Must-See TV: Powerful New DocuSeries ‘Visible: Out On Television’

Ellen DeGeneres (screen capture)

Apple TV+ will debut a powerful, new five-part documentary-series titled Visible: Out On Television on February 14 that will explore how the LGBTQ movement made its way onto the television landscape.

Executive produced by out actors Wanda Sykes and Wilson Cruz, the docu-series will feature archival footage as well as interviews with prominent players from the screen and LGBTQ movement.

Each hour-long episode will focus on a specific theme such as coming out in Hollywood, homophobia, invisibility and the evolution of LGBTQ characters on TV.

Wilson Cruz, Neil Patrick Harris, Andy Cohen

Narrated by Neil Patrick Harris, Lena Waithe, Janet Mock, Margaret Cho, and Asia Kate Dillon, Visible: Out On Television will also feature interviews with out actors and television personalities including Ellen DeGeneres, Anderson Cooper, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Billy Porter, Rachel Maddow, Don Lemon, Andy Cohen and more.

The trailer opens with DeGeneres explaining how she wanted to come out on her 1990s sitcom and the effect that had on so many lives: “It became bigger than any of us ever anticipated.”

“The earliest representations were always people to be mocked,” recalls Cooper.

Andy Cohen adds, “The truth is there was no LGBT presence on TV that I can remember.”

On the importance of seeing LGBTQ people on TV, iconic talk show queen Oprah Winfrey drops, “When you see images that are reflective of your own life, it is a reminder that your own life matters.”

And Lena Waithe shares this compelling epiphany, “I didn’t realize that I was the revolution that I was waiting for.”

Boom.

Visible: Out On Television premieres February 14 on Apple TV+.

Touching Anonymous Note Demonstrates Why Showing LGBTQ Pride Is Important

An note from a young neighbor told a Texas lesbian her Pride flag inspired them to come out.

Earlier this week, partners Meghan Stabler and Sal Stow found a touching note placed under a rock on their doormat in Williamson County, Texas.

“You don’t know me, but my name is [redacted]” the note read. “We’re moving today, but I wanted to thank you.”

“Seeing a pride flag waving so proudly out side your house every day has given me the courage to come out to my family and be more comfortable with who I am,” the note concluded.

“This is why visibility is SO important,” Sal Stow wrote on Facebook in sharing the note. “You never know who needs the support and to know it’s ok. I hope this person is ok, their family is being supportive and they find a community to connect with that can help them through this brave process.”

She also explained that county officials recently voted 4-0 to not allow the Pride flag to be flown over the courthouse, but that won’t stop her from showing her pride.

“I am proud of who I am and the person I love” Stow wrote. “I will continue to be visible in whatever way I can.”

Los Angeles: Adam Rippon Honored With HRC Visibility Award

Adam Rippon (All images via Getty Images for HRC)

Out Olympian Adam Rippon was honored in Los Angeles last night with the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award.

Adam’s fellow “out Olympian” Gus Kenworthy, who received the same award last year, presented Adam with the Visibility Award.

Here’s Gus’s introduction and Adam’s full speech, which is very much worth the watching.

Additionally, Adam finally met Oscar-winner Sally Field’s son, Sam Greisman, who she very publicly campaigned to meet Rippon.

In a text message to her son during the Olympics Field wrote, “He’s insanely pretty. Find a way.” Looks like mission accomplished:

More pics from the event courtesy of Getty Images for the Human Rights Campaign:

Out Olympian Gus Kenworthy introduces Adam Rippon

Presenting the Visibility Award

Josh Duhamel of Love, Simon

Congresswoman Maxine Waters

DWTS/ANTM champ Nyle DiMarco with Adam Rippon

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin

HRC To Honor Adam Rippon With 2018 Visibility Award

Today the Human Rights Campaign announced this year’s Visibility Award with honor out gay Olympian Adam Rippon at the 2018 HRC Los Angeles Dinner this Saturday, March 10, 2018.


“One word best describes Adam Rippon — fierce,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “By being out and proud, Adam is bringing LGBTQ visibility to a whole new level while capturing the hearts of millions around the world with his incredible talent and personality. He isn’t afraid to use his global platform to speak out for equality, and we are proud to honor him with the HRC Visibility Award at the 2018 HRC Los Angeles Dinner.”

Adam Rippon made history as the first openly gay U.S. American male figure skater to compete in the Olympic games. Rippon publicly sparred with Mike Pence in the press and on social media, bringing a new focus on Pence’s long anti-LGBTQ record. Rippon publicly voiced his concern over Pence leading the diverse U.S. delegation to the Olympics.

In an exclusive interview with HRC, Rippon said, “At first, I had a few hesitations to come out, because I was afraid of repercussions that it might have. But at the end of the day, I felt like it was important, and it was an opportunity to shine a light on a subject that was bigger than me. I know when I was coming out I drew strength from learning about other people’s stories and hopefully my story will do the same for others.”

The HRC Los Angeles Dinner brings together more than 1,000 of HRC’s most active members and supporters in the greater Los Angeles area to raise crucial funds in the fight for LGBTQ equality.

Fellow out Olympian Gus Kenworthy will also be in attendance. Kenworthy was honored by the HRC with the same award last year.

