Make Us Proud

It's PRIDE week! The best way to kick it off is to grab a $3 margarita at Bacchus any time today. And come back for Trivia Night tonight. Don't have a team? No worries! We'll hook you up with some smarties.

When it comes to progress made in the acceptance and normalization of gay people into mainstream culture, we'll borrow a phrase from Virginia Slims, a cigarette marketed to women in the 1970s and 80s:

We've come a long way, baby!

And it's thanks to many of you - for coming out, for being proud to be gay and standing up for your rights. There are many strides to go, but we have to celebrate where we are.

Today, gay men and women have numerous role models in the worlds of entertainment, news, politics and business.

We are proud of Elton, Rachel, Tim and Brian and the gay individuals in their fields who proceeded them. These four, however are super successful gay individuals who just happen to be gay. (We'll do a post on sexy PA congressman Brian Sims in the coming weeks.)

Neil Patrick Harris is someone who has enjoyed success in the entertainment industry and is out and open about most of his life.

Having landed the title role on Doogie Howser, M.D. at the age of 16 (after starring in two feature films, Clara's Heart and Purple People Eater,) Neil became a teen heart-throb and earned a People's Choice Award for Favorite Male Performer in a New Series.

When the show was canceled in 1993, Harris went through a period of retreat. He made some lightweight but lucrative TV movies; then, at 25, he appeared in the L.A. company of Rent, an experience he found liberating. “This gypsy world of people who are just so appreciative of each other’s individuality!” Harris says, grinning at the memory, his arms held wide. “Where some people are super-gay and have girlfriends or boyfriends for twenty years, and others swing both ways—or are straight and have a wife but they’re okay with gay men giving them foot massages and don’t freak out. And you’re singing about that: no day but today, and there’s only us and there’s only this, and don’t regret.”

After Rent, he returned home to Albuquerque and lived in an adobe home with some rock climbing friends. He went through the self-help seminar the Forum (up two levels) and to a Tony Robbins seminar in New Mexico. In his auto-biography, he describes this experience as his "a-ha" life moment. He had to be true to himself and do the things in life that he loves.

He slowly came out to friends and family, including his parents, lawyers who now own a restaurant in Albuquerque. Then he went back to Broadway.

He took over Alan Cumming's role in Cabaret and then took on a difficult role in Sondheim's Assassins. He emerged from these experiences as a very different performer from the child actor he’d been, with that puff of apricot hair and owlish watchfulness. He was physically adroit and sexually self-confident. And instead of cringing from his relationship with an audience—bridling at the mutual manipulation, the necessary seduction—he had begun to lean into it.

On the screen, Neil made a silly cameo in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. He soon shifted his attention back to Hollywood. He landed the role of Barney Stinson on the CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother. He was an instant success, nominated for numerous Emmy Awards. Surprisingly, he never won for his role of Barney, but he did win Emmys for his guest appearances on Glee and his four times as host of the Tony awards. Most of his opening numbers are classics:

He received a Tony award in 2014 for his turn as Hedwig. More recently, he's been on American Horror Story,

And played a creepy character in Gone Girl (where we get a glimpse of him fully nude, yet covered in blood)

These days, Neil is happily married to David Burtka. They have two children, Harper and Gideon. Neil is currently filming Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events; he plays Count Olaf.

We're sure that his family is proud of him.

Which celebrities are your role models? Let us know. And come to Bacchus for Trivia Night tonight at 7PM. There'll be prizes and drink specials and lots of fun. It's free. :-)