Happy Pride Month, everybody! I am preparing to be neck-deep in an array of Portland's gape ride festivities this coming weekend, then I'm flying east to New York City with my man to promote my new single, relax, and do Pride all over again. There is much to celebrate this year! For me, this time is about honoring our love, valuing who we are as people, and remembering the brave LGBT folks who have paved the way for us.
For this (third) round of "Queer Celebrities Need Love, Too" I chatted with pop legend Fred Schneider (The B-52s, The Superions), Bravo's Chris March (Project Runway, Mad Fashion), transgender rapper Katastrophe, electrorock lovechild Seth Bogart (Gravy Train!!!!, Hunx and His Punx), queercore pioneer turned folk powerhouse Kaia Wilson (Team Dresch, The Butchies), Joan Jett's indie rock prodigies Girl in a Coma, self-proclaimed drag terrorist Christeene, artist/author Slava Mogutin, and English singer/songwriter Scott Matthews. They all answered the same five questions about what queer pride means to them:
1. If you could sum up in one word what it means for you to have queer pride, what would it be?
2. How will you celebrate pride this year?
3. Would you ever be in a relationship with someone who was still in the closet and planned on remaining that way?
4. In thinking about your own experience with relationships and just what exactly we are celebrating this Pride Month, please tell us about the first time in your life when you felt proud of who you are and of your queer love.
5. If that personal pride experience were adapted into a film, what song would be the soundtrack to that scene?
2. I'll be hosting in Atlanta in October for a benefit for two organizations.
3. No. What would be the point?
4. I'll share that in a book!
5. Oh, lord, "Crazy" by Patsy Cline... 'cause you'd be crazy to put up with me.
Chris was a contestant on season four of Project Runway and currently stars in his own show on Bravo's Mad Fashion. Watch season one here.
1. One word? You're killin' me! Here's the thing: I have always felt that the phrase "gay pride" almost implies that we only celebrate it once a year, and that we are somehow not proud the rest of the time. To me, there is no need to be proud of something that is already great, so my one word would be "acceptance."
2. My boyfriend and I posed for photos as one of the couples in this year's national gay pride magazine being given out at Pride events around the country, and I am participating in Broadway Sings for Pride on June 25.
3. No. It took me a long time to figure out how to navigate the world as an out-of-the-closet gay man, and I don't have a lot of sympathy for those who want to stay there. If you want help coming out, I'm totally there for you. I hate to say it, but I'm one of those people who feels that closeted celebrities should be outed (only because we are in a phase of the gay movement when staying in the closet can damage those who are brave enough to risk being out every single day).
4. I think it was the first time a straight person told me that they were jealous of my relationship with my boyfriend and that they hoped to have what we have one day. It made me think that my actions can translate into inspiration for anyone.
5. Well, it has to be a Stevie Nicks song. There is a special demo version of "Gypsy" that we listen to in the dark together.
Rocco Kayiatos is a true pioneer in the world of hip-hop as well as transgender visibility. Watch his video about emotional eating with Margaret Cho here.
2. I will be hosting and performing at the Final Choice Cunts party ever! Princess Superstar will be headlining. It is going to be a crazy fun night!
3. As a straight trans guy, that is a loaded and complicated question. I am currently dating someone who does not disclose my trans status to anyone, and that feels like the ideal situation for me. In the past I have dated women that told everyone that I was trans, and that felt unnecessary, rude, and inappropriate. It's not that I am closeted or not "out"; I just like to be the one to decide whether or not I want to disclose that information, or if it is even relevant. Trans people have all kinds of different relationships to their trans identity. I feel that that part of my identity is no one's business unless we are getting busy.
4. I came out as a dyke when I was 14. I had my first girlfriend, and we were in love, but not a part of any community, and she was/is straight. Then, at 15, I started dating someone else, and we would go to queer events, poetry readings, and Pride celebrations. I grew up in the Bay Area, so there was plenty of that sort of thing to do. I remember the first time I went to the SF Dyke March, and there were tens of thousands of people spilling out of Dolores Park onto the streets, and my eyes welled up, and I felt a surge of pride. I grew up in a small town, and I was the only out gay person that I knew of, and I did my best with it, but I definitely felt alienated, so seeing that many people all together, chanting and shouting and celebrating their lives like that, made me feel like I was a part of something larger. I had the same sort of experience years later when the SF Trans March started. I had the great fortune of watching it grow from a decent-sized picnic to a huge, all-day event that thousands of people come to from around the world.
5. "Come As You Are" by Nirvana.
2. I live in L.A. now, and Lil' Kim performed at the Pride thingy last weekend, so obviously I smoked weed and got on the bus all the way to West Hollywood. She was amazing. Plus, I met a hot dad and a hot surfer. Gay pride, y'all.
