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Toasts and roasts for 2012

A large whiskey sour, very sour, for openly gay actor Rupert Everett, who told the London Sunday Times Magazine: “I can’t think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads.” 

Well I can, Rupert. How about self-hating comments by aging queens?

Let’s all share a fond farewell toast under a sparkling disco ball to Donna Summer, whose pulsing music of the 1970s and ’80s was the soundtrack of many of our lives. From hypnotically sexy songs to brassy power ballads to the feminist anthem “She Works Hard for the Money,” Donna did it all. The styles and innovations she and her producers brought to dance music have influenced every generation since. What an amazing performer!

Savor a fine glass of your favorite wine while marveling at the contributions of lesbian writer Adrienne Rich, who died in March. Her multiple volumes of award-winning poetry explored the depths of love and loss. Her prose defined feminism, lesbianism, heterosexism and many more ideas that have become axiomatic to those coming of age in the 21st century. Rich was America’s Virginia Woolf. Her writing and ethics deserve study and emulation.

A rainbow-colored tropical toddy is due for President Cristina Fernandez of Argentina. A few years ago, she successfully lobbied for and signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in her conservative, Catholic country. In 2012, Fernandez signed a law easing legal and medical requirements for changes in gender identity. She personally handed out new identification cards to transgender people. Viva Argentina!

Please join me in spiking the preferred drinks of global warming deniers, amateur rape theorists, Texas governors and right-wing radio hosts with unique ingredients that permanently freeze their vocal chords. The beverages will be offered free of charge as a public service.

The thousands of Texans, Alabamans and others demanding secession from the United States in the wake of President Barack Obama’s re-election deserve their own special toast or, in this case, roast. That they would promote such division in the year we are marking the 150th anniversaries of the battles of Shiloh, Antietam and Fredericksburg is especially offensive. I say we take a hint from Scrooge and boil them in their own pudding.

Three rounds of whatever she wants to Sen.-elect Tammy Baldwin. For Wisconsin’s LGBT community her win was an especially sweet victory. But, like Herb Kohl before her, she promises to represent all Wisconsinites. I’m confident Baldwin’s combination of common sense and compassion will make us all proud.

A glass of sparkling fruit punch is in order for Ellen DeGeneres, this year’s recipient of the Mark Twain Prize. Her sly, gentle wit and “aw shucks” manner have won the hearts of Americans. She’s done another great public service (with a little help from Lily Tomlin, Kate Clinton and Wanda Sykes) by discrediting the old notion that lesbians have no sense of humor. 

Pour some pitchers of hometown Sprecher beers for Carl Bogner and the folks who brought us this year’s Milwaukee Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Opening night at the Oriental Theater was one of the most memorable events of the year.

Everyone who crowded the theater laughed uproariously and teared up unashamedly during the delightfully bawdy and heartfelt lesbian road movie “Cloudburst.” 

Finally, raise a toast of appreciation to Karen Gotzler, whose energy, patience, skill and integrity have led the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center back from the brink and into a more stable and productive future.

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