News Briefs

McGreevey “Underwhelming”

Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, also a former closet case, taped his appearance on “Oprah” this week to be shown September 19. He has been sworn to silence by the publishers of his book, “The Confession,” until then. While Oprah swore her audience members to silence and did not admit the press, one told the New York Daily News, “Not impressed with him or his story.” Another said, “It’s not my type of show.” While one told the New York Times, “He was very real, whether you agreed with him or not,” another said, “It was underwhelming.”

The Times reported that McGreevey confesses to a “renewed faith in God and wants to work on education and poverty.” He has set up housekeeping in Plainfield, New Jersey with Mark O’Donnell, a financial adviser.

McGreevey resigned in disgrace in 2004 after it was revealed that he appointed Golan Cipel, a man with who he was having an affair, to head homeland security for the state despite his lack of qualifications—amidst other rumblings of political corruption.

McGreevey is also scheduled to do a Times Talk at the New School on September 26, co-sponsored by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.


HRC to Honor Lance Bass and Beau

I guess Jim McGreevey wasn’t available, so the Human Rights Campaign has chosen to honor “reality” show star Reichen Lehmkuhl and his boyfriend, former boy band celeb Lance Bass, who came out of the closet about five minutes ago—granted, on the cover of People magazine—with their “Visibility Award” at their big Washington dinner on October 7. Asked what these guys did to merit an award, Brad Luna, a spokesman for HRC, said he expected some calls about the choice and replied in an e-mail statement, “Rather than attacking or belittling Lance, we should applaud him for coming out. Coming out is the most important step a member of our community can take and for some it has not been a self-determined process or decision. Surely, all of us remember how awkward or painful it is to take those first steps. It is counter-productive to attack as it may discourage others and validates the very same fear that keeps someone in the closet, and confirms the prejudice that the coming out process is meant to combat.”

Just prior to coming out, Bass had been caught on tape walking in New York with Lehmkuhl and then switching to holding hands with a woman when he realized he was being videoed.

The big awards at the dinner are going to legends Billie Jean King and Frank Kameny, one of the founding fathers of the gay movement who coined the phrase, “Gay is Good” in the early 1960s.


Mychal Judge on Gay Rights

The “Saint of 9/11,” a documentary about Father Mychal Judge, the gay Catholic priest and Fire Department chaplain who perished in the attack on the World Trade Center, is in wider release now. It includes Judge’s support for Brendan Fay’s inclusive St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Queens, but only this week was Gay Cable Network footage of Judge at the 1991 Manhattan St. Pat’s Parade recovered, to be shown on my Gay USA cable show on Thursday at 11 p.m. on channel 34.

Judge marched in that parade with children in wheelchairs who the Ancient Order of Hibernians wanted to exclude along with the Irish Gay and Lesbian Organization because they constituted “float,” which are forbidden. The disabled children were allowed in through the intervention of attorney Peter Johnson. ILGO was not allowed to march with its banner, but in a compromise worked out by Mayor David Dinkins, they were welcomed into the contingent of the AOH’s Division 7 of Manhattan. Dinkins marched in solidarity with them and was greeted mostly by boos and silence, along with a tossed beer can and a smattering of applause as well, an experience the mayor later likened to facing racists in the Old South.

We didn’t know who Father Mychal was at the time, but the Franciscan motioned our correspondent from Gay Cable to come over and he said on camera, “Mayor Dinkins is absolutely extraordinary. Everyone should be allowed to march who wants to. Who is anyone to say that someone else can’t march? ‘Land of the free and the home of the brave.’ And the Irish of all people have been suppressed for so long, we should be the first ones to allow anyone to march. It’s great. Next year it’ll be nothing. The gays and the lesbians can march and they won’t even be noticed. But everyone’s getting their hostility out now.”

Other leaders, like Tom Duane, then a candidate for City Council, were similarly optimistic about the chance ILGO could soon march with its banner, a right still denied.


Martina Goes Out in Style

Martina Navratilova, 49, the tennis legend and lesbian activist, says this time she means it about retiring from competitive tennis. At the U.S. Open in Flushing—at the newly named Billie Jean King Tennis Center, no less—she won the mixed doubles with Bob Bryan for her 59th major victory. “I’m quitting because I want to, not because I have to,” she said. “This is the last match. This is definite.”


Anderson Cooper Trained with CIA

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who no longer discusses being gay with the press, was reported by Radar to have trained with the CIA while at Yale. “He has kept the experience a secret,” the report said, “out of concern that, if widely known, it might compromise his ability to travel in foreign countries and even possibly put him at greater risk from terrorists.”


Brad and Angelina in Solidarity with Same-Sex Couples

Brad Pitt told Esquire, “Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able,” a reference to the fact that the United States forbids recognition of same-sex marriage, even though Massachusetts has opened it up on the state level. Charlize Theron has taken the same pledge.


“Gay Sex” in Saudi Arabia

The Advocate reported that, according to Google Trends, the country with the second most requests for information on the search words “gay sex” is Saudi Arabia, just behind the Philippines. The penalty for homosexual activity in the U.S.-allied kingdom is decapitation.


Ellen to Host the Oscars

Lesbians continue to take over the world. First Rosie got the top spot at ABC-TV’s “The View,” where she this week confessed to a crush on Republican fundraiser Georgette Mosbacher. Now the Academy Awards will be hosted by Ellen Degeneres, only the second woman after Whoopi Goldberg—and the first out lesbian—to be hired for the prestigious gig solo.


Elton and Madonna: Studies in Contrast

Elton John did a concert in Sopot, Poland over the Labor Day weekend, concluding by telling his fans, “I am just a musician. I come and play and hopefully make everyone’s troubles disappear for a couple of hours. And I’m also a gay man and I know that in Poland there has been a lot of violence toward gay people… There is enough hatred in the world, let us all get on with each other.” To applause, he said, “Leave gay people alone. We’re just trying to be ourselves. We do not mean any harm. Love is what it’s all about and Polish people have always been about love.”

Meanwhile, Madonna performed in Moscow despite protests from the religious right over her crucifixion send-up during the act. The gay icon praised the virulently anti-gay mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, for enabling the concert to go forward. Luzhkov recently oversaw a brutal crackdown on an LGBT Pride March there.