Carson Kressley Hub




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

Queereye

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

Kressley

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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Cher, Lacey Schwimmer Stand Up for Chaz Bono on 'Dancing' as Show is Accused of 'Homosexual Agenda'

Cher

Cher stepped up on Twitter to defend her son Chaz as he was attacked on ABC and other sites for his participation on Dancing with the Stars.

Chaz_bono Tweeted Cher: “Chaz is Being Viciously Attacked on Blogs & Message boards about being on DWTS!This is Still America right ? It took guts 2 do it....I support him no matter what he chooses 2do! God! will there always be haters! It took COURAGE 2 do dwts ! TG Chaz has an Unlimited supply."

Chaz has been paired up to dance with Lacey Schwimmer on the show.

Schwimmer Lacey spoke out about the Chaz 'controversy' yesterday, to The Insider.

"No human is perfect, so why are they pointing out what they perceive to be an imperfection in someone else? It's not cool. We’re all taught to not bully, or harass, and treat everyone as equals yet all these people are doing exactly the opposite...At the end of the day, everyone is going to have a hater. I choose not to listen to it, because it’s ridiculous. To us, it’s more important to focus on the positive people."

She added that she was thrilled to be paired with Chaz:

"I was absolutely thrilled. I’ve always been a huge supporter of the LGBT community and I couldn’t be more excited to have Chaz. Not only is he Sonny & Cher’s child but he’s also a generally cool person...This is my sixth season -- the producers know that I’m very open-minded and really accepting of everyone. Ever since Lance [Bass] was on the show, it opened the door for the LGBT community to be accepted in Middle America and it’s about time. It’s 2011, let’s evolve a little bit here."

Kressley In related news, Executive Producer Conrad Green told E!'s Ted Casablanca that they considered a male partner for Carson Kressley:

"We thought about it...We try to follow what happens in real ballroom competitions. That was the original intention of the show. And while we are aware that there are same-sex couples, the competitions are usually mixed-gendered."

Kressley will be partnered with Anna Trebunskaya.

Green also responded to accusations that because of the inclusion of Bono and Kressley the show has a 'homosexual agenda':

DWTS executive producer Conrad Green told The Hollywood Reporter those charges are unfounded, "We don't have an agenda of any sorts. I think of the 120 celebrities we've put on the show, we've had, I think now, three transgender or gay contestants. If that's a homosexual agenda, we're not doing very well at it."

Green explained, "What we try to do is reflect a broad range of the entertainment world in the casting of the show, and we're always trying to find new things that people haven't seen, new types of stories and that's what we've been doing this season."


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