Billy Porter, who was given the Vito Russo Award from GLAAD this weekend, made as rousing a speech as Debra Messing, calling on gay people to get it together and go to war against discrimination.
He said we need to get our “war clothes” on, because:
... From slavery to emancipation to the 13th Amendment to Jim Crow to the Civil Rights Movement to Stonewall to AIDS to marriage equality, we gotta remember the shoulders who we stand on, the ones who fought and died for those freedoms that we hold so dear.
He went on to call himself a survivor of the AIDS crisis and a grateful beneficiary of the marriage-equality movement:
It's time to take this moment and acknowledge that the reailty of life is that it's ever-involving, and until we can figure out how to love on another unconditionally, no one wins — NO ONE. Freedom, equality, justice, have always come at a cost, and evidently they always will.
Keep reading to see his whole speech, which was punctuated by a repurposed gospel song ...
Aside from a catastrophic performance overall by otherwise endearing, adorbs host Adam Devine, the MTV Movie & TV Awards went bold this year, awarding actors instead of actors and actresses, and honoring a gay kiss, rewarding a diverse array of performers and performances.
I mean, the network's Best Kiss Award went to the young men who smooched in Moonlight — a black, gay kiss — which years ago would be about as likely as me not spending half my day on 7Sultans mobile casino app:
Some who rail against PC will find this move into the future irritating, but in particular, I've thought for a long time the arbitrary distinctions in Best Actor/Best Actress categories have felt like relics of the past. It feels like there is a Best Actor category, and then one for Actress just 'cuz, you know, the girls can't win.
But in MTV's first stab at a gender-neutral ceremony, a girl did win — Emma Watson took home the popcorn trophy for her role in Beauty and the Beast, itself a trail-blazing film for its somewhat “gay moment.”
I almost found Watson's speech ridiculous — she gave a heartfelt speech worthy of winning an Oscar, or a Nobel Peace Prize! — until I listened on and realized she was right to make a big deal about the award, and to take the time to unpack why she won it. She was right that it wasn't just for her acting, but also for what her film represents, and while we all know the MTV Movie & TV Awards are not going to be as free of politics and vote-rigging as the Oscars, I think the show's vibe and her speech really did make progress in the culture.
Sadly, though it took a move to VH1 for RuPaul to suddenly be recognized as the true icon he is — he was named an influencer by Time out of nowhere, finally! — and though he did win for Best Reality Series, he was not allowed to accept his award from the stage. Instead, host Devine dropped it at his table.
Choosing RuPaul (indeed, inviting him to a major awards show) was a big deal, but silencing him was pretty offensive, especially when there was a lot of crappy filler during the show — I mean, they could have cut the jaw-droppingly lame opening by 60 seconds to let Ru say something funny, no?
Still, it was one false note in a show drenched in diversity — and not diversity for diversity's sake, but because diverse is what true excellence looks like.
Plus, it's always a pleasure to see Aaron Taylor-Johnson, especially when he's awarding my favorite movie of the year so far, Get Out, and seeing Maxine Waters given a hero's welcome was worth sitting through Noah Cyrus.
The Lambda Literary Award (Lammy) noms were announced today, honoring LGBTQ publishing of all stripes.
A friend called my attention to J. Aaron Sanders's Speakers of the Dead, the first in a series of Walt Whitman mysteries. Check out the tantalizing summary from Goodreads:
The year is 1843; the place: New York City. Aurora reporter Walt Whitman arrives at the Tombs prison yard where his friend Lena Stowe is scheduled to hang for the murder of her husband, Abraham. Walt intends to present evidence on Lena's behalf, but Sheriff Harris turns him away. Lena drops to her death, and Walt vows to posthumously exonerate her.
Walt's estranged boyfriend, Henry Saunders, returns to New York, and the two men uncover a link between body-snatching and Abraham's murder: a man named Samuel Clement. To get to Clement, Walt and Henry descend into a dangerous underworld where resurrection men steal the bodies of the recently deceased and sell them to medical colleges. With no legal means to acquire cadavers, medical students rely on these criminals, and Abraham's involvement with the Bone Bill—legislation that would put the resurrection men out of business—seems to have led to his and Lena's deaths.
Somehow, the powers that be at the Goldene Kamera Awards in Germany fell for the above look-not-alike and allowed him to take the stage as Ryan Gosling as people like Jane Fonda and Nicole Kidman looked on in bemusement.