For The Advocate’s 40th anniversary issue they’re honoring 40 Gay heroes…and they’re asking for help. God knows they need it.
The list features 100 notable Gay people from the last four decades — politicians, artists, activists, and more. As usual, The Advocate confuses "famous" with "influential" or "hero."
They’re asking readers to help rank the people listed by voting for the people you feel have made the most significant impact. You can select up to 40 names.
But then they also include Elton John…who’s quite wonderful, to be sure; but a hero? Someone who took how many years to finally come out (and was probably the last person to figure it out!) I don’t think so. His money enables him to make some kind of impact with HIV/AIDS, but in my book that’s the least you can do when you have that much money.I mean, thanks for the tunes, Elton, you’re a rock star. Not a hero.
And Rosie…again…luv ya Rosie, but hero? Heroes do the difficult thing when it’s hard to do it. You had to be practically dragged out of your closet. And you’ve certainly proved your mettle since coming out. But again…heroic? I don’t think so.
John Waters? Hell…I’d like to have dinner with John. But hero? I’m afraid being famous just isn’t enough. Feels too much like "crumbs from the table" to me.
They promise that they will determine rankings based on your votes plus editors’ input, and the top 40 heroes will be featured on the cover of the anniversary issue. Here’s what they say:
"What do we mean when we say "greatest Gay hero" of the past 40 years? First, the person must be entirely out. Second, it’s not enough to be supremely talented or superbly competent — that person must have done something significant to improve our LGBT lives."
But then they proceed to mix up people who are simply famous with people who have actually done something, offered something, created something for LGBT people. For my money, "heroic" is standing up and being counted when you’ve got something to lose (Take Off the Masks). A hero writes a book that bears his soul (Gay Body, Gay Soul; Gay Spirit: Myth & Meaning). It’s like their covers….here’s a question: How many actual Gay people have they had on their covers in the last two years?
Here’s who I voted for: Tammy Baldwin, John Boswell, Malcolm Boyd, Martin Duberman, Bob Hattoy, Harry Hay, Frank Kameny (who, let’s not forget, The Advocate recently declared dead…of AIDS. He’s not), Jim Kepner, Tony Kushner, Del Martin & Phyllis Lyon, Armistead Maupin, Paul Monette, Joan Nestle, Bayard Rustin, Vito Russo, Mark Thompson and Urvashi Vaid. There are a few others I voted for, too.
They left out Eric Rofes. I added him.