The Mil­len­nial Show

DNA Magazine - - ENTERTAINMENT FEATURE -

hosted by YouTube. Their re­turn, in sup­port of Hilary Clin­ton, was both a sign of the times and a nod back to the turn of the 21st Cen­tury.

Will And Grace went to air be­tween 1998 and 2006. The sit­com about four friends liv­ing in a very gay world was ground-break­ing. It won awards and rat­ings. In 2012, Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den said that in terms of the gay and les­bian community, “I think Will And Grace prob­a­bly did more to ed­u­cate the Amer­i­can pub­lic than al­most any­thing any­body has done so far.”

As the end of 20-teens closes in, a look back re­veals some of the defin­ing mo­ments, trends and per­son­al­i­ties in the gay en­ter­tain­ment world, that com­plex, shift­ing, some­times misty mir­ror of our real world and real selves. We’ve all seen the changes, lived the changes and even, we hope, helped usher in some of those changes our­selves.

This story be­gins, how­ever, be­fore the turn of the mil­len­nium when the ac­cepted showbiz norms about ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity were markedly dif­fer­ent.

Jan­uary 2000 and Whit­ney Hous­ton is caught with drugs in Hawaii, but the big­ger scan­dal of the day is that – gasp! – les­bian singer Melissa Etheridge and then part­ner Julie Cypher have ad­mit­ted hav­ing two chil­dren fa­thered by folk singer David Crosby.

Yes, that was the sort of thing that made head­line news back then – a les­bian cou­ple and their kids. The idea of gay male cou­ples hav­ing fam­i­lies of their own was still rarely, if ever, dis­cussed. To­day, with celebrity gay dads like El­ton John, Ricky Martin, Matt Bomer, Neil Pa­trick Har­ris, Ru­fus Wain­wright and TV pro­ducer Ryan Mur­phy, it’s not just ac­cept­able gay cou­ples to be par­ents, it’s bor­ingly nor­mal and has given rise to the term “gay­bies” to de­scribe the chil­dren of gay mums and dads.

Back in Fe­bru­ary 2000, gay icon Madonna and one of the few out ac­tors in Hol­ly­wood at the time, Ru­pert Everett, teamed up for a movie that touched on the sub­ject, if rather awk­wardly. The sce­nario was about a gay man who, oops… gets his gal pal preg­nant in the un­for­tu­nately ti­tled The Next Best Thing. It was a telling pointer to a topic that would mat­ter a great deal to gay lives over the com­ing decade. While the film it­self didn’t win any awards in the main­stream, it was nom­i­nated as Out­stand­ing Film at the 2001 GLAAD Me­dia Awards. It ended up los­ing to Billy El­liot, a movie about a straight boy who loved bal­let (it was his best friend who was gay,

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