If you ever wanted to see Gandalf choke up or Magneto get misty, here’s your chance.
At a London event for Letters Live, an organization that celebrates “the enduring power of literary correspondence,” actor Sir Ian McKellen read a coming out letter from Armistead Maupin’s More Tales of the City, a book set in 1970s San Francisco. In the book, one of the characters Michael Tolliver writes a letter to his mother where he comes out to her as a gay man and explains his newfound personal freedom.
Tolliver writes home when he hears that his mother has joined the “Save Our Children” campaign, a conservative organization in the 1970s that was spearheaded by anti-gay activistAnita Bryant. The letter opens with a greeting from Tolliver to his mother, and an apology for the long period of time between correspondences. He then says he is a homosexual, and unlike the name of Bryant’s organization implies, he is not in need of saving.
“I never needed saving from anything,” McKellen reads. “Except the cruel and ignorant piety of people like Anita Bryant. I’m sorry, Mama, not for what I am, but for how you must feel at this moment. I know what that feeling is, for I felt it for most of my life: revulsion, shame, disbelief — rejection through fear of something I knew, even as a child, was as basic to my nature as the color of my eyes.”
The letter then goes on to explain how San Francisco’s culture of acceptance has helped him realize he is not sick or evil, just gay — and that’s OK. McKellen continues,
“San Francisco is full of people both straight and gay that don’t consider sexuality in measuring the worth of a human being,” he reads. “They aren’t’ radicals or weirdos, Mama. They are shop clerks and bankers and little old ladies and people who nod and smile to you when you meet them on the bus. Their attitude is neither patronizing nor pitying. And their message is so simple: Yes, you are a person. Yes, I like you. Yes, it’s all right for you to like me, too.”
“Yes, you are a person. Yes, I like you. Yes, it’s all right for you to like me, too.”
McKellen gets a tickle in his throat when he reads the line, “If you and Papa are responsible for the way I am, then I thank you with all my heart, for it’s the light and joy of my life.” McKellen is an out gay man himself and has spoken to numerous outlets about the importance of coming out for gay men.
“I’ve never met a gay person who regrets coming out,” he told Anderson Cooper on Anderson Live. “You’re more at ease with your loved ones, your family and extended family, your friends and your employers, employees. Everybody’s happy because they know where they are.”
Watch the full video of McKellen reading the letter below.
When he came out as a gay man, Apple CEO Tim Cook became the most visible LGBT people in the corporate world.
Cook took over from the late Steve Jobs in 2011 and, three years later, shared his story in a 2011 editorial in Bloomberg Businessweek. “I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” he wrote.
But Cook’s sexuality was something of an open secret before then—and he was vocal in his support for marriage equality and ENDA, so why did he wait to share his truth?
“Honestly, I value my privacy,” he told Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes last night. I’m a very private person.”
But, Cook says, he realized the issue was bigger than just himself.
“[If] some kid somewhere, some kid in Alabama, just for a moment stops and say ’if it didn’t limit him, it may not limit me.’ Or, this kid that’s getting bullied or worse… I’ve gotten notes from people contemplating suicide. And so if I could touch just one of those, it’s worth it.”
He added, “I couldn’t look myself in the mirror without doing it.”
Tim Cook’s decision to reveal his sexuality to the world nearly a year ago did not come easy.
During an interview Tuesday with Stephen Colbert on CBS’ The Late Show, Apple’s CEO explained that he had long valued his privacy, but increasingly recognized the struggles of children being discriminated and bulled and felt an obligation to help change this by telling the world that the top executive of the world’s most valuable company is gay.
“It became so clear to me kids were getting bullied in school, kids were getting basically discriminated against, kids were even being disclaimed by their own parents — and I needed to do something,” Cook said in his candid remarks. “Where I valued my privacy significantly, I felt that I was valuing it too far above what I could do for other people. And so I wanted to tell everyone my truth.”
“I felt a tremendous responsibility to do it,” he added.
The original news marked a pivotal moment for the business world. Cook was and remains the only openly gay current CEO among the Fortune 500 companies. But it was not really a secret among many at Apple.
