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And now, this week’s edition of Gay People

If you think I’ve got a foul mouth, honey, you ain’t read
nuthin’ yet. In fact, if you only read daily newspapers, you’re
likely not au courant with the recent smorgasbord of gay gossip. So, without
further ado …

Dead Or Alive singer and former British Celebrity Big Brother contestant Pete
Burns announced on Britain’s Channel 4 that he is engaged to boyfriend
Michael Simpson. “We’re so happy! Michael has never seen me as a
photo, a video or a song—he saw me as the person I am,” says
Burns, whose ever-changing face makes famed NYC tranny Amanda Lepore (who
recently stripped buck naked for three hilarious private gigs with a bunch of
midgets at Montreal’s Just For Laughs Museum) look positively
natural.

Burns didn’t answer my multiple requests for interviews
before he divorced his wife in 2004 (she and I had a mutual friend, but that,
alas, was to no avail). But Burns pointed out on Channel 4 for the whole
world to see that his and Michael’s Vivienne Westwood-designed gold
skull engagement rings “symbolize that under all this flesh we are
bones and souls.”

And don’t forget the collagen, Peter …

After telling The National Enquirer last month that he had unprotected sex
with American Idol has-been Clay Aiken, former US Army Green Beret John
Paulus generated a huge splash with his perfectly timed arrival in NYC,
talking with the New York Post’s Page Six and being escorted to Howard
Stern’s morning radio show by porn impresario Michael Lucas.

It looks like Lucas will now launch Paulus’s porn career. In a press
statement about Paulus’s claim that Aiken allegedly pressured him not
to use a condom during sex, Lucas said, “I urge the community to
support Mr Paulus as he joins me in the fight against unsafe, bareback
sex.”

Speaking of Aiken, when stand-up comic Kathy Griffin was chastised for outing
Clay in a screamingly outrageous comedy routine at the Just For Laughs
Festival back in 2003, Griffin told me, “Who is he fooling? Clay Aiken
has broken his own gay ceiling!”

The mainstream media, meanwhile, are going ga-ga over country icon Willie
Nelson’s just-released cover of “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly
Fond of Each Other,” a song written in 1981 by Texas-born
singer-songwriter Ned Sublette and originally recorded in the 1980s by San
Francisco queer punk band Pansy Division, long-time friends of this
column.

Says Nelson somewhat disingenuously, “The song’s been in the
closet for 20 years. The timing’s right for it to come out. I’m
just opening the door.”

The only country door that’s open is the one kicked open by Brokeback
Mountain, whose soundtrack features Nelson’s melancholy ballad
“He Was a Friend of Mine.” No wonder the timing’s right.
Incidentally, if you’re a gay porn or country music fan, listen for
porn star Jeff Stryker’s 2003 single “Pop You in the
Pooper,” which he recorded with his band The Soggy-Bottom Boys.
I’d like to hear Willie cover that song when he headlines his Canadian
tour with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band this spring …

With the crossover success of Brokeback, it comes as no surprise to hear that
Hollywood producer Andrew Lang has acquired the film rights to one of my
all-time-favourite books, The Dreyfus Affair by New York author Peter
Lefcourt. The novel chronicles the uproar over two Major League Baseball
teammates who fall in love during a pennant race and get caught kissing in
the dressing room of a Neiman Marcus department store. The characters are in
their late 20s, but 42-year-old Brad Pitt is now reportedly looking for a gay
film role. I can picture Brad at bat right now …

I don’t expect Hollywood will cast an openly gay actor in The Dreyfus
Affair. Neither does Sir Ian McKellan. Accepting a lifetime achievement award
at the Berlin International Film Festival last week, McKellan said,
“[It remains] very, very difficult for an American actor who wants a
film career to be open about his sexuality, and even more difficult for a
woman. The film industry is very old-fashioned in California.”

Also, hearty congratulations from TDB headquarters to Rev Brent Hawkes,
pastor of Toronto’s Metropolitan Community Church, who performed the
double same-sex weddings in 2001 that successfully kick-started the Ontario
legal fight for gay marriage in Canada. Hawkes, a friend of this column, will
marry his long-time partner John Sproule on the date of their 25th
anniversary, March 7. V

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