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Thursday, December 30, 2010

The OUTIES: the Best (and Worst) of 2010

The OUTIES: Best (and Worst) of 2010

By Steve Charing

Happy New Year, readers!

In keeping with the year-end tradition of columnists’ picking the best, worst and whatever, I am bringing back OUTspoken’s Best (or Worst) of 2010, or the OUTIES. It’s an unapologetic, biased, subjective, slanted list of the best (or worst in some cases) of politics, culture, the city, the state, the country and the scene. Some selections call for a brief explanation; others clearly do not.

In no particular order, welcome to the 2010 OUTIES:

Best LGBT Ally (Individual): Attorney General Douglas Gansler who is an unabashed advocate of marriage equality and issued a critical opinion that Maryland can recognize the lawful nuptials of same-sex couples from outside the state. Honorable Mention: Lady Gaga.

Best LGBT Ally (Group): Maryland Black Family Alliance who works behind the scenes to help influence the hearts and minds of intractable African-American clergy and their followers on marriage equality.

Best Baltimore LGBT Organization: Trans-United under Sandy Rawls. They actually produced results, such as meeting with then-Baltimore state’s attorney Pat Jessamy to establish a database for hate crimes tracking and organizing a moving candlelight vigil to protest hate crimes. Never before have the concerns of transgender people in Baltimore been brought to the forefront of public consciousness thanks to the work of Trans-United.

Worst Political Candidate: (Tie) Martha Coakley who lost to Republican Scott Brown for the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts and Robert Ehrlich who flamed out against Gov. O’Malley even when Republicans in general did well nationally.

Worst Elected Official: Many vied for this honor but John McCain is a cut above (or, in this case, below).

Best Local Political Newcomer: (Tie) Gregg Bernstein upsetting Pat Jessamy for Baltimore state’s attorney and Byron Macfarlane for squeaking out a victory over a 6-term Republican incumbent for Howard County Register of Wills.

Best Comment by an Elected Official: “For we are not a nation that says, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says, ‘Out of many, we are one.’ We are a nation that welcomes the service of every patriot. We are a nation that believes that all men and women are created equal. Those are the ideals that generations have fought for. Those are the ideals that we uphold today.”—President Obama as he concluded his speech before singing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell.”

Dumbest Comment by an Elected Official: John McCain at recent Senate hearing: “If they’re mature enough to fight and die, they’re mature enough to form an opinion on who they want to serve with. I’m speaking from personal experience.” No, Senator. Troops don’t have any say as to who they serve with any more than we civilians get to choose who our co-workers are.

Best Annual Event: Pride…what else? Colorful, festive and brings community together, at least for a weekend.

Best Monthly LGBT Event: Guerilla Gay Bar Baltimore (GGBB) attracts hundreds of LGBT folks to invade a straight bar or club once a month and mix with the heteros. Almost all the time the event produces positive results and helps to encourage allies within the straight community.

Best Weekly Event: Showtunes Video Madness at the Hippo hosted by Baltimore OUTloud theatre critic Ben Ryland. You cannot head to your car afterwards without humming some song from one of the video presentations.

Best Single LGBT Event: “B’more Aware: Living Red Ribbon.” The organizers and sponsors did a splendid job in heightening awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Baltimore with a powerful and moving event at Rash Field.

Best Event Gay Bar: Grand Central for their well-executed Red, White and Black parties and a multitude of other events—some to benefit LGBT organizations.

Biggest Mover and Shaker: Mark Yost, Jr., co-founder of GGBB and now heads the influential Maryland Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and is also a member of Equality Maryland’s Board. He is a great guy, well-connected and is expected to do great things for the LGBT community.

Best LGBT Local Leader: Morgan Meneses-Sheets. Her first year at the helm at Equality Maryland was characterized by her plucky, determined and affable style. She is capable of bringing about important changes for LGBT folks in 2011.

Best Happy Hour: Leon’s. Sundays, in particular, with packed crowds and two-for-one specials, add to a gay old time.

Best Little Corner Bar: The Drinkery. Neighborhood feel, friendly service, and karaoke, where you really don’t have to sing well, makes it a fun place to hang out. Honorable Mention: The Rowan Tree.

Best Leather Bar: Leon’s Leather Lounge

Best Drag Queen: Shawnna Alexander. Funny, sassy, delightful—works hard on behalf of community organizations.

Worst Drag Queen: You think I want to get myself killed?

Best Gay-Friendly Restaurant: Many to choose from but Brewer’s Art emerges. Great food, excellent service, ambiance—total package.

Best Baltimore LGBT-Friendly Theater— Theatre Project. Honorable Mention: Spotlighters.

Best LGBT-Friendly Professional Sport: Baseball. At least there are gay days/nights.

Best TV Shows with LGBT Characters: Glee, Brothers and Sisters, and Modern Family.

Most Disappointing TV Network: Logo. Just not enough good programming.

Best Hollywood LGBT Person—(Tie) Neil Patrick Harris and Ellen Degeneres (again).

Most “Shocking” Coming Out Revelation: (Tie) Ricky Martin and Ken Mehlman

Celebrity Likely to Come Out in 2011: Anderson Cooper

Best Political Story: The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Honorable Mentions: Attorney General Gansler’s opinion on marriage recognition and Judge Walker striking down Prop 8 in Cali.

Feel free to share your opinions by mailing them to editor@baltimoreoutloud.com. Have a great New Year!


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