Man of the Year
For better or worse, television is America’s
cultural currency. It is where we tell stories about ourselves and where we go
to see ourselves reflected on a national stage in front of millions. This
site’s motto is “Because Visibility Matters” and when it comes to popular
culture — especially that of television — this year few gay men embodied that
ethic more than Silvio Horta, executive producer and head writer for ABC’s Ugly Betty.
Horta’s show is one of network
television’s few bright spots for gay visibility and Ugly Betty’s message – one of tolerance for everyone whether they
be gay, straight, transgender, old, overweight, or, of course, badly dressed –
is one that especially speaks to the gay community.
Under Horta’s guidance, Ugly Betty has continued to promote that message with episodes
focusing on Justin’s (Mark Indelicato) struggle to be the kind of son he thinks
his father would have wanted, Alexis’ (Rebecca Romijn) navigating the world as
a transgender woman, and Marc’s (Michael Urie) strained relationship with his
homophobic mother. Betty even added
another gay character when Marc fell in love with Cliff (David Blue), an
unlikely love interest that further broadened the diversity of gay men we see
on our televisions.
For those reasons we have selected Silvio Horta as
AfterElton.com’s Man of the Year. Said Horta about the honor:
I’m not sure what qualities one needs to be named
Man of the Year, but whatever it is I’m doing, I’ll try to keep it up. To
be a working writer is a dream in and of itself. To be working on a
show like Betty — with a
built-in message of acceptance — is the icing on the cake. Marco Pennette,
my co-showrunner and Executive Producer, deserves a special thanks here too. He
is an MVP of comedy, and a big part of Ugly
Betty’s gay sensibility.
From the start, I felt a gay sensibility within the
premise of Ugly Betty — everyone
feels like an outsider or underdog at some point in his/her life, and I
think this rings especially true within the gay community. It’s definitely
important to have gay characters represented on television; more and more,
young gay people see themselves on television or in the movies, and understand
that they can be themselves. Also, those characters are the most fun to
Congratulations to Silvio and everyone at Ugly Betty. Now on to the rest of our Visibility Awards!
Best Scripted Network
Series Featuring a Regular Gay Character
Ugly Betty (ABC)
Halfway through its second season, this ABC dramedy has thus
far managed to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump. It also managed to become even
more gay. The show’s single best achievement however is that it not only kept
Wilhelmina’s assistant Marc St. James from descending into the parody of the
bitchy gay assistant, but actually humanized him.
In the show’s 18th
episode, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” we met Marc’s homophobic mother (the
brilliant Patti LuPone) and saw a much more vulnerable side of Marc. Then
earlier this season, Marc took Betty’s young nephew Justin under his wing when
he interned at Mode while still mourning his murdered father. And in October
viewers had the great fun of watching Marc make a most unlikely love match with
Cliff, a slightly chunky gay man the opposite of Marc in almost every way.
That Ugly Betty
did all this without missing a beat puts it at the top of the heap.