‘Versace’ stars: Anti-gay bias led to designer’s death

Pasadena, Calif. — Do the intersecting lives of a fashion designer and the serial killer who murdered him add up to a political saga?

Absolutely, says Ryan Murphy, the powerhouse executive producer of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” season two of the FX showcase that debuted with 2016’s Emmy-winning “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

“It was a political murder,” Murphy said, defending the striking use of “assassination” in the title of the 10-episode series that begins airing at 10 p.m. on Wednesday.

The 1997 shooting by Andrew Cunanan of the groundbreaking Italian designer is surrounded in social issues that still resonate today, Murphy and series stars Edgar Ramirez and Ricky Martin said.

Cunanan (“Glee” star Darren Criss) was a “person who targeted people specifically to shame them and to out them, and to have a form of payback for a life that he felt he could not live,” Murphy said during a Q&A with reporters.

Ramirez, who plays the adult Versace, and Martin, who portrays his longtime partner, Antonio D’Amico, concurred in separate interviews with Murphy’s assessment.

Versace, who was 50 and reaching new heights of success when he was gunned down in front of his lavish Miami Beach estate, died because of prejudice, said Ramirez (who, with weight added and hair dyed and thinned for “Versace,” is unrecognizable as the actor who appeared in “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Carlos”).

Although Cunanan was on the FBI’s most-wanted list and circulated openly in Miami Beach before Versace became his final victim in a cross-country rampage, he wasn’t stopped because of his gay connections, Ramirez said. Cunanan, 27, fatally shot himself about a week after Versace’s murder.

“The underlying subject is homophobia and how homophobia killed him,” Ramirez said. “That’s something that comes up over and over when we look into the investigation. … Cunanan was on the news every night, on the most-wanted list, and for some reason all the law-enforcement authorities couldn’t get him.”

The California-born Cunanan, portrayed as a deeply disturbed con man, had cultivated relationships with wealthy older men and reportedly had been lovers or friends with two of the five men whose deaths are blamed on him.

The killer’s other victims included a wealthy Chicago developer and a New Jersey cemetery caretaker.

Illuminating anti-gay bias is important because the LGBTQ community still must fight it, Martin said. As a member of the community, the pop star-actor said, he feels compelled to use his fame to combat hate and discrimination.

“If I don’t use the power that that music gives or, in this case, a character like this gives me, I’d be allowing the crime to happen,” Martin said.

His friendships with Ramirez and Penelope Cruz, who plays Donatella Versace, were other inducements to join the series, as was its depiction of the Versace-D’Amico relationship.

Their attachment was illuminated in a conversation Martin had with D’Amico, who in the show’s opening scene is shown discovering Versace’s body immediately after the shooting.

“ ‘Ricky, my love for Gianni, our love, was open,’ ” Martin quoted D’Amico as saying. “ ‘And I’ve lost him and I’ve never been the same.’ ”

The series unfolds back in time from the murder, finally detailing the journeys of Versace and Cunanan from humble roots to, respectively, fame and infamy.

In a pivotal scene, Donatella confronts her brother about his intention to come out in the late 1980s. She argues the nearly unprecedented move could wreck their business empire, one built on Versace’s talent for combining the glamour of couture with the sexiness and excitement of celebrity. Versace stands his ground, backed by D’Amico.

Based on the book “Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History” by journalist Maureen Orth, the drama has drawn fire from Versace’s family. In a statement, it was dismissed as “a work of fiction” because family members didn’t authorize the book or participate in the screenplay.

The series’ producers and the publisher of the 1999 book defended it.

“Details of private conversations were carefully reported and (the book is an) extensively sourced work of investigative journalism,” Random House said in a statement, and FX Networks and Fox 21 Television Studios said they stand by Orth’s “meticulous” reporting.

The “Versace” screenplays by Tom Rob Smith are “very emotional and accurate at the same time,” Murphy said.

The Moment Gianni Versace Opened Up About His Sexuality to Press

During Wednesday’s episode of American Crime Story, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” Gianni Versace does something incredibly brave, especially for the face of a lucrative fashion brand that posts nine-digit annual sales—and in the less tolerant cultural climate of the 90s: he comes out in an interview with The Advocate, introducing his longtime boyfriend, Antonio D’Amico, to journalist Brendan Lemon.

On American Crime Story, Versace publicly acknowledges his sexuality even after his sister and business partner Donatella (played by Penelope Cruz) pleads for him not to—afraid that the revelation could affect sales. While it’s impossible to know what conversations the siblings had behind-the-scenes about Gianni’s sexuality, the designer’s statements in this real-life interview remain on the record.

The actual interview was tucked deep inside The Advocate’s July 1995 issue, and pegged to the release of Versace’s book Men Without Ties, which the designer dedicated “to the three Antonios of my life: my father, Antonio D’Amico, [and] my nephew.”

Brendan Lemon described meeting Versace and D’Amico earlier that year inside a St. Regis hotel suite in Manhattan, and began the interview by asking Versace to describe his three dedicatees.

“Versace calls Antonio d’Amico simply ‘my companion,’ and for once, the phrase connotes not some James-ian spinster being trundled around Europe by a niece or some euphemism bestowed by New York Times obituary writers but a genuine term of endearment,” wrote Lemon, who added that D’Amico sat “in on the interview and chip[ped] in the occasional well-informed comment.”

Lemon went on to portray D’Amico as a partner in both the personal and professional sense—calling him “a higher-up in the Versace empire (whose various lines of menswear, womenswear, couture, fragrances and licensees had combined sales of more than $650 million in 1994) as well as Versace’s intimate for more than a decade.”

The article described the overt sexuality of Versace’s designs and advertising campaigns, and quoted Richard Martin, curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, as saying, “There is no question that Versace’s own out gay identity has been a part of this work. He is in the tradition of the avant-garde, which means that he is willing to risk a lot. And he doesn’t run for cover when his risks provoke outraged response.”

American Crime Story co-creator Ryan Murphy has said that he was deeply affected by Versace’s openness about his sexuality in this particular interview.

