Out has a list of the Top 50 gays in America. It's something to look at....
Well, I won't beat around the bush here. I don't like how Out decided to name the 50 super inner cool kids of the cool cool kids nation in the whole gay world. Why should we be propping up a power clique among sexual and gender minorities? It all seems rather silly to me, like a response to the way that power cliques back in high school would often exclude us because of our sexualities or gender performances (not me, I was the two-year president of the Science Olympiad team).
Of course, the list is populated by rich queers. Because, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, we have to see ourselves as wealthier than everyone else. It might appear to be empty materialism, but I think it's a way for some queers to affirm how important they are to the world because of some inner insecurity. And to be insecure isn't to be bad, but it does mean I'm not going to buy their magazine.
I'll admit, I only know about one-third of the people on the list. I guess I'm just not in the know. But at first glance this list seems to be dominated by men. The list says it's the "50 Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America", so I take it no trannies or bisexuals allowed. 37 of the 50 have male first names. Even if a few people there could have non-gender conforming names, I don't think that 12 of them could. And again there's a paucity of people of color on a list like this and the focus is again coastal-urban. These same issues just keep on coming up!
There are also a few quirks with the list. Like where's the vice president's former campaign manager and daughter, Mary Cheney? She's pretty rich and powerful considering her proximity to the president and the big titles she's had at various places she's worked. Why John Solmonese of the HRC and not Matt Foreman of the Task Force when the latter has a bigger working budget and isn't always tripping on itself? Why include gay decorator Nate Berkus and not openly lesbian basketball star Sheryl Swoopes? Why include Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry and not insanely influential lesbian writer and philosopher Judith Butler? Why include Irshad Manji, who was born in Uganda, has lived most of her life in Canada, and is currently living in Belgium, in the list of American gays and lesbians? Since closet cases like Anderson Cooper were fair game, why not put up Florida governor Charlie Crist or recent GOP chair Ken Mehlman?
I sincerely hope that this magazine doesn't think of itself as in any way reflecting our communities' values. Poor research and popularity contests shouldn't be in our mainstream media, and the last thing we should do is celebrate the fraternity/sorority mentality that creates this sort of silliness.