Kate Clinton

Barbar Dyke

Filed By Kate Clinton | June 02, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: Beacon Press, gay marriage, Lambda Literary Awards, Martin Luther King Jr.

"Well there's a job I never wanted," my mom once remarked as we watched an elephant trainer on some TV variety show putting a pachyderm through his paces. If I remember correctly, the gentle, possibly drugged, giant was in a top hat and tails doing "Putting on the Ritz." I said, "I'm glad you are narrowing down your career choices."

I never wanted to run a bankrupt car company either, but as a taxpayer apparently I now own one. Okay, here's what I want done by next Tuesday: change the name "General Motors" to something less militaristic. I like "I-Cars". As a matter of fact I'd like the Apple people to oversee the transition. Start with an I-Phone and then just add Applications like wheels, an electric motor, and a lightweight body. Even if they name it
"I-Lemon" and the battery runs down after four hours, people will buy it if it's in cool packaging and they get a coupon for a free hour at the genius bar down at the virtual showroom.

Forget it, I love my job, even though this June Gay Pride I am so bored with heterosexism, I could scream. The world is tanking and all they want to do is protect opposite marriage. Puhleeze. Get over yourselves. North Korea has a dying, wack job leader with nuclear weapons begging for attention. Look up.

Can you tell I was just in California? The state is suffering from the long range effects of the 1978 Proposition 13, a short-sighted cockamamie proposition to limit property taxes and the 2001 Cheeeney manufactured energy crisis that brought down Democratic governor Gray Davis. California like GM is in bankruptcy proceedings. But mostly they don't want gay people to get married. Some nut-job, Bill O'Really, will soon suggest-demand that the 18,000 gay married couples be detained on Alcatraz so they can be quarantined.

But NCLR, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the heart of the LGBT movement, managed to throw a fund-raising party that would have made Celine My Heart Will Go On Dion proud. I emceed the dinner in the gorgeous St. Francis Hotel. Actress/activist Jane Lynch presented the Voice and Visibility Award to Ilene Chaiken, well-heeled creator of The L-Word; Noemi Calonje NCLR's brill immigration attorney presented the Community Empowerment Award to El-La, an amazing force for the Latina/o transgender community; and NCLR's indefatigable Shannon Mintner presented the Justice Award to Lara Embry, an NCLR client from Florida who challenged FL's mean-spirited foster care laws. The after-party was a dance to delirium event. I think I saw Miss USA California, Carrie Prejean. Pass it on.

In the waning days of May, I had two great book pleasures. After the Memorial Day weekend working at the Crown and Anchor in Ptown, I went into Boston and met with my book team at Beacon Press. It happened to be the same day that Beacon announced that they would be re-publishing all the writings of Martin Luther King. It was the end of a three year negotiation with the King estate, and Beacon with its long Unitarian history of publishing works about racism, poverty, pacifism is the right publisher for the necessary task. I'm proud of them and even more amazed to have my book, I TOLD YOU SO, on their roster.

That night I did a reading at the Brattle Theater sponsored by the Center for New Words. I was honored to be the last in their long, important author's series and glad to hear that this fearless group of feminists is transforming itself again. From a 28 year old bookstore to a six year stint in programmatic development, they are fearlessly changing again. In the face of economic exigencies, I hate you George Bush, they have decided to focus on their internationally acclaimed Women, Action and Media Conference. WAM! The goal is develop progressive women's voices and ideas in the new world of media and communication.

The next day, I shuttled back home to New York and presented three Lammy awards at the Lambda Liberty Awards. My categories were Lesbian Romance, Mystery and Erotica. It was a trifecta of fun. So much fun, that I forgot to mention that I have a new book out - I TOLD YOU SO - have I told you about it? - and was promptly fired by my publicist Michele Karlsberg, who was in the audience. Just kidding. But I'm on probation.

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