“I remember being so proud and excited when he did that [coming out] interview in The Advocate, because at the time there wasn’t really a lot of people who were brave enough to live their life in the open,” Murphy told press this summer.

Ricky Martin, who plays D’Amico in the series, has also spoken about the significance of the scene for him.

“I’m a gay man that lived in the closet for many years. To see the process of Gianni actually coming out and sitting down in front of a journalist to talk about his reality is something that moved me in many ways,” Martin told Us Weekly. “The fact that they couldn’t be as open as I am right now with my relationship is something that really frustrates me.”

In “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” Versace’s bold coming out in The Advocate is shown in contrast to Jeffrey Trail’s interview with the CBS newsmagazine 48 Hours segment. Actor Finn Wittrock told Vanity Fair’s Still Watching podcast that in order to get into the mindset of playing Andrew Cunanan’s first victim, he watched the footage on repeat: “That was my bible. I would watch that and listen to that every day.” You can watch an excerpt of that footage here:

To find out more about the true story of Versace, Cunanan, Trail, and more you can listen to the full interview with Wittrock—as well as past guests Maureen Orth, Ricky Martin, Max Greenfield, Judith Light, Cody Fern, and writer Tom Rob Smith—by subscribing to Still Watching: Versace on Apple Podcasts or your podcast app of choice. New episodes of the podcast air every Wednesday night.

The Moment Gianni Versace Opened Up About His Sexuality to Press

Hercules actor Kevin Sorbo has joined the list of actors who tells about sexual harassment in the entertainment industry

On Adam Carolla’s podcast Tuesday, Sorbo claimed late Italian designer Gianni Versace made an unwanted sexual advance while he was working as a model.

“I’ve got my sexual harassment story,” Sorbo told Carolla while they were discussing the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Sorbo said that in 1984, Versace approached him at a dinner party in Italy: “He wanted to meet me because of my height. At 6-foot, 3-inches, he wanted me to do fashion shows with these 6-foot tall women.”“All of a sudden, his hand goes up my leg,” says Sorbo. “Dude, you know I’m straight?” he told Versace.

“This is why I like you. You’re not a girly man. You are a man’s man,” Versace told Sorbo. “In life, you must f*ck everything. You must do the dog, and the cat, and the boy, and the girl.”

Sorbo declined and told Versace they were leading two different lifestyles, but they remained friends.

“He booked me for his fashion shows but I never got his campaign, but I knew the game, just like I know the game of Hollywood,” Sorbo told The Hollywood Reporter in a follow up interview. “Casting couches have always been around. I don’t play that game, nor do I care to.”

Kevin David Sorbo – born September 24, 1958 – is an American actor. He is best known for his starring roles in two television series: as Hercules in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and as Captain Dylan Hunt in Andromeda.

Gianni Versace – born December 2, 1946 – was an Italian fashion designer and founder of international fashion house Versace. Openly gay, Versace and his partner Antonio D’Amico were regulars on the international party scene. Versace was murdered outside his Miami Beach home in 1997, at the age of 50.

Hercules actor Kevin Sorbo has joined the list of actors who tells about sexual harassment in the entertainment industry

‘SNL’s’ Gay History: All 4 LGBTQ Cast Members

Michael Michaud, author of books on gay actors Sal Mineo and Alan Sues, has kindly written these tributes to the four — count ‚em, four! — confirmed LGBTQ cast members who have been featured on Saturday Night Live in its 40-plus years of existence.

Amazing how few there have been, but how inspiring that the MVP of the past several years is an out lesbian: Kate McKinnon.

Keep reading for Michael’s notes, and follow him on Facebook for more of his musings …

Actor/writer Terry Sweeney (Terrance Sweeney) was born on March 23, 1950, in Queens, New York. He was raised in Massapequa Park, New York, and was bullied as a child, He saw he found an escape by reading books and writing skits. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Middlebury College in 1973. Even though he identified as gay from childhood, he became engaged to a woman for a short time. He worked as a drug counselor and waiter before become a comedy writer.

On his first time back at the show, he got into a fist fight with Bill Murray. In later seasons, he would make enemies of Robert Downey Jr (“Didn’t your father used to be a successful director?… Boy, he sure died, you know, he sure went to hell”) and the show’s first openly gay cast member, Terry Sweeney (Chase suggested Sweeney star in a recurring sketch where he was weighed to see if he had contracted AIDS).

Danitra Vance was born in Chicago on July 13, 1954. She graduated from Roosevelt University, and studied drama at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. In 1984, she presented her successful show Danitra Vance and the Mell-o White Boys at La MaMa Experimental Theater Club.

She joined Saturday Night Live for the 1985-86 season. She was unhappy with the types of comedic characters she was given to play, and often expressed her displeasure. She decided the leave the show at the end of that season.

Two-time Emmy Award-winning actress Kate McKinnon was born on January 6, 1984, in Sea Cliff, New York. Kate learned to play several musical instruments as a child. She graduated from Columbia University in 2006 as a theater major. At Columbia, she founded Tea Party, an improv musical/comedy group, and starred in several celebrated Varsity shows.

She first appeared on TV on The Big Gay Sketch Show (2007-2010) and has worked steadily on television since then, guest-starring on such shows as Maya & Marty, Difficult People, Hudson Valley Ballers, Comedy Bang!Bang!, The Back Room, and The 40 Year Old 20 Year Old. She is a successful voice-over artist, and has worked on Robotomy, The Venture Bros. Moonbeam City, Family Guy, Nature Cat, The Simpsons, and The Magic School Bus Rides Again, among many others. As an actress or voice-over artist, she has appeared in two dozen films, including My Best Day, Life Partners, Balls Out, Ted 2, Sisters, Finding Dory, Ghostbusters, Masterminds, Office Christmas Party, Rough Night, Ferdinand, Irreplaceable You, and The Spy Who Dumped Me, among others.