3. Yes, I would, but the problem is I am the worst at keeping secrets, so I think I might accidently expose my future husband accidently.
4. Guess I'm lucky, 'cause I've always been proud of myself!
5. "Best Friend" by Toy Box.
2. I'm actually playing a record-release show for Gay Pride PDX this year. My record is called Two Adult Women in Love, which is -- I'll use the word again -- full of gayassradness. I also always think about and honor the Stonewall folks and all the queers who helped pave the way for each future generation to have a little less struggle.
3. I would not. It's too important to me to live an honest life, with an honest partner, and for us both not to have any shame around anything, and definitely not to have shame around something so wonderful and fun as being gay!
4. When I was 16 and I first went to a gay youth group (in Eugene, Ore., but I lived in rural Oregon outside Springfield), that was the first time I really understood I was not alone, and that in fact gay people were kinda extra rad! When forced to confront and overcome internal and external forces of homophobia, gay people tend toward a certain strength of character, sense of humor, and creativity that I love about us!
5. "Chains of Love" by Erasure!
2. I plan on checking out some events and live music.
3. Jenn and I would have to say no. We've actually both done it before, and it makes things complicated. It's OK for people to take their time and be ready to come out, but you can't love someone till you love yourself.
4. Having queer fans come up to us and tell us that we make them feel comfortable being open and being themselves. If you can inspire someone in that way, that is definitely something to be proud of.
5. "We Are the Champions" by Queen.
Christeene is a self-proclaimed "drag terrorist" from Austin with the filthiest mouth I have ever heard on anyone, drag queen or otherwise. I find her to be truly nasty and shocking... and it takes a lot to shock me. Watch this Funny or Die phenomenon in action here.
2. I tore da sheeeeet up at Queerbomb in Austin already, an now im gunna hit up sum Portland, sum San Fran, sum Toronto an sum Vancouver alllll unofficially uh course... outside uh dat corporate assimilatin fuckin Pride bullllsheeeeet.
3. HELL THA FUGGG NO. Id rather kiss Jan Crouch in her puss than try ta luv on sumbody who aint luvin themselves in da riyeeet way an show da wurld who dey are.
4. Every time i git up on dat stage an see all them queers smilin an wavin and spittin I get all wet in da nay nay. i always been proud of who da fugg i am an very proud uh tha peeple round me too who live it up to da fullest cuz they my real queer lovers u know. my friendz are.
5. I tink it would be "Judy and the Dream of Horses" by Belle & Sebastian cuz dat is da gayest fuggggin happeeee song i ever fugggin heard HAAAAAAAY!!!!!!
1. I'm not a big Pride person. In my opinion, Pride equals consumerism and conformity. I'm much more into the idea of gay shame, militant rebellion, and resistance to assimilation -- hey, look it up!
2. Since I live in the middle of the old, gay Greenwich Village and right above a raunchy lesbian bar, Henrietta Hudson, I'll probably try to escape the city altogether, just like I did in previous years. What can be better than celebrating Pride out in nature? Maybe I'll even put on my pink thong to show to the neighbors how extra proud (or ashamed) I am!
3. My first big love back in Russia was a closet case, and that was OK and kind of hot, because we would still occasionally fuck a girl together, to prove that we were "real men." Ironically, this guy was also the one who showed me how to shave my pubes for the first time! Just as they say, "thug in the streets, fag in the sheets"!
4. Well, for the past eight years I've been in a satisfying relationship with a fellow artist Brian Kenny, and I'm happy to be accepted by his conservative Catholic family. Unfortunately, this is not the case with my own Russian Orthodox family. My father, a former Communist and a born-again Christian, is prone to describing my work as "anal filth" and is still trying to convince me to get married and renounce my "sinful" lifestyle.
5. "I Want to Break Free" by Queen.
Scott toured with the Foo Fighters for their acoustic Skin & Bones tour in the U.K. and is now braced to win over the U.S. with his new record, What the Night Delivers. Listen here.
2. I performed at the first Queer Music Festival in N.Y.C. at Rock Bar. I also am going to the parade with my friends.
3. I think the reasons people stay in the closet sometimes can be totally legitimate. That issue is very circumstantial, and we need to be careful not to judge too quickly. We still live in a world where there is huge discrimination in parts from religious and cultural sectors. I would need to understand the whole story of why they remain in the closet before I made a decision.
4. When I first came out to my friends (not my family) and there was love and support, what was an issue that had plagued my soul was suddenly a non-issue to them. It took my family many years past that to accept it. Thankfully now they also are loving and supportive.
5. "This Charming Man" by The Smiths.
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