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'Out' Mag's 50 Top Gays

[UPDATE: In the comments, Clark414 and I noted that the list reflects familiar biases that usually turn up on lists about power and influence. Similar observations on what’s missing — and the ranking on this list — come from Sarah Warn of AfterEllen and Michael Jensen of AfterElton see below.]

Look at who’s #2 — does that mean Anderson’s officially outed?

When New York did a “Gay Life Now” issue in 2001, only seven of the forty prominent New York gays asked to pose for the cover were willing. Those big shots may have be gay, and they may have been out, but it just wouldn’t do for them to be gay and out on the cover of a magazine. “There was a time when the closet was a necessary safe haven,” our pal Maer Roshan, who edited the issue, wrote in an angry 2,000-word essay. “But now, it exists as an anachronistic monument to shame. It’s time for our public figures to stop hiding in there – and for journalists to stop helping them.”

Sorry, folks, I didn’t make the list.

BTW, is Jodie Foster still openly closeted? I’ve lost track.

***

Sarah Warn of AfterEllen:

More importantly: if you define “powerful” as people who can get things done, how on earth did porn director Chi Chi LaRue, blogger Perez Hilton, and Interview magazine editor Ingrid Sischy rank higher than Jodie Foster? And if they’re going to list people who aren’t technically out, why aren’t they including the myriad other more powerful closeted gay men and lesbians (especially politicians) who affect more lives than Chi Chi LaRue?

Don’t even get me started on why there are only 13 women on the list, only one of whom is a woman of color. Out doesn’t exactly have a good track record on giving lesbians equal coverage, but there’s also no denying that (white) men still have most of the power in America. So a list that was gender balanced would be about as realistic as Papi’s accent on The L Word.

Hop over to AfterElton and Michael Jensen has this to say about the selections:

There is at least one Republican governor who is supposedly gay, and three senators, all of whom are significantly more powerful than “Coop”. Perhaps all will be made clear when the article is public and Out‘s standards for naming names are explained. But I suspect not.

Lists like these always generate controversy over who is included and who isn’t (hell, that’s the whole idea) but frankly the list seems rather lame even without the “outing” issue. Oprah‘s pet designer Nate Berkus is more powerful than “Freedom To Marry” founder Evan Wolfson? Uh, don’t think so. Berkus is great, but Wolfson is helping to drive the entire country toward same-sex marriage. Methinks Out was thinking more about eye candy when they made that choice and an issue this serious deserves a little more thought than that.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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