‘OUT’ Celebrates Powerful White Men, ‘Marie Claire’ Clears Up Achele Rumors


OUT Magazine’s Fifth Annual Power 50 has HIT THE STANDS and as you may have guessed, I’m not on it. I guess it’s hard to be powerful with only $429 in the bank, but today I rode my bike really fast for like two minutes and probably gave someone good advice on formspring.

In fact nobody from Autostraddle was featured on this year’s list, which I believe is because a) We have no power and b) Nobody knows who we are and c) Last time we went up to the roof and gave it a swing, we were unable to fly and d) none of the rich powerful white men on this list have invested in our business or in any lesbian business, so.

Also the bar for entry seems pretty high for ladies — one must apparently either have their own teevee show or their own city to rank, which leaves out some very powerful ladies including but not limited to (despite my feelings about her and her feelings about me) Ilene Chaiken and also Kate Bornstein, Pam Spaulding, Randi Weingarten, Urvashi Vaid and Rosie O’Donnell.

So speaking of — enough about me/us! Onto ALL THESE WHITE PEOPLE!!!!!!!

From OUT:

In times of upheaval, power changes hands fast. It’s no surprise, then, that two of our 10 names this year are new entries. Or that one — Apple’s Tim Cook — rockets to the top of the list. TV and the internet remain fertile ground for LGBT talent and power to flourish, with five more of our group coming from talk shows, news programs, or tablet launches (Ellen DeGeneres, Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow, new entry Shepard Smith and Barry Diller). As always, the positions were determined by a range of factors, including power to influence cultural and social attitudes, political clout, individual wealth, and a person’s media profile.

11 of the 50 Most Powerful Gays & Lesbians are women, and you can probably guess who at least half of those 11 women are without even clicking over but I’ll save you the finger exercise and just tell you myself: it’s Ellen DeGeneres, Rachel Maddow, Suze Orman, Lisa Cholodenko, Christine Quinn, Tammy Baldwin and Annise Parker.

Ladies I hadn’t heard of include movie producer Christine Vachon, Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union and Martha Nelson, the editorial director of Time Inc.

Ladies who have managed to make the Power 50 without even officially coming out of the closet or getting involved with any gay activism include Jodie Foster.

Men on the list who I didn’t know were gay, let alone out, include Shepard Smith.

DON’T WORRY THOUGH, because NEXT YEAR, OUT is like 95% sure that at least one of these fellows will make it onto the list, as they are featured in the “Up & Comers” Section:

Were you aware that the Just Jared guy (the one with the gold situation on his shoulder) is so frackin’ adorably cute? I wasn’t. The more you know!


Lea Michele, Amber Riley and Dianna Agron are on the cover of Marie Claire Magazine‘s May 2011 issue, set to hit newsstands on the 19th of April.

More importantly to the demographic currently reading this post, Dianna Agron is onto you and your fantasies of Lea/Dianna Love:

Tabloid terror: What’s been the most absurd rumor you’ve heard?
Everybody is convinced that Lea and I are in a relationship. There are supposedly forums with photos of us hugging at work or events. It’s funny, but flattering — Lea is beautiful. Since when can’t you hug your friends?

Will the shippers stop believin’ or will they truck on in the spirit of the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin'”? TIME WILL TELL.

Over at The FabLife, some concerns about Amber Riley’s cover:

On their solo covers, Agron and Michele offer written promise that they’ll discuss “the rumors! gossip! drama!” of their hit show. Yet on Riley’s cover, the actress is quoted saying, “I show girls how to be comfortable with their bodies.” Of all four covers, Amber’s is the only one highlighting the actress’s body, rather than the insanity that must come with working on one of the hottest shows on TV. Riley is definitely a gorgeous woman, but it’d be nice of Marie Claire could single her out for more than just her pants’ size. Like, for example, how she clearly needs to be given a major story line when Glee‘s Lady Gaga episode drops April 26. If it wasn’t for that one glaring difference, the four covers would make for a near-flawless gallerGlee.

