50. URVASHI VAID
In her 25 years as an LGBT rights activist, attorney, and author, Vaid has lead the NGLTF and held positions at the ACLU and the Ford Foundation. Currently the executive director of the Arcus Foundation, a key grant-maker supporting gay rights charities, she was honored in 2009 by the Equality Foundation as an LGBT Icon.
34. NICK DENTON
A pioneer in digital media, Denton’s Gawker empire continues to outsmart the competition spawned by his own ballsy approach. The site continues to expand its focus, growing revenues (up 22 percent in 2009), readership, and its reputation in the process. In March, Denton’s tech site, Gizmodo, was ranked second most popular blog after TMZ based on data from Compete and Quantcast; Gawker was at number 8, with his automotive site, Jalopnik, in 13th place.
17. FRED HOCHBERG
When Obama named Hochberg chair of the Export-Import Bank, it was despite his previous gig as leading fundraiser for the Hillary Clinton campaign, which spoke volumes for Hochberg’s credentials. A year on, being head of the U.S. government’s official credit-export agency isn’t exactly a low-key, stress-free position: The agency’s mission is to create and support jobs by financing the sales of U.S. exports abroad, and it authorized some $21 billion in support during the financial crisis last year.
49. SIMON HALLS & STEPHEN HUVANE
When their firm announced it would be merging with rival agency BNC, the power publicists left PMK-HBH earlier this year to help form Slate PR -- and took their top-tier client list with them. Equal parts promoters and protectors, the firm’s team of gatekeepers continue to oversee the promotion and crisis control for a loyal list including Russell Crowe, Jennifer Aniston, Anne Hathaway, Neil Patrick Harris, and Johnny Depp.
33. BRYAN LOURDE & KEVIN HUVANE
The managing partners of venerable Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency, the only agency named to Fast Company’s list of the 50 most innovative companies, have maximized the multiplatform potential for clients as diverse as George Clooney, the Jonas Brothers, David Beckham, and the Warped Tour. Additionally, Lourd serves on the board of Barry Diller’s IAC media conglomerate.
16. JAN WENNER
It’s been a mixed year for Wenner’s Rolling Stone, which won Amazon.com’s cover of the year for its Obama election edition but six months later was shut out of the ASME awards, the magazine industry’s Oscars. Having reestablished its relevance with the presidential campaign, Rolling Stone must re-reestablish itself in the post-change era. In any case, he’s created a new archetype for a generation: In the last year, US Weekly has tripled its Internet traffic and rung up $300 million in revenue.
48. BROOK COLANGELO
As chief information officer in Obama’s executive offices, Brook Colangelo is responsible for more than just keeping the president’s übersecure BlackBerry up to par. The 30-year-old also manages the rest of the White House’s enterprise technology, a gig he landed after two years as CIO of the Democratic National Committee, where he fused texting, Google, and YouTube into a memorable 2008 convention that Wired called a “celebration of social media, high-definition video, and really kick-ass internet connectivity.”
32. ALAN BALL
The brilliant mind behind American Beauty and Six Feet Under is back on top again with his slow build of a breakout, True Blood, the sexy HBO drama that lends a lot of style and substance to the vampire business. This summer, Ball premieres the show’s third and gayest season yet, and HBO has confirmed it’s already ordered a fourth.
15. MATT DRUDGE
The fedora isn’t the only aura of old hat surrounding the Internet’s closet king. Now surpassed in influence and audience by The Huffington Post (according to Quantcast, HuffPo gets twice the monthly visitors), the Drudge Report hasn’t broken any news in recent memory, contenting itself to run unflattering pictures of Nancy Pelosi and rehash the same birther/big-spending rhetoric espoused earlier (but with no more validity) by Fox News and Glenn Beck. Drudge’s platform remains large, but it’s in terminal decline -- his audience is literally dying off.
47. TIM GUNN
As impressive as snagging the cover of his own Marvel comic book in September was, even Gunn the superhero couldn’t save the sixth season of Project Runway, which premiered on its new network, Lifetime, late last summer. Still, he tried. The chief creative officer for Liz Claiborne’s clear-eyed critiques and sewing room pep talks were the only reliably enjoyable constant on the once great reality fashion competition.
