January 23, 2012

We’re here. We’re Queer. Get used to it.

Posted in Speeches I have written tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:17 pm by greeneyezwinkin3@aol.com

I wrote this speech for Margaret Cho when I attended a speechwriting course in April 2011. In theory, MC asked me to write a speech for her capturing her voice. I hope I did! Thank you to all my resources.

Introduction for Margaret Cho

I don’t think I, Danelle could ever give a proper introduction for this woman. She is a beautiful, drop dead diva, comedian, actress, lover of humanity, I say that in the spiritual sense (Looks at Margaret) sweetie and political activist. I give you my old, old, old friend, M.C.

We are gathered here today to bless these two in holy mat, wait a second. What the *Bleep*. Hey, who wrote this *Bleep*? Sounds like I’m marrying a couple. Do you lesbian number one take lesbian number two to have and to hold, blah, blah, blah. Ok, sorry wrong speech. *Bleep*. I hope my dog didn’t eat (Shuffle papers, whispers) my *Bleep* speech again. Oh, wait! I Got it! Do over. Let’s try this one on for size shall we.

Good morning, What a great honor for me and thank you for joining us at the GLBT History Museum. On this bright and sunny morning we are here to dedicate the First GLBT History Museum’s Permanent exhibit of Queers in the United States on this day, April 17, 2011.

The GLBT History Museum’s presentation will incorporate a gallery specifically on the Queer population and its history. That’s right. We have history! The museum will feature two debut exhibitions. In the main gallery, you will find Our Vast Queer Past Celebrating San Francisco’s GLBT History. Curated by historians Gerard Koskovich, Don Romesburg and Amy Sueyoshi. In the front gallery, you’ll find great collections of the GLBT Historical Society’s Archive.

We are here to honor our community and the GLBT Historical Society’s 25th anniversary, the curators of Our Vast Queer Past who burrowed into every corner of the society’s extraordinary archives. We are here to show respect and acceptance as we dedicate this section of this museum as our very own. It is a commemorative event not only to Queers, (Point to audience) straights, lesbians, bisexuals, gays, transgenders and those questioning. It is for everyone. Did I forget anybody? Anywayyyy. For those who don’t know me, hello bitches. I’m Margaret Cho, nice to meet’cha.

I am the Korean American fag-hag, (Point to self) girl comic, trash talker and I am a biological female. In layman’s terms I was born a girl. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I am and always will be in love with men, women or whatever. It’s not what’s between a person legs that matters to me. That’s how I got the label queer. After having gay boyfriends for many years (Slow down) finally I have a straight husband, boyfriend and lover all in one. After having lesbian girlfriends and lovers thrown in the mix, I am Queer. I’m not a lesbian anymore. Which is a shame. Because I am soooo good at softball. (Pause)

Fran Lebowitz once said, “Girls who put out are tramps. Girls who don’t are ladies. This is, however, a rather archaic usage of the word. Should one of you boys happen upon a girl who doesn’t put out, do not jump to the conclusion that you have found a lady. What you have probably found is a Lesbian.” I am not the first avowed queer woman and I won’t be the last. I have always tried to make a difference promoting equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or identity. This museum has joined me in the fight. Our struggles, pain and tears can be seen in the exhibition. It begins with a rainbow view of nearly a century of queer experiences in the San Francisco Bay Area. You will be consumed by multiple stories, sometimes interweaving, sometimes isolated, sometimes in battle. What will you find? (Pause) Motifs based on being human. The first is the search for companionship and pleasure. The second is the struggle for self-determination and respect in an often hostile society. The third is the value of individual and collective expression. And the fourth is the spirit, ingenuity and wit that have been keys to our survival. But, really why are we here? Society is slowly learning to be more diverse. Back in the day, you see I was a lesbian and very proud. I can remember the moments of being a lesbian.

First, I can recall the memories of a woman touching me, sensually. Second, the curves of a woman’s body, her scent, lips and eyes would always beckon me. Yes, I do understand the meaning of being a lesbian. And third, being with a woman was one of the most spiritual experiences that I had ever known. As I close my eyes, at this very moment, I can envision the women who were a part of my life. Not only emotionally but, physically, mentally and spiritually. I can tell you that each woman had their own inner essence. Each touched my heart. But, with time comes change and well, people change. I was a lesbian. And then bisexual and now presently considered a queer. I’ve have such a wealth of sexual experience. I’m always going to be queer. Why you ask? Because, I follow my heart. I married a bio man. (Speed up) I kinda wanted to get married and I looked at husbands like I looked at tattoos. Like I WANT one but I can’t decide on WHAT, and I don’t want to be STUCK with something that I am going to grow to hate. I have come to realize that there is a difference between genders. Straight men are so simple. All they need are beer and boobs and Buffalo wings.

Oh yeah, and straight men don’t want to go shopping, ever. Men, women, transpeople, bisexuals etc. are all people to be respected, just people, just different. Just as we each have our own hearts, minds and souls. Let’s talk about our dilemma that has to do with diversity in our world. Do you think our society is ready for the next gender identity? I know we are willing to try. To learn more about what queer really means. Queer in today’s society is considered similar to the features of the GLBT group. Yes and no but, no cigar. We are our own breed. Once again, society is slowly learning diversity. We as a society (Look around) need to open our minds to the unknown. To open our hearts. To open our acceptance level. We all want the same rights (Point up) and freedoms. Because we all know that once we face the unknown, it is not that scary anymore. I was partially raised by my parents, and partially grew up cradled within the gay community by a motley crew of gay men and drag queens.

I grew up in the 80s and 90s, and I worked a lot as an AIDS activist when I was very young. So it’s something I always knew I would do. It’s just inherent to who I am. My identity is rooted in my activism. Y’know, I’m queer, I’m a woman of color and I’m very progressive politically. I hope to one day leave my mark on this world, we call home. Today marks a day for learning. (Slow down) Learning from the past that will give us strength for our future battles. As we look at the past within these walls, it reminds us we still have far to go.

Presently, legislation is pending in both the House and Senate for our community. Gays and lesbians have been struck hard and need Congress to Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, Respect for Marriage Act H.R. 3567 which denies legally married lesbian and gay couples more than 1,000 federal protections. These are basic protections such as access to Social Security benefits and the right to care for an ailing spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act. With six states either providing or soon to provide marriage benefits to same-sex couples, it’s time for Congress to repeal DOMA. To treat all married couples equally.

D.O.M.A., which was signed into law by former President Bill Clinton in 1996 has two key components against the GLBT community. Section 2 stipulates that no state need recognize legal civil marriages between persons of the same sex. Even if the marriage was recognized in another state. Section 3 prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages for any purpose. Excluding these couples from all federal benefits and protections. Whether granted by statue, regulation or sub-regulatory decision. It effectively bars federal benefits from flowing to same-sex couples in state recognized unions. These are unequal and unfair laws. We all deserve the same rights don’t we? As the GLBT community struggles it also strengthens. As gay and lesbians are fighting for their rights, we as queer individuals fight for ours. Their fights are our fights. If you are a woman, if you are a person of color, if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, if you are a person of size, if you are person of intelligence, if you are a person of integrity, then you are considered a minority in this world. As we come together today as a united front, we will experience life as never before seen.

With all my heart, please join me with great pleasure in opening the doors. The doors of enlightenment for all the world to see. A queer world. My world. Our world. This exhibit reminds us all that just because you are blind, and unable to see my beauty doesn’t mean it does not exist. I want each of you to remember these words. Love is the big booming beat which covers up the noise of hate. Thank you all for making history with me. (Put hands together and bow).

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