“Many people already knew, and so [for] many people it was no revelation,” he said, before throwing in a very on-brand quip: “It’s like discovering something on your iPhone it’s always done, but you didn’t quite know it. It wasn’t a revelation to a lot of people that I worked with, but it maybe was to the broader world.”
On the show, Cook talked about the rumors of Apple building self-driving cars (“I’ve read that!”), explained the new 3D Touch features on the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus and expressed frustration over the many movies about his former boss and friend, Apple cofounder Steve Jobs.
“I haven’t seen them, but the Steve I knew was an amazing human being. He’s someone that you wanted to do your best for…. And I love him dearly. I miss him every day,” Cook said. “I think that a lot of people are trying to be opportunistic, and I hate this. It’s not a great part of our world.”
Cook is third big technology executive that Colbert has had on his new show in just one week. Travis Kalanick, the CEO of ride-hailing service Uber, and Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, appeared on the show last week.
When you think of car manufacturers and their videos, cars racing on long tracks or through city streets come to mind. Some car companies branch out to videos about family and the journeys you take in your vehicles, but in general they don’t stray far from the beaten path (or paved road, in this case).
Lexus decided to break the mold in 2008, and has been producing non-car content as part of their L/Studio offerings. Billing itself as “Subscription-style TV without a subscription or a TV,” the brand’s series range in style from comedy, to design, to interviews. L/Studio’s mission is to use their content to expose viewers to different experiences and inspire innovation. According to Brian Bolain, Lexus’ Marketing Manager, “We can’t talk cars all the time because people don’t think about cars all the time.”
Of course, The News Wheel respectfully disagrees with Mr. Bolain. We love thinking about cars all the time!
Some of the most notable videos to come out of the L/Studio are in theIt Got Better interview series. After a successful first season in 2014, the series is back with new episodes being released on YouTube and the L/Studio site. Featuring LGBT celebrities like RuPaul, Andrew Rannells, and Rosie O’Donnell, each episode focuses on how each person discovered who they are and the unique challenges they faced because of their sexual orientation. Check out Nate Berkus’ episode below to learn more about this famous interior designer’s journey.
I probably should’ve sat my ass down to watch Rachel Maddow’s interview with Rick Santorum first thing this morning—that’s what my freelance assignment editors on Twitter ordered me to do—but I watched the trailer for Madame Bovary instead. Again. Because Ezra Miller. Sigh. I know that a shaggy-haired, lanky, out bisexual guy with killer cheekbones will never be named the Sexiest Man Alive by the people at People. But it really should be Ezra this year.
Okay. Now I’m going to sit down and watch the Rachel and Rick show.
We love it when famous people are out of the closet. That’s why we’ve picked 10 of our favorite actors, activists, musicians, and so forth to be on this list! As you read on, make sure you’re sitting down – your knees might go weak!
Super hunk Matthew Staton “Matt” Bomer (born October 11, 1977) is an American actor. He made his television debut with Guiding Light in 2001, and gained recognition with his recurring role in the NBC television series Chuck as Bryce Larkin. His other notable appearances have included the TV series White Collar, and our favorite, the Magic Mike movies! He has been married to his husband, Simon Halls, since 2011 and together they have 3 children. This means he is very off the market, which makes us cry a little bit.
Channing Tatum Dream boat Channing Matthew Tatum (born April 26, 1980) is an American actor, film producer, dancer, and model. Tatum made his film debut in the drama film Coach Carter (2005). His breakthrough role was in the 2006 dance film Step Up, which introduced him to a wider audience, and he is also known for his roles in She’s The Man, G.I. Joe, 21 Jump Street, and Magic Mike. Tatum is known for being bi, as well as fully supporting the LGBT community at pride events. He has been married to wife, Jenna Channing, since 2009, and they have a daughter together. So, no, he isn’t available either. We’re gonna need more tissues.
Aydian Dowling Gorgeous stud, Aydian Ethan Dowling (27 years old), is an out and proud FTM transgender activist who is currently in the running to become the first ever trans* guy on the cover of Men’s Health magazine. Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Dowling came out as a lesbian as a teenager before identifying as transgender. He has made many headlines since his documented transition started on YouTube with his fitness program channel, BeefHeads. He is married to his wife, Jennilee, and kinda sorta wished he had married us instead.