31. ANDREW SULLIVAN
Though Sullivan, whose Daily Dish blog remains a must-read on The Atlantic Monthly’s site, still identifies as conservative, his views on such social issues as gay marriage seem to suggest a liberal streak. Not one to be boxed in, though, the iconoclastic intellectual writer and pundit has ruffled feathers in the past year with statements regarding Israel and his proposition of NATO troops policing a two-state solution as well as news that he was ticketed for possession of marijuana (he espouses legalization), though the charges were eventually dropped. Most recently, he gave a lecture at Princeton University about the case against liberalism on the question of homosexuality.
[Note: Andrew Sullivan's entry has been slightly altered for the online version ofthe Power 50.]
14. TOM GILL
The Gill Foundation has been pumping cash and intellectual muscle into the fight for equality since 1994, earning the deep-pocketed Quark Inc. founder worldwide respect, and not a few enemies. This year Gill backed the launch of Fight Back New York, a politically nonpartisan group committed to deposing New York senators who opposed the failed marriage equality bill last year, and replace them with candidates who publicly sUPport equality. The group’s site, FightBackPac.com, is as slick as you might expect, with a blow-by-blow account of the successful battle to sink disgraced senator Hiram Monserrate.
46. JIM NELSON
Jim Nelson has made consistency his byword at the venerable men’s title GQ, where, as editor in chief, he has nursed an impressive stable of writers and photographers, and steered writers such as Tom Carson, Sean Flynn, and Andrew Corsello to greatness. When the National Magazine Awards were announced in March, it was no surprise to see the magazine score six nominations, in categories including general excellence, photography, and design.
30. DUSTIN LANCE BLACK
The Oscar-winning Milk screenwriter came off the award hot last year, finishing his directorial debut, What’s Wrong with Virginia?, which stars Ed Harris and Jennifer Connelly, narrating a documentary about Mormon influence on Prop. 8’s defeat, and writing a screenplay for a biopic of J. Edgar Hoover, which has attracted Ron Howard’s production team, the directorial interest of Clint Eastwood, and, in turn, super-early Oscar buzz.
13. TOM FORD
Ford’s self-financed directorial debut, A Single Man, drew fantastic reviews from most critics (an 85% fresh average on RottenTomatoes .com). Even the film’s detractors found something to admire, whether it was Colin Firth’s heart-wrenching performance, the gauzy Technicolor art direction, or the architectural splendor of Julianne Moore’s hair. In any case, the designer has established himself as an artist to watch, not just look at.
45. JOHN COOPER
After 20 years of championing quality film work for one of the world’s most influential festivals, “Cooper,” as he’s known to most of the film world, was promoted to his well-deserved position as director of Sundance Film Festival. As of late, critics of Sundance have bemoaned its turn toward mainstream, mass-market fare, and the choice to put Cooper in charge signals to many a return to the legendary incubator’s independent (and very LGBT-supportive) roots.
29. CHAD GRIFFIN
Griffin earned his political reputation as part of the Clinton White House team, and has been putting that rep to good use in his tenacious battle to first oppose and now overturn Prop 8. The case at the heart of it -- Perry v. Schwarzenegger -- begun at district level and is likely to end up in the Supreme Court in a year or so, but the legal team Griffin masterminded is seriously heavyweight and gathering headlines and P.R. for the cause. Fighting Prop 8 is not all he does -- Griffin has long battled for causes including clean energy and stem cell research. But the marriage equality fight has shown his commitment and endurance for a fight he believes in.
12. RICH ROSS
Disney reaffirmed its status as an outpost of progressiveness in the movie industry last October by making Rich Ross the first openly gay studio chief in history. Having steered the careers of both Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers as president of Disney Channels Worldwide, Ross has wasted little time in bringing in fresh blood and cutting the number of movies on the slate (C’est la vie, Wild Hogs 2). With Steve Jobs as the studio’s biggest individual investor, expect to see a radical new approach to distribution with Apple’s new iPad.
