect from their government. This is a complete victory toward eliminating this last vestige of state-sponsored discrimination and second-class citizenship.’
Other reaction to the news:
Equality California Board President Clarissa Filgioun: “Americans of all backgrounds, including the President of the United States, are coming to understand that same-sex couples want the freedom to marry for the same reason as other loving, committed couples — to make a lifetime commitment in front of friends and family and have the security of marriage that allows couples and families to care for one another. Through our movement’s work in the court of public opinion and our courts of law, we are, with each passing milestone, one step closer to putting and end to Proposition 8 for good.”
Courage Campaign’s Adam Bink: “Now, there is only one last-ditch option for those who would deny equality to gay and lesbian citizens: an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the biggest stage of all.”
National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell: “Today’s refusal by the Ninth Circuit to grant further review is a testament to the meticulous and well-reasoned opinion originally issued by the Court. While the supporters of Proposition 8 will now seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court, there is no doubt that they are on the wrong side of history. Excluding same-sex couples from the right to marry runs counter to our highest ideals of equality and fairness.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): “Today’s ruling by the 9th Circuit – not to revisit its decision striking down Prop 8 – is another step towards marriage equality. I look forward to the day when any couple wishing to make the life-long commitment of marriage has the opportunity to do so.”
Heather McDonald of Chelsea Lately is such a hoot! Saw her at LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s LGBT Pride Garden Party on Sunday and chatted briefly about the West Hollywood Book Fair which he did together a few years ago.
But the real fun came a bit later when Heather was chatting with Renee Sotile and Mary Jo Godges of Traipsing Thru Films who got Heather to go up an schmooze Villaraigosa on the red carpet.
Also appearing early parts of the film are Oscar winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, actress Beth Grant and actors Chad Allen and Leslie Jordan.
In April, the Lanes finalized a deal that enabled them to use 15 of Parton’s songs in the documentary including such Parton classics as Jolene, Coat of Many Colors and I Will Always Love You and two previously unreleased tunes: Celebrate the Dreamer in You and Sky is Not the Limit.
The movie is deeply personal. The twins open up about their fear of being rejected by their family – especially their mom – once the movie is out because through the film, they are very publicly coming out to everyone they know back home in North Carolina.
You can order the DVD by going to the Hollywood to Dollywood website. If you saw the movie at one of the many film festivals it played, the DVD version includes deleted scenes, new Dolly music, extended interviews, outtakes and more!
Beginning June 12, Hollywood to Dollywood will have its world television premiere on KLCS, the only PBS station still originating from Los Angeles as part of a pledge drive.
During the pledge event, those pledging $125.00 or more will receive a DVD copy of the film and anyone pledging $500.00 or more will also receive a hand crafted birdhouse replica of Dolly Parton’s childhood home built by Bowen. The premiere event will be accompanied by interviews and anecdotes with the stars of the documentary.
His full name is Charles Benedict Ainslie, an English sailor and three-times Olympic gold medalist.
But he’s mostly known simply as Ben Ainslie and I have to thank my pal Lorna Harris for suggesting him for Morning Man.
He’s a perfect choice not just because he’s drop-dead gorgeous but also because today concludes four days of festivities honoring the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Ben is 35 and is Britain’s most successful Olympic sailor ever.
His career in sailing began at the age of 8. His father, Roddy, skippered ‘Second Life’ in the first Whitbread Round the World Race of 1973-74. By the age of 16, Ben was already Laser Radial World Champion and he was just 19 when he won his first Olympic medal – silver in the Laser class at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Four years later, again sailing the Laser, he won Olympic gold at the Sydney Olympics. It was gold again at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, in the larger Finn Class. He won his third consecutive gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Ben is now fully focused on winning Gold at the London 2012 Olympics, which will be his fifth consecutive games.
There is a traveling press corps following the 2700+ participants in AIDS/LifeCycle 2012 which kicked off yesterday morning in San Francisco and they have provided us with this cool video of kickoff ceremony and early pedaling.
I’m going to be posting all week about this because I have a lot of appreciation for this event and the people involved.
It’s a 545-mile ride from SF to Los Angeles and concludes on June 9.
More than $12.6 million will have been raised in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
This is the first of what will be many, many posts about my favorite 10 days of the year: Outfest!
It was announced today that Glee star Chris Colfer will have his first starring role in a feature film close the festival which begins next month.
The film is a teen comedy called Struck By Lightning which the Golden Globe winning actor also wrote. Colfer plays a teen who is killed by lightning then looks back at the way he blackmailed his fellow classmates into contributing to his literary magazine.
Joining Colfer in the cast of Lightning are Christina Hendricks, Dermot Mulroney and Allison Janney.
Lightning is one of 147 films from 24 countries at the festival which opens July 10 and runs through July 22.
Opening the festival will be Jeffrey Schwarz’s HBO documentary Vito. Prior to that screening, Outfest will honor director John Walters with its 16th annual achievement award which has previously gone to Jane Lynch, Sir Ian McKellen, Gus Van Sant, Todd Haynes, and Bill Condon, among others.
Other films featuring well-known stars include: Oscar winners Brenda Fricker and Olympia Dukakis in Cloudburst; Tony winner Alan Cumming and Raising Hope co-star Garret Dillahunt in Any Day Now; Lance Bass in Mississippi, I Am; Ugly Betty alum Michael Urie in Thank You for Judging; and Thora Birch, Christine Lahti and Brittany Snow in Petunia, among others.
For more information and for a complete listing of films in the festival, go to Outfest.org.
I posted earlier today about the terrific garden party held yesterday at Getty House hosted by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
The mayor has been a staunch LGBT ally for nearly two decades and been hosting the LA Pride party at the official residence for three years now.
I chatted with him briefly on his way into the bash:
‘I was supporting marriage equality in 1994 when I got elected to the California State Assembly.’ the mayor said. ‘I’ve felt very strongly for a long time that this is the last frontier of civil rights.’
‘We all have to stand up and say we won’t tolerate discrimination, we won’t allow one group of Americans to bw pitted against the other,’ he added. ‘We believe, in this town, that you ought to be able to get a job, buy a home, marry the person you love. My hope is that more people across the nation will agree with Angelinos on those points.’
The mayor’s second term ends in 2013 and he is ineligible to run for a third due to term limits. He is chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention and has made clear that he believes marriage equality should be part of the party’s official platform this year well before President Barack Obama said last month that he supports gay marriage.