BY ROB SALERNO – As we prepare for the drunken bacchanalia that is New Year's Eve, let's pause and reflect on the videographed ephemera that
filled out most of our work hours made 2011 so great. We started our countdown of 18 web videos that had queer people talking with the first six on Tuesday and six more yesterday. These next ones round out the year:
13) It's time – Get Up for Australian marriage equality
This moving video, chronicling a relationship through its meet-cute, dating, falling in love, fighting, moving in and finally proposing, was put together by Get Up, an Australian organization advocating for same-sex marriage. Gay marriage was a big deal in the continent/country this year, with state branches of the governing Labor Party each progressively calling on their federal cousins to enact marriage equality, only for Prime Minister Julia Gillard to rebuff the calls. Eventually, the Labor Party settled on allowing a free vote in Parliament next year. Because Labor holds only a minority and the opposition Liberals are opposed, the possibility of passage doesn't look promising. Still, the ad is getting people in Australia talking, and the actor, Julian Shaw, is quite a cutie.
14) Tie: Duelling It Gets Better videos
In the wake of the suicide of Ottawa teenager Jamie Hubley, several members of the Conservative Party of Canada created this rather lacklustre It Gets Better video. You may remember that we were not impressed with the MPs' robotic line readings, hypocritical statements and superficial engagement with the project. A few months later, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty released his own It Gets Better video. While it was clearly a political move, timed with the announcement of his party's anti-bullying legislation (with which we've made our problems known), we appreciated that this message was constructive, affirming and contrite where it needed to be.
15) Rick Mercer rants on teen suicide
Also in the wake of Hubley's suicide, Rick Mercer delivered an impassioned rant on the need for more out queer role models. While we agreed with the sentiment, it did leave me scratching my head over the fact that Mercer never mentions in the video that he is gay himself.
16) Shit gay guys say
It started with the brilliant little clip "Shit Girls Say." Suddenly, videos and Twitter channels were being created for the shit being said by boys, black girls — even a "Shit Everyone Says." The "Shit Gay Guys Say" video came about pretty quickly, and of course we all know/are people who sound exactly like this.
17) Lady Gaga's message to a Toronto high school student
Etobicoke School of the Arts high school student Jacques St-Pierre wrote to a bunch of celebrities asking them to send a message of support to bullied gay teens at his school and got this lovely message back from Lady Gaga congratulating him for his work. So he did what any teenager would do. He convened a school assembly and invited the media to hear Lady Gaga tell everyone how awesome he is.
I kid. This is a fantastic example of a teenager working to make a positive difference in his school, and of a celebrity using her pulpit to help out.
18) Hillary Clinton's landmark speech to the UN Human Rights Council
Hillary Clinton's speech to the UN Human Rights Council about the importance of protecting the human rights of gays and lesbians worldwide was a huge surprise (she didn't want word to leak lest representatives from certain countries leave the room before her speech) and was a passionate but reasoned argument to accept gays and lesbians as equals in some of the most homophobic places on earth. There are already reports that some countries are reconsidering their anti-gay laws in the wake of her speech.
Honorable mentions: Dutch anti-bullying video
The Netherlands' children's ombudsman released this video to raise awareness of the problem of homophobic bullying. Again, while I appreciated the effort, I can't see how this would inspire someone who was being bullied.
Lady Gaga/Jim Carrey dumber face mashup
This video doesn't have anything to do with anything, but it continues to haunt my nightmares.
And that was 2011 in queer internet ephemera! See you in 2012!