Out, the nation’s leading gay general interest magazine, and a flagship brand of PlanetOut Inc. (NASDAQ:LGBT) , the leading media and entertainment company exclusively focused on the gay and lesbian market, has announced a list of America’s most influential gay men and women in the magazine’s May 2007 issue. The billionaire entertainment mogul David Geffen and newsman Anderson Cooper head the list. Chat show host Ellen DeGeneres, philanthropist Tim Gill, and Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank round out the top five in the first-ever list of its kind.
Others who make the top 50 include personal finance guru Suze Orman (#13), Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner (#11), actress Jodie Foster (#43), and Superman Returns director Bryan Singer (#32).
“We expect some controversy for creating this kind of list,” said Aaron Hicklin, editor-in-chief of Out. “But it’s a mark of real progress that the vast majority of men and women who made our Power 50 have attained their positions without feeling the need to hide their sexuality.”
Editorial staff began assembling the list at the beginning of the year, basing their rankings on each candidate’s cultural resonance, political influence, media profile, and wealth. “We took the task very seriously,” said Hicklin. “We wanted the list to reflect, as accurately as possible, the standing of the people on it.”
Also in the May Issue:
ON THE COVER: Breaking with tradition, the May cover of Out, shot by Rodney Smith, features two models holding masks of Jodie Foster and Anderson Cooper in front of their faces, a sly commentary on the way that semi-closeted celebrities hide in plain sight.
For the cover story, writer Michael Musto explores the Glass Closet, in which he identifies a number of gay celebrities and public figures who, while living gay social lives, “cagily avoid any on-the-record revelations, a delicate dance that’s difficult to pull off.” Musto challenges those such as Anderson Cooper, Jodie Foster and Will & Grace star Sean Hayes, who dance around the question rather than give a yes or no answer. “It’s true that stars are free to put up whatever walls they want in order to maintain boundaries with the public,” he writes, “But even at their most controlling, straight stars never seem to leave out the fact that they’re straight in interviews. Whenever a subject tells me, ‘I won’t discuss who I’m dating’ or ‘I resent labels,’ I generally know not so much that they’re passionate about privacy but that they’re gay, gay, gay.”
ALSO: Congressman Barney Frank talks exclusively about being the highest ranking openly gay politician in America: “I get exempted from a lot of the prejudice because I’m good at what I do. It’s my obligation to gay and lesbian people, and to the whole society, to not be an exception. So I remind people I’m gay. And by doing that, I’m saying don’t make me an exception — rather, drop the prejudice.”
The congressman also describes the years before he came out as a salutary lesson to closeted politicians today: “If I had come out earlier, say in 1983, after I was reelected, I would never have had to turn to hustlers because I could have been meeting people in a normal way, and that would never have happened.”
PLUS: Columnist Josh Kilmer-Purcell gives a wet mother’s day kiss to Mary Cheney, writing: “Happy Mother’s Day, Mary Cheney! What a joy it must be for you and the Woman Who Has No Legal Relationship to Your Baby to be celebrating your first Mother’s Day together (Note the apostrophe placement. It’s Mother’s Day, not Mothers’ Day. And if your dad’s employers have anything to do with it, it’s gonna stay that way.)”
On sale date: April 17, 2007
The nation’s foremost gay general interest magazine, Out celebrates the spirit of gay culture, including fashion and style, trends, society, and the arts. Out is published by PlanetOut Inc., which also publishes The Advocate and The Out Traveler, among other magazines, books, and websites. PlanetOut Inc. distributes more than 8 million copies of its magazines each year. Please visit www.out.com.
About PlanetOut Inc.
PlanetOut Inc. is the leading global media and entertainment company exclusively serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
PlanetOut’s digital media brands include Gay.com, PlanetOut.com, Advocate.com, Out.com, OutTraveler.com and HIVPlusMag.com, as well as localized versions of the Gay.com site in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. PlanetOut print media brands, published by LPI, include The Advocate, Out, The Out Traveler and HIVPlus, as well as SpecPub, Inc. titles. Transaction services brands include e-commerce Web sites Kleptomaniac.com and BuyGay.com, travel and events marketer RSVP Vacations, and book publisher Alyson Publications, among others.
PlanetOut, based in San Francisco with additional offices in New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, London and Buenos Aires, offers Global 1000 and local advertisers access to what it believes to be the most extensive multi-channel, multi-platform network of gay and lesbian people in the world. For more information, please visit www.planetoutinc.com.