Out's Power 50

>> Thursday, April 15, 2010

I used to subscribe to Out Magazine just to feel like I'm on top of the gay culture so that I can get a feeling that I belong. But while I can get a glimpse of some beefcake and some funny articles, the magazine has been in financial trouble and shrunk from being a monthly magazine into publishing once every two months and the lifestyle it portrays is one of riches and lavishness that I cannot match. Obviously I don't have the money to buy the latest LV leather gym bag or the palladium Cartier cufflinks that goes so well the new season of Veronique Branquiho shirts. So in the standards of Out, I'm sure I'm an Un-Gay. Come to think of it, the demise of Out Magazine might be from further alienating an already small audience and categorizing them by their income status and only catering to the elite, rich ones, much like the Human Rights Campaign.

In the same spirits, their Power 50 list for this year has came out detailing the 50 most powerful gays and lesbians. Their criterion are influence on culture and attitude, political clout, individual wealth, and a person’s media profile. Here is the list:

1. Ellen DeGeneres 26. Perez Hilton
2. Barney Frank 27. Suze Orman
3. Anderson Cooper 28. Dan Choi
4. Rachel Maddow 29. Chad Griffin
5. Adam Lambert 30. Dustin Lance Black
6. Barry Diller 31. Andrew Sullivan
7. Neil Patrick Harris 32. Alan Ball
8. Joe Solmonese 33. Bryan Lourde and Kevin Huvane
9. Tammy Baldwin 34. Nick Denton
10. Jared Polis 35. Michael Patrick King
11. Marc Jacobs 36. Wanda Sykes
12. Rich Ross 37. Robert Hanson
13. Tom Ford 38. Andrew Tobias
14. Tim Gill 39. Martha Nelson
15. Matt Drudge 40. Adam Moss
16. Jann Wenner 41. Jodie Foster
17. Fred Hochberg 42. Rufus Gifford
18. David Geffen 43. Gus Van Sant
19. Gene Robinson 44. Thom Browne
20. Scott Rudin 45. John Cooper
21. Peter Thiel 46. Jim Nelson
22. Richard Berke 47. Tim Gunn
23. Christine Quinn 48. Brook Colangelo
24. Anthony Romero 49. Simon Halls & Stephen Huvane
25. Lee Daniels 50. Urvashi Vaid

I guess I should be ashamed because of all these people, I don't know at least half of them and then I'm confused, how are these people powerful? Certainly some of them have the wealth to do things, others are famous celebrities. But partners at a successful PR firms or talent agencies, TV and film producers, writers can hardly be called powerful. Even if they can be called powers, they are not necessarily powers that affect the masses. So you are the agent that manages the Jonas Brothers, so what?

Unlike Ricky Martin, Sean Hayes and many others, some of the folks on the list are not even openly gay. And other than the very few on the list, who has openly done anything for gay rights? Most in the entertainment business are afraid that people will see them participating in activism as being volatile and unstable, while others are comfortable sitting in their elite gay chairs just to be worship for their clouts but not doing anything substantial. Adam Lambert frequently appears on the popular American Idol, while he kissed a boy on the MTV award show, he's not exactly being loved for it yet he's 23 positions ahead Dan Choi who's out protesting and letting his voice be heard. Barney Frank is too much into the White House's side to do anything constructive and while Joe Solmonese is supposed to be the largest recipient of donations in LGBT efforts, he only communicates with the elite, rich gays and his agency don't have the initiatives.

Of course after taking the time to read the list I realized that I shouldn't have took it as seriously as I did. I guess it's hard to find 50 openly well-known gay personalities, even rarer gay activists. So where does it leave us? And seriously, Adam Lambert at Number 5?

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