Friday, 30 December 2011


 Kevin Keller is the first gay character in the 72-year history of Archie Comics (Photo courtesy Archie Comics)
(December 30, 2011) Here is my 16th annual column of the year’s heroes and zeros.

Heroes The team of University of Western Ontario scientists lead by Dr. Chil-Yong Kang who – on the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic – announced their Canadian-developed vaccine which will start human clinical trials in January 2012. 

Zero Canada’s anti-gay Harper government which quietly killed the vaccine research facility plan ostensibly because there weren't enough talented researchers in Canada.  Which means if Western’s AIDS vaccine is successful, it will be owned by a Korean venture capital company and manufactured in the United States. 

Zero GQ magazine which chose Adam Lambert’s mustache as one of the worst style statements of 2011, tweeting, “If you have testosterone problems, a mustache doesn’t always help.” 

Hero Elton John who – with his civil partner David Furnish became proud papas of their son Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John born on Christmas Day 2010 – continued to put his money where his mouth is. At a January 2011 benefit performance that raised over $3 million for the American Foundation for Equal Rights’ legal fight to overturn California’s Proposition 8, Elton said onstage, “I don’t have everything because I don’t have the respect of people like the church or like politicians who tell me that I’m not worthy, that I’m lesser because I’m gay. Well, fuck you!” 

Zero Iran, for sentencing and stoning to death in January two young men named Ayub and Mosleh (aged 20 and 21 years old) for filming themselves having sex with one another. 

Zeros The anti-gay thugs who have murdered 31 LGBT Hondurans since the 2009 coup d’etat in Honduras. At least three of the victims were set on fire and most cases have not been investigated or prosecuted. 

Zero Honduras president Porfirio Lobo who banned kids under age 15 from attending an “erotic” October 16 Ricky Martin benefit concert for a local children’s foundation. The interior ministry stated that the openly-gay Martin’s concert was “a highly reprehensible act of intolerance.”
Hege Dalen and Toril Hanse

Zero Alberta, which in 2011 still classified homosexuality as a “mental disorder” despite that the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973. Canadian reporters also revealed Alberta doctors used the diagnostic code to bill the province for treating gays and lesbians more than 1,750 times between 1995 and 2004. 

Zero British Columbia, which prohibited the marketing of gay tourism in China. In November BC tourism minister Pat Bell backtracked and apologized.

Hero Montreal, named best world gay destination by voters and travel writers over at TripOut Travel’s NewNowNext 2011 Travel Awards. Meanwhile, Montreal launches its new all-gay radio station Fierte 990 AM in 2012, following in the footsteps of Toronto’s Proud FM. 

Hero Thai airline P.C. Air which in 2011 began recruiting and training transsexual flight attendants.

Heroes The citizens of the Australian town of Hobson’s Bay who elected Tony Briffa, the world’s first intersex mayor. “I am not male or female, but both,” Briffa said proudly. 

Zero Organizers of Australia’s famed Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, for erasing “Gay and Lesbian” from the festival and parade’s 2012  name and logo. 

Zero President Richard Nixon who wasn’t just a crook but – according to the 2011 biography Nixon’s Darkest Secrets by former UPI  Washington bureau chief Don Fulsom – had a gay affair with Mafia banker Bebe Rebozo. As my friend, American cult director Toby Ross told me this week, “Why am I not surprised? He reeks of closet case-ness.” 

Zero Apple for approving a “gay cure” application crated by and named after Exodus International. The app was removed from Apple’s iTunes online shop after gay activists went ballistic. 

Zero The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, for banning the 1985 Dire Straits song Money for Nothing for using the word “fag” – despite the fact the song was lampooning anti-gay bigots. 

Hero NHL New York Rangers forward Sean Avery, for nobly ignoring booing fans after publicly supporting gay marriage in New York State. 

Hero Major League Baseball, for adopting a pro-gay non-discrimination policy in November 2011. 

Zero Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell was supended without pay for two weeks in may after he hurled gay slurs at heckling Giants fans (“Are you a homo couple or a threesome?”), simulated a sex act with a bat, and used the same bat to threaten a man who asked him to tone down his language in front of kids: “How much are your teeth worth?” 

Zero Fashion designer John Galliano, for his drunken anti-semitic slurs in a Paris boite a nuit. “People like you would be dead today – your mothers, your forefathers, would all be fucking gassed,” he told one woman. Evidently Galliano forgot the Nazis also gassed faggots like him. 

Hero The city of Barcelona and its Mayor Jordi Hereu who on March 20 dedicated a granite triangle framed in pink in the city’s central Ciutadella Park, a memorial to LGBT people persecuted and repressed “throughout history."