Zach Quinto Dreamy Zachary John Quinto (born June 2, 1977) is an American actor and film producer. He is best known for his roles as Sylar on the science fiction drama series Heroes (2006–2010), and Spock in the reboot Star Trek (2009) and its sequel Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). He is also recognized from his role in American Horror Story. He has been publicly gay since 2011, and has been dating model Miles McMillian since 2013. *glare*
Neil Patrick Harris Beautiful Neil Patrick Harris, (born June 15, 1973) is an American actor, writer, producer, director, comedian, magician, singer, and television host. He is known for playing Barney Stinson in the television comedy series How I Met Your Mother (2005–2014), for which he was nominated for four Emmy Awards. He has been outwardly spoken for years in his support for the LGBT community, and definitely doesn’t hide his own sexuality. Openly gay since 2006, he married husband David Burtka in2014, and together they have two gorgeous children. We adore them so much!
Ricky Martin Handsome Enrique Martín Morales (born December 24, 1971), commonly known as Ricky Martin, is a Puerto Rican singer, actor, and author. Martin began his career at age twelve with the all-boy pop group Menudo. After five years with the group, he released several Spanish-language solo albums throughout the 1990s, and became a huge hit. Out since 2010, Martin is father to two young boys, and is currently single. Good thing we’re free this weekend!
Wentworth Miller Sexy pants Wentworth Earl Miller III (born June 2, 1972) is an American actor, model, screenwriter and producer. He rose to prominence following his role as Michael Scofield in the Fox series Prison Break, for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination for best actor in a leading role. He came out in 2013, and has spoken openly about his support for the community and his own struggles as a gay man before his announcement. It’s ok Wentworth, we’ll take care of you.
Tom Daley Cutie pie Thomas Robert “Tom” Daley (born 21 May 1994) is an English diver and television personality. Daley specializes in the 10 metre platform event and was the 2009 FINA World Champion in the individual event at the age of 15. He won two gold medals for England at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, in the 10 metre synchro diving (with Max Brick) and the 10m Individual Platform competition, and won the bronze medal for Great Britain in the individual competition at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Daley has been out since 2013, and has been with his American partner Dustin Black for almost 3 years!
Adam Lambert Hot stuff Adam Mitchel Lambert (born January 29, 1982) is an American singer, songwriter and stage actor. In 2009, Lambert came to prominence when he became the runner-up on the eighth season of American Idol. During his very successful career as a singer, Lambert has been a constant active supporter for the LGBT community, having been out himself since 2009. According to interviews, he has “slept with a few closeted Hollywood stars,” and is currently single. We’re here for your entertainment, Adam.
Matt Dallas Super sexy Matthew Joseph “Matt” Dallas (born October 21, 1982) is an American actor, best known for playing the title character on the ABC Family series Kyle XY. He announced on Twitter in 2013 that he was engaged to his musician boyfriend, Blue Hamilton, and they were married on July 5th of this year! Happy belated marriage, Matt and Blue (you lucky son of a…).
While we adore these ten heart-pounding guys, there is a TON of other LGBT and out people in all industries. With the community becoming more and more accepted across the states, we just know how important it is for those in the spotlight to come out and express their support. The more the merrier, we always say!
Aussie musician and model on joining the cast: “I have a crush on every single person on the show”
Rolling Stone 6/11/2015 By Mac McClelland
This season, Australian model, TV personality, actress and musician Ruby Rose joins the cast of Orange Is the New Black as Stella, a sexy, mysterious stranger rumored to turn the show’s perennially troubled couple, Piper and Alex, into a love triangle. Rose, 29, auditioned hard for the part to get onto one of her favorite shows. “Especially for someone in the LGBT community, I don’t think there’s been a show that’s so true about the experience of being gay or lesbian or trans. It’s helping a lot of people discover who they are. And I think that’s magic — you don’t get that a lot on TV.”