44. THOM BROWNE
You don’t have to wear his flat-front pants that stop just above the ankle to appreciate why Thom Browne has earned his place as the most influential menswear designer of our time. The middle child of seven, who grew up in blue-collar Allentown, Penn., Browne’s revolt against business casual has made suits cool again, while his theatrical runway shows -- finely calibrated combinations of impishness and artistry -- have injected a welcome sense of humor into New York fashion week.
28. DAN CHOI
With his stirring speech at the National Equality March on Washington in October, discharged Lt. Dan Choi became the face and voice of the rally and underscored the personal aspect of our political fight for gay marriage equality and the repeal of DADT. He clashed with the HRC among other gay groups when he was arrested for chaining himself to the White House gates in March, Choi continues to be the U.S.’s most outspoken serviceman.
11. MARC JACOBS
The man Gawker recently called “gayer than a lube-stained bathhouse” (as a compliment!) is riding a year of personal and professional highs: His fall 2010 collection was rapturously reviewed (The New York Times called it “beautiful and clear as glass”) and he may or may not have married his Brazilian boyfriend, Lorenzo Martone (who discussed how hung he is in a Butt magazine interview). And both of them still look good in Speedos.
43. GUS VAN SANT
The director’s success with the Oscar-winning Milk recharged his career; true to form, he’s following it this year with a project starring Dennis Hopper’s 19-year-old son, Henry, as a funeral-crashing misfit. He also has three major projects in development, including the Bret Easton Ellis–penned The Golden Suicides and an adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, which will reunite him with Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.
27. SUZE ORMAN
Financial guru Orman hasn’t changed the “invest now!” mantra that launched her onto the best seller lists of not only The New York Times but also QVC. Her CNBC television show, website, six books, and columns online and in print continue to be financial beacons formillions of Americans. For the past two years she has appeared on the Time 100 list of the world’s most influential people, and she is the most successful fundraiser in the history of public television.
10. JARED POLIS
Colorado congressman Polis’s place in LGBT history was guaranteed when he became the first out gay man to be elected to the House in 2008. As you’d expect from a man who made his first fortune on the web, he makes energetic use of it now that heís elected: his congress-focused website is bursting with voice-clips, video, reports on what Polis has done, and news stories. All this by 34 -- Polis is one to keep a close eye on.
42. RUFUS GIFFORD
After raising tens of millions of dollars for the Obama campaign through B&G Associates alongside his business and life partner Jeremy Bernard, Gifford became finance director for the Democratic National Committee. The shine may have worn off the presidency, and the LGBT promises made, but it’s a comfort having someone so committed working on the inside, for once.
26. PEREZ HILTON
When Hilton wasn’t posing for the paparazzi alongside his “wifey,” Lady Gaga, or cherry-picking bands to promote at Perez-branded music showcases, he continued to expand his entertainment empire by launching CocoPerez.com, a fashion-based complement to his still insanely popular website. But his most highly publicized moments of the year came courtesy of an ongoing battle with Miss California, Carrie Prejean, over gay marriage, which found Hilton using his powers for good (surprisingly) and transforming him into one of our most visible activists.
9. TAMMY BALDWIN
As with anyone invested in progress, it’s been a year of victories and frustrations for the first out gay woman elected to the House of Representatives. Baldwin celebrated the passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act and the credit card accountability act she sponsored was signed into law in February. But pro-gay provisions she added to Obama’s health care bill were cut, and the employment nondiscrimination act, which Baldwin is cosponsoring with Barney Frank, remains mired in Congress.
41. JODIE FOSTER
Her recent low profile aside, Foster is still the highest paid openly lesbian actor working in the industry today. The two-time Oscar-winner’s next project, directing and starring with Mel Gibson in The Beaver, about a man who believes the buck-toothed rodent puppet on his hand is actually alive, may be just the kind of oddball fare she needs to get herself back on the Hollywood star map (or not).
25. LEE DANIELS
Daniels’s star continues to rise: Precious may not have netted the coveted best picture or best director Oscars, but it collected a couple of awards and, more importantly, elevated the director to the stage he’s long felt was his. Always a battler, never short of opinions, Daniels has charmed Hollywood. What he does next, though, will matter even more. Hugh Jackman recently let slip that he and Daniels are collaborating on the civil rights story Selma, due to begin shooting this spring.
