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Outspoken: The year in quotes

The best celeb quips and barbs from 2011 with Cher, Betty White, k.d. lang, Sean Maher, Wanda Sykes and more

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Charles Barkley

CHARLES BARKLEY

“It bothers me when I hear these reporters and jocks get on TV and say: ‘Oh, no guy can come out in a team sport. These guys would go crazy.’ First of all, quit telling me what I think. I’d rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can’t play.”

NBA Hall of Famer and now sports analyst Charles Barkley (Washington Post, May 17)

CHER

Cher

“Just got spam letter from M. Bachmann! My reply! Woman go back 2 school take history! & if I was on my deathbed & your best friend was JESUS!!! I WOULDN’T VOTE 4 YOUR GAY HATING, BULLY LOVING, POSER CHRISTIAN ASS!”

Music icon Cher, mom to transgender son Chaz Bono, on Twitter, explaining why she will not vote for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for president. (On Top Magazine, Aug. 1)

WANDA SYKES

“Should I talk about [having breast cancer]? Because how many things could I have? You know black, lesbian — I’m like, I can’t be the poster child for everything. At least with the LGBT issues we get a parade and a float and it’s a party.”

Wanda Sykes

Comedian and actress Wanda Sykes, discussing her battle with breast cancer for the first time in an interview with out talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. (“The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Sept. 26)

SEAN MAHER

“I’ve just never talked about it. But it’s so liberating. It was interesting to be coming to have a conversation that I was always afraid to have. This is my coming out ball. I’ve been dying to do this.”

Sean Maher

Actor Sean Maher, star of the short-lived NBC series “Playboy Club,” where he played a closted gay man married to a lesbian Bunny, coming out in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. (EW.com, Sept. 26)

KD LANG

“Justin Bieber looks just like a lesbian, so I’m gonna say hot as shit.”

Lesbian singer k.d. lang, asked on an Australian talk show to answer the random question, “Justin Bieber: hot or not?” (SheWired.com, Nov. 7)

“I’ve never been turned down for a role because I’m gay. I’m a character actor, and that’s probably why. I don’t find Hollywood, in my own experience, to be homophobic. … But I do think the straight folks will continue to play the straight roles.”

Actress Jane Lynch, who plays cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on “Glee,” explaining that studios still want straight actors in straight romantic leads. (AfterElton.com, Jan. 12)

“I have lived my life very openly and have never hidden the fact that I am gay. Apparently the prerequisite to being a gay public figure is to appear on the cover of a magazine with the caption ‘I am gay.’ I apologize for not doing so if this is what was expected.”

Jonathan Knight

Jonathan Knight of the now-reunited boy band New Kids on the Block, responding to questions after ‘80s pop star Tiffany, whom he once dated, discussed his sexual orientation in a recent television interview. (MSNBC.com, Jan. 31)

“He became gay later. I didn’t do it. I had issues with that. I was thinking maybe I did. Now looking back when we were dating, he was so much fun. We used to do facials together. He was so easy to talk to.”

‘80s pop singer Tiffany, discussing former boyfriend Jonathan Knight from boy band New Kids on the Block, on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live.” (MSNBC.com, Jan. 31)

“You know just because you don’t like the way it sounds when I say it or you don’t like my haircut or you don’t like that I’m gay, it does not mean that what we say is not true. If you squint a little bit, it is true I do sometimes look like a dude, and I am definitely gay.”

Rachel Maddow, host of “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC, denying claims that she erred in reporting on the Wisconsin labor union controversy. (On Top Magazine, Feb. 27)

“My family knew I was gay when I was 15, long before I got famous. But it’s a very different thing coming out to your family and coming out to the universe. That’s a big step. Maybe without me, there wouldn’t be Adam Lambert. Without Bowie, there wouldn’t be me. Without Quentin Crisp, there wouldn’t have been Bowie. So everything is part of a big daisy chain.”

Boy George

Culture Club singer Boy George, known for his androgynous style in the ‘80s band, in an interview promoting the band’s reunion (Hollywood Reporter, Feb. 23)

“Why shouldn’t gay people be allowed to be able to marry? Those against gay marriages say marriage should only be between a man and a woman. God, I of all people know that doesn’t always work!”