Talking to Rose for our cover story on the new season of Orange, we grilled her about that controversial “failure” quote, the benefits of therapy and how she “has a crush on every single person on the show.” (You can also check out her short film on gender fluidity, “Break Free,” below.)
There were some reports online that you had concerns about Orange at first. Did you think it was going to be exploitative?
I cringe every time I see that quote; it was taken totally out of context. [Talking to Sunday Style Magazine, Rose was quoted as saying “The show is obviously brilliant, but it has women directors, writers and producers; it’s about women in a prison. Everything about it had ‘failure’ written on it.”] What I was saying was that in the acting industry in general and [given] what we’re provided in content on TV and in film, life in a women’s prison is not something that’s usually discussed or portrayed. And on top of that, the main characters are all female protagonists, it’s written by a lot of women and cast by women — everything about it is amazing. I imagine producers seeing it pop up and being like, “I don’t know about all this female power going on.” It’s definitely a minority in what we’re usually offered.
So you were a fan of the show?
I was a really big fan of the first two seasons. I was a little bit late on the first because I was not in the country; I just saw it going crazy on social media. So I turned it on on a Friday, and three days later, I’ve just watched an entire series of a TV program; I was like, “There has to be something wrong with me.” I had never binge-watched TV before Orange.
It’s just not something that you’d think would have value written all over it. You wouldn’t look at it and think, “That’s gonna be a hit.” You think that with superhero movies. There’s something on that show that everyone can relate to. That’s why it’s so successful.
Which character did you relate to?
I related to everyone in a way. There’s little bits of Alex and Piper I related to in my life — though probably more Alex. I have the cheekiness of Nicky, but then I’m like a hopeless romantic like Lorna [played be fellow Aussie Yael Stone]. There are parts of Poussey [played by Samira Wiley] that I connected with. But my character, Stella, is so similar in her mannerisms to me, and she’s very androgynous. It’s such a perfect fit.
Much has been made of the diversity, in every sense, of the cast; as a model, do you feel like you were a more traditional choice for TV?
[Scoffing] “Model.” I don’t think of myself as a model. I’m genderqueer, and I’ve got tattoos. Since I got the part some people have asked me what it’s like to be the hottest girl on the show, and I’m like, “What? That’s not true, at all.” Every single woman on that show is so sexy — it’s really kind of crazy. Poussey is such a babe. Alex is out of control. Nicky has a thing about her. Every one of these girls has different sex appeal, whether they’re vulnerable, or whatever it is. I have a crush on every single person on the show, much to my fiancée’s amusement. And then when you get to know them off camera it’s even worse because they’re so talented, so nice, so funny; I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. I wish I could be as beautiful as them.
A lot of them, it turns out, have been through lots of therapy, or are really spiritual. . .
I fit into both those categories! I love therapy. I swear by therapy. I couldn’t exist without therapy. And I’m in the program [Alcoholics Anonymous].
A lot of us on the show have been through things in life that have taken us in different directions. We’re almost all like underdogs. I say that in a positive way. There is no competition or weird insecurities; everyone’s sort of rooting for each other. They’ve been through so much, and they’re so successful. The positive message is: go to therapy [laughs]. There’s hope for all of us.
Sixteen years ago, Cho was using her comedy to start many of the conversations we are having today, by talking about diversity, representation, and the way we treat women. But her sharp and prescientcommentary was relegated to the sidelines of pop culture — it was something you had to seek out.
A survey of the television and comedy landscape today yields plenty of sterling success stories — stories that are rooted in what Cho was fighting for. Consider, for instance, TV series like Fresh Off the Boat and Black-ish, or, well, anything that Amy Schumer or Shonda Rhimes touches. They all propagate messages of diversity, representation, and feminism that are as prominent in pop culture as they’ve ever been. Cho helped pave the way for that to happen.
“We really needed that kind of comedy at the time,” Cho told Vox. “We just didn’t have the language yet. Now we do, and it’s really a great time for minorities and women in comedy. We have people that are brilliant and talking about feminism, race, and equality in an important, exciting way.”
