Just got word of another piece of coal from Benedict the Pope for our gay stockings this holiday season. I heard if from the smoky voiced Sylvia Polgolla in Rome, so it must be true. To review: as far as the Vatican is concerned, homosexuality is a deviation, an irregularity, a wound. In his cheery holiday message, the unmarried Pope said saving heterosexuality from gay marriage is as critical as saving the rain forest. No word yet on whether he will be sharing his papal PowerPoint with Rick Warren for his inaugural invocation.
That a two thousand year old Christian identity movement is so threatened by a forty-year-old gay identity movement indicates to me that we must be doing something right.
One group doing things right is the Victory Fund. In early December I had the privilege of working at their Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute in Washington, DC. The conference is designed to train and support LGBT candidates across the country. In addition to meeting gay elected officials, attendees heard from strategists and practitioners about the post-election political landscape. Representative Barney Frank, Chair of the Finance Committee took time from his work on the auto bailout to speak to conference attendees. He assessed the LGBT progress and was optimistic about passage of several LGBT civil rights bills.
Of course Barney Frank made his remarks before Barack Obama's Rick Warren announcement. Among the things we learned from the Bush years is that when homophobia continues to be sanctioned at the highest level of government, it is an excuse for bad behavior among the very rank and file.
In crises like these, I've learned to just keep doing my job, which I am grateful for every day. I just finished a CD recording of my third book, presciently titled, if I do say so myself, I Told You So. The book and CD will be out in spring, 2009. It was nice to be in a sound proofed booth wearing a giant sound-canceling headset. I wanted to stay forever. They finally had to ask me to leave because the booth was booked for another recording session.
When you're down and troubled and you need a helping hand, go to the Apollo for the reunion of Labelle. That's what we did. In the middle of a snowstorm. Whoopi Goldberg brought the outrageously styling Sarah Dash, Nona Hendryx, and Patti Labelle to the stage to thunderous welcome. They had kicked out six songs when the storm caused a power surge that shut down the sound system. So they said. I think Nona caused it when she took her jacket off and flexed her 64-year-old biceps. Or it could have been a sustained Patti note. After two hours of Con Ed trying and pleasant milling fueled by free drinks, the Apollo management rescheduled for the next night. We canceled everything to be there.
An hour before we were going to make the trek again to Harlem, Nona called and said that Whoopi could not make it to introduce them again. Nona Hendryx asked me, moi, Kate Clinton, to introduce them. Um. Yes. The Apollo was packed again, and I got to step out on that historic stage, welcome everybody back, and introduce Labelle. Pinch me and funk the pope. What a great way to end my 2008 tour.