Actress Elizabeth Taylor in a speech accepting the 2000 Vanguard Award from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Taylor, who was married eight times, was an early HIV advocate. She died March 23 at age 79. (E! Online, March 25)

“Well, obviously, I’m not allowed to speak about the legal battles, but I love lesbians.”

Jennifer Nettles of Atlanta superstar country group Sugarland, responding to this question: “Let’s talk about the legal battles that you had with ex-member Kristen Hall [who is gay], who sued you last year for profits she said she was owed. Did it leave a bad taste in your mouth for lesbians?” (South Florida Gay News, April 11)

“I guess you could say that I’m coming out tonight!”

Country music icon Dolly Parton, who has at times been rumored to be gay despite her marriage to a man, presenting the GLAAD Award to NBC’s Robert Greenblatt, with whom she worked on “9 to 5.” (GLAAD.org, April 11)

“I’m very gay, but I love women. I’m not attracted to men in any way. … But yes I am gay, I’m so happy. I’m a gay, heterosexual male. … I got major love for the gay and lesbian community, and I just want to push less separation.”

Rapper Lil B on why he is titling his next album “I’m Gay,” despite negative reaction and even threats from fans. (MTV News, April 21)

“We all agree that marriage is a fundamental right. And in our country, and in our society, there are no second-class citizens.”

Dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones in a video for the Human Rights Campaign’s New Yorkers for Marriage Equality effort. (On Top Magazine, April 26)

“So when I was about 13 or 14, I realized I was attracted to women and then made the assumption that I was a lesbian, and didn’t realize that that wasn’t the case. It was the fact that I was a man and a heterosexual man. The issue wasn’t my sexual orientation, but rather my gender identity.”

Chaz Bono

Chaz Bono, the child of entertainers Cher and Sonny Bono, on coming out first as a lesbian and then as a transgender man. His book about the experience, “Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man,” was released May 10. (Time, May 9)

“I was like, ‘Oh, my God, girls are so pretty and soft. No stubble burn! What am I doing with guys?’ I haven’t dipped back since, but I was very appreciative of the experience.”

Actress Rashida Jones on kissing Zooey Deschanel in the upcoming film “Our Idiot Brother,” which she says was her first lesbian kiss both on screen and off. (The Advocate, June-July 2011)

“I mean, really: He called me 33 percent lesbian, which was a gross underestimation of my lesbian-ness.”

Actress Reese Witherspoon, responding to ‘Twilight’ actor Robert Pattinson’s comments as she received the Generation Award at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards. Witherspoon rated herself as “at least” 55 percent. (MTV News, June 6)

“The truth is if I had a gay son, I would love him just as much as if he was straight. I might have to try to love even more because I know of the difficulty that he would have in society.”

Tracy Morgan

Comedian Tracy Morgan in one of his many apologies since going on an anti-gay tirade at a June 3 show in Nashville including saying he would stab his son if he were gay. (ABC News, June 21)

“NEW YORK! I [love] U! You’re OFFICIALLY the coolest place on the planet!”

Pop star Katy Perry, via Twitter, reacting to the New York Senate vote to legalize same-sex marriage. (MTV News, June 25)

“Being gay is fabulous…I have six new Facebook fan pages. And for every sponsor that falls out, I’ve gotten two more.”

Fictional news anchor Shannon Love, a character played by Queen Latifah on the July 11 episode of the VH1 show “Single Ladies,” discussing the impact of coming out in the media. Queen Latifah, who is also executive producer of the show, which is set in Atlanta, has long been the subject of speculation about her own sexual orientation. (BET.com, July 13)

“The Republican Party would be well advised to get the heck out of people’s bedrooms.”

Former GOP presidential candidate and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, discussing gay marriage on CNN. Giuliani said he believes New York legalizing gay marriage is wrong, but “the reality is that this is something that New York decided by a democratic vote.” (New York Post, July 18)

“Why must she dress that way? I think she’s confused about her gender.”

Tim Gunn (Blade file photo)

Gay “Project Runway” host Tim Gunn, describing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s penchant for pant suits, in an interview on “Lopez Tonight.” (Huffington Post, July 27)

“If your Bible tells you that gay people ought not be married in your church, don’t tell them they can’t be married at city hall. Marriage is a civil rite as well a civil right, and we can’t let religious bigotry close the door to justice to anyone.”

