Actor John Barrowman Kicks Off Commonwealth Games With Big Gay Smooch

CGJBWhile most Americans have never heard of the Commonwealth Games (it’s like a less exciting Olympics among the Commonwealth of Nations — mostly territories of the former British Empire), homophobia has taken center stage ahead of the games in Glasgow.

42 of the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth criminalize homosexuality, with penalties up to life imprisonment in at least seven member states, plus the death penalty in parts of northern Nigeria and rural Pakistan, and the scheduled introduction of death by stoning in Brunei.

Which made this gaytastic kiss between Dr. Who actor John Barrowman and an unknown lucky gent so amazing at the opening ceremony in Scotland.

And as scripted as the smooch may have been, it’s being taken as a big poke in the eye to participating nations whose gay rights track records are certainly not winning them any medals.

Here’s how it aired:

Reaction was expectedly mixed, but Barrowman responded with total class:

As did these supporters:


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  • Sammy Schlipshit

    John Barrowman is a wonderful advocate for us all.

    He did a terrific series on BBC1 called The Making of Me. In one episode he investigates the origin of being either str8 or gay.

    Of course, if you haven’t watched Barrowman in Torchwood as bi Capt. Jack then you have some catching up to do.

  • robirob

    It must have been a setup and rehearsed in advance, because that could have turned very ugly if the guy John smooches isn’t cool with it.

    • Sammy Schlipshit


      Dude, the guy was young, European and a dancer….do the math. Seems like a sure thing to me.

  • Zodinsbrother

    @robirob: It was a rehearsed moment in a performance. John was signing and the guy was one of the backing dancers.

  • DuMaurier

    42 of the 53 Commonwealth nations ‘criminalize homosexuality’? This is kind of ironic, given that there was a time when the Commonwealth almost broke apart because most of the members supported sanctions against the then-apartheid regime in South Africa, and the UK (under Thatcher) wouldn’t cooperate.

    Now the legalized repression issue is in the other foot, with England legalizing marriage and other LGBT equality issues. Hmmm…if I recall, it was widely reported that the Queen supported the South Africa sanctions and pushed Thatcher to go along (which she finally did); since I’m pretty sure Her Majesty does NOT support criminalizing LGBT’s, maybe this is a chance to see if she still has any “quiet diplomacy” influence with these countries that formally acknowledge her as head of their international organization.

  • Zodinsbrother

    The Queen and her mother were famous for their love of the company of gay men.

  • SteveDenver

    Hurray for John!
    Here’s hoping England will soon stop hosting the haters.

  • michael mellor

    It just seems that this kiss was designed to disguise the enormous homophobia of the countries that are competing. It also comes across as narcissistic and ridiculous – you simply don”t kiss people like that if you are not in love with them.

    Britain should be ashamed of itself for hosting these homophobic countries.

  • LadyL

    Love the exuberant John “Captain Jack” Barrowman and the late, great Torchwood (at least until RT Davies lost his mind and started killing almost everyone off). Love the kiss, too.
    But, um… where was hubby Scott while all this smooching was going on?

  • Billy Budd


  • jar

    Have never understood the commonwealth and probably never will. It seems only a backward looking last gasp of pretend empire.

  • Dxley


  • ingyaom

    Is either of these guys gay? Seems a little off-topic if the issue is decriminalizing homosexuality. What does a random kiss between two heterosexual have to do with that? Maybe they should have had Elton John and his husband or some other actual homosexuals to make their point.

    • Sammy Schlipshit


      Seems as though you didn’t get the memo….Barrowman is a very out, loud, proud, activist, professional homo.
      Do any Googling to find out.

      As to the other guy…see one of my previous posts….the other guy is European, young and a dancer…need more clues? The little swoon he does at the very end of the video is another.

  • dazzer

    The Commonwealth is an organisation that grew out of the end of the British Empire. It’s the second largest international organisation in the world after the UN and actually has a waiting list of non-British colonies who want to join.

    I don’t understand why because it’s largely a talking shop. But it’s regarded as something to aspire to, internationally, it seems.

    That said, the Commonwealth does allow better-natured, less antagonistic international debates about things like homosexuality. For example, the Scottish Government is flying the rainbow flag above government buildings for the duration of the Games.

    It’s clearly provocation to the homophobic countries, but it signals to other Commonwealth nations that if someone wants a fight about equality, the host nation for the Games is up for it.

    The Commonwealth Games are the third-most watched global sporting event after the Olympics and World Cup.

  • YesIDid

    I once passed John Barrowman on the street in Manhattan. He gave me the most dismissive look, icy in fact. Yeah, he’s a pretty boy but at that time hefore he was out, he acted like the most self-hating gay man I’ve ever seen. Or maybe he was trying to pass a hard stool that day?

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