The best (and worst) of LGBT New York in 2012

Despite a few low points, it was—as it always is—a good year to be gay in New York.

Photographs: Anderson Cooper: Greg Allen/Rex USA; RuPaul: Mathu Andersen; Cynthia Nixon: Gregory Pace/BEImages
From left: Kate McKinnon is SNL's latest scene stealer; Anderson Cooper finally bit the bullet; RuPaul's Drag Race survived a network overhaul; Cynthia Nixon refused to be defined by the gay mainstream.
THE BEST
Cynthia Nixon’s “choice” comment
In a January New York Times Magazine profile, actor Cynthia Nixon said of her sexuality, “I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me.” The backlash from some gay activists was immediate—as was the support from some quarters, notably Times columnist Frank Bruni—but Nixon’s challenge to the “born this way” rhetoric that has defined mainstream gay politics for decades was an essential reminder of the diversity in our community, and that we cannot allow the opposition to dictate the way we choose to identify ourselves.

RECOMMENDED: Best of the year 2012

The Outs
Adam Goldman’s addictive, slow-moving Web series about young, narcissistic and (mostly) queer New Yorkers is by turns deeply sad and brutally funny. It unfortunately appeared just as the somewhat similarly inclined HBO show Girls was making its sizable cultural splash, drawing inevitable comparisons. But The Outs has a deep sadness missing from Lena Dunham’s polarizing hit, and a quietness that’s rarely found on TV (or HBO, for that matter). Hopefully a jump to the big(ger) screen is imminent in 2013.

Kate McKinnon on SNL
Late-night institution Saturday Night Live has long had a major a diversity problem with its cast—with gay folks being especially underrepresented. Enter the show’s first openly queer player in more than two decades, local comic Kate McKinnon, who steals scenes with her dead-on impressions and wonderfully boundless weirdness.

Anderson Cooper finally comes out.
Better late than never? When CNN’s most dashing anchorman finally stated what we all already knew in a letter to Andrew Sullivan—that was very heartfelt and, let’s be honest, a little wince-inducing—the entire city collectively yawned. Turns out, being openly gay doesn’t really affect one’s ability to deliver the news—which MSNBC's Thomas Roberts and Rachel Maddow could have told us a long time ago.

THE WORST
Logo dumps gay programming
When gay television channel Logo decided to dispose of most of its LGBT content, one network exec creepily explained the shift by saying, “for gays and lesbians, [sexuality is] part of who they are, but they don’t lead with it, because many are leading fully integrated, mainstream lives.” It’s one thing to admit defeat—whether it was because of crappy programming or targeting too narrow of a niche, Logo had a hard time finding an audience—it’s quite another to suggest that a gay TV outlet is no longer necessary simply because America’s queer populace (which is still a repressed minority in most places) has been “fully integrated.” Fortunately, RuPaul’s Drag Race survived the cut, so we’ll still tune in.

Meningitis hits NYC gays
An outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease among men who have sex with men in NYC (particularly in Brooklyn) was a major wet blanket at the end of 2012. The city’s health department is on it, though: Vaccines are available at clinics around the city. To see if you’re at risk, and for more information, click here.

The Bronx Community Pride Center closes
Less than two weeks after the Bronx Community Pride Center’s former executive director Lisa Winters was arrested for using the agency’s funds as her personal piggy bank, the center collapsed under financial strain and closed its doors for good. A new board has formed to pick up the pieces, so with luck, the newly christened Bronx LGBTQ Center will be up and running by Pride month next year. For updates, check in at facebook.com/BronxLGBTQcenter.

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