8. JOE SOLMONESE
This year the Human Rights Campaign celebrates its 30th anniversary. As president since 2005, Solmonese oversees the largest LGBT group in the country, numbering more than 750,000 members. Despite criticism because the president does not support gay marriage per se, the HRC hosted Obama at its 2009 annual dinner, which preceded the National Equality March in Washington in October. The event garnered much-needed coverage in mainstream media and momentum and counted Lady Gaga among its guests.
40. ADAM MOSS
The editor in chief of New York magazine continues to do no wrong, this year collecting ten National Magazine Award nominations (equaled only by The New Yorker), but Moss isn’t just a collector, he is, to parrot one of his own words, an influencer. New York, with its of-the-moment features, Sex Diaries, Intelligencer, and Strategist columns, and remarkably robust website, is every New Yorker’s culture bible.
24. ANTHONY ROMERO
Under Romero’s fearless leadership, the membership of the ACLU has doubled since he started to serve as executive director in 2001, and the organization has taken to task everyone from the state of California for its ban on gay marriage to President Obama, whose administration the group is urging not to back down from prosecuting the 9/11 terrorist subjects in civilian court.
7. NEIL PATRICK HARRIS
NPH is becoming as well-known a trio of initials as JFK and YSL. Hosting the Emmys, the Tonys, and the Oscars, and serving as a guest judge on American Idol, the former boy MD is, as they say, staging a 360-degree integrated platform. In addition to his role on CBS’s How I Met Your Mother, which has earned him two Golden Globe noms as well as three Emmy nods, the 36-year-old has an upcoming guest spot on Glee and three movies scheduled for 2010. And if anyone can make the just-announced live-action Smurf movie a bona fide hit, it’s him.
39. MARTHA NELSON
As group editor at Time Inc.’s Style & Entertainment Group, Nelson is the reigning queen of glossy celebrity weeklies. Six of Time Inc.’s best-selling titles fall under her purview including People, InStyle, Entertainment Weekly, Essence, People en Español, and People Stylewatch. If you’ve read about Kate Gosselin, Patrick Swayze, or Tom Cruise, you’ve been touched by the hand of Ms. Nelson. Known for her volunteer efforts to combat AIDS, Nelson not only manages People -- she’s good people.
23. CHRISTINE QUINN
The New York City Council speaker has had to walk a fine line of late, balancing her loyalty to the increasingly unpopular Mayor Bloomberg with her political ambition. But Quinn, whose term doesn’t expire until 2013, has found a way to consistently champion gay rights in her city, in Albany, and across the United States.
6. BARRY DILLER
His personal fortune is secure (on Forbes’s latest billionaires list, he’s number 828 with a personal wealth of $1.2 billion), but the 68-year-old InterActiveCorp. chairman remains restless. This year, IAC’s The Daily Beast continued to entrench itself online, growing in traffic and buzz; Expedia swung to its first profit ever (nearly $300 million); and Diller signed a deal to develop content with Ben Silverman, the former NBC executive. His latest venture, InstantAction, aims to eliminate DVD video games by delivering complex gaming experiences online.
38. ANDREW TOBIAS
Life’s never quiet for Tobias -- his opinion on financial matters is eagerly sought, and his columns and books (there’s a paperback edition of the staggeringly successful The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need due out in January 2011) keep him busy, as does his continued role as treasurer of the Democratic National Committee. He’s not in the public eye quite as much as before election fever made him the go-to financial guy, but 2012’s not that far away.
22. RICHARD BERKE
It’s no secret that the Old Gray Lady is steered by a cabal of talented gay men and women, but Berke’s promotion this year to National Editor of The New York Times, marks an especially prominent achievement. Berke, who covered four presidential campaigns as the paper’s national political correspondent will now oversee reporters in all of the paper’s nation-wide bureaus.
5. ADAM LAMBERT
Lambert shattered the glass closet of American Idol, arguably ruining the show itself in the process (this season’s mealymouthed class merely played catch-up), and his kinky American Music Awards performance forced ABC to break out its rule book. His Rolling Stone cover was the mag’s best seller of 2009, and midrange domestic debut sales of For Your Entertainment are only the launching pad for an international career. Who did we talk about before?
