Entries tagged "LGBT"

Happy Pride: If you’re using that Facebook LGBT flag emoticon, a small request.

LGBT Pride flag photo credit: Ted Eytan cc
Happy Pride! I’ve got a few words for everyone who is excited about Facebook putting out a new rainbow flag icon during LGBT Pride month this June. Facebook sponsored the RNC after many many anti-queer stances by the GOP. A major Facebook shareholder has been a core part of Il Dupe’s campaign. Facebook sent its COO to help give Il Dupe a photo of business support when his new election was in doubt. Facebook also took a long time to address the real names policy which posed a true threat to many queer folks. Thanks to Roma Roma and more who advocated on this issue. Enjoy Pride but know that real LGBTIQQ2S leadership comes from lives lived, real risk and real backbone. Here’s to the drag queens and the civil rights activists and to every queer who came before me. Thank you. Here’s to every kid and every grown up coming out to themselves. Welcome! I care. Here’s to every small town queer, every swishy boy in the south, every person getting policed by someone else’s discomfort around gender.
 
If you’re not queer and you really want to be supportive, rather than focusing your energy on displaying something about you…ask queer folks you know about their lives, about the parts you don’t get to see, that people don’t always post about. Be an interested person and a willing listener to folks who have often been through a great deal. Among many other stories, there are people who have been through a plague and were never really heard by the straight part of the country. Signal boost their feeds this month. Realize that queer people you know are always reading your posts, all year long. Take some time and learn about the gay pogroms happening in Chechnya and the serious obstacles still here in the US for many queer folks legal and otherwise.
 
Queer folks often have to deal with their biggest challenges in the families they grow up in. This can mean anything from difficulty to outright abuse and losing a home and these things can begin as early as 3.
 
Now that Pride is a more popular and commercially acceptable thing to decorate for, I ask you to consider using Facebook for something that truly can matter and make a difference. And that will come from you, your witnessing, your time attention and caring, not from any symbol. Showing one queer person you care and are interested in really hearing what something was like to live through and deal with can make a meaningful difference. Queer lives are often code switched.
 
So this is my Pride wish: that every person on Facebook who isn’t queer and wants to use that flag emoticon thing also is willing to spend the time online to ask, listen to and acknowledge one queer person once this month.
 
Thanks for your time.

The Unfacted: Lessons Learned Coming Out.

I wrote a little something on twitter about lessons learned coming out and living in a “make up your own facts” world.

The Donald Trump v Hillary Clinton election has given us a moment in which the threads of what the country appear to all agree upon are unravelling.

Donald Trump’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float level of narcissism seems to have given us a new level of ignoring or making up facts in politics and government.

Is it?

So many on the left are convinced of the need to only persuade with argument and the apparent hopelessness of this for our collective future safety when we cannot agree on basic things.

It’s not new that people in the US won’t accept facts. Here’s one example and some things I learned from it.

 

After Trump I Went to the Castro

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Youth Protesting in the Castro

I went to the Castro the night after Trump was elected to be with my people. I went there to fight Prop 8 and when marriage equality passed. It’s where queers marched the night Harvey Milk was killed by an elected white guy full of resentment and looking for someone he was allowed to blame. It’s where we lost a generation and where they were loved and mourned and fought for. It is the gay Jerusalem. After Harvey was killed, more people came out. When HIV/AIDS hit and decimated a generation and the President refused to even acknowledge this was happening, many well-to-do white, gay men came out and were outed, queer men and women united to work together and care for and bury our own. ACT UP was created. We organized. People learned about medicine and drugs. When Prop 8 passed in California, more straight folks joined us than ever before. Each time something unimagineably horrible has happened, something unimagineably powerful has been born in response. there has been no one leader. The change has come within each person and from what they have done.

I want to time travel to 1988 and tell everyone “We have the meds!!! You did it!! You cheated death! We have marriage, we’re not criminalized!! We have some trans* rights! Keep going! Come out.”

Some part of future me is here to tell you the same.

Marriage Equality Throwback Thursday – Comedy at the Prop 8 March in NY


Even though we were angry and most of California had just passed Prop 8, it was an exciting moment. It was the moment that tipped the movement for marriage equality. We were angry but the energy was huge nationwide.

Being a married lesbian in the US was very unusual at that moment and performing to that crowd was a great experience.

Life being what it is, I’m now working on Everything Is Subject to Change, post-divorce. But I stand by everything I said here.

