This Week’s Guest: Kate Kendell
Thanks to everyone who supports The Sewers of Paris on Patreon -- with your pledges I'm able to release monthly bonus episodes like this one. This week we'll be going beyond The Sewers of Paris with someone for whom I am truly grateful. Kate Kendell is the outgoing director of the National Center for Lesbian rights. Over the last 22 years of history-changing moments for LGBTQ people, she's not only had a front row seat, but she's been one of the key figures pushing those moments forward. I'm so excited to bring you this conversation, ranging from the moment she discovered live theater, to proudly working for the most hated organization in Utah, to becoming an LGBTQ community leader, and what she sees next for queer liberation.
And BTW, I hope you'll join us for the next Sewers of Paris live chat, with special guest, performer Timmy Roghaar. That's this weekend -- Saturday November 24 at 2pm pacific. There's a link at the top of the Sewers of Paris twitter feed.
Head over to SewersOfParis.com to see clips of the stuff we talk about on each episode of the show. And for more queer podcasting, check out Queens Of Adventure to hear drag queens on an epic Dungeons & Dragons quest. That’s at QueensOfAdventure.com.
This Week’s Recommendation: Sonnet 116
Thanks again to Kate for joining me. I'm just so inspired by the work she does. In fact, Kate was one of the people who inspired me to become an activist. I was living in San Francisco in 2004 when the city began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Valentine's Day. My bus went right past City Hall on the way to work, and I remember seeing the couples lined up around the block. And I remember seeing the photo on the front page of the Chronicle -- Mayor Gavin Newsom, now the incoming governor of California, marrying lesbian pioneers Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, and in the background Kate Kendel looking on overcome with emotion.
I'm torn on what to recommend this week. If you want to relive that incredible time, you should definitely look up some of that news coverage from 2004, featuring stunned activists and couples racing to marry. Or look up the infamous clip of Kate Kendell swearing on live TV in reference to Proposition 8. Or you might want to check out my book, Defining Marriage, which includes stories from couples who lived through that time as well as Kate's experience fighting Prop 8.
But I think my main recommendation this week is going to be a Shakespearean sonnet that Kate mentioned, Sonnet 116, which begins, "Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments." Often read as a declaration of same-sex love, it was set to music by Rufus Wainwright -- you can find that with a quick YouTube search -- and it's absolutely lovely. "Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove," the sonnet goes. Out of all of humanity's attempts, over the centuries, to explain in words what love is, I think this might be my favorite.