8 Such a DeGeneres: After her CBS sitcom tanked, everyone wondered if Ellen DeGeneres’ best days were behind her. But then came this summer’s blockbuster kids’ pic Finding Nemo, in which DeGeneres voiced the memory-challenged blue tang Dory to the tune of $340 million at the box office domestically. And in the fall, DeGeneres launched her daytime talk show, avoiding the Rosie comparisons by offering up a smart, sophisticated take on the usual afternoon-chat pabulum. Glamourmagazine named her to its list of this year’s inspiring women. Good to have you back, too, Ellen.
9 Put it in print: After Vermont’s civil-unions decision last year, gay-rights groups began pushing for mainstream papers to list queer nuptials right next to the ones lauding the mergers of pearl-bedecked debs and their Ivy League fiancés. More than 200 papers now list same-sex announcements, including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Timesand even the Orange County Register. Since civil unions are valid in the Green Mountain State and legal in Canada, many of the papers argued, they had the responsibility to report them. Everyone at Pottery Barn’s bridal registry is surely weeping for joy.
10 Angels Soar: At long last, Mike Nichols brought Tony Kushner’s Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Angels in Americato HBO. Weeks before its premiere, right-wing cranks goaded CBS to boot The Reagansoff the air for being too anti-Gipper, winning a culture battle but losing the war. Angels, with its look at life, love, power and politics, is a far more scathing indictment of the go-go ’80s, and just happens to be one of the best things ever on TV.
11 The Governator: A lot was made out of Schwarzenegger’s comments over the years on women and drugs, but Beefcake Arnold also had a few things to say about homosexuality. “Well, I have absolutely no hang-ups about the fag business. Though it may bother some bodybuilders, it doesn’t affect me at all.” The question now, of course, is whether AB 205, the extended-benefits domestic-partner bill that Davis signed before leaving office, gets the governator’s seal of approval. If 2003 was the year of the fabulous, it could mean gay folks need to gear up for the backlash in ’04 — which could play out butt ugly in the November elections. Until then, they can watch Queer Eye’s Fab 5 transform America, one het at a time.