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FIRST LOOK: 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Ru-Turns For Season 7

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Get ready, hunties, RuPaul's Drag Race is coming back for its 7th season and it promises to be the the most 'raggedy' season ever according to Ru. This year Ross Matthews and Carson Kressley will be joining as judges on the show. The 7th season will also see Jessica Alba, Ariana Grande, Kathy Griffin, Demi Lovato, Olivia Newton-John, Alyssa Milano, Jordin Sparks, Kat Dennings, Mel B and John Waters guest judge, according to People.com.

Watch the preview for yourself, AFTER THE JUMP...

Season 7 kicks off Monday, March 2, at 9 P.M. ET on Logo.

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The TV Legacy Of 'Queer Eye For The Straight Guy': VIDEO

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When Queer Eye For the Straight Guy premiered in July of 2003, cell phones still had buttons, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was still months away from becoming the first state to recognize same-sex marriage and no Kardashians had their own TV show.

Queer Eye was not only a surprise hit, but it also became a cultural phenomenon. After five seasons, Carson Kressley, Jai Rodriguez, Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas and Thom Filicia were household names. The original Fab Five will reunite on Bravo Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern on a special Queer Eye Reunion: 10 Years Later, hosted by Andy Cohen.

A decade later, the reality program's societal impact is still up for some debate. Some applaud the show's ability to expose a broader audience to gay people, while others criticize its reliance on stereotypes.

Whatever Queer Eye's cultural legacy may be, it's left an indelible mark on the television landscape, paving the way for some of the shows we love today.

Check out a few of the shows influenced by Queer Eye For the Straight Guy, AFTER THE JUMP …

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How A Mormon Bishop Became An LGBT Ally (With An Assist From Carson Kressley): VIDEO

Kloosterman

This link leads to a funny, poignant personal essay from Kevin Kloosterman, an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights who also happens to be an ex-Bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He came out as an ally to LGBTfolk two years ago, when he was still Bishopping. Life got weird, fast.

Kloosterman was not always an ally. He was turned into one by Queer Eye For The Straight Guy. Kloosterman describes his transformation like so:

I would watch the show and imagine what it would be like for them to be in a Mormon bishop’s home, which is probably considered the heart of enemy territory by some in the gay community since Proposition 8. There was something about the spirit of these men that seemed to break barriers of orientation, politics, and even religion. Perhaps like every other fan, I considered them to be more familiar than reality would dictate. Then something that Carson said in his cheeky manner struck me like a thunderbolt. He said, “We are very pro traditional marriage.” Those words echoed in my mind for months and months. It seemed to disrupt and challenge a deeply held belief that the traditional family was under attack by a so called “gay agenda.” 

That belief was dismantled at that moment and I realized that these good men had no desire to hurt me, my marriage, or my family. On the contrary, if they were in my home, I could only see them supporting me, my traditional marriage, and my family.  

(The contrapuntal statement to that one, it seems, would be that many conservative Mormons and other religious types really do believe that gayfolk want to hurt them, their marriages, and their families, which is a terribly sad thing to think about.)

Kloosterman is apparently not the sort of person who can recognize a grave moral wrong and do nothing about it. So he flew to Utah to share what he'd learned with his heterosexual co-religionists -- to tell them they'd misunderstood the gay community entirely. His message was not received with uniform friendliness:

When the story broke that a sitting bishop had flown from Illinois to Utah to call for straight members to do more to reach out to LGBT individuals in and out of the church, the two major newspapers in Utah saw the talk in radically different ways, which created controversy. The reaction continued to be mixed as the story moved to talk radio. Mormons of the more conservative variety called for me to be excommunicated. There was one extremist blog even wishing “apostates could be executed” juxtaposed with my name, my wife’s name, our home address and work address for all to see as well as calling for “blood atonement,” which is primitive Mormon talk for execution.

My coworkers advised me to file a police report and the blog was taken down soon thereafter. The trauma of that experience though has not been easy on my wife or our marriage.

... nor on Kloosterman's relationship with his church. His essay doesn't mention why he went from "Bishop" to "ex-Bishop," but it seems to have had something to do with his attitude towards the LGBT community. He now treats advocacy work as as a serious avocation, just as he once practiced ministry.

Please do take the time to read the article. It's a fascinating view of a transformation that most of us, for obvious reasons, need never undergo. (Also: Kloosterman's semi-obsessive paeans to each of Queer Eye's Fab Five somehow manage to be creepy and totally charming at the same time, which is a pretty rare feat.) 

And, if you like, have a look at Kloosterman's tear-soaked speech at "Circling The Wagons," last year's conference "in support" of LGBT LDS's. It's extremely religious -- one cause of Kloosterman's evident distress is surely that he's condemning his religion's conduct while trying to maintain his faith in its truth, which must require some painful mental contortions. I hope he feels better soon. Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...

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Watch The Red Carpet At The 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards, NYC

ImagesTake note: At 4:30 ET this afternoon, at this here link, you can watch the red carpet festivities at GLAAD's 23rd Annual Media Awards in New York, New York. And what'll you see? Could be Dakota Fanning -- she'll be there. So will Glee's Naya Rivera and Cory Monteith. (They're hosting.) Bernadette Peters! Russell Simmons! Padma Lakshmi! John Stamos! Carson Kressley! Lots of others!

The GLAAD Media Awards are spread among three events -- the one this evening, one in LA in April, and another in SanFran in June. The awards exist to "celebrate the most outstanding images of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the media" -- be the media film, television, print journalism, online journalism, television journalism, whathaveyou.

Note: Before you can watch the red carpet goings-on, you've gotta register. And you can do that right here.


Tonight In NYC: Cyndi Lauper's "Home For The Holidays" To Benefit Homeless LGBT Youth

LauperAndy announced it a month ago, but here's a reminder: Tonight at 8 p.m., Cyndi Lauper takes the stage at the Beacon Theatre in NYC with a whole laundry list of cool people to raise money for the True Colors Fund -- which benefits, among other things, the True Colors Residence, Lauper's uptown, 30-unit housing shelter for homeless LGBT youth.

All of the Fund's activities are devoted to benefiting the homeless LGBT youth population. As Lauper's press release has it:

It is estimated that 20 percent to 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, yet of the general youth population, only 3 percent to 5 percent do the same. The True Colors Fund is committed to doing what it can to raise awareness about this issue and develop resources to help these young people, most of whom are homeless due to family conflict.

The Fund's mission resonates with all kinds of people, as evidenced by tonight's lineup. What else could convince Lou Reed and Vanessa Carlton to share a stage? Along with Lauper, Reed, and Carlton, tonight's "Home For The Holidays" concert features Norah Jones, Harvey Fierstein, Alan Cumming, Clay Aiken, Carson Kressley, and a whole mess of others. Tix run $30 - $500, and you can still get 'em.

... and if you don't, you can grab Lauper's new single on iTunes, which also benefits the Fund. The song, like the concert, is called "Home For The Holidays," and features Norah Jones.


Carson Kressley's 'Dancing with the Stars' Turn: VIDEO

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This morning I posted Chaz Bono's debut on last night's Dancing with the Stars. With all the ugly noise from the anti-trans crowd over Bono's participation, Carson Kressley's inclusion has been a bit muted.

Watch Carson's Cha Cha, AFTER THE JUMP...

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