The race was neck-and-neck between Neil Patrick Harris — Dr. Horrible himself — and John Barrowman, known best for his role as Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and its spinoff, Torchwood, in an online poll to determine the Gay/Bisexual Man of the Decade that was recently conducted by AfterElton.com. Although there were over 600 write-in candidates, NPH and Barrowman remained the top contenders as fans cast over 80,000 votes. When all was said and done, it was Neil Patrick Harris, a.k.a. Doctor Horrible, who came out on top as AfterElton.com’s Gay/Bisexual Man of the Decade.
NPH graciously accepted the accolade in a statement that was posted on AfterElton.com. He wrote:
Huzzah! At last, I have risen atop John Barrowman! While excited, I must admit that I was worried he wouldn’t like it. And yes, it may have been uncomfortable at first, but I soon saw that he was enjoying himself and, therefore, so did I. Good times. A fine way to start Aught Ten.
Joshing aside, I was pretty amazed at how this took on a life of it’s own. Big thanks to everyone who threw a vote my way, but even bigger thanks to those who rallied their legions of fans on my behalf. That was very cool. (Jimmy Fallon? Totally unsolicited? How nice was that?!?) Thanks also to Michael and the gang at AfterElton.com, who seem to be the real winners. And to Twitter. My Twitter followers rock.
Mr. Barrowman, sir, well played. We have never actually met, but know that I am a fan of yours onstage/screen and off. You are a true class act, and represent yourself extremely well. Happy Decade to you.
While I am aware that there are far more deserving people for this award — Tony Kushner and Larry Kramer and Paul Rudnick and Ian McKellen and Dustin Lance Black spring to mind — I will humbly accept this honor. And I vow to not turn straight for at least another ten years.
BTW, what exactly do I win? A crown? A medal? Turtle Wax..? A tote bag..?
Neil Patrick Harris won the title of Gay/Bisexual Man of the Decade with 61% of the vote while Capt. Jack earned 32%. The closest runners up were Sir Ian McKellen with 2% and a fourth-place tie between George Takei and Adam Lambert, each receiving about 1% of the vote. According to AfterElton.com, NPH and Barrowman were only 20 votes apart when the former tweeted the poll to his hundreds of thousands of followers, inciting Barrowman to do the same. In the flurry of Internet and media attention that followed (prompting the Twitter hashtag #biggaybattle), the fans spoke out, unambiguously indicating which actors and celebrities are considered the “face” of the gay/bisexual male community.
A particularly interesting parallel between Neil Patrick Harris and John Barrowman is, as AfterElton.com’s Brent Hartinger pointed out, both actors are openly gay men at the peak of their careers and each were propelled to success after coming out. Although it might seem silly or disrespectful at first blush, AfterElton’s “Big Gay Battle,” as one of the writers jokingly dubbed it, raises several important points like the one above. In a society where homophobia still runs rampant, both the success of actors like Neil Patrick Harris and John Barrowman as well as the response that AfterElton.com’s poll received are clear signs that significant strides were made for gay/bisexual men over the past decade. With positive role models like NPH and Barrowman, it will be interesting to see what the next decade brings as well.