Civil rights icon Julian Bond, speaking at the first ever NAACP town hall meeting on LGBT issues, held late last month in Los Angeles. (Florida Independent, Aug. 1)

“Most gay people are very tasty people — they like beautiful stuff in their lives. If they like me, it means they have taste. They don’t follow me for my butt shots.”

Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme in a recent interview with Sabotage Times (Towleroad.com, Aug. 14)

“I’m attracted to girls and that’s what’s going to make me happy. … I’ve actually had two boyfriends but I know at the end of the day who I want to come home to and it’s going to be a girl. That’s what I like.”

“So You Think You Can Dance” runner-up Sasha Mallory, in a recent interview about the Fox reality show, where she said she is “not afraid to tell people I’m gay,” but viewers “didn’t really need to know if I was gay or straight.” (AfterEllen.com, Aug. 25)

“You’ve got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don’t have health care and booing a service member in Iraq because they’re gay. That’s not reflective of who we are.“

President Barack Obama, criticizing recent GOP presidential debates, speaking at a Sept. 25 campaign fundraiser. (Americablog.com, Sept. 26)

Betty White

“Throughout my career, I’ve always portrayed characters that were humorous, but also weren’t afraid to speak their minds, especially when it came to racy or controversial topics. I think this struck a chord with the LGBT community. We both also share a very strong love for animals. When you combine the two, it’s a very strong match.”

Actress Betty White, asked in a recent interview why “the LGBT community embraces and loves you so much.” (Frontiers LA, Sept. 23)

“By the power invested in me by the state of New York and the Universal Life Church, I now pronounce you husband and husband. You can kiss the groom.”

Talk show host Conan O’Brien after officiating the televised Nov. 3 wedding of Scott Cronick, O’Brien’s costume designer, and David Gorshein. (LA Times, Nov. 4)

“Gay and lesbian couples believe in commitment, family and love. If you don’t believe me, did you happen to notice that all that is being asked for is the right to be married, which ironically promotes commitment, family and love?”

Actress Mo’Nique in a video released late last month for the Human Rights Campaign’s Americans for Marriage Equality campaign (HRC, Oct. 26)

“I consider myself a lower-case gay, not screaming like my good friend [porn director and drag queen] Chi Chi LaRue. I love all my friends in the community, and if the moment came [for induction into the Hall Of Fame], it would be a tremendous moment, not just for the band and our fans, but for the whole LGBT community.”

Rob Halford, vocalist of heavy metal band Judas Priest, when asked whether his being gay may be why the band hasn’t been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  (Xtra!, Nov. 21)

“I’m for gay marriage. I don’t want to do it, but I certainly think people should be allowed to, and I wouldn’t vote for anybody that would be against it. But at the same time, why do we have to be good now? Why can’t we be villains in movies?”

Gay cult film director John Waters (“Hairspray, “Cry-Baby”) on the mainstreaming of gay culture. (Slate.com, Nov. 20)

“This means more to me than any Grammy I could ever win … It will take a village and an army, [some] countries and continents to make bullying a hate crime.”

Lady Gaga, accepting the Hero Award from the Trevor Project, which fights suicide among LGBT youth. It was presented by the family of Jamey Rodemeyer, a teen fan who killed himself earlier this year. (Eonline.com, Dec. 5)

“I basically took something that was extremely erotic and very intentional, and I reduced it to a simple kiss. I got a lot of criticism for that.”

Director Stephen Spielberg on his treatment of “the more sexually honest encounters between Shug and Celie” in his 1985 film adaption of “The Color Purple,” the novel by Alice Walker that included an explicitly sexual relationship between the two women. (Entertainment Weekly, Dec. 5)

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Photos

PHOTOS: Baltimore Pride Parade

Thousands attend annual LGBTQ march and block party

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A scene from the 2024 Baltimore Pride Parade. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Baltimore Pride Parade and Block Party was held on Charles Street in Baltimore, Md. on Saturday, June 15. 

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Sports

Washington Mystics to hold annual Pride game

Team to play Dallas Wings on Saturday

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Washington Mystics will be having their upcoming Pride game on Saturday against the Dallas Wings.