Actor John Milhiser was born in Belle Mead, New Jersey, on November 29, 1981. He graduated from Hofstra University in 2004 as a film studies and production major. He made his debut on Saturday Night Live on September 28, 2013. His celebrity impressions included John Cryer, Matthew McConaughey, Verne Troyer, Justin Timberlake and Billie Joe Armstrong. His contract was not renewed after one year on the show.

John first appeared on screen in short films in 2009. He guest-starred on many TV shows, including Rejected Pitches, Single Siblings, Little Horribles, Joe & Dave, Adam DeVine’s House Party, Other Space, Gay of Thrones, 2 Broke Girls, Dog Walkers, Broken, The Guest Book, Adam Ruins Everything, Foursome, College Humor Originals, We the Internet TV, and His feature films include Ghostbusters, The Little Tin Man, and Camp Takota.

Hey, @thedailybeast I’m pretty sure that I was out and proud as a gay man when I was an SNL cast member for a hot sec. 2nd after Terry. There should be more though. Go see @lovesimonmovie !!! ?

 ‘SNL’s’ Gay History: All 4 LGBTQ Cast Members

Drag Herstory: This Drag Queen Was The First Openly Gay American To Run For Office

There was nobody quite like José Sarria at The Black Cat in San Francisco. Sarria started at the city’s bohemian and queer cafe as a waiter, and eventually became known for his drag renditions of operas like Carmen and Faust alongside, of course, becoming the world’s first openly gay person to run for office in 1961.

Sarria was born in San Francisco, and had lived openly as gay before joining the army during World War II. Unfit for service at 90 pounds and just under five feet tall, he flirted with a military recruiter to join, and eventually became an army translator. The military did eventually find out he was gay — but because they were dangerously short of troops, they sent him to Cooking and Baking School instead of discharging him. He was promoted to staff sergeant by the time he left the army. His service took him to Berlin, where he became involved in theatre, then returned to San Francisco after the war in 1947. He had hoped to become a teacher in his hometown, but after being arrested on “morals charges” (read: cruising) in the St. Francis Bar public bathroom, he was barred from teaching. He instead took up waitering at The Black Cat, eventually performing in drag and singing in his signature tenor, a voice cultivated having taken singing lessons from a former opera performer as a teenager. He became a local celebrity, known as “The Nightingale of Montgomery Street.”

Though today San Francisco is considered one of the most liberal cities in the country, in the 1950s and 60s, it was anything but. Anti-sodomy laws prevailed across the U.S., and California was no exception: any bar serving queer folks could be raided, and patrons could be put behind bars. Coupled with the fact that The Black Cat’s owner refused to pay off police, this meant that the bar was regularly harassed by authorities and threatened with losing its liquor license.

Having witnessed one too many of these raids — often ending his sets with a performance of “God Save the Nelly Queens,” set to the tune of “God Save the Queen,” and inviting patrons to join him at jail to sing to queer people who had been arrested — Sarria decided to take action. In 1960, he founded the League for Civil Education, an organization dedicated to rectifying laws that made it illegal to serve queer people alcohol. Then, in 1961, he ran for a seat on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay person to run for public office, 16 years before Harvey Milk.

It wasn’t an easy task for Sarria — collecting enough signatures to secure a place on the ballot proved difficult, as many didn’t want to be seen as publicly endorsing a gay politician. That’s not to mention the fact that Sarria didn’t own a suit, just drag and casual clothes, and had to borrow one from a friend. But collect enough signatures he did, and he was eventually added to the ballot.

His primary campaign goal was to show that the gay population of San Francisco couldn’t be ignored or treated like second-class citizens — that it was a powerful force in the city’s election process and was to be acknowledged as such. If not placed on Democratic ticket, he would sue, he said, and they gave in. Not without a fight, however — to try and oust him, they recruited 24 more hopefuls to a ballot of originally nine candidates vying for five positions. Even so, Sarria came in ninth out of over thirty candidates, garnering nearly 6,000 votes, accomplishing his goal: “From that day on,” Sarria told The Atlantic in 2011, “there’s never been a politician in San Francisco — not even a dog-catcher — that did not go and talk to the gay community.” Historian John D’Emilio later wrote that this was the first time queer residents of San Francisco had been asked to think of their sexual identity as a political force.

Sarria made great strides toward equality for the LGBTQ+ community in San Francisco, including his founding of the Tavern Guild of San Francisco in 1962, the United States’s first association of gay businesses, and the gay advocacy group Society for Individual Rights in 1963. In 1965, he founded the Imperial Court of San Francisco, which has since grown into the International Court System, a global queer charity organization with over 70 chapters that raises money for LGBTQ+ causes. Today, it’s one of the largest queer organizations in the world. And Sarria did it all while performing in drag at The Black Cat until 1963, when it closed.

In 1965, Sarria won a San Francisco drag ball, and instead of taking on the Queen of the Ball title, he proclaimed himself “Empress José I” of San Francisco — because, as he said, he was already a queen. He named himself after the legend of Joshua Abraham Norton, a 19th century San Franciscan who declared himself Emperor of the United States, and also took on the moniker “The Widow Norton.” Accordingly, part of the Imperial Court’s annual tradition became visiting Norton’s grave in drag, one that continues to this day.

Though Sarria passed away in 2013, his contributions to LGBTQ+ politics and representation are still keenly felt. It’s because of him that lawmakers and politicians first began giving the community the electoral attention it deserves. In honor of his achievements, Sarria was cast as a judge at a drag ball in 1995’s cult classic film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, but also had a portion of Castro Street, part of San Francisco’s gay Castro neighborhood, named in his honor as José Sarria Court in 2006. Without Sarria, a career like Harvey Milk’s may not have been possible, not to mention all of the LGBTQ+ politicians who came after him.

them, a next-generation community platform, chronicles and celebrates the stories, people and voices that are emerging and inspiring all of us, ranging in topics from pop culture and style to politics and news, all through the lens of today’s LGBTQ community.

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Drag Herstory: This Drag Queen Was The First Openly Gay American To Run For Office


, is an Italian fashion company and trade name founded by Gianni Versace in 1978.

