Look out Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho: I bring twenty college students out of the closet in a single show

Equal parts raunchy, serious, awkward, and inspirational, her routine opened doors for the LGBTQQ community here on campus and opened the eyes of everyone less aware…it was an introduction to the life of Heather Gold, an extraordinary person.

[for the] people who stayed… to talk to Heather Gold—not even listen to or laugh at, but engage in authentic conversation with—her direct approach, her humor, and her interest in every individual was a welcome reprieve from an otherwise generally repressive