Where would we LGBT folks be without our straight supporters? From Hollywood stars who refuse to get married until everyone can (thank you, Brangelina) to politicians who buck the trend and do the right thing even when it’s not popular, we’ve had some outstanding heroes in the past few years. Here’s my list of nominees for the Hall of Fame.
Who would have expected Harry Potter to be so concerned about gay issues? Daniel Radcliffe, who certainly carries some weight among kids and teens, has recorded PSAs and spoken out repeatedly about the Trevor Project and to publicize the crisis of LGBT youth suicide. While adults may get all tied up in knots debating JK Rowling's announcement that Dumbledore is gay, Radcliffe has avoided getting mired in controversy and instead spoken directly to those who need support and help most.
In November 2008, MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann set aside several minutes of his nightly show to speak out about the tragedy of Prop 8’s passage. He had no friends who were directly affected by the proposition, but the very thought of denying gay people the right to marry struck him as so horrible and pointless that he could not remain silent. His passion was undeniable, and his message could not have been more on-target. By bringing the gay marriage argument sensitively and respectfully to both the mainstream media and the heterosexual world, Keith Olbermann gave us a huge and enduring gift.
Also in the world of media and journalism, New York Times columnist Frank Rich has been our advocate for some time. By ruthlessly exposing the sheer idiocy of the arguments against recognizing same sex marriage and calling out the underlying hate and homophobia of our opposition, he’s made his column a soapbox for good sense on the subject of LGBT equality.
Duh, right? Cher has always been our champion, but in the last couple years she's become a hero for a whole new reason. In speaking about her child, Chaz, first coming out as gay and now transitioning to life as a male, she never hesitates to expose her own difficulties or ineptitude at dealing with it. For opening her own life to show even its less proud moments — and for modeling how to work through those with grace and honesty — Cher is an encouragement to parents everywhere.
… and not just because he’s the hottest, flirtiest former mayor of a major city on record. California’s biggest marriage booster risked the wrath of the State Attorney General in 2004 when he began performing ceremonies on the steps of City Hall. He celebrated with us when the Supreme Court made marriage legal in 2008, fought Prop 8 with us, and mourned with us when the voters passed it that November. Newsom is now California’s Lieutenant Governor. What in the world could he have up his sleeve now that he’s got a larger stage?
That’s my list, and looking back on it I'm surprised to see so few women. I'd include Lady Gaga — she deserves a Hall of Fame all her own! — but she's publicly bi, so she's out on a technicality. Hilary Clinton took part in It Gets Better, but she's had other things on her mind for the most part. Kristen Chenoweth spoke out eloquently in support of gay actors — should she be on the list? Who's your nomination?