To see Adam featured in the 2009 Out 100, click here.
37. ROBERT HANSON
Heading the world’s most iconic clothing brand is no easy feat, but as president of Levi’s American division, Robert Hanson has been doing just that for 10 years. Associated with a long history of social justice, from the company’s integrated production facilities in the south 20 years before the Civil Rights Act, to its strong stance on gay equality, including arguing the business case for ending marriage discrimination before the California supreme court.
20. SCOTT RUDIN
By 29, he was the president of production at 20th Century Fox, and since then he has terrorized underlings at nearly every film company (TriStar, Paramount, Disney, Miramax), producing more than 70 titles including In & Out, No Country for Old Men, The Hours, and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Rudin hasn’t limited himself to film either, having won Tonys for five of the plays he produced, including last year’s best drama, God of Carnage.
4. RACHEL MADDOW
Like Obama, her ratings have declined since the end of the presidential campaign, eroding her one-time lead over CNN’s Larry King, but Maddow remains the most compelling voice of liberal dissent on television, memorably mocking the tea party movement, for example, over their obsession with “teabagging.” When asked by The Washington Post whether she was biased when it came to issues such as gays in the military, she replied, “I can’t do the show as a non-gay person. I don’t have that option.”
36. WANDA SYKES
Aside from scoring her second HBO stand-up special, I’ma Be Me, in October, last year was a year of firsts for Sykes. Along with the debut of her own late-night talk show, The Wanda Sykes Show, the newly out Sykes, along with her wife, Alex, welcomed twins in April, just weeks before she became the first African-American woman and openly LGBT person with the coveted roasting duties at the annual White House Correspondents’ dinner.
19. GENE ROBINSON
The consecration of Bishop V. Gene Robinson in 2003 brought the Anglican church and its 77 million members worldwide close to schism, but a series of meetings with Obama in the run-up to the election set expectations that the new administration would address the iniquitous Defense of Marriage Act, a cause the Bishop continues to champion vigorously.
3. ANDERSON COOPER
CNN’s Cooper threw himself full-force into covering January’s Haitian earthquake with his usual journalistic rigor, but the sheer scope of the disaster soon revealed a tender side to the steely news anchor that sparked tabloid rumors (quickly dispelled) that he and his companion, New York club owner Benjamin Maisani, were adopting a Haitian child.
35. MICHAEL PATRICK KING
The writer-director-producer spent the last year prepping the sequel to the big screen adaptation of his Emmy-winning HBO series, Sex and the City, which, despite lackluster reviews, brought in $415 million internationally in 2008. With the full original cast returning for the second feature-length effort -- due out in May -- along with guest spots from A-listers like Miley Cyrus and Penélope Cruz, King and cineplex managers are already bracing themselves for the mounting stampede of Sex-starved single ladies and their gay comrades.
18. DAVID GEFFEN
Finishing above DreamWorks partners Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg on Forbes’s billionaires list, he displayed his newfound Washington clout -- and did his part for visibility -- by taking a seat next to Michelle Obama (with his boyfriend) at the administration’s first state dinner last November.
2. BARNEY FRANK
As Washington’s highest-ranking gay politician -- and one of the bluntest of any stripe -- the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee has overseen the dispersal of the bank bailout and economic stimulus, dispatching brush-clearing bitchery along the way (at one town hall meeting, he asked a universal health care opponent, “Ma’am, on what planet do you spend most of your time?”). Unafraid to break rank, he’s spoken out against the health care bill, advocated additional stimulus, and emerged as a rare political creature: a progressive with a visible spine.
1. ELLEN DEGENERES
Since DeGeneres replaced Paula Abdul as a judge on American Idol in February, millions upon millions of viewers are getting a double dose of the hugely popular talk show host and 12-time Emmy winner. The American Express and Covergirl pitchwoman’s reach is nearly unparalleled, especially after Oprah Winfrey’s announcement that she will be ending her show in 2011. A passionate advocate for marriage equality, an avid opponent of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and staunch defender of animal rights, DeGeneres’s enormous platform is many an American’s gain.