Saturday, July 19, 2008

Open Forum: Queer-Positive Role Models

Growing up and having a positive role model is very helpful and inspirational. Even throughout our adult lives having a mentor or someone we can look up to is important and healthy. It keeps us on our toes and makes us try to better ourselves.

Is there anyone in your life that is Queer-positive that has been a good role model for you? Whether they are famous people, eccentric rebels, or just your mom or dad, share with us who makes a difference in your life!


planet trans said...

My pastor who's passion for Christ saved me. He is gay, how bout that! My youth group leader. He gives his all for the good of all mankind. Great question.

Queers United said...

Kelli you are too sweet to me, I am just a regular guy trying to make my dent on the world.

I am so happy to hear your pastor inspires you, I wish I had a religious figure who inspired me, instead the pain and hurt keeps me away from religion at this point in my life. I hope to find spirituality again and reconcile my differences with this God who I am told by fanatics hates my guts.

I posted this because I really am curious to hear who is influential in your lives. I personally have had a tough time finding a Queer-positive role model, as I type this I still can't think one up. I have people I admire certainly, countless people who I respect. I just wish I knew of someone who identified as Queer who I felt was representative of me, and I don't at this point. There are countless LGBTQAI figures who I love and admire but I still feel somewhat isolated.

Anonymous said...

It seems silly, but I admire Lou Reed a great deal. He was writing and singing about queer themes way back, and his music is incredible.

Anonymous said...

Until this moment I didn't think of this question at all. But now I see it is my professor Roman Kuhar. He teaches gay and lesbian studies and similar topics at Faculty of arts at Ljubljana, Slovenia. He’s queer, great professor, fighting for LGBT rights all the time.
I hope one day I could be as strong and cool as he is :)

Tom said...

Perhaps I'm a bit lax on my definition of a role model.
Like tanja, I hadn't really thought about it until I read your post.
At first I was going to mention the elderly gentleman who helped me come out at age 26.
Then I decided, to me, WE ARE ALL ROLE MODELS.
Those of us who take risk, by taking action, instead of playing it safe.
Those of us who have died, the martyrs.
I look up to everyone who takes action and/or speaks out. Although there is risk involved, we have been silent for far to long.

So find a mirror, look into it, and applaud yourself. Because you are a gift to the world and you're my role model.

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Tom. And you, QueersUnited - need to find a different idea of God. You are letting someone else's idea of God keep you in the dark. or

Anonymous said...

I grew up with two fellows who were like uncles to me. They were always there for me to talk with and they always helped the community in various ways. I think knowing as partners made me a better person because they were always nurturing.

shrink on the couch said...

A woman professor at a major university. A bisexual, she was a psychologist / sex therapist, a strident feminist, and a sex educator. She always stayed calm when she encountered obnoxious comments and opinions. I learned a lot about controlling the dialog from her. Also, several friends who were so blatantly OUT. I love their courage and chutzpah.

Jackie said...

Growing up I can't remember any role models at all, not positive ones anyway. My first gay friends were in books like Front Runner and Rubyfruit Jungle. Later my co-pastors (a married couple) were definitly mentors, as well as a Transgender friend who has taught me so much about being brave and out in the world.

Mr. C (a.k.a. Clarence) said...

I will start off by saying that I realize that the person I am about to mention may not be a popular choice or make much sense to some people, but it is the truth as I see it, and I hope you will at least hear me out.

One of my role models is Kathy Griffin. Yes, THAT Kathy Griffin: The clown & the loudmouth & the attention whore (I imagine she would probably agree to all these descriptions).

I am a relatively new fan of Kathy's & OF COURSE I love her show on Bravo. Every week when I watch her "Life on the D List", I see a woman who knows what & who she is (see descriptions above) & who not only revels in it, but takes ownership of it & who refuses to back down or change to make herself more palatable to "the mainstream". When you see Kathy Griffin, you see KATHY GRIFFIN...warts and all.

Of course she has a big gay following because I believe she has a very special connection with our community. Like us, so many heteros just don't quite get her. She says what is on her mind, refuses to edit her persona & she loves "her gays" (a fact that she isn't interested in hiding from anyone). Kathy knows upon which side her bread is buttered, as they say!

She is a role model for me because every week & in every performance that I have the pleasure of seeing, she is the genuine article & she is open about how not only is she accepting of us in the GLBTQI community, she actually PREFERS us to the rest of the world! As a middle-aged man still in the process of learning what it means to be myself, watching this firebrand of a woman unabashedly speak her mind & outwardly love on "her gays" helps me to become more at ease with who I really am...and she makes me realize that I do a lot more laughing now in my new life. I even not-so-secretly want to be just like Kathy (in at least one way): I want to be secure enough in myself to stand up to the world (not "stand up" as in a comic act, of course) & say (as the song goes) "I am what I am, and what I am needs no excuses!".

Kathy may be unfortunately heterosexual; she may be dyed & she may have had a nip & a tuck here & there, but--for me--she's the real deal & she's helped me to understand--even a little late in the game--that it's all about being out & maybe sometimes even a little loud!


Queers United said...

Sorry it took me so long to reply, I have been so busy writing up a proposal for my class this weekend. All your stories are uplifting and beautiful and I am really happy I made this posting.

Tom - I really dig what you said, I like the idea of a universal notion of role models, why pick one when we can all be role models and celebrate ourselves and others? Haha now that is Queer theory in action!

Sue - You are def right, and I know it, but it is hard to change years of thinking and dogma I have learned. Its a journey and a process I am going through now.

Mr. C - This is a safe space my friend =) You can worship the Diva that is Kathy G. I love her as well not only is she funny, she is def a strong ally to our community and for that she kicks major booty.

Mr. C (a.k.a. Clarence) said...

As usual, QU, you have made me feel welcome & comfortable in sharing my thoughts here. I'm happy, too, that we share at least one more common bond: true, deep Kathy love!

Thank you for your kind words & for always being so respectful of everyone's point of view. It's a big part of why you have so many fans!

Queers United said...

Thanks Mr. C =) Kathy is fantastic, have you seen her interview with Larry King, she is a riot.

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