What it’s like going to schools a kid with two lesbian mums

I found this piece by Kalia Douglas-Micallef in Toronto pretty interesting.

Even though she lives in a place with complete legal equality for lesbians and gay men (I’m not sure what the story is legally for trans* people) and even though she had activist parents and a supportive community she faced a lot of difficulties.

Canada can seem like an imagined utopia to Americans on social issues. It’s not. It’s a place full of people, like anywhere. I grew up there and I was given my own hard time as a kid, in part of being Jewish. In the 70s.

I don’t think you can stop everyone from being mean or hurtful. But you can set priorities as a community and consequences for behaviour and you can educate people. A kid is better off with a supportive family and a school where being gay is though, than being in school where being gay is ok but their family is not. 40% of homeless youth in the US are queer. Legal changes won’t be the thing that stops that or the kind of thing Kalia writes about.

The Disappearing Butch

A recent current affairs program on CBC Radio ran a general news story on The Disappearing Butch. And yes the Canadian government funds the wonderful CBC which I sometimes get to contribute to. I also get to end sentences with prepositions when I feel like it.

While this is a story I have seen some of from living in the queer community, I’m not used to seeing these bits of my life in the mainstream press. It’s sort of stunning to me. In a good way. In fact, it’s a moment for me. I’m realizing: I really don’t expect the general media or conversation to get it, see or even consider the reality of our lives. And I mean like even at the basic level or how many queer people see themselves. We pretty much just see a lot of what we get chunked as, databased as, filed away as. You know the central casting view of your life. Which, let’s face it, general media does to just about anyone. And this is stunning to me because my work is pretty much about creating and speaking to a larger audience/community. This shows me I’ve been assuming it’s not possible and that that is not a helpful assumption. I don’t have to stop at gay 101. I can just work from nuance and detail of the real stories and take people with me.

The US now has 13 states with same-sex marriage equality with just a few more than that banning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

But I did hear that one of my favourite people in the world, who is almost 11 and a Californian, just had a lesson on gender at school based around questions like “What are things people say boys/girls don’t do? Is that true?”

And no, I don’t see myself as butch. But that doesn’t stop many people from presuming.

2 Nights Only – Shotgun in Berkeley presents “I Look Like An Egg, but I Identify As A Cookie”

April 8th and 9th

8:00pm

Shotgun Players

1901 Shattuck Ave in Berkeley.

BUY TIX NOW

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Special guests April 8th: Bakesale Betty

April 9th: Brown Sugar Kitchen’s owner and chef Tanya Holland (maker of the best waffles in the world. I swear.)

Many thanks to sponsor: Fandalism

Oakland Press, Shotgun Players presents “Cookie” in Berkeley

Note: Tickets are now on sale for “Cookie” at Shotgun PLayers. 2 nights only April 8 + 9. “I Look Like An Egg, but I Identify As A Cookie” makes it’s E Bay debut, presented by the fantastic Shotgun Players who sell out all their shows. BUY TIX NOW

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The Oakland Local blog featured an interview with me today featuring my new show in development Everything Is Subject to Change

Also some big news: fabulous theatre that I’ve always wanted to play – Shotgun Players will bring my interactive baking comedy “I Look Like An Egg, but I Identify As A Cookie” back to the Bay Area on April 8th and 9th, 2013. Shotgun Players is an amazing theatre that has a huge following and sells out every show. They do really interesting stuff, really focus on younger and new audiences, keep tickets affordable and do unusually savvy stuff like repaint their entire building with a great design that goes with each major show in their season.

“Cookie” was named Best of the Bay when it originally played in the Bay Area and I’ve since baked over 50,000 chocolate chip cookies in it with people formerly known as the audience.

There are a few sponsorship opportunities to help back the production and after-show receptions and make sure everyone at the show gets fresh cookies. To sponsor “Cookie” please “>send inquiries here.

Redemption at the Polls: Obama’s 2012 re-election, 80s Identity Politics and the Tipping Point

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A lot of geek prayers were answered recently through geek statistical analysis by Nate Silver. He accurately predicted almost all the US election results and was dismissed for it by the Right, for his bewitching use of math because “Nobody knows anything.”

Nate Silver is a statistician taking on the job done before by pundits and experts who have been around the game a long time. He is quiet and nerdy and he bested them all. It’s exactly the story told in Moneyball (which is a great movie and an amazing book by Michael Lewis).