In this video, we go behind the scenes of the photo shoot:

Special Comment: Okay so here’s the thing that boggles my mind, reader: from day one here at Autostraddle we’ve been extraordinarily, often to a fault, obsessed with being responsible about diversity. Not only because we are afraid of people yelling at us (we are) but also because it makes for more interesting, compelling content and because symbolic annihilation will annihilate us all. Any Galleries, Top Tens or Other Lists of Humans must be diverse w/r/t race/ethnicity, body size and gender presentation to the very best of our abilities. We’re hyper conscious of representation and we still do it wrong sometimes and we STILL get yelled at quite a bit.

So this is how I operate this website as an editor with no training, no idea what I’m doing and no qualifications for this job that has sort of created itself around me. But I can’t imagine seeing the OUT Power 50 on my desk and saying “oh this looks great, print it!”

I’ve written for marie claire before and I really like the magazine and everyone I’ve worked with there, but FABLife makes a solid point and again, I can’t imagine not finding that cover problematic — I’d be like, “really guys, can we please at least pretend to live in a world where you can interview someone who’s not skinny without exclusively and excessively focusing on her not-skinniness?” and then I’d probably say “Get me a skim iced latte” because in this fantasy I am Powerful (like #23 or #24) and have a Magazine and a Desk and probably lots of Interns Who Actually Do Things.

So this makes me wonder: are these super powerful important people — and similar concerns arise annually with things like Vanity Fair’s Young Hollywood Issue and the backlash inevitably follows  — completely ignorant about diversity? Are they too insulated to notice/care?  Am I HYPER-AWARE because I’ve been reading so much Bitch Magazine, Jezebel, Feministing, Racialicious and AfterEllen, and outside of these circles, nobody really cares?

Or (and I fear this is the real answer) do they make these choices because this kind of limited representation is, in fact, the most profitable kind of representation when it comes to selling magazines and being respected as a source of accurate / balanced reporting?

At this point in this post I could effectively bring it back around to my first paragraph where I joked about not being on the Power 50, something about how perhaps our consciousness is our Achilles heel and all these people Are Powerful because they devote their lives to celebrating white men and skinny girls, but I have to run to an editorial meeting, so I’ll just say that Lea, to the best of my alleged knowledge, like many young females (and males) involved in creative open-minded industries such as Broadway, has certainly kissed+ girls for funsies, but is so def not a lez or, to the best of my alleged knowledge, secretly dating Dianna Agron.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3213 articles for us.


  1. Hey Riese, OT but for some reason I can’t comment on the Santana post. There’s no comment box or reply options. Are comments for the article closed for some reason?

  2. Cynically, I would guess it’s a combination of too insulated and/or don’t care, and more profitable.

  3. Oh, Riese. Way to break my heart with the Achele news. Didn’t Lea date Haviland once upon a time ago?

  4. whether they’re dating or not – they’ve totes ‘hooked up’ before….thats all i’m sayin.

  5. Not to sounds like a kiss ass, but I think all the AS ladies have plenty of power given all the lives you’ve touched with this amazing website. You could be using all your influence for evil purposes like convincing me that all I need to be happy in life is that perfect body type, right pair of overly expensive jeans, and a nice ready-to-please attitude.

  6. Agree with Dani! It’s because of AS that I’m planning on launching my own website in the not too distant future (hopefully with the help of my amazing best friend). I adore the snark, the intelligence, the relevance of this site (and I’ve said this before–I’m a straight gal, but AS is the first website I check in the mornings while eating my Oat Bran–these are not gay issues, or even women’s issues…these are HUMAN issues, and it breaks my heart that people in general are not aware of the things discussed here). You ladies have really helped me figure out what I want to do with My Life! :)

  7. Obvs Dianna Agron and Lea Michele can’t be secretly dating because the world would collapse under the grief of such fine individuals not sharing their hotness with anyone else.

    Especially since I wouldn’t have a chance with either of them.

    Ahem, onto more serious things…you are right, that is a LOT of white people and a LOT of dudes. :\ Are there any POC among the 50? (The only ones I can see are in the Up&Comers section)

  8. okay, i read the last sentence as “has certainly kissed girls … to the best of my alleged knowledge is secretly hooking up with dianna agron”

    it’s called selective reading

  9. Unfortunately I have learned to be pretty cynical about these things, and I think its profit. The people buying the magazines want the limited, narrow representation, so they buy the magazine, make more money for the editors and the editors get on the most powerful list which rewards them for their narrow view, repeat 1000000000x.

