Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wanda Sykes @ LV Gay Rally: "I’m Proud To Be Gay"

(UPDATE: Hear Wanda's speech and a brief interview by clicking here or right-click here to download the file. Also, hear our July 17 interview with Wanda on The Strip Podcast by clicking here.)

Dozens of rallies were held around the nation on Saturday to protest the passage of California's Prop 8, which re-banned same-sex marriage and sparked a fury. But only one that I know of featured a prominent celebrity coming out of the closet, and that would be the one here at the GLBT Community Center. Here she is...

I've just filed a few lines about it for tomorrow's New York Times, but I've also posted the audio of Sykes' remarks and my brief interview with her in the podcast feed. It adds up to about 8 minutes and you can hear it by clicking here or you can save it to your computer by right-clicking here. (The file also contains a brief chat with an 18-year-old UNLV student about why he was so fired up over Prop 8's passage.)

Here's a little bit of what Sykes said. She started by talking about how exciting it was to her to see Obama elected:

"I thought, man we are moving in the right direction. And then at about 11 o’clock I was crushed. We took a huge leap forward and then got dragged 12 feet back. I felt like I was being attacked, personally attacked, our community was attacked. I got married Oct. 25, I don’t really talk about my sexual orientation, I felt like I was living my life, I wasn’t in the closet, but I was just living my life. Everybody who knows me personally, they know I’m gay. And that’s the way people should be able to live our lives, really. We shouldn’t have to be standing out here demanding something we automatically should have as citizens of this country. ... They pissed off the wrong group of people. They have galvanized a community. We are so together now and we all want the same thing and we shouldn’t have to settle for less. Instead of having gay marriage in California, no, we’re gonna have gay marriage across the country. When my wife and I leave California, I want to have my marriage also recognized in Nevada, in Arizona, all the way to New York. ... I’m proud to be a woman, I’m proud to be a black woman and I’m proud to be gay."

In my interview with her, she said this: "People shouldn’t have to talk about their sexual orientation, we shouldn’t have to do it, but with the legislation that they passed, I can’t sit by and just watch. I just can’t do it."

Sykes also disputed the much-reported claim that 70 percent of black voters in California voted to ban gay marriage. Several prominent writers, including Dan Savage here, have railed against homophobic blacks. Wanda said the exit polls were wrong and admonished me, "Please stop spreading that 70 percent of African-Americans voted Yes on Prop 8 because it’s just not true."

After the speeches, the very large -- figure more than 1,000 people -- crowd lined Sahara Avenue with signs. This gives some sense of how immense this was.


Anonymous said...

why does anyone care if gays marry? i just don't understand it. thanks, steve and thanks wanda for all this. i'm not gay, i don't really know anyone other than steve and miles who are and i don't actually know them, but i just don't see how it's anyone's business. what is WRONG with you people???

Anonymous said...

dan savage is an asshole. never thought i'd say this, but i liked bill maher last night on his season finale. he humiliated mr. savage...and so did ashton kutcher. couldn't have happened to a nicer bigot.

Miss Ginger Grant said...

Thanks for the comment and the link on my blog! I'm actually headed to Vegas tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Just an interesting note on a donor to yes on 8 out of Vegas... Wayne Tew donated $9,500, he's the CEO of the Clark County Credit Union...

Wonder Man said...

glad to see out and about

CW said...

anonymous (coward): "dan savage is an asshole. never thought i'd say this, but i liked bill maher last night on his season finale. he humiliated mr. savage...and so did ashton kutcher. couldn't have happened to a nicer bigot." Maher didn't humiliate Savage at all, the three of them had friendly banter and are on the same side of the gay marriage issue. Dan Savage is a bigot? What the fuck are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

Black Homophobia

posted by Dan Savage on November 5 at 9:55 AM

African American voters in California voted overwhelmingly for Prop 8, writing anti-gay discrimination into California’s constitution and banning same-sex marriage in that state. Seventy percent of African American voters approved Prop 8, according to exit polls, compared to 53% of Latino voters, 49% of white voters, 49% of Asian voters.