The Mystics Pride game is one of the team’s theme nights they host every year, with Pride night being a recurring event. The team faced off against the Phoenix Mercury last June. Brittney Griner, who Russia released from a penal colony in December 2022 after a court convicted her of importing illegal drugs after customs officials at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport found vape canisters with cannabis oil in her luggage, attended the game. 

Unlike the NBA, where there are currently no openly LGBTQ players, there are multiple WNBA players who are out. Mystics players Emily Englster, Brittney Sykes, and Stefanie Dolson are all queer.

The Mystics on June 1 acknowledged Pride Month in a post to its X account.

“Celebrating Pride this month and every month,” reads the message.

The game is on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Entertainment and Sports Arena (1100 Oak Drive, S.E.). Fans can purchase special Pride tickets that come with exclusive Mystics Pride-themed jerseys. 

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Theater

Queers win big at 77th annual Tony Awards

‘Merrily We Roll Along’ among winners

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(Photo courtesy of the Tony Awards' Facebook page)

It was a banner night for queer theater artists at the 77th annual Tony Awards, honoring the best in Broadway theater at the Lincoln Center in New York on Sunday. Some of the biggest honors of the night went to the revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical “Merrily We Roll Along” and the dance-musical based on Sufjan Stephens’ album “Illinoise.

“Merrily We Roll Along,” which follows three friends as their lives change over the course of 20 years, told in reverse chronological order, picked up the awards for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Orchestrations. 

Out actor Jonathan Groff picked up his first Tony Award for his leading role as Franklin Shepard in the show, while his costar Daniel Radcliffe earned his first Tony Award for featured performance as Charley Kringas. 

Groff gave a heartfelt and teary acceptance speech about how he used to watch the Tony Awards as a child in Lancaster County, Pa.

“Thank you for letting me dress up like Mary Poppins when I was three,” he said to his parents in the audience. “Even if they didn’t understand me, my family knew the life-saving power of fanning the flame of a young person’s passions without judgment.”

Groff also thanked the everyone in the production of “Spring Awakening,” where he made his Broadway debut in 2006, for inspiring him to come out at the age of 23.

“To actually be able to be a part of making theatre in this city, and just as much to be able to watch the work of this incredible community has been the greatest pleasure of my life,” he said. 

This was Groff’s third Tony nomination, having been previously nominated for his leading role in “Spring Awakening” and for his featured performance as King George III in “Hamilton.” 

Radcliffe, who is best known for starring in the “Harry Potter” series of movies, has long been an ally of the LGBTQ community, and has recently been known to spar with “Harry Potter” creator JK Rowling over her extreme opposition to trans rights on social media and in interviews. It was Radcliffe’s first Tony nomination and win.

Lesbian icon Sarah Paulson won her first Tony Award for her starring role in the play “Appropriate,” about a family coming to terms with the legacy of their slave-owning ancestors as they attempt to sell their late father’s estate. It was her first nomination and win.

In her acceptance speech, she thanked her partner Holland Taylor “for loving me.” Along with Paulson’s Emmy win for “American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” she is halfway to EGOT status.

The Sufjan Stephens dance-musical “Illinoise,” based on his album of the same name, took home the award for Best Choreography for choreographer Justin Peck. It was his second win.

During the ceremony, the cast of “Illinoise” performed “The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out to Get Us!”, a moving dance number about a queer romance.

A big winner of the night was the adaptation of the S.E. Hinton novel “The Outsiders,” which dominated the musical categories, earning Best Director, Sound Design, Lighting Design, and Best Musical, which earned LGBTQ ally Angelina Jolie her first Tony Award.

Also a big winner was “Stereophonic,” which dominated the play categories, winning the awards for Best Play, Featured Actor, Director, Sound Design, and Scenic Design.

“Suffs,” a musical about the fight for women’s suffrage in the U.S., which acknowledges the lesbian relationship that suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt had in song called “If We Were Married,” took home awards for Best Book of a Musical and Best Score, both for creator Shaina Taub. 

Had “Suffs” also won for Best Musical, producers Hilary Clinton and Malala Yousafzai would have won their first Tony Awards. 

Other winners include Maleah Joi Moon for her lead role and Kecia Lewis for her featured role in the Alicia Keys musical “Hell’s Kitchen,” Jeremy Strong for his lead role in An Enemy of the People, and Kara Young for her featured role in “Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch.”

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