September 8, 2006
Volume 34
Issue 36
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Saturday, Dec 05, 2020



General Gayety by Leslie Robinson
Too good to be true
I try to keep up. It's true that occasionally I watch "Golden Girls" instead of the evening news, but by and large I've been keeping track of the Mideast conflagration, the Iraq morass, and the American judicial blockade against same-sex marriage.

Still, e-mails bearing specifically LGBT news had piled up in my computer, so I set to reading them. In the process I discovered a news item that made me blurt "OhmyGod." It's the sort of story that my particular muses-Groucho, Chico and Harpo-send me but once in a blue moon.

It seems that in late July a gossip column in the New York Daily News quoted Sir Ian McKellen, the openly Gay British actor: "I was in Atlanta doing press for 'The Da Vinci Code,' and they wanted to honor me. The governor made me a lieutenant colonel," he said. "So the 'don't ask, don't tell' rule obviously didn't apply to me.

"I have a lovely certificate hanging in my office. So, inadvertently, they made me the poster child for having openly Gay people in the military," said Sir Ian.

OhmyGod. Georgia's Republican governor appointed a Gay activist to be an honorary officer in the Georgia National Guard! And Gov. Sonny Perdue reportedly supports "Don't Ask, Don't Tell!" What was he thinking? He must not have known. Boy, some underling's testicles are going to be served up on a plate.

Is it possible the governor did know, and this represents a public change of heart? Yes, and it's also possible it wasn't Sherman who burned Atlanta, but Mrs. O'Leary's cow.

What a blunder. How embarrassing. How wonderful. McKellen is internationally famous as both an actor and a homo. The American military is internationally infamous for its ban on openly Gay service people. This perfect story could go around the globe like bird flu.

Alas, there's one little problem with the story. It isn't true.

It came to me via the PlanetOut website. No doubt the folks there, like yours truly, drooled over the high irony count. But wishing doesn't make it so, and the day after PlanetOut ran with the story, Perdue's spokesman set the record dreadfully straight.

For a start, the governor can't make appointments to the National Guard, said Dan McLagan, according to an online Washington Blade piece, which I read through my tears.

McLagan said, "[McKellen] has previously claimed that this [kind of appointment] occurred in 1995, not 2006. The movie opening was 'Richard III,' not 'The Da Vinci Code.' All that being said, this guy is Gandalf and Magneto rolled into one, and if he wants to join forces with Georgia when we must battle evil, we welcome him."

That's funny. But it's also a fib, since McKellen IS the evil many Georgians-including the anti-marriage-equality governor-continue to battle.

The Blade piece noted McKellen's website carries virtually the same story as the one I briefly adored, but the movie was "Richard III." So either Sir Ian likes to recycle a good story, or the Daily News is dazed and confused. Either way, I shan't recover for some time.

All I can do now is share the view of Chuck Bowen, executive director of Georgia Equality, who said, "Alas, if it were only true!"

If McKellen had been made an officer in the Georgia National Guard, it would highlight what a foolish mess "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is. Plus, a force with Gandalf on its side would win without firing a shot. Any enemy who's seen "Lord of the Rings" would hightail it home the moment McKellen bellowed, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!"

Leslie Robinson admires a good bellow. E-mail her at, and read more of her work at

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