Over the last few months I've been on a quest to find lesbians whose lives and achievements are role models for other lesbians. To me, a role model is someone who has mastered some part of living and being, working, creating and doing. She is someone who inspires me to live a better life. A role model can help me collapse the time it takes to learn and grow my own skills in the same arena or perhaps shift a mindset that I didn't realize was blocking my progress. They know the secrets of success in their chosen arena.
I searched for women who would share their stories with me and let me give their wisdom free to other lesbians through the vehicle of a tele-summit. I wanted to know how they made their business succeed. How did they deal with depression or grief? Who were their role models and why? I wanted to know what kind of spiritual practices they used to stay strong and focused. How did they accomplish their goals? I wanted to know about their passion for what they did and how they started on their paths. I wanted to know the big life lesson they had learned so far and how it influenced them daily still.
When I went looking for role models in the lesbian world, I wanted to find women that had a distinct voice or perspective on life, were active in our communities right now and who were accessible. As it turns out, an amazing array of women said yes to me and they have honored me by giving of their time, sharing from their hearts, being open to answering my questions about their work and how they live each day. I am so grateful for each one of these women. Some of these women do work that reaches around the world and others stay in their own backyards and neighborhoods. All of them live their amazing lesbian lives out loud.
Carolyn Gage is a 2008 Lambda Literary Award winner for her play The Second Coming of Joan of Arc and the most prolific lesbian playwright in the world. She is one of my speakers and was a role model for me when I first came out 12 years ago. To listen to her read one of her works is not only a gift in itself as her mastery of the English language is superb but it opens up a process of critical thinking about the topic -- love -- that won't let you go back to your old ways of thinking.
Kate Clinton generously made time in her schedule on two occasions to speak with me. She is a lesbian icon and role model and rightly so. She's been a voice for sanity and equal rights for over 30 years. She battles the political right with humor and satire that helps us laugh even when we might want to cry for the injustice and inequality of laws in this country. An instigator for cultural change in our society, she knows she is a role model and she lives her life with a seeming ease underneath which is a practiced mastery and mindfulness in both her words and actions.
And you have to hear about Nicole Breedlove. She is the founder of an Internet-based network called Our Sista Circle. A resource for lesbian women of color, she has thousands of members from all over the world. Nicole shared with me her vision of creating a safe space that was culturally relevant for women of color. Funding it entirely on her own, she works 18-hour days, seven days a week to get it done. She knows her network is saving women's lives, helping women come out and providing safe space for women in countries where it is illegal to be lesbian and there are no supports or community.
Live Your Best Lesbian Life Telesummit is the culmination of my searching and questioning. It has been birthed by the lesbian role models who shared their stories with me. The series of crucial conversations puts 16 lesbian role models front and center. Each woman has made a commitment to creating and supporting lesbian community, health, relationships, fun, adventure, family and well being as the focus of their lives and their work. The tele-summit is accessible to any lesbian anywhere with an Internet connection. You can sign on here.