States With The Most (and Least) Self-Identified LGBTs

After interviewing almost 500,000 randomly selected adults in the U.S., a new Gallup survey finds the state with the highest percentage of self-identified LGBTs was Vermont with 5.3% of its citizens identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

5.3% – Vermont
4.9% – Massachusetts, California and Oregon
4.8% – Nevada

The District of Columbia (obviously not a state) had the highest population of LGBTs with 8.6%.

Which states have the smallest populations of LGBTs?

2% – South Dakota
2.7% – North Dakota
2.8% – Idaho
3% – South Carolina, Montana

Interesting to note: other than Nevada, the areas with the highest number of LGBTs tend to be coastal states. Those states with the lowest numbers tend to be in midwestern and southern states.

These figures indicate a rise in the nationwide LGBT population from 3.5% in 2012 to 4.1% in 2016.

Gallup believes that social acceptance is the leading factor to more Americans being willing to be open about their sexuality. The vast majority of increases in these numbers come from millennials.

How To Get Away With Murder’s Conrad Ricamora Honored By HRC With Visibility Award

This past Saturday, television and stage actor Conrad Ricamora (How To Get Away With Murder, The King & I) received the HRC Visibility Award at the 2016 Cleveland Gala.

Ricamora is a wonderful choice for this honor. He’s been openly gay for years as he’s been starring on the hit network television show “How To Get Away With Murder” at the same time he’s been starring on Broadway in the recent sterling revival of The King & I.

Not only is Ricamora openly gay for some time now, he plays an openly gay character on HTGAWM who is also HIV+.

Watch his disarmingly charming acceptance speech below. He’s especially effusive in praise for those out actors before him like Sean Hayes, George Takei and Sir Ian McKellen.

“I want to thank all of the out actors that have empowered other actors like me to live with integrity because there’s a lot of pressure to stay in the closet when you first start acting. There are some actors though who have chosen to live their lives with integrity, both personally and professionally.

“From George Takei to Sean Hayes, to Sir Ian McKellen to Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and countless, countless others, your honesty and your openness in your public lives allows kids like me from Niceville, Florida to see you on screen, or online, or in print and feel like there’s a place for us in the world, even when we’re scared for our own safety in the communities that we’re living.”

Arrow/Teen Wolf Star Colton Haynes To Be Honored With HRC’s “Visibility Award”

Colton Haynes

The Human Rights Campaign announced today that Colton Haynes (Teen Wolf, Arrow) will be honored for his work on behalf of LGBTs with the organization’s Visibility Award this year’s Annual Gala event in Seattle tomorrow night.

Via press release:

“Colton Haynes has inspired countless LGBTQ young people across the country and around the world to live their lives as their authentic selves,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “By simply being open about who he is, Haynes is helping to break down barriers and tear down closet doors. We are pleased he will be joining us at the 17th Annual HRC Seattle Gala, and we are proud to honor him with the HRC Visibility Award.”

Haynes, who recently came out publicly as gay in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, said, “I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and healthier than I’ve ever been, and that’s what I care about.”

Haynes also recently participated in a video released by HRC paying tribute to the 49 victims of the Orlando shooting at Pulse nightclub. The 18-minute tribute — directed by Emmy Award-winning Ryan Murphy and Ned Martel, with the support of their colleagues at Ryan Murphy Television — features a diverse cast of 49 actors, directors and other entertainment leaders recounting individual stories of the people killed in our nation’s deadliest mass shooting.

In addition to Teen Wolf and Arrow, Haynes has been featured on Fox’s The Grinder and ABC’s The Gates.

Matt Baume Explores American TV’s First “Same-Sex Married Couple”

Smart guy Matt Baume reminds us of a truly ground-breaking moment in television history: the night America met it’s first same-sex marriage couple.

From Baume:

When did gay partners become a part of the family on TV? October 9, 1977. That’s the night CBS aired an All in the Family episode entitled “Cousin Liz,” which in just a half hour did three amazing things: it showed America that they could have queer family members. It depicted what may be TV’s first gay marriage. And oh yeah it may have changed the course of an election.

I haven’t thought about this episode since it aired in 1977, but I do remember it. At the time I must have been 14 years old. I didn’t exactly know I was gay yet, but it lodged in my consciousness.

Baume does a great job of breaking down how the storyline at first goes all “comedy” on the idea of a lesbian couple. But then, as only “Edith” could do when given the chance during All In The Family, she steps past the “dingbat” and becomes our teacher.

Definitely worth the watch. Make sure you check the moment at the 5:05 mark.

Former Congressman Barney Frank: Reality Is LGBT People “Beat Prejudice”

Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) joined yesterday’s “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd to discuss his new memoir, “Frank.”

During the appearance, Frank said things have gotten better for gays because we “stopped hiding:”

“Well, I tell you, our reality as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people beat the prejudice. I mean, the central mechanism is that we stopped hiding. And it turns out we weren’t what the stereotype was. But clearly, there was a point when the notion that I could get married to Jim while I was still in Congress would’ve been the most bizarre possibility.

“I remember the time I got married, someone said, “Well, would it be controversial if you got married while you were still in Congress?” And the answer was, yes it was. A lot of my colleagues were mad that they didn’t get invited. So our reality is that. On the other side, I think the fundamental issue, and it does go back to a Clinton campaign statement, “It’s the economy, stupid.””