Governor Jim McGreevey
Was it courage in the face of alleged blackmail threats? An exit strategy from questions of political corruption? The truth may never come out, but with five words from a speechI am a gay AmericanNew Jersey governor Jim McGreevey certainly did. For better or worse, he now holds the mantle of the highest-ranking openly gay politician in U.S. history.
2004 was very DeGeneres to TVs newest lesbian talk-show host, whose delightfully daffy dance moves and flighty monologues earned her a well-deserved Emmy. The daytime hipsters ratings kept sizzlin this fall, too, proving shes no flash in the pan. Oh, and speaking of flames, Ellen proudly carried the Olympic torch and looked stylin as our February cover girl.
Ilene Chaiken and Leisha Hailey
True fans of The L Word know that the show is much more than a bunch of pretty faces. And while that part doesnt hurt, its the accurate portrayals of dyke lifefrom Jennys confused whimpering to Shanes butch bravadothat really make the Showtime series shine. That true-to-life feel can be credited in large part to the two out women who sit high on The L Word totem pole: Ilene Chaiken (pictured, left), show creator and executive producer, and Leisha Hailey (pictured, right), who portrays bisexual Alice with bubbly charm. I wouldnt want to characterize the show as a bunch of straight people and then me and Leisha, because everybodys pretty sophisticated, says Chaiken. But we definitely live our lives as out lesbians, and sometimes we wind up talking with a certain amount of authority because of that. And thats something all queers can appreciate. Before we went on the air, there was a presumption that gay men werent going to be interested, because there was nothing in it for them, Chaiken says. But I didnt believe that to be the case. Were friends. We love each other and are interested in each others stories. Plus, adds Hailey, With the amount of drama on our show, I cant see why gay men wouldnt like it.
Not every man has served in the Clinton White House and brawled shirtless at an underground gay fight club. Meet Keith Boykin, who, along the way, nabbed a Harvard law degree, published three books on gay African-Americans, and taught political science at American University. He now heads the National Black Justice Coalition.
Perhaps youve seen him on television, debating everything from black men on the down-low to gay marriage. And now hes become a reality TV star: a mock presidential candidate on Showtimes American Candidate. Boykin sounded every bit the fighter when discussing his defeat on the show: Ive been aggressive as a campaigner in getting my message out. This is not the end for me; Im a fighter. Were going to use this to do bigger and better things, he promised.
Is there a real run for office in this Renaissance mans future? Not immediately, he demurred. I dont want to compromise who I am to create some sort of tolerable public image. Im not ready to live in that kind of fishbowl. His fishbowl of choice? A politically tinged talk show of his own. Bill Maher, watch out.
Key (pictured) joined the Marines and went to Iraq before he came out in a letter to his commanding officer. While his discharge under dont ask, dont tell took months to process, he kept serving in the meantime as an openly gay marine! Key is now workshopping a one-man show based on the journals he kept in Iraq.
Ever since she made her cinematic debut as Dawn Wienerdog Wiener in Welcome to the Dollhouse, we have adored Heather Matarazzo. So imagine our glee when the actresswho costarred this year in Saved! and The Princess Diaries 2quietly came out this past August in the New York Daily News. I met the person Im so madly crazy in love with, she told the paper (which, to its credit, did not turn the story into tabloid fodder). Shes not famous yet. She will be. Matarazzo and her partnerwhom she doesnt namehave been together for two years. Kind of gives new meaning to the scene in Princess Diaries 2 when Matarazzo pops out of the closet to surprise her friend.
To read about the other 93 honorees in the Out 100, as well as our Straight Allies, a special Marriage section, and the Hall of Shame, pick up a copy of the December issue of Out.