The first Versace boutique was opened in Milan’s Via della Spiga in 1978 (though the Versace family are from Reggio Calabria), and its popularity was immediate. Today, Versace is one of the world’s leading international fashion houses. Versace designs, markets, and distributes luxury clothing, accessories, makeup, and home furnishings under the various brands of the Versace Group. In 1994, the brand gained additional notoriety after the widespread coverage of the Black Versace dress of Elizabeth Hurley.

Gianni Versace was killed by Andrew Cunanan on July 15, 1997. His sister Donatella Versace, formerly vice-president, then stepped in as creative director of Versace and his older brother Santo Versace became CEO. Donatella’s daughterAllegra Versace also has owned 50 percent of the company since 2004 as bequeathed by Gianni in his last will. Allegra also has the last say about the sale and other important details in the Versace clothing line.

After the corporate crisis of 2001-2002, in 2003 Fabio Massimo Cacciatori started the restoration. Since 2004 Giancarlo Dirisio, from IT Holding, has been CEO of the group. In July 2009 Giangiacomo Ferraris, from Jil Sander Group, was appointed the new CEO.

Versace’s style department employs a group of designers and stylists who work in teams. Each team is specifically dedicated to one fashion line or label. These teams operate under the close supervision and guidance of Donatella Versace.

; December 2, 1946 – July 15, 1997) was an Italian fashion designer and founder of Gianni Versace S.p.A., an international fashion house, which produces accessories, fragrances, makeup and home furnishings as well as clothes. He also designed costumes for the theatre and films, and was a friend of Eric Clapton, Diana, Princess of Wales, Madonna, Elton John, Cher, Sting and many other celebrities. Openly gay, Versace and his partner Antonio D’Amico were regulars on the international party scene. Versace was murdered outside his Miami Beach home, the former Casa Casuarina now known as “The Villa By Barton G.”, at the age of 50 by spree killer Andrew Cunanan.

Giovanni Maria Versace was born in Reggio Calabria, Italy, on December 2, 1946, where he grew up with his older brother Santo and younger sister Donatella, along with their father and dressmaker mother, Francesca. An older sister, Fortunata, nicknamed Tinuccia, died at the age of 9 from peritonitis. Alternative source says that this sister was named Tina and died at the age of 12 from an improperly treated tetanus infection.

Versace began his apprenticeship at a young age, as his mother ran a sewing workshop and employed up to a dozen seamstresses. He studied architecture before moving to Milan at the age of 26 to work in fashion design.

In the mid-1970s, his knits drew the attention of headhunters at Genny and Callaghan. Complice hired him to design their leather and suede collections, and a few years later, encouraged by his success, Versace presented his first signaturecollection for women at the Palazzo della Permanente Art Museum of Milan. His first fashion show followed in September of the same year. After presenting his menswear collection he joined Jorge Saud, who would later also become a partner with Giorgio Armani. The first boutique was opened in Milan’s Via della Spiga in 1978. He was influenced by Andy Warhol, as well as Ancient Roman and Greek art and also abstract art.

Versace was shot dead on July 15, 1997, aged 50, on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion as he returned from a morning walk on Ocean Drive. Usually, Versace would have an assistant from his home walk to the coffee shop to receive his morning papers, but on this morning he was in high spirits and took the chore upon himself. He was murdered by Andrew Cunanan, who used the same gun to commit suicide on a boat eight days later. Police have said they do not know why Versace was killed. “I don’t know that we are ever going to know the answers,” said Miami`s Beach Police Chief Richard Barreto. Versace’s body was cremated and his ashes returned to the family’s estate near Cernobbio, Italy.

In September 1997, it was announced Versace’s brother, Santo, and Jorge Saud would serve as the new CEOs of Gianni Versace S.P.A. Versace’s sister, Donatella, became the new head of design.

In his will, Gianni Versace left 50 percent of his fashion empire to his niece Allegra Versace. Her younger brother, Daniel, inherited Versace’s rare artwork collection. Allegra inherited her stake, worth around half a billion dollars, when she turned 18 in 2004.

An here’s the last show from Versace Atelier Collection:

College & Professional Athletes Who Are Openly Gay

List of openly gay athletes involved in both professional and college sports. This list includes athletes who have „come out“ during their active play and athletes who have come out as gay after retirement.

Many of the people on this list probably aren’t too familiar since few, if any, are active athletes. In 2013, Jason Collins made history as the first active „Big 4“ athlete in American sports to announce he is gay. Before Collins, soccer player Robbie Rogers announced he is homosexual. After taking some time off, Rogers signed with the L.A. Galaxy and currently is on the team’s roster. Two of the most famous openly lesbian athletes were two of tennis’s best female players of all time: Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova. Both of these women are among the most recognized tennis players in the game’s illustrious history and have done a lot in raising awareness for LGBT athletes. 

South Africa football: ‚Being openly gay has held my career back‘

In many African countries, being gay is a crime. And on the football field it’s very rare to find openly gay players. But one player is hoping to change that…

Phuti Lekoloane plays in goal in the third tier of South African football and is trying to break stereotypes to pave the way for other gay players to come out.

Openly gay U.S. ambassador to Germany makes Republican history

The Senate confirmed Richard Grenell, a gay Republican, as the U.S. ambassador to Germany on Thursday, filling the high-profile diplomatic position just in time for a White House visit this week by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Grenell, who was confirmed by a vote of 56-42, was the first openly gay ambassador nominated by President Donald Trump.

Gregory T. Angelo, president of LGBTQ conservative group Log Cabin Republicans, called Grenell’s confirmation „historic.“

“He has now officially become the highest ranking openly gay official ever in a Republican administration,“ Angelo said in a statement sent to NBC News. „Despite the interminable delays of Democrats hell-bent on standing on the wrong side of history, today the United States Senate confirmed a gay nominee not ‘in spite of’ Republicans, or ‘with Republican support,’ but because of Republican support.”

Earl Fowlkes, chairman of the Democratic National Committee’s LGBT Caucus, called Grenell’s appointment a „good sign“ and a show of „political wisdom“ on the part of the Trump administration, which he said has been „hostile“ toward the LGBTQ community.