    Sadly, I see this cycle repeated in my peer group (20 somethings), where way too many girls are still obsessed with weight. It drive me crazy, fortunately my own reaction to it is eat another burger not starve myself.

  10. Sometimes I feel as a african american gay women growing up in a white world that I do not know how to feel about certain things. I grew up around predominately white kids as a child and when I entered college to the point that as a adult I find it difficult to meet and befriend other african americans. A lot of my interests would be considered “white” interests to certain people and it does not bother me because why should it. Am I doing something wrong? I love autostraddle and everything it stands for but even I notice the lack of african americans writing for the website and as an african american it is hard to understand where/what the community stands on these issues. Am I the only one? I know I am not the only one but it is hard because I can not find it. Where is it?? :)

  11. I am confused, did I miss the memo wherein Anderson Cooper and Shep Smith came out? Fox News employs an openly gay man? What? The world is flat?

    • ha..when i first read your comment thought: cooper and smith a couple?…yeah…that I would like to see….

  12. Breakfast At Tiffany’s????? That’s it, ladies, it’s official. Dianna Agron is my soulmate.

    ((Still hoping for a Santana/Quinn ‘ship but Puck and Finn would probably hook up before that would ever come into beautiful existence…*sigh*…))

  13. Erm….I may have heard a thing or two myself about Ms. Safrati….(my lips to God’s oreilles)

    And I ain’t no Achele shipper.

    She’s not a lez but she is, wait for it, wait for it….

    • Just to clarify, I first heard (read) something HERE, then I ran to several, ahem sources, ahem actor friends, ahem publicist friends, ahem ahem…, and then I heard some more. Though course it’s all hearsay.

      Ohhhh Hollyweird…

      • What about her and Dianna though? Have you heard anything? They look like something more than friends to me. Not to mention a certain accessory they both started to wear at the same time.

      • I know nothing. And totally giveaway conversations with friends at certain parties were never had. :-X

  14. I think I must’ve created some sort of weird lesbian mental enclave for myself because I constantly forget that the gay boys exist. “Oh no, I feel so bad for so-and-so because there aren’t any out men anywhere so he has no role models! That’s so terrible!”

    But then I see this or something else and my entire world LITERALLY comes crashing down. Dislike.

  15. Lists are not about representing diversity, they’re about listing. If a white man is more rich/famous/powerful than a woman of color, he’s gonna rank higher than her on the power list.
    I don’t know anything about American celebrities and OUT magazine so maybe I’m wrong, but I think the issue isn’t as much OUT’s editorial choices as it is the fact that it’s much harder for women and people of color to become successful. These kind of lists are just a mirror of our society, getting angry at the people who publish them is akin to shooting the messenger.
    Let’s get angry at the people who prevent women and POC to deserve a spot on the list instead.

    • sadly, there is an awful lot of truth to what you say here. The only thing i would add is that magazine editors could be more progressive and try to help speed up some change. However, like i said in my earlier comment, i think ultimately what rules is money and profit and the people buying the magazines are the skinny, monied, white girls.

    • OUT doesn’t use any objective qualifiers, any math or anything to make its list. It’s just their subjective assessment. So they choose those people independent of anything besides their own opinions.

    • “These kind of lists are just a mirror of our society, getting angry at the people who publish them is akin to shooting the messenger.”

      I disagree. I think these kinds of lists are self-reinforcing self-selection. You look for what you want to see, then what you find is validated as representative.

      The few times I’ve seen Out magazine I assumed it was all about white gay guys based on the covers and ads. Maybe the editors are being progressive acknowledging the contributions of women at all. I’m not saying it’s right or sufficient, just that maybe this list does reflect an effort on their part to be inclusive.

      I’m not sure which scenario – no effort at inclusion or this result – would make me sadder.

      • “I disagree. I think these kinds of lists are self-reinforcing self-selection. You look for what you want to see, then what you find is validated as representative.”