Hero President Barack Obama who – finally – rescinded the American military’s DADT policy. 

Zero The U.S. Defense Department for sending gay anti-DADT activist and discharged Army First Lieutenant Dan Choi a $2,500 bill to repay an “unearned portion of your enlistment or reenlistment bonus.” 

Heroes Archie Comics for introducing Kevin Keller, the first gay character in the comic’s 72-year history history. Now the upcoming January 2012 issue of Life of Archie will feature the marriage between Kevin and Clay Walker, a doctor he meets while recovering in a military hospital’s physical rehabilitation unit. 

Heroes The 85 nations – including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Fiji, Iceland, Israel, Mexico, Rwanda, Spain, USA and Venezuela – who signed a United Nations statement defending LGBT people. Countries that opposed the statement include Pakistan, Russia and Nigeria. 

Zeros The Nigerian senate, for approving 14-year jail terms for gay marriage; Ghana, whose crackdown on gay people orders landlords and tenants to report their gay neighbours; and the Ugandan parliament, which voted to continue pushing through a bill that prescribes the death penalty for LGBT people. 

Zero Former U.S. National Sheriff of the Year Patrick Sullivan, arrested for trying to trade methamphetamine for gay sex. 

Zero The western India state of Gujarat, for banning Pulitzer-prize-winning Joseph Lelyveld’s 2011 book Great Soul for exposing Mahatma Gandhi’s gay affair with a German man named Hermann Kallenbach. 

Zero Publicly closeted Tory minister John Baird and other Conservative Party MPs for their shameful and hypocritical It Gets Better video. Like comedian Rick Mercer said in his online rant, it’s time our closeted leaders and politicians come out once and for all. 

Zeros Dick and Lynne Cheney for finally publicly supporting gay marriage on The View in September. Memo to Dick(head): Too little, too late. 
Bugs visits the Stonewall Inn

Heroes The 68.8 percent of voters in Liechtenstein who on June 19 approved a new law legalizing gay partnerships. Also New York state which just five days later approved gay marriage. As the NY senate voted, activists chanted outside the Stonewall Inn, “We’re here. We’re fabulous. Don’t fuck with us!” 

Hero Kids in the Hall comedian Scott Thompson who told bullied teens what I’ve been screaming for years: “You have to fight back. So much of these bullying campaigns are part of the trend that we were just talking about—the recasting of gay men as eternal victims and it’s like, fight back! Fathers should start teaching the boys how to punch. He does that to you, here’s what you do: You fucking punch him in the face.” 

Hero Cyndi Lauper, who opened her True Colors homeless shelter for gay teens in NYC in September. Last year Lauper told me the tragic story of her lifetime friend Gregory, kicked out by his parents at age 13 when they discovered he was gay and who died of AIDS in 1985. The True Colors homeless shelter, Cyndi told me while trying not to cry, is dedicated to Gregory. “Gregory will finally get his wish,” Cyndi said. 
Cyndi Lauper's true colours
(Photo courtesy Maple Music)

Heroes Lesbian couple Hege Dalen and Toril Hansen for saving the lives of 40 children during the July 22 Norway massacre, piloting their boat to Utoya island on four trips as a heavily armed gunman mowed down dozens of children at a camping outing. 

Heroes For publicly coming out in 2011: Montreal Impact soccer player David Testo;’s transsexual editor Janet Mock; the rebooted Star Trek’s Mr Spock, actor Zachary Quinto; ABC News anchor Dan Kloeffler; and CNN anchor Don Lemon, who says, “I think if I had seen more people like me who are out and proud, it wouldn’t have taken me 45 years to say it – to walk in the truth.” 

Heroes Ugandan gay activist David Kato, American playwright Doric Wilson, veteran U.S lesbian activists Renee Hanover and Paula Ettelbrick, author and Hollywood producer Perry Moore, West Side Story and Gypsy screenwriter Arthur Laurents, Montreal fashion designer Georges Levesque, Stonewall Riots activist Arthur Evans, Laugh-In TV star Alan Sues, disco singers Andrea True and Loleatta Holloway, gay icon Elizabeth Taylor, Hollywood and Broadway legend Farley Granger, key American gay-rights activist Frank Kameny, as well as Rudolf Brazda, the world’s last-known gay Holocaust survivor, all passed away in 2011. RIP. 

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1 comment:

  1. - Alberta still calls us sick? And do they burn witches, too?
    - Montreal best world gay destination -- Mais oui!
    - Cyndi Lauper's homeless shelter for gay teens. This is a long time coming, but still...
    - The Baird is so clawing to get back in her closet!