„Having a Republican president appoint an openly gay man as an ambassador to one of our important allies such as Germany speaks volumes to the influence that the LGBTQ [community] has in politics in the United States,“ Fowlkes told NBC News via email.

20 Straight Characters We Didn’t Know Were Openly Gay In Real Life

More and more actors have officially been coming out and have not been typecast for doing so.

In the past, celebrities who were gay would tend to keep to themselves, not wanting their personal life aired out for the public to have an opinion on. It was their private life and their private relationships, so what was it to anyone else? But when the 90s rolled around, famous actors and actresses started opening up and emerged from the confinement of the closet. Most famously was Ellen DeGeneres, who came out of the closet by way of her comedy series Ellen.

Since then, more actors have officially come out and have not been typecast for doing so and are welcomed by the public with open arms. Here are 20 straight characters who were played by actors so amazingly, we didn’t know they’re gay in real life.

Meet the Country’s First Openly Gay Attorney General

If you mess with Maura Healey, she can and will turn up the heat. Since her days as a 5’4” professional basketball point guard to her current gig as Massachusetts Attorney General, she’s not afraid to ruffle feathers to stand up for her team. “Basketball taught me how to be tough and taught me how to compete,” she says.

Healey was the underdog in 2014 when the first-time candidate decided to run for Attorney General. Insiders thought she didn’t have enough clout to earn the votes she needed. Others thought she didn’t stand a chance against the other well-funded Democratic primary opponent and the Republican candidate. But AG Healey proved her power by running a grassroots campaign built on defending consumers, the environment, and healthcare.

After knocking on countless doors to talk to voters directly, she won the election and took office in 2015 as Attorney General, or the “People’s Lawyer” as she calls it. Her advice for any women who want to follow in her footsteps? Get out there and run for office. “Don’t wait to be asked to run, believe in yourself and run,” she says. “And know that you have something really meaningful to contribute and that we need you.”

Since then, Healey has kept her promise to defend, earning national attention since 2017 for filing more than two dozen lawsuits against the Trump administration over issues including the Muslim ban, the loosening of EPA protections, and the planned rescindment of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

Her motivation to keep fighting for what she believes in — even when that means suing the federal government — hinges on what she learned as a basketball player: “Success isn’t just about ability — it’s about hard work, grit, and resilience,” she tells InStyle. “If someone is telling you what you can’t do or shouldn’t do, you probably need to tell them to get out of your way.”

I had the chance to bring the country’s first successful lawsuit challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which discriminated against same-sex couples,” Healey, who is the first openly gay Attorney General in the country, explains. “We took that case up to the Supreme Court and won, and it helped change the landscape for equality across the country and for same sex-couples, who finally could have all of the benefits and protections of marriage.”

„No one’s above the law in this country, not even the president,” says Healey, who’s not afraid to question authority. The AG has legally challenged the administration more than two dozen times since 2017. “As Attorney General, if I won’t stand up for the Constitution and against the abuse of power, then who will? My message to President Trump when I spoke at the Women’s March was, ‘We’ll see you in court,’ if you do things that are illegal and unconstitutional. Unfortunately, he’s done that, but we’ve taken him to court and won.”

How does she keep it together? “Working out and watching HGTV helps,” she says. “I draw inspiration from the people my office helps — victims of gun violence, victims of discrimination, people struggling with addiction, victims of human trafficking, Dreamers who had the courage to come out of the shadows. They are the ones with real courage, and my job is to fight for them.”

Healey knows a thing or two about playing for a team. She says her first career as a point guard for a professional women’s basketball team in Austria taught her that, “truly strong women make each other better when they work as a team, when they’re not afraid to fail, when the response to an opponent or a bad call by the ref is to just fight back harder.”

“When I ran for Attorney General, a lot of people told me I was making a huge mistake,“ Healey says. Some even told her to drop out and hope to get hired by a male opponent. „It turns out that’s a message given to just about every woman who runs for office.“ Instead, she focused on the issues that meant the most to her. „We set up a campaign around a simple message: the Attorney General needs to give a voice to the vulnerable and fight for people’s rights,“ Healey says. „We knocked on doors, traveled the state, had countless conversations in living rooms, and worked as hard as we could. And on election day, that campaign won all but five of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts.”

“When I decided to run for office, I was a total underdog and didn’t know if I’d win. But I knew it was important to take a chance to do something I believed in,“ Healey says. „Find yourself and your passion and don’t be afraid to take risks. You will be stronger because of it.“

Murdered playwright Joe Orton was among first to write openly gay stage characters

Sheila Hancock, Kenneth Cranham and Alec Baldwin are just some of the actors backing a campaign to raise money for a statue in memory of 60s playwright Joe Orton.

The Entertaining Mr Sloane writer’s career was cut short when he was murdered, at the age of 34, by his lover.

Dr Emma Parker, a Joe Orton expert and professor at the University of Leicester, is determined to keep his memory alive by building a statue in the city where he was born and raised.

The BBC visited the University of Leicester’s extensive Joe Orton archive to explore the life and work of a „social and sexual rebel“.

Trump names the first openly gay person to a cabinet-level position

Grenell was already the highest-profile gay person in an administration with a mixed record on LGBTQ+ rights. As ambassador to Germany, he spearheaded a global effort to end the criminalization of homosexuality in nearly 70 countries where it is still illegal. The initiative followed the reported hanging of a gay man in Iran, one of the Trump administration’s adversaries, and in an op-ed for a German news publication Grenell voiced a call to arms. 

Trump was the first Republican presidential nominee to mention gay rights on the campaign trail. But since taking office, he’s rolled back LGBTQ+ protections. The same month this initiative was announced, the Supreme Court granted the Trump administration the ability to temporarily enforce restrictions on transgender people serving in the military, although it left one nationwide injunction on Trump’s order in place. 

„[The] discussion underscored the United States’ commitment to the principle that all governments must respect the equality and human dignity of each person under their jurisdiction, regardless of sexual orientation,“ he said in a statement. 

