It’s the end of the year and I haven’t done any ‘best of’ posts at all. And not because I don’t have any ‘best ofs’ to post. I’m a blogger! An erratic blogger, but a blogger none the less. Lists of stuff is what we do! If you don’t have year-end best-ofs, you’re nothing! And it’s the end of the decade as well! Surely I have some end-of-decade lists to post?
Well, maybe we’ll get to all that, and maybe we won’t, but I’d be no kind of blogger at all if I didn’t mark the end of the year with something. So, for your delectation, I present three of the highlights of the gay pop culture year, in video form.
From February of this year we have Dustin Lance Black’s Oscar acceptance speech for ‘Best Original Screenplay’ for Milk, the biography of San Francisco gay rights activist Harvey Milk. Oscar won’t allow embedding, so you’ll have to click the link to view it.
The movie itself was a terrific clarion call at a time when we really need it, but the speech was just as brilliant, and more immediate, and may have reached more people with the needed message; “to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than, by their churches or by the government or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you”. Sean Penn’s acceptance speech was equally vital; ”I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect, and anticipate their great shame, and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support.”
Next up; Adam Lambert. This time last year, there was no Adam Lambert as far as the world is concerned. Some of you may wish to go back to that other time, but whatever you think of his talent, his style or his story, or of American Idol itself, the arrival on the US entertainment scene of such an unapologetically gay man who actually sells records is a breakthrough. The recent Video Music Awards ‘controversy’, in which Lambert did the sort of thing Madonna has been doing for years on TV and was swiftly dropped from a bunch of other TV appearances, shows that we really do need someone like Adam Lambert around to shake things up in this way.
With this video you can hear (but not see) his best performance from Idol, ‘Tracks of My Tears’, showcasing the range, pathos and blessed restraint that the man is capable of:
Finally, a TV clip from just yesterday, and it’s an odd one; it’s a sex scene from a daytime soap opera. You’re probably wondering why the hell I would bother you with such a thing, but this is a daytime soap scene with a difference; it’s the first love scene between two gay men on daytime.
Only as recently as last year, fans of As The World Turns actually had to lobby that soap’s network to get them to show a kiss between two men in a committed relationship. The makers of the soap featured above, One Life To Live, have been more courageous. The scene is cheesy, a little clunky, and very much what you’d expect from a love scene in a daytime soap, except that it’s a first, and it’s rewarding to see that the show’s makers have treated a gay couple exactly as they would a straight couple. (The blond, incidentally, is Scott Evans, the openly gay brother of actor Chris Evans.)
The best way to open people’s minds about sexuality is to introduce them to a gay person - a friend, or a family member, who can challenge their lazy, prejudiced views. The next best thing we can do is show them gay people in their music, their movies, their TV shows. All three of these clips are important, because they are all about bringing homosexuality out into the everyday. 2009 has been a banner year for gay visibility. My hope is that the trend continues into 2010.