Cho’s comedy is important. She continued a long tradition of female comedians — including Moms Mabley, Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers, and Wanda Sykes, among others — who shattered the mold in terms of the type of comedy that women were “supposed” to perform. And on a larger scale, female comedians like Cho and the women who inspired her have blazed a trail with their sharp social and political criticism, pushing for equality one joke at a time.
Things are different for Cho now. Some of battles she fought have been won. Some of her go-to targets, like George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, are out of the spotlight. And politically, society is more in line with her vision of equality and diversity than it was 16 years ago. But that hasn’t stopped Cho from pushing the envelope.
Margaret Cho’s early comedy still rings true today
In 1999, Cho embarked on her “I’m the One That I Want” comedy tour following a tender point in her career. Five years earlier, she’d landed her own TV show on ABC called All-American Girl. It was the first primetime sitcom in the history of the medium to feature a predominantly Asian-American cast.
It was also a living hell for her.
And as we would learn through the standup she performed during “I’m the One,” network executives commented on her appearance body so frequently that Cho developed an eating disorder. She was also waging a war against ignorance and a general lack of familiarity with Asian-American faces on television — ABC even assigned an Asian consultant to Cho’s show because they felt it wasn’t “Asian enough.”
“When you’re on television you become a kind of community property, and people say whatever they want about you,” Cho revealed during one standup appearance. “And because I’m a woman, a lot of people said that I was ugly, and that I was fat,” she continued.
What Cho said in 1999 still resonates. The main difference is that in 2015, Americans are more apt to acknowledge our own ignorance and failings outright. We’re also more ready to address those deficiencies through pop culture. For example, a recent episode of Inside Amy Schumer‘s third season boldly addressed the way we talk about women’s looks in a skit that expertly parodied the play 12 Angry Men.
“I feel like [Schumer has] taken what I’ve done and really expanded on that,” Cho told me. “She’s really powerful, and I think that feminist voice is so important.”
Though Schumer and Cho have touched upon some of the same topics and clearly share similar viewpoints, Schumer’s comedy is markedly different from Cho’s. It’s less pointed, less angry, more subtle. Cho had to fight to further some ideas — like that of representation in the media — that we didn’t yet have names for. Her comedy was more political, more biting. In some cases, it was almost reminiscent of motivational speeches. It was all those things because it had to be.
“It was really great to be able to do that. And that kind of comedy was needed at the time,” Cho told me. “We didn’t know how to talk about things like invisibility.”
What’s next for Margaret Cho?
Margaret Cho loves playing men.
At the 2014 Golden Globes, Cho performed a bit in which she played a North Korean character named Cho Yung Ja. Though some people found the character offensive, Cho Yung Ja was a timely riff — Seth Rogen and James Franco’s The Interview and the ire it caused in North Korea was a news fixation at the time — on the former/current North Korean leaders Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un, two figures Cho had previously played on the NBC comedy 30 Rock (for which she earned an Emmy nomination). And in the recently released film Tooken, a comedy spoof of the Taken franchise, she portrays another eccentric, villainous Asian man known as Brownfinger.
“Brownfinger, he’s an angry man and he’s just pissed off at the world,” Cho says. “And I understand that. And he tries to get back at everyone by wreaking havoc in people’s lives.”
Playing men has been a liberating experience, Cho says.
“I really love playing men. I think it’s letting go of having to put on makeup, and actually it’s a longer process to make me into a woman than to make me into a man,” she said. “I just really appreciate that. It’s fun to kind of challenge yourself. You’re able to let go of the trappings of being an actress. It’s exciting.”
Cho is now in the process of recording a comedy album she plans to release this fall, as well as trying her hand at producing and working behind the camera on scripted and non-scripted TV shows that are in the nascent stages of development. All of these projects tie into Cho’s upcoming “PsyCHO” comedy tour, which launches in October.
Cho says she was inspired to return to the standup circuit because while she’s worked hard to start meaningful conversations about plenty of social issues, there are still many that she feels strongly about, many to be angry about. The point of the “PsyCHO” tour is to channel that anger and use it for good.
“There’s so much violence against people of color, women, and the LGBT community — ‘PsyCHO’ talks about the right to anger,” Cho says. “We have a right to that anger, and we can harness it and use it to benefit ourselves.”