The Real Story Behind The Assassination of Gianni Versace and Serial Killer Andrew Cunanan

Investigators still don’t know why Andrew Cunanan killed Gianni Versace.

On July 15, 1997, Cunanan approached the famed Italian designer as he returned to his Miami Beach mansion after a morning trip to a nearby café. Cunanan opened fire at point-blank range, shooting Versace twice in the back of the head, according to FBI records.

At the time of his death, Versace was one of the most high-profile fashion designers in the world, dressing the likes of Princess Diana, Madonna and Elton John. His murder, which shocked the nation, is the focus of FX’s It premieres Wednesday.

What is known about Cunanan and Versace is that the fashion mogul was not Cunanan’s first victim. Cunanan was a serial killer, suspected in four other deaths. He was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, the subject of a national manhunt, and was hiding out in Miami Beach’s gay scene at the time he killed Versace.

Authorities believe Cunanan’s killing spree before Versace targeted ex-lovers, including some he may have believed may have given him HIV.

Here’s what to know about suspected serial killer Andrew Cunanan:

There’ve been some casting an openly gay actor to play Hercules, the studio’s (rumored to be) first openly gay superhero, in the upcoming Eternals film. I’ll admit that’s A BIG rumor, but assuming that they’re true (it IS 2019, after all), here are 15 talented folks we’d love to see take on the historic role.

6. After spending a decade in theater, Vincent Rodriguez III broke major ground back in 2015 when he became the first openly gay Filipino man to play a straight romantic lead (Josh Chan) on a television network show ().

10. When Clark Moore auditioned for the role of Ethan, an openly gay high schooler in the 2018 teen rom-com , he assumed the gig would go to a white actor as per history. Thankfully, he landed the job and helped moviegoers like himself feel seen!

13. Star TrekGeorge Takei has mos def been prospering throughout his remarkable career in TV, film, and theater. The living legend has also been a longtime avocate for LGBTQ rights, human rights, and US–Japanese relations, among other causes. Oh yeah, AND he’s the funniest man on Facebook.

14. A young Rex Lee was training to be a professional pianist in college, but one fateful theater class changed all that. The actor has since left his mark on Hollywood by portraying unforgettable gay TV characters like Lloyd Lee and Elliot Park.

American Crime Story

Oh, thank God. Gianni Versace is back, he wears an amazing Versace top while being interviewed by The Advocate, and, as a special bonus, we also get Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace wearing a fitted butterfly blazer and microscopic black skirt. What better outfit to wear when being super mean to your brother and his lover? I would probably let someone treat me as shabbily as Donatella does Antonio as long as she dressed like that.

Those few scenes add splendor to the otherwise dreary and sad world of Andrew Cunanan, where we’ve been living for the past few episodes. “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is really about coming out and the two very different experiences of these two very different men. We see Gianni in his great designs and well-lit photo shoot for his Advocate cover, immediately contrasted with Jeff Trail, one of Cunanan’s victims, giving an interview with CBS News about gays in the military where he has his face and voice disguised “like a criminal.”

This illustrates just how difficult and different coming out was for different classes of people in the mid-‘90s. Versace, as a millionaire with a thriving business in a creative field, was allowed to come out without much consequence. (Although Advocate interview wasn’t exactly as depicted here.) Donatella is worried that celebrities and tastemakers will leave the brand like they did to Perry Ellis when it was discovered that he was dying of AIDS. Her brother retorts, “At least we’ll keep Elton,” meaning the famously out rocker Elton John. (Duh.)

Versace’s coming out is seen as a celebration, something that advances gay rights and gay visibility. It was only possible because he was in fashion, one of the industries where you can’t swing a designer handbag without hitting a friend of Dorothy’s. Not everyone was so lucky to have the financial success and protection that Versace did, and things were a lot harder for them.

Look at how it was for Jeff Trail. He’s forced into the closet so that he can continue to serve his country and be a member of the military. Everyone in his family has served. While coming out might have a bit of an impact on Versace’s multimillion-dollar business, if Trail came out, he’ll lose his job, possibly his family, and everything he holds dear. Coming out isn’t a choice for him, especially after his commanding officer gives him a creepy comic book (seriously, U.S. military? A comic book?) about how he can’t be gay and in the Navy at the same time.

I always say that the closet makes people crazy, and in this case, it leads Jeff to consider severe self-harm. He thinks about cutting out a tattoo on his leg when he hears that a gay man has been caught for cruising on his military base and is going to rat out the tattoos of every enlisted man he’s slept with. First of all, this is a bad idea because it doesn’t work (except as a plot device on Riverdale). Second of all, it’s a bad idea because who the hell wants to carve out their flesh in the shower with a box cutter and some alcohol?

After the comic-book incident, Jeff tries to hang himself in the shower rather than come out, but he can’t do it. He’s suffering under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” not only in the military, but also in his own mind. Maybe if he doesn’t talk about it, he seems to decide, he can be just a little bit gay. Even after he’s out of the military, he refuses to come out to his parents despite his sister insisting that he do it. He knows that she has his back, so why can’t he still be true to himself? After being in the military for so many years, the homophobia is coming from inside the house.

I didn’t really like the way the episode played out, however. We see Jeff first through Andrew’s eyes, when he plots a trip to Minneapolis (on American Express’s dime) in a last attempt at having a normal life by marrying David. Thanks to the last episode, we all know how that ends. I’m still fascinated with the series playing out backwards because Andrew’s trip always had an air of failure about it, from the moment he shows up at the airport to a less-than-fuzzy reception from his former friends. Because of what we’ve seen, there is a much more sinister overtone to the proceedings.

What I didn’t like is that we see Jeff talking on tape about saving a man’s life in the military and how he wouldn’t do it again because that is what outed him to his fellow sailors. I feel like that really took away from the magic of seeing him actually save the man, comfort him in the showers, and get caught by that very imposing looking dude with a mustache. (How come the old-school bigots in these things always have a mustache?) If we didn’t know what was coming, it would have had more impact. The same goes for when he finally gives the interview later in the episode. It just seemed like needless repetition. The emotion could have been more intense if we didn’t see Andrew watching that video in the first place and didn’t know exactly what Jeff was going to say.

