Kristen and I are in the "buckle of the Bible Belt" as we were told by the folks at the Center of Wichita. The Center is a beautiful space that one of the organizers BOUGHT so that no one could throw them out - BRILLIANT. And being thrown out is a real concern here in the Bible Belt. I had a chance to speak after the show with the organizers of the Center after the show and they told me about how things are going. Thanks to Megan back in NJ - I had some debriefing on the political anti-gay sitch in Kansas. Governor Brownback has not only blocked gay marriage (hello? Supreme Court ruling ring any bells), he's ordered all state offices to reject tax returns from same sex couples, any marriage certificates from same sex couples, or to recognize same sex couples no matter where they were married.
Brownback said an “This Executive Order ensures that state employees enjoy the same civil rights as all Kansans without creating additional ‘protected classes’ as the previous order did,” Brownback said in a statement. “Any such expansion of ‘protected classes’ should be done by the legislature and not through unilateral action. The order also reaffirms our commitmentanti-discrimination order issued in 2007 by then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D), should have been done through legislation. (Huffpost Gay)
PLUS, there's the NO HARM bill that just passed the State Senate that states that nothing can be mentioned or taught in the classroom that harms kids -- and the list of things that harm kids? Anything positive about LGBTQ historical figures or issues, anything anti-faith, To Kill A Mockingbird. I asked if this was going to effect the Center, and they said it won't - that they're biggest problem are the fundamentalist churches which protest their events. (Damn! They didn't protest my show!)
Speaking of my show, it went super well. I made connections with the audience and they were very complimentary of me and invited me back, Wohoo!
There was a woman there named Sally who's son is gay and she watched me so intently the whole time I was performing. I thought she was offended or something by my work, but then at the end during the QnA, she was asking me tons of questions about what I do and how I starting doing it etc. She told me after the show that her son being gay was the best thing to happen to her. She was excommunicated from her church and learned a lot about herself and she's a better person now because her son is gay. She also thanked me for putting as much energy into a relatively small audience, as I would into a larger audience of hundreds or thousands. I told her a story my ex told me: Late in his career, Joe DiMaggio was getting ready for a game and he was warming up and working out like it was the world series. A rookie asked him, "Joe. Why do you work out so much? You already proven yourself, why do you work so hard?" DiMaggio said, "Somewhere in those stands is a kid who has never seen me play. I want him to see the best I have to offer." I've held that philosophy deep in my heart all these 20 years since I heard it. And besides, I told Sally, it's way more fun to perform when I'm giving it my all. I truly appreciated the acknowledgement.
These were the folks at HOMO-sapienism at The Center in Wichita:
Glad to know the police are super gay friendly and the Center is in a safe area.
THANK YOU WICHITA! Can't wait to come back!