And Other Gay Emmy Moments

Neil Patrick Harris Steps Out

Neil Patrick Harris made good on his promise.

The 34-year old actor showed up to last night’s Emmy Awards with his boyfriend, David Burtka. It’s the first time the dashing gay duo’s walked the red carpet together. Equally out actor TR Knight, meanwhile, showed up with a female friend. Maybe the Grey’s Anatomy star needs to find a man?

Handsome homo Harris also appeared on stage with HeroesHayden Panettiere. Stunning as always, Panettiere giggled like a girl in the known when Harris poked wholesome fun at her new legal status… voting rights.

Harris’ historically big step surely wasn’t the only monumental moment from last night, but it’s indicative of a sea change in Hollywood. As Michael Jensen from AfterElton notes:

…A gay milestone was marked before the first winner was even announced. For the first time in Emmy history, three out gay actors were up for acting awards and two of those actors were nominated for their work playing recurring heterosexual roles.

Harris, Knight and Ian McKellan were all nominated for their roles on How I Met Your Mother, Grey’s and Extras, respectively. Brothers and Sisters‘ Matthew Rhys received a nomination for his role as gay brother, Kevin. Bryan Singer and Tim Gunn helped contribute to the queerness, as well as a number of other members of the lavender set. Tina Fey, meanwhile, stayed inclusive when she and hers won best comedy for 30 Rock: Fey thanks all the wives, hubbies and same-sex partners of her cast and crew. Rock on.

While the gay boys may not have won in their categories, their mere presence proves the times are a changin’. And, unlike so many other political and cultural spheres, the Hollywood times are changing for the better.

Yes, gay jokes were bounced around, but all seemed to be in favor of gays – or, at least, against anti-gays. For example, Bill Maher and his crew used their nomination reel to take the piss out of toilet queens. Poking fun at homophobes? Maybe show biz ain’t so bad, after all…