The relationship between Andrew and Jeff is also very confusing. Andrew definitely saved Jeff the first time he came into a gay bar: He needed someone to show him the ropes, prove to him that being gay wasn’t so awful, and to joke about his name being spelled out in sparklers on the bar. But eventually, Jeff is the only one who sees that Andrew is just spinning a bunch of lies, and that he’s a dangerous sociopath who could cause them all a lot of pain. David, on the other hand, sees Andrew as harmless and wants to help him. He even offers to break his date with the hunk in the leather vest so they can talk, but Andrew can’t abandon his “crazy stories” about starting a new life in San Francisco in order to ask for help. When he does accept David’s offer, it’s only as a pretense so that he can kill both David and Jeff. The crazy stories are stronger than any real connection with a human being.

What confused me was when Andrew and Jeff have their confrontation in Jeff’s sad apartment when he returns home to find Andrew eating Fruit Loops on the floor and his military uniform splayed out on the bed. He confronts Andrew about the story and about sending a postcard to his parents trying to out him. Even though Andrew saved him, Jeff wishes they never met. “The bars, the meals, the men. Everything you gave me means nothing,” he tells Andrew. “I want my life back. My real life, as a soldier.” Jeff equates gay life with Andrew and since Andrew is a person of mirages masking an empty and rotten core, he sees gay life the same way. We would assume that because Andrew was his role model, Jeff thinks it is impossible to live a rewarding and openly gay life. He sees gay values as being about fun times, meaningless sex, designer clothes, and hot go-go boys in star-spangled Speedos. That’s why he rejects both Andrew and gay life and ends up yelling at other veterans in the lunchroom of a shitty factory.

I could buy that, except that Jeff also has David in his life. We get hints that they’re a couple — even though David was obviously seeing other people — so why wouldn’t David be a good role model for Jeff? He’s openly gay, he has a successful career, and he’s a caring person who seems to be about more than just hookups in the back of bars. Shouldn’t Jeff see that he can have a life like David’s? Shouldn’t he know that Andrew is the negative extreme played up by the media and shitty military comic books?

Tragically, he doesn’t. Finn Wittrock does an excellent job showing Jeff’s pain and struggle, just as Darren Criss and Cody Fern have both been spectacular in the past two episodes. It’s going to be a really tough Emmy race if they wind up duking it out with each other. This episode as a whole, however, seems a little bit clunky. It’s just too much of a stretch to knit all of these stories together in a meaningful and emotionally impactful way. Still, the differences between these coming-out stories are key to understanding exactly how and why Versace’s death happened, and I’m glad the show is drawing those unique parallels.

19 Miguel Morez in General Hospital (Ricky Martin)

A lot of us forget that pop star Ricky Martin (who starred in The Assassination of Gianni Versace) was a soap star who played Miguel Morez on General Hospital. Martin has been open about being gay since the 2000s. He’s happily married to his husband of two years, Jwan Yosef and they have three children together.

15 George O’Malley in Grey’s Anatomy (T.R. Knight)

T.R. Knight played the lovable Dr. George O’Malley, who was hopelessly in love with Meredith Grey (and then Izzy Stevens) in the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. Knight officially came out of the closet when it was revealed that a costar called him a homophobic slur. He married his boyfriend Patrick B. Leahy in 2013.

14 Miranda Hobbes in Sex and the City (Cynthia Nixon)

Even though Cynthia Nixon is now a powerhouse politician and activist, she used to play the mellow lawyer Miranda Hobbes in HBO’s series Sex and the City. Her character had a casual style when it came to dating men even though she was an uptight New York lawyer. In real life, she has been married to her wife Christine Marinoni since 2012.

13 Lindsay Bluth in Arrested Development (Portia de Rossi)

Portia de Rossi, who made headlines when she married Ellen DeGeneres in 2008, played the self-centered former spoiled rich girl Lindsay Bluth in the Fox comedy series Arrested Development. Back in 2004, de Rossi was dating director Francesca Gregorini when a tabloid outed her to her family and then Ally McBeal costars.

11 Sue Sylvester in Glee (Jane Lynch)

On the show Glee, Jane Lynch played Sue Sylvester, a straight P.E. teacher who was a thorn in everyone’s side. But in real life, Lynch has been out and proud for many years. She was even named one of Power Up’s “10 Amazing Lesbian Women in Showbiz” back in 2005.

9 Darlene Conner in Roseanne (Sara Gilbert)

We grew up watching Sara Gilbert play the sarcastic Darlene Conner on Roseanne and then the sarcastic Leslie Winkle on The Big Bang Theory. While dating co-star Johnny Galecki in real life, she discovered that she was a lesbian and in 2001 began a relationship with producer Allison Adler. After that breakup, she married songwriter, Linda Perry.

7 Michael Scofield in Prison Break (Wentworth Miller)

Wentworth Miller hit the fame jackpot when he played the character Michael Scofield in the series Prison Break. In 2007, Miller actually denied the fact that he was gay in InStyle magazine and didn’t come out of the closet until 2013. In his younger years, he struggled with depression and has been vocal about it.

5 Spock in Star Trek (Zachary Quinto)

Zachary Quinto is known for playing the famous character of Spock in the Star Trek reboots and while his character is straight, Quinto himself came out as gay in 2011 and before then was an active supporter of gay rights and gay organizations. He’s been in a relationship with painter Miles McMillan since 2013.

4 Jesse St. James in Glee (Jonathan Groff)

Jonathan Groff usually finds himself playing a slew of straight characters (like Jesse St. James in Glee or Holden Ford in Mindhunter) but in reality, Groff has been out since 2009. He even dated Zachary Quinto for a brief time. In 2015, he was honored by the Point Foundation for being a “trailblazer” in the gay community.

3 Huck in Scandal (Guillermo Diaz)

In the drama series Scandal, the character of Huck was a ruthless assassin who happened to fall in love with a co-worker of his. Guillermo Diaz, the actor who played Huck has been openly gay his entire career in Hollywood. He was named one of OUT magazine’s “100 most influential gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people” in 2013.

1 Mike Brady in The Brady Bunch (Robert Reed)

Not a lot of people know that Robert Reed, who played the famous Mike Brady in The Brady Bunch, was gay in real life. He didn’t come out in his lifetime – it was co-star Florence Henderson who acknowledged it in 2000 when she said she regretted the decision to allow him to suffer in silence in an interview with ABC News.

Taylor is a full-time mother of three out of California who is obsessed with both the written word and reality TV.

‚If you come out you risk losing your life‘: Australia’s only gay Muslim Imam tells The Project’s Waleed Aly the Islamic community needs to tackle homophobia

Published: 23:50 BST, 29 June 2016 | Updated: 01:12 BST, 30 June 2016

Nur Warsame, Australia’s first openly gay Imam, has talked to Waleed Aly about his sexuality and religion

Waleed Aly (pictured) heard from Mr Warsame that he’d suffered Islamphobia and homophobia

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Mr Warsame says the Muslim community needs to address the issue of homosexuality 

The Somali-born man (pictured after a radio interview) was once married and has a young daughter

Mr Warsame revealed to Waleed Aly that he enjoyed watching television show Judge Judy

The revelation, a lighter-hearted part of the interview, surprise Aly, who said he didn’t expect it

Who was Andrew Cunanan?

Hours after Versace’s shooting death, authorities identified Andrew Cunanan as the prime suspect. The 27-year-old was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, suspected in the killings of four other people in Minnesota, Illinois and New Jersey. The FBI painted Cunanan as a highly intelligent and dangerous man who desired a life of luxury. The California native, who could speak two languages, dropped out of college and funded his lifestyle thanks to relationships with older, wealthier gay men, federal investigations found. The FBI believes that in addition to working odd jobs, Cunanan was a prostitute.

In The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Cunanan is played by Glee star Darren Criss.

Why did Andrew Cunanan kill Gianni Versace?

Twenty years after the murder, Cunanan’s motive is still unclear. Cunanan and Versace did not know each other, according to , although they may have briefly met prior to the killing. Federal investigators believed Cunanan may have been targeting gay men. Versace had a longtime boyfriend, Antonio D’Amico. The FBI believed Cunanan may have been seeking revenge on former lovers or clients who may have given him HIV, records show.

2 Responses

Milhiser, John (March 16, 2018). “John Milhiser on Twitter: Hey, @thedailybeast I’m pretty sure that I was out and proud as a gay man when I was an SNL cast member for a hot sec. d after Terry. There should be more though. Go see @lovesimonmovie !!! ? ” .

featureGrowing number of LGBTQ candidates seek political office in 2018

Grenell, a former Fox News commentator and spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations, has been a controversial figure due to his outspoken views on Twitter. He has come under fire in the past for tweets targeting women, including Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Rachel Maddow and Callista Gingrich.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, voted against Grenell’s confirmation and gave a six-minute speech on the Senate floor — which included reading a number of Grenell’s past tweets — describing why he thinks Grenell is unfit.

“Mr. Grenell’s derogatory comments about women are simply unacceptable for anyone to make in public, let alone a diplomat,“ Menendez said in his speech. “Not only do these tweets show bad judgment, they show us who Mr. Grenell really is and how comfortable he is publicly contributing his own brand of toxic political discourse.“

The Victory Institute, which trains and advocates for openly LGBTQ leaders at all levels of government, issued a statement to NBC News saying it hopes „Grenell will use his position to defend LGBTQ people at home and abroad.“

„Ambassador-designate Grenell could be a voice for equality within the Trump administration,“ the statement continued. „We hope this reflects a newfound understanding within the Trump administration that there are hundreds of openly LGBTQ people who are talented, believe in equality for all Americans, and are ready to serve our country.”

23. Greg Rikaart

Born in Brooklyn, raised on Staten Island, New York. He graduated with honors from Villanova University (PA) in 1999. Spent a semester in college interning for a congressman on Capitol Hill. He went to Los Angeles to pursue acting and landed a recurring role as a gay student on „Dawson’s Creek.“ …

First Openly Gay US Presidential Candidate?

Nearly fifty years ago, police raided a New York City bar popular with homosexuals called the Stonewall Inn. Police often raided such bars in the 1960s.

But this time — on June 28, 1969 — patrons and workers at Stonewall fought back. People who lived near the bar joined in the fight, too.

For the next six days, police and the public clashed in an event known as the Stonewall Riots.

The riots are the subject of a recently opened exhibit at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The exhibit shows how the uprising helped begin the modern gay rights movement in the United States.

Exhibit writer Christy Wallover says the exhibit aims to show the bravery of everyday Americans. She says that, over the years, gay rights activists have fought for the right to hold jobs, serve in the military, speak publicly about being gay and marry someone of the same sex.

This year, the gay rights movement in the United States may be taking a new step. If he runs, Pete Buttigieg would be the first openly gay person to campaign for president of the United States.

Buttigieg is currently the top official of a city of 100,000 in the Midwestern state of Indiana. He has not yet announced he is a candidate for the 2020 presidential election. But he has already raised $7 million for a possible campaign.

Buttigieg, who is 37 years old, is married to a man. His young age and limited government experience may be more notable for many voters than his sexual orientation. A public opinion study this year found 68 percent of Americans would accept a gay presidential candidate.

Buttigieg spoke this week at a fundraising event in Washington, D.C. that promotes openly gay public officials. There, he made note of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s position on gay rights.

Pence, who is Christian, has publicly supported a national law that would define marriage as only between a man and a woman.

Buttigieg is also Christian and speaks openly about his faith. During his speech, he addressed Pence by saying, “Your problem is not with me — your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.” In other words, Buttigieg suggested that God made him who he is.

A 2017 Gallup study found that about 4.5 percent of Americans – around 10 million people – identify as LGBTQ. The letters mean Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning.