Gossip had our gums yapping all year in 2019, prompting delight and disgust. Now that the gay dust has settled, let’s get to the 30 highlights and lowlights in the worlds of nightlife and celebrity. (I might even toss in an extra moment or two, if you’re lucky.)
Glinda’s message, “Come out, come out, wherever you are” was certainly heeded this year. RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9 star Valentina came out as nonbinary. Internationally huge singer-songwriter Sam Smith did the same.
Dear Evan Hansen Tony winner and The Politician star Ben Platt came out as gay in a music video (as opposed to writing a letter, I guess). What’s more, two other guys who starred in Dear Evan Hansen—Ben Levi Ross and Taylor Trensch—revealed they are a couple, and they made a lovely romantic video together.
Meanwhile, pansexual singer-songwriter Janelle Monáe and actress Lupita Nyong’o seemed very cozy at the Met Ball, though we never got a follow-up memo on that. Meanwhile, Robyn Crawford divulged in her new book that she and Whitney Houston did indeed have a physical relationship, which I believe I told you about a century ago.
Lil Nas X.
Actor-singer Bella Thorne is pansexual, and Tyler Blackburn from the CW’s Roswell: New Mexico came out as bi. Disney’s young Andi Mack star Joshua Rush is bisexual, too.
America’s Got Talent judge Julianne Hough said she told her husband, “I’m not straight.” (Hey, neither am I.)
And Queer Eye’s grooming guru, Jonathan Van Ness, inspired many after he revealed that he is nonbinary and HIV-positive. Also making headlines, Annette Bening talked about being the proud mother of her trans son, Stephen Ira. I publicly asked her and husband Warren Beatty to do this in 2015, and am happy to open some belated champagne over it.
Madge also enlisted Monét X Change for her “God Control” video, and the Drag Race Season 10 star had to skip out of a Haters Tour date to be in it, resulting in the tour firing her. The best part of the whole thing was reading the posts of every drag queen in the world saying what they would have done.
Madonna at WorldPride 2019.
Another turndown queen was RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 7 contestant Miss Fame. She declined an offer to be in a Justin Bieber video, citing inadequate compensation. Got that, “Boyfriend”? No pay, no gay.
Meanwhile, Madonna and Taylor Swift (separately) performed at the legendary Stonewall Inn, tying into the 50th anniversary of the riots there.
Swift also snatched up the VMA for Video of the Year for her all-embracing anthem “You Need To Calm Down.” In her rousing acceptance speech, she called out haters and trumpeted her petition for an Equality Act, but the White House responded with a repellent yawn.
Taylor Swift at the 2019 VMAs.
Meanwhile, presenter John Travolta ended up confusing Jade Jolie, a drag queen who performed on the VMAs with Swift, with Swift herself (though he insists he knew the difference). Regardless, now that’s a good drag queen.
Earlier in the year, divas Adele and Jennifer Lawrence went to pieces—I mean Pieces, the long-running West Village gay bar. Patrons were stunned when the two strutted in, and the stars also made it to Club Cumming in the East Village, where J. Law relieved herself in a trash can, as—sources told me—Adele cutely exclaimed, “But you’re the face of Dior!”
For an album release party, Céline Dion hung with the uptown drag queens at Lips restaurant and even sang karaoke to one of her songs. A drunk at the bar was apparently overheard muttering, “Who’s that bad drag queen doing Céline Dion?” Kidding!
It seemed like all the world was a gay stage in 2019, and that was fine with me. Matthew Lopez’s sweeping, two-part show The Inheritance—an updated retelling of Howards End—was the queer theater event of the year. Everyone and their trainer is bragging that they’ve made it through the six-and-a-half-hour epic.
Matthew Lopez (left).
Choir Boy, by gay writer Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight), centered on a highly individual gay student who’s promoted to choir leader amidst complications (and singing, and dancing).
Gary: A Sequel To Titus Andronicus by queer playwright-performer Taylor Mac featured Nathan Lane as a gay janitor who does wacky things with the genitals of piled-up corpses.
In gay playwright Jeremy O. Harris’ Slave Play, interracial couples go through some outrageous sexual therapy, and the neurotic characters include a gay couple, well played by Ato Blankson-Wood and James Cusati-Moyer.
In Heidi Schreck’s What the Constitution Means to Me, gay actor Mike Iveson breaks the fourth wall and talks about the travails of his life to parallel Schreck’s experiences as a woman.
Jagged Little Pill, a musical family drama set to classic hits by Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard, features a bisexual girl who cheats on her girlfriend with a guy, which leads to an explosive version of “You Oughta Know.”
And in the year’s splashiest musical, Moulin Rouge! (based on the eye-splitting movie), Danny Burstein is a gay MC, a drag queen played by Jeigh Madjus is one of the soubrettes, and the male chorus ends up in tutus. It was tutu much.
The Hills’ Kaitlynn Carter (after her split from Brody Jenner) and Miley Cyrus (after her breakup with Liam Hemsworth) found each other in a romantic clutch that the media picked up on. But along came some kind of wrecking ball, I guess, and it went down in herstory as just a summer fling.
Far more dramatically, Rosario Dawson—the movie star who is presidential hopeful Cory Booker’s constant companion—got slapped with a lawsuit by a trans man whom she hired.
Rosario Dawson and Cory Booker.
The man says that after he came out as trans to Dawson and her family, they ridiculed him and, when he wouldn’t leave, ended up assaulting him. Rosario’s lawyers said the claims were false, while her fans came to her defense, shrieking, “But she starred in Rent!”