Larry Kramer 'just says no' to being angry anymore

By Jeff Walsh

Larry Kramer has been a lightning rod for controversy since his fist novel Faggots blazed into bookstores and parodied the way gay men were living their lives. The novel ended up being far too prescient, and a few years after its release the AIDS crisis would begin.

The crisis changed Larry Kramer's main role from writer to activist. He founded the Gay Men's Health Crisis, the first agency to help gay men deal with the AIDS crisis in its infancy, and also founded The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (better known as ACT UP), which would become the height of gay activism in the 1980s, with its theatrical demonstrations underscoring the plight of a dying community.

Harris' books and life focus on one thing: good character

By Jeff Walsh

Great writers spoil readers, because they raise your expectations for all other books. When I read "The Front Runner" by Patricia Nell Warren and "A Man in Full" by Tom Wolfe over the past year, I was immediately pulled in by how well these writers knew their characters -- the spare details brilliantly illuminating and exposing each character without running down their descriptions like a personal ad. Once you start getting hooked on writers who wear their characters like a second skin, it's hard to go back to the majority of books in the bookstore.

Seth Watkins, 22, of San Francisco, Calif.

By Jeff Walsh

Seth Watkins is constantly on the move. His picture appears in San Francisco gay publications with the same frequency as the picture of the escorts for hire. Only Watkins keeps getting written up because of his work as a queer youth activist.

Within the past month, Watkins protested against insane homophobic minister Fred Phelps at a mass same-sex marriage ceremony, organized a hate crimes rally after hearing of Billy Jack Gaither's murder, led groups of queer youth to speak to representatives at California's Queer Youth Lobby Day, helped plan the local Equality Begins At Home events... and I'm sure there are far more events I'm leaving out.

Sullivan urges youth to find the courage to be themselves

By Jeff Walsh

For many gay liberals, the mere words "Andrew Sullivan" make them tense up. He is roundly criticized for his conservative, Christian views, and seems to be a lightning rod for controversy. Sullivan can be seen everywhere when a national gay story breaks, from Politically Incorrect to Nightline, and whether you agree with him or not, his views are always well thought-out and thought-provoking.

Ellen's mother writes the book on acceptance

By Jeff Walsh

Betty DeGeneres was retired and golfing before her life changed. After her daughter, Ellen, came out on national television on her ABC sitcom, Betty's life moved in a new, unexpected direction.

Betty is now the first non-gay spokesperson for National Coming Out Day, which is celebrated every year in October. And next month, Betty DeGeneres will add another title to her resume: author.

Ellen's Patrick Bristow is still acting out for laughs

By Jeff Walsh

A year before Ellen told a crowded airport of people that she was gay on her hit TV series, Patrick Bristow was out in real life and as Ellen's friend Peter on the show. His character even exchanged wedding vows with his same-sex partner long before Ellen would merit a parental advisory for merely having a girlfriend.

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Night and Day

[Ed. Note: Fraternity life for queer students is something rarely addressed in Oasis. A new book, "Out on Fraternity Row" from Alyson Publications sheds light on how gay and bisexual men cope with their sexuality in the seemingly-hetero world of fraternities. While there is currently a gay fraternity, there are still major issues for people who are queer and are fraternity members. Unlike a traditional profile in Oasis, where we would normally interview one of the people who contributed to the book, this month we feature an exclusive excerpt from the book courtesy of Alyson Publications and the book's editor Shane Windmeyer.]

Alex Trout, 21, of Kansas City, Missouri

By Jeff Walsh

While the senseless death of Matthew Shepard has touched millions of people, none were hit harder than his family and those who knew him. Alex Trout was Matt's closest friend in Laramie, although Alex has since moved to Kansas City after Matt's death. Within days of his friend being beaten and murdered, Alex found himself in Washington D.C., speaking to thousands of people at a rally while trying to process his grief.

Financial guru revisits his coming out book in new book

By Jeff Walsh

Andrew Tobias is one of the leading financial writers of our day. Many of his books, such as "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need" and "My Vast Fortune" have been praised by critics for both their insight into investing and finance as well as their writing style, which is conversational and fun.

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Tom Beddingfield, 19, of San Diego, Calif.

[Ed. note: When this column was named "Profiles in Courage" three years ago, the point was clear that we wanted to focus on young people who were out and making a difference in the world. All of profiles to date have been people who have been advancing the gay rights debate forward by being out, filing lawsuits and sharing their stories. This month, we are faced with a new challenge, a profile of a young gay man who opposes hate crimes legislation, gay marriage, workplace rights and gays in the military. While many people will not agree with these opinions, it still takes courage to go against the grain and speak your mind. Oasis has prided itself on our inclusiveness, which we will now extend to this month's profile.]

Jonathan Harvey does a "Beautiful Thing" for gay youth

By Jeff Walsh

Gay adolescence has never been more beautifully captured on film than in Beautiful Thing. The 1995 British film about gay teens Jamie and Ste has given a new generation of queer teens a mushy boy-boy romance with a lush soundtrack and (gasp!) a happy ending.

Oddly enough, the play may have never been written if Beautiful Thing playwright Jonathan Harvey didn't have acne as a teenager.

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On NBC's "Frasier," openly gay Butler plays it straight

By Jeff Walsh

On the award-winning series Frasier, Dan Butler drips with testosterone as the very heterosexual sports jock Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe. The role pits Bulldog against the more fey, sensitive radio psychiatrist Frasier Crane.

The NBC series won the hotly contested 9 p.m. Thursday seat left warm due to Seinfeld's departure last season.

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DeGeneres, Heche and Etheridge come out to support gay marriage

By Jeff Walsh

Ellen DeGeneres has been through a lot in the past two years.

She had to deal with the media scrutiny about the character on her now-defunct television show coming out of the closet, which was closely followed by the Religious Right boycotting ABC and Disney, which produced her show. At the end of that television season, she eventually did come out both as Ellen the actress/comedian and Ellen the character on the show.

Steve Schalchlin writes and sings in the key of life

By Jeff Walsh

Steve Schalchlin radiates an honesty when you see him perform. When he tours, he tells the stories of his life, and what led him to write the songs he composed for "The Last Session," a musical about an HIV-positive singer who reunites with his bandmates to record one last album.

Rufus Wainwright is out, with an impressive debut

By Jeff Walsh

On his debut, self-titled album, Rufus Wainwright's piano-laden songs of love and loss are brilliantly executed. When I first heard it, it didn't fit into any typical genre. It had a timeless quality to it, as any good music should. The words and music were on their own poetic and beautiful, and only improved when intertwined.

I had become aware of Wainwright in a backward fashion. I first read a few mini-interviews with him in the national gay press when his album was released. So, I did know his sexuality going into my first listen of the album. But, I didn't listen for the "gay parts", as I am sometimes wont to do. Yes, he talks about boys when pronouns are specified, but it is very much in the background, with the phrasings and melodies being far more interesting to me. I honestly still can't tell you where he mentions boys, as I've never bothered to dissect the songs. In concert, he recently mentioned one of the songs was about River Phoenix, but without him mentioning it I'm not sure I would ever have gleaned the inspiration.

I can't even tell you what his CD itself looks like, because as soon as I received it in the mail I immediately put it in the stereo, and it has never found its way back out, over a month later.

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