Gay Place's Top 10 Queer Doin's 2007

All the doors that opened from the closet to the men's room

1) While peckers like the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, made the headlines, the noble rebutters and straight allies who stood up for us were lucky to get quoted in the jump. We'd like to change that. In the Senate hearing, replying to outgoing Gen. Pace, who just could not keep his twisted sense of moral entitlement and homophobic lunacy to himself, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin retorted, "I want to make it clear that we don't have laws in this country any longer against homosexuality and against gay relationships." And while the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passed the House, sadly without (trans-) gender-identity protection, the monumental baby step was put into perspective by Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who offered this impassioned reflection: "During the 1960s, we brought down those signs that said 'white' and 'colored.' Call it what you may: To discriminate against someone because they are gay is wrong. It is wrong. It is not right." The year 2007, which saw the passage in the U.S. House and Senate of the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, would have not been what it was were it not for the quiet dignity of Shepard's parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard. Locally, Atticus Circle, a straight allies group founded in 2004 by human-rights champion and local attorney Anne Wynne, hosted Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights to correspond with National Coming Out Week this past October.

2) It was just too easy. After a while, we didn't even want to cover it, but plots just kept twisting, like so much water down the loo-chute. Republican homophobes caught toe-tapping, man-grunting for some man love in the men's room, all a-flush with stalled political careers. How unsanitary. We hope that Idaho Sen. Larry Craig and Florida Rep. Bob Allen learned how to hover – or at least made use of those toilet-seat protectors. You never know what you're gonna catch in the john ... or rather which john.

3) More than 300 volunteers, $60,000 in fully sponsored smackeroos, and 11 build days later, and local grandmother Marta can now take the hard-earned money she was spending to live in squalor and apply it to an interest-free mortgage in a brand-new house courtesy of her own sweat equity and Pride Build 2007, the hard work and big hearts of an Austin gay community that came together to pull off this amazing Habitat for Humanity project. So amazing, they are prepping their calendars for Pride Build 2008.

4) Despite the declining number of gay characters on mainstream TV, gay visibility in mainstream media seemed to intensify. From Air America's Dr. Rachel Maddow's guest appearances on network and cable news programs and whispers of CNN's hunky metrosexual Anderson Cooper's orientation to daring and darling straight allies like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Cyndi Lauper's awesome True Colors tour, cable "out"-lets like Logo and Here! were not the only repositories of queer voices heard. Here in Austin, niche marketing was gay marketing, and slick rags began to equal, if not outnumber, newsprint club rags (you know, the ones with plenty of phone numbers for lonely guys and pictures of packages – bulging packages). Fave, born out of the notion that "there needs to be a Brilliant for gay men," and L Style G Style, employing a clever flip-book device to distinguish between the gay male and gay female sections of the mag, focused on the pretty side of being a homosexual consumer, while the venerable Shout Magazine entered its third year of fabulous arts and events coverage for Texas gay folk. A little light reading for those a little light in the loafers? Oh, and The Austin Chronicle launched the Gay Place blog.

5) While the gays were less visible on TV in general, three of the most interesting characters on TV were one form of trans or another: Rebecca Romijn as Alexis Meade on ABC's Ugly Betty (inciting an apology from the dorky Jimmy Kimmel after some insensitive stupidity in an interview on his show); young Aidan Mitchell (holy crap, keep your eyes on this kid's career) portraying Sam Malloy, a boy who finds comfort wearing girls' clothing on FX's The Riches; and, of course, Daniela Sea as Moira (Max) on Showtime's The L Word.

6) Not all closets explode as loud and proud as Ellen's on-air declaration (10 years ago, can you believe it?!), but this year, some pleasant fuses were lit, as well as some no-duhs. Jodie Foster, thank you. Refreshing! Your style, your wit, your grace. Soaking up the spotlight, handling sexual orientation with ease – because it's really just no big deal. John Amaechi, Suze Orman, thank you. The duhs included the guy who played Niles on Frasier, Siegfried & Roy (who were they kidding? Liberace? Their lions?), Anderson Cooper (OK, not quite yet, but if we just keep saying it over and over ...), and even little T.R. Knight from Grey's Anatomy after co-star Isaiah Washington dropped the F-bomb and was banished to Bionic Woman. How about Marcia from the Brady Bunch? Or Lindsay Lohan and that hot DJ? Or Ricky Martin's hairdresser who outs the She Banger with every trim? Or that butchy personal trainer photographed next to Queen Latifah nearly every week? The best one, by far? Dumbledore. Harry Potter topped. Dumbledore bottomed. Smashing!

7) University of Texas' Queer Student Alliance busted hump all last year to host the first ever Queer Texas Conference. Featuring Kate Bornstein as keynote, the weekend event offered intelligent forums, discussions, and panels, bringing together LGBT leaders from across the state. QSA also produced a 200-page report about the state of homosexuals on campus. The results: gender-neutral restrooms, HIV testing, health-center forms that no longer assume heterosexuality, and some much-needed review of married-student housing policy. Tweaks to the system. College kids did it. We believe the children are our future.

8) It's hard to believe that ol' G-Dub is just about out of office (not soon enough). But it's easy to remember the tricks used to get him there. The latest straw polls seem to indicate that the latest straw men may look a little less gay and married and a little more south of the border, as immigration eclipses gay marriage as the hot-button detonator. Either device is divisively heinous, and hopefully the tactics will be the last straw in a long line of right vs. left sleaziness. We shall see come November.

9) For lezzies in Austin, the livin' is pretty easy, except for the fact that there remains no dyke bar. Ladies nights sprung up like ironic faux-hawks this year. The Cock Pit morphed into CP, humping out Wanted Wednesdays, which came and went, making way for De'or, which changed its name to KISS. Phew! The Peacock and Foodies' Miss Kitty hosted Coochie Coo, the Rainbow Cattle Co. roped 'em in, Nueva Onda challenged with Trivia Night, the Light Bar offered Candy Bar, and many of the nonprofits began hosting regular women's events. Finally, calendars filled with dance parties, karaoke, and places to mingle in all our glorious lez-ness.

10) No python. No hot homoerotic kiss. Just listless, bikini- and boot-clad Brit and, like, 99 dancers. Was it just us, or did Britney Spears on MTV's Video Music Awards look more sedated than usual? Not sedate. Sedated. She's was markedly thicker, too. (Personally, we are down with Britney's rears, so bring it on. Keep eating, sister.) But she looked so sad. Like circus-pony sad. Like circus pony with a broken leg whom they rolled out way before she properly healed sad. Like her pal the docile, caged tiger dosed with THC sad. We blogged live about La Brit's MTV comeback as the opener for this annual awards orgy. And so did just about every gay male in America. Here's to a grrr-8 2008!

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