I was lucky to get a nerdy tour of Obama’s campaign headquarters when I was speaking at WebVisions in Chicago in October. (Many thanks to them for the tour and the above pic). Some of the people in our group who worked in UX (or user experience design) knew the Obama campaign’s head of UX. Obama’s HQ was full of old computer monitors propped on cardboard boxes for ergonomic help. There were huge numbers of young people editing video, designing sites, coding, making calls and designing all manner of posters which were all center justified and beautifully fonted (yes I made that word up and I like it). The posters and youthful environment felt like a Pride Parade organized by McSweeney’s smushed with a tech start up: Asian American Pacific Islanders for Obama, African Americans for Obama, LGBT Americans for Obama and so on.

It was a room full of true believers who were working their asses off. It reminded me of my brother who is an intense campaigner (he helped Canada’s Green Party leader Elizabeth May get elected and now runs Change.org campaigns in Canada) and it reminded me of myself in college and law school when I organized and worked fervently on feminist and progressive causes. I attended a rally for Jesse Jackson’s “Rainbow Coalition” back in the 80s when he ran for the Democratic nomination and it was dismissed as a political stunt and far-off, utopianism among naive students and wacko liberals. And it was easy to dismiss. The rally wasn’t very big, the speeches weren’t well-organized or confident and the most notable moment was one of my few out classmates throwing her bra onstage for the Indigo Girls. It was 1988. All of these different groups working together? They couldn’t stop arguing and all they wanted to do was compare their pain and oppression. A bunch of whiners.

Fast forward 24 years to last Tuesday and I’m at my nerd friends with a bunch of nerdy people of various races and sexualities and genders, many of whom work at tech start-ups and we’re taking photographs with our pocket computers of the High Definition television set of the results of incredibly well-organized, disciplined, grass roots campaign which had as its basic premise the reality that enough of us from all the hyphenated groups would matter and are of voting age that you could have enough votes to re-elect a Black and White President who supports the right to equal marriage.

And all 4 states with votes on gay marriage supported marriage equality.

And the first openly gay senator was elected. And the first Asian American woman senator.

And every politician who made insane comments about rape was defeated.

And the demographics show that the tipping point has happened. The electorate has moved toward amore diverse population and inclusive policies.

I’ve been waiting for this moment for the wake up call about the human cost of the “trickle down” economics and the playing to the religious right since Reagan, since I was a university student at Yale. That’s when identity politics was being mocked as official whining and it launched the career of many a disdainful, pithy writer (Katie Roiphe, Camille Paglia, Dinesh D’Souza I’m looking at you). And yeah the worst part of identity politics was and is the idea that feeling aggrieved is what you should lead with instead of what motivates you to lead. It took me many years to find that the theory you have about the world is just a feeling you have about your parents.

The best part of political correctness is the idea of consideration and respect for others who are different than you. The best part of identity politics is the notion that the reality of your lived experience informs your understanding of public needs and effective solutions.

And to have the best from these things combined with incredibly nerdy attention to detail and excitement about connecting with people is to re-elect Barak Obama.

To focus not only on what hurts, but to feel and acknowledge what hurts and then focussing on what *can* be done. This inspires me.

New Show- I Just Love That I’m So Into You w/Mariko Tamaki – One Night Only in Toronto 8/10/12

I’m excited to announce this! I’ll be trying some new things including an experiment in which I’ll act as a live search engine and a dating system.

BUY TICKETS

A show in three parts, created and performed by Heather Gold, Mariko Tamaki, and you.
Comedian/performer/writers Heather Gold and Mariko Tamaki promise a night of funny
and thought provoking monologue and dialogue and games with the people formerly
known as the audience at Maggie’s Flying Beaver Pubaret. We won’t give you any rules
about relationships but celebrates crushes, deep love and the revenge of the secret
sisterhood of kids who grew up eating lunch alone. (PS It’s fucking hilarious)
Think: A little Spalding Grey, a little Sandra Bernhard, a little rec room party. Pass the
orange? I’d love to.

Bring a date! Bring an Asian or Jewish date to be entered in a drawing for a future
production of Miss Saigon on the Roof. If you come solo, we might even find you a date.

I JUST Love That I’m So Into You
August 10th, 2012
7:30 PM
The Flying Beaver Pubaret
488 Parliament Street
Toronto, ON
Tickets are $10 Advance/$15 at the door
BUY TICKETS
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/259803
Dinner available before, during, and after the show
Dinner patrons get priority seating.



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