Can't stomach a cosmo? Lost in the hair product aisle? A billboard went up this spring off I-26 reading, "Heterosexual? It's OK ..." The sign directed commuters to an anti-gay website warning that gays are everywhere. In the fine pages of the City Paper, they're right, at least for one week a year. Read on, Straighty, you might just learn something.

Our goal with this issue is to be playful, hence the silly play off of this misguided concern, as if the peccadilloes of gay folks — and not the indiscretions of our straight governor — were to blame for bringing shame on the state. But, just as "South Carolina is So Gay" defined 2008 for the gay community, fresh news has again dominated 2009. This time, it's the alleged outing of Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer at the height of a contentious debate over the governor's future.

And, if there wasn't already a reason to take this issue seriously, one hostile reader sent an e-mail with his suggestion for the Gay Issue: "Take you all out to Fort Jackson for target practice."

This year, we're running the gay issue a month earlier to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the S.C. Gay Pride Festival. Now, that's something to smile about.

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