NY Mirror

Yes, I'm going to be happy this year. Palpable and inspiring changes are tying a big rainbow ribbon around my perennial half-smirk. The most heartening one of all is that while just a few years ago, advertisers wouldn't align themselves with any show that was the least bit gay, now they're backing out of a program (yeah, her again) because it happens to offendgays. It's not my childhood anymore—it's not even '97 anymore—and it's so exhilarating that some advertisers are on our side for a change that I'm tempted to buy a whole bunch of Procter & Gamble products and turn them into the new Prada!

For me, a juicy bit of progress like that momentarily silences all the stupidity out there: the Pope apologizing to practically every oppressed minority on earth except gays (he should check the local confessional—the number of priests with AIDS is skyrocketing); the rappers who gay-bash their way to platinum records and the gay media that embrace them; the absurd city rules that now have condoms unavailable at the East Side Club, a sex spot, because otherwise they'd be encouraging people to have sex (that's like outlawing oxygen masks on Alaska Airlines because that would be encouraging them to have a crash); the cop leader who, incensed by Bruce Springsteen's song about police brutality, showed his immense sensitivity by saying the Boss is now "a floating fag."

But hush, puppies. I really am determined to be upbeat and proud. I'm intent on rejoicing that we now have the right to come out with as many banal books, plays, and performance pieces as straights do. I'm even going to welcome the parade of stars coming out (Sinead O'Connor?) who I don't think are gay. Last year, I only saw the negative, but this time I'm looking at the glass and finding it half full—with a particularly femmy lemonade. Deviant? No, it's love, American-style. Let's board that broomstick to the local bar-hangout and toast to finally having those positive role models we craved: each other.

musto@villagevoicecom

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