        Bingo. If you are in a minority you have to be super-duper-special to make it onto a list of this kind compared to everyone else. There’s a Chris Rock quote about how he has this house somewhere and amongst his neighbours, the only other black folk in the neighbourhood were celebrities like himself. But the white neighbours were not as high-powerered – he used a dentist as an example. “Black folk gotta fly when white folk can walk”.

        It’s like, unless you’ve cured AIDS for good or stopped global warming any of your successes don’t count as a minority. Whereas people with privilege get to get away with far less effort.

      • Well as I said, I have never read OUT magazine so I assumed the list was based on objective data and quantifiers, but according to Riese it is not. In this case then yes the list is “self reinforcing selection”, and also irrelevant. If no solid data and objective ranking system were used in its creation it’s not a “top 50 powerful people” list, it’s a “top 50 people I like” list ; it doesn’t provide any significant information and thus we shouldn’t give it the underserved credit its creators wish it had.

        I still stand by my opinion that objective, backed-up by facts lists are just mirrors and not tools though, but apparently this one is not one of them.

  16. Lisa Cholodenko? Are you frickin’ serious? I didn’t realize this was the list of the ‘Top 50 sellouts who set the lesbian community back 30 years’. Ugh, she needs to disappear off the face of this Earth with her sizeable gay porn stash and leave the rest of us alone.

    • I totes disagree. Whether or not you personally loved her movie, she did manage to write and direct a mainstream movie about middle-aged married lesbians. I would say that takes mad power.

  17. I think the person whose writing made Perez Hilton change is ways definitely deserves a place on the Out list. Maybe we need an Autostraddle power list?

  18. so since i am a homebody who doesn’t pay attention to the teevee or whatever i don’t recognize all the names & don’t know their specific identities or orientations. but are there any “t” people on the list? (i’m guessing no.) are there even any bisexuals? i was very surprised lady gaga was not on this list given her fame, huge popularity, $$$$$s, etc. and unlike some of the people on the list she actually, uh, you know, IS NOT CLOSETED.

    so even if it were the case that this list is actually somehow reflective of the whiteys and dudes that happen to become wealthy, famous, powerful, etc. in the US there is definitely a glaring omission here which doesn’t speak well for how OUT magazine “counts” who is representative of the community. i guess only the first two letters count?? they describe themselves as “a gay and lesbian perspective on style, entertainment, fashion, the arts, politics, culture, and the world at large” but i didn’t know i was supposed to take that as exclusive of the rest of the alphabet soup. they describe last year’s power 50 as being the “most influential gay men and women” but this year they mention that “TV and the internet remain fertile ground for LGBT talent and power to flourish”. if they’re using the exclusive sense of “gay” (HOMOS ONLY) i really wish they would come out and say it in their criteria rather than imply that there are no influential queers of other varieties.

    i’m kind of left ?????? as to what the purpose of this list is. if it’s “representation” then as riese and commenters note they could have done a far better job and picked challenging, interesting people from all walks of life. i’m left with cynicism and thinking this is basically the gay (HOMOS ONLY!!!) version of the forbes lists.

  19. Ooh, I’ve heard of Christine Vachon! Not only did she produce the amazing ‘Velvet Goldmine,’ but she wrote a really great book that some of you DIY-minded folk might be interested in. It’s called ‘Shooting to Kill’ and it’s basically a step-by-step guide to everything involved with producing and distributing your own low-budget indie movie, illustrated with all kinds of examples from the movies she’s produced. The writing style was not dry at all and it was actually quite fascinating for me to see all the insanity that goes into producing even a small film.

    Also, she’s produced a lot of films with homogay themes and content, so if you’re interested in those, you should check the book out too, since there’s all kinds of behind the scenes tidbits.

    • ALSO! For what it’s worth, I’ve noticed the emphasis you guys place on diversity here and I very much appreciate it. I know you still get criticized in comments sometimes, but whatever. This website is made by humans and sometimes it slips up and sometimes some people are just never satisfied, but *most of the time* it’s full of awesome and I appreciate the effort at inclusion. It makes AS a better place to be!

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