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July 14, 2000     Cape Gazette
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July 14, 2000

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CAPE G, Friday, July 14 - Jay 20, 2000 - 2S CAPE LIFE Gays, lesbians urged to use political clout Mitchell Anderson makes appearance in Rehoboth Beach By Trish Vernon Mitchell Anderson, one of the first high-profile young actors to openly announce his homosexual- ity in the mid-90s, appeared at the Hennessy Presents Out at the Top for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), hosted by Dr. Jim D'Orta in Rehoboth Beach on Saturday evening, July 8. Anderso n mingled with the few hundred supporters who nibbled on hors d'oeuvres provided by the Blue Moon Restaurant, and sipped drinks such as Sidecars and Cosmopolitans made by sponsor Hennessy Cognac. "I've been doing a lot of speak- ing for HRC fundraisers to give higher profile to the gay commu- nity," said Anderson, who is best known to television audiences as Ross, the violin teacher and men- tor on "Party of Five." A native of Jamestown, N.Y., Anderson said he enjoys any opportunity to appear on the East Coast, having -lived in Los Angeles for the past 15 years. In the first season of "Party of Five," Ross became the first open- ly gay father on television when he adopted a baby girl, and Anderson, who also plays a teacher on the WB Network's show "Popular,,' is very involved in political issues, especially those affecting gays and lesbians. Out at the Top, a national series featuring openly gay, high profile leaders sharing their experiences, came to Rehoboth Beach Saturday evening, July 8, when Hennessy and the Human Rights Campaignts Federal Club hosted actor Mitchell Anderson for an interview and socializing. Shown following the program are (back row, l-r) Kathleen Nilles, a volunteer and co-chair of the Federal Club in the Washington, D.C. area; Harvey Hurdle, co-chair of the Federal Club of Philadelphia; and Mike Palmer, co-chair of the Federal Club of Washington, D.C.; (front row) Anderson and Steve Elkins, vice president of CAMP Rehoboth, who 'layed Oprah" as he interviewed Anderson that evening. On the back lawn bordering Rehoboth's Silver Lake, Anderson participated in a question and answer session with CAMP Rehoboth's Steve Elkins acting as the Cape Region's "Oprah." Before Anderson "came out," he admitted to Elkins that he was scared that his career would be stifled if the public learned of his true sexuality. "I never talked about my personal life," said Anderson, who even played the womanizing Dr. Jack McQuire in the "Doogie Howser M.D." televi 7 sion series. Then, he began getting involved in politics, working for Clinton and Gore in 1992 and, along with the rest of the "Party of Five" cast, visited high schools in an effort to lead by example. He felt uncom- Trish Vernon photos Shown enjoying the perfect summer evening are (l-r) Mike Gonzalez with the Human Rights Campaign and Mitch Selbiger, both of Upper Marlboro, Md., with Christina Strauss and David Beckwith, who organizes Out at the Top events around the country. fortable "dancing around the issue" of his sexuality and admit- ted being gay during a G.L.A.D. Awards ceremony. "My peers were very supportive," Anderson said, citing Sh/tron Stone and Norman Leer as two associates who were behind him. "Since then, my career has taken an odd turn, as I've become a test case for a gay leading man," said Anderson, who also appeared in the movies "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," with Sarah Michelle Geller, and "Relax, It's Just Sex," with Jennifer Tilley. Anderson spoke of California's Proposition 22, an initiative which would recognize marriage only between a man and a woman. "I worked to activate tbe gay com- munity to fight it, but it was a dif- ficult fight because people sit back. We want to live in protec- tive environments that are com- fortable, but it takes incredible commitment and we didn't take responsibility," he said, noting that "when 61 percent of the vot- ers of a state say our marriages are not valid it hurts our self esteem Continued on page 26 Casual be;00ch attire leaves something to be desired Most of us have observed cou- ple.s during the summer months, holding hands and strolling along the streets and Boardwalk. There is a certain look and dress about these couples that lends itself to remembering our own youthful summer romances and perhaps recall the words from Patti Page's song "Old Cape Cod." She put us all in the mood with those memorable lyrics, "If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air, quaint little villages here and there..." And you can stop right there. Today this song has about as much meaning as those traffic assessments out of DelDOT from over the Fourth of July, claiming there were no major headaches. What we see today, walking along, may be more apropos to the Ronnettes crankin out "I met him on a Monday and my heart stood , f, ,,, H AROUND TOWN Nancy Katz still. Ado run, run, a d run, run." I'm no fashion plate, although my thighs have reached the pro- portion befitting a large turkey on a platter, still you've got to won- der what these people were think- ing when they left the house that morning. Now, I'm not picking on the guys, but there is one item of clothing that seems to create some confusion. That is the muscle shirt. By definition, it couldn't be any more clear. Muscle shirts are designed to be worn by those with MUSCLES. In other words, if you are a male, in the one percent of the population who has grown up in a place like Rodondo Beach, California, and go by the name of Six Pack, you qualify. Take our friend Hal. We try not to use real names, but it just hap- pens to be a coincidence that Hal is his name. Anyway, Hal is a born again loser, the Richard Nixon briefcase as a kid, the sole member of the prom cleanup com- mittee listed in his high school year book and the only member of his class in college to actually know the location on campus of the school library. Hal is at the beach and picks out something casual to wear to attract chicks. Unfortunately, he doesn't read the label on the muscle shirt. It clearly states that if you have the physique of a fusili pasta or if you put this garment on and the arm holes of this shirt reach to the ground, so that people mistake it for a trash receptacle, the manu- facturer cannot be held liable for any sort of public stoning. Or take the case of our friend Harry. He also chooses to wear the muscle shirt to pick up chicks. Unfortunately, Harry has watched the movie "Saturday Night Fever" over a thousand times. He now believes he is the reincarnation of John Travolta. But it's difficult to stuff his head through the opening and the shirt eventually dies from lack of breathing space. He too failed to read the label, which also states, "To be worn only if your name is Tony Moreno and we got your gold chains right here." For women, the confusing gar- ment at the beach is the halter top. You'll need to call upon the laws of physics for this decision. The standard used is that if the amount of mass enclosed in a space equals three times the size of your body weight causing you to boomerang off of trees and cars, then you'll have about as much success pick- ing up a guy as the swallows returning to Capistra,no , Sure, beach time means dress- ing in casual attire. And there is someone out there for everyone who wants romance. And maybe you are ahead of your time, but until we are living among the folks in Bizzaro World, you might want to recheck that mirror. Because, as Patti Page sings of the summer, "You're sure to fall in love."