Sunday, March 02, 2008


ellen degeneres takes some heat from LGBT activists sometimes because she isn't "political" enough, or she doesn't use her position of power to push forward LGBT issues, and or her talk show is too gay-lite. and on and on and on.

eh. we queers are hard to please.

i'm a big ellen fan. her coming out episode was so historic, and brave, and gawd knows she took a big hit for doing it. people tend to forget that ellen disappeared for a few years after her very-lesbian show was cancelled and it wasn't because she decided to take a long holiday. the "industry" wanted nothing to do with her, and she fought her way back and now has a fabulously successful, award-winning talk show. and i say kudos to her. we aren't all overtly political. and that's fine with me. she's open, she's OUT, and hell, she has portia on her arm. it doesn't get much better than that.

the fact is, when tragedy strikes our community, Ellen has always been one of the first "celebrities" to step up and speak out (think back to matthew shepard). and she just did it again, talking about a horrific murder in california that no one, especially the mainstream media, seems to be paying much attention to at all:

last spring my pal mike hein wrote a big "expose" about an equalitymaine media training i was organizing in portland. His headline?

ellen degeneres would be proud.

gawd i hope so.

for me, that would be the ultimate compliment.


Jenna said...

Well, I think the clip is good, but it pisses me off. Ellen leaves out that he was trans, or maybe gender variant. He often dressed in women's boots and clothing and make-up. Missing this, is no better than an ENDA without GID protection. The breaking of gender norms is precisely the reason many LGB people are discriminated against, who the hell would know someone's sexuality without the gender differences anyway?

toklas23 said...

yep, I get that Jenna. And I know we have so far to go and that in fact, gender identity and expression is precisely the reason most people are discriminated against. If you've been keeping up with my posts you know how I feel about all that:

I don't why I wasn't pissed that she didn't bring it up...disappointed a little maybe, but not pissed. Maybe because I could see her was so personal and not political. Her intentions were...pure in heart. And hopefully someone gently nudges her and explains to her how much deeper she'll need to go to send out that 'perfect' message. Kinda the way a friend nudged me a year or so ago.

Regardless, the media has virtually ignored this and now millions of people--lots and lots of them Middle America kinda people--just got schooled a little bit about hate and violence against queer people.

That just seems like a good day's work to me is all.

Thanks for the comment Jenna. Keep 'em coming.


Jenna said...

Maybe, if your not too straight out, we can chat about it Saturday over a glass of wine. I am certainly not mad at you, and maybe pissed was a little strong, maybe it was more disappointment, I don't know. It just seems to me, like another instance of the true facts being swept under the table, and they "Gay" community just forgetting that you can't leave the trans community behind.

All that being said, there are times I find myself doing just that (leaving the trans community behind). Its complicated, touchy, frustrating, but it bring with it stigma (bigger than identifying as lesbian even). I don't enjoy carrying either weight and why should it be a burden at all? I do my part, I am active, I "come out" when need be, but I am human, I guess I should give Ellen the same space.

See you Sat.

toklas23 said...

Jenna--I will never be too busy for you, girlfriend, and we will definitely chat at the Big Dinn-ah. I so completely understand where you're coming from...and believe me, I am forever tripping up. I still have so. much. to. learn. The cool thing is we can all learn from each other, by having these very kinds of conversations. And that's a beautiful thing.

By the way, I loved that you wrote "if you're not too straight out." What, me? The homosexual rights movement? Too straight? In Mike Heath's dreams maybe.

Hugs to you Jenna. And thanks so much for contributing to this conversation, and for all the fabulous work you do. You know I'm a big fan.