I’m not sure what to do with this. I’m thrilled that we’ve just elected our first African-American president. I wept last night. I wept reading the papers this morning. But I can’t help but feeling hurt that the love and support aren’t mutual.

I do know this, though: I’m done pretending that the handful of racist gay white men out there—and they’re out there, and I think they’re scum—are a bigger problem for African Americans, gay and straight, than the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans are for gay Americans, whatever their color.

This will get my name scratched of the invite list of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which is famous for its anti-racist-training seminars, but whatever.

Finally, I’m searching for some exit poll data from California. I’ll eat my shorts if gay and lesbian voters went for McCain at anything approaching the rate that black voters went for Prop 8.

UPDATE: Early the morning after this post went up Stephanie wrote in comments…

Mr. Savage, do you endorse the hostile, racist things some people are saying here? Since I know you have read some of these comments, please clarify that the angriest posters are misreading your position or taking things too far. You are a community leader, and I think some of your readers need some guidance from you.

Of course I don’t endorse any of the hostile, racist comments posted here. I stopped reading this thread, though, early yesterday afternoon; I couldn’t keep up. I will be posting something else to Slog about this today, after I file my weekly “Savage Love” column. And please note: My original post described black homophobia as a big problem for all gays and lesbians, whatever their color. This isn’t about African Americans beating up on gay white men and women; African American gays and lesbians are the ones who suffer the most from African American homophobia.

And I was asked why I didn’t go after, say, the Mormon Church, which bankrolled this thing: I have written numerous posts slamming the Mormon Church and the Catholic Church, as any regular reader of Slog would be aware.

More later. I have also enclosed the google cache web address of what Mr Savage wrote on November 5th 2008 in his the Stranger column
These are comments made by Dan Savage. I would go to Rod 2.0 to read more about the racism of Dan Savage. That website's address is
I think Mr Savage is a racist and I will never read his column again. Rod's article about Mr Savage is dated November 12th 2008 said...

Boo Hoo Savage!

A lot of white gay guys decide that something works for them, therefore it should work for all "the gays".

To whit: ALL gay advertising features a "hot" white guy or guys.

Go to a gay club and there's plenty of arythmic "hot" white strippers (I was at Krave last night and we were actually laughing at the horrible strippers who were obviously straight and bored.It never occurs to them that maybe some people want to see a little variety?)

Adopting black babies was the vogue in West Hollywood for a minute before the trend became Chinese girls. I have no problem whatsoever with adopting children outside of your race, however, these guys never even contemplated that these babies were going to wake up one day with nappy hair and a really fucked up sense of who they are.

The white gay (male) power structure behind No on 8 just plain missed the train at the station. They did not go into any black areas and really explain why this was not a threat to conservative values.

I'm not talking day trips to Compton (that's asking way too much, "uh, excuse me Reverend, Uh, will my Beemer be safe out THERE? Uh, Chad, why don't you wait with the car? Keep your cell phone on and roll up the windows.").

They didn't even try to reaching out to the Black Cuacus or maybe they could have called the Obama Campaign and got some pointers on marketing to Negroes?

Just saying.

twallack said...

I thought it was interesting that Wanda denied being in the closet in your podcast.

Anonymous said...

nice post

democracychick said...

rolls eyes

Anonymous said...

Avowed lesbian Wanda Sykes wants Limbaugh to have kidney failure. Now that's funny. How about when Martin Luther King got shot in the ass? Man that was hilarious. How about the thousands that died in the Twin Towers. Ha ha ha ha ha. I mean, who in their right mind wouldn't find that stupid, whiney booger-nosed douche bag funny? Even President Obama thought her Twin Towers terrorists joke was funny. Hey, here's a good one. Wouldn't it be really really funny if Wanda and her lesbian lovers all died of vaginal cancer?

Bike UK said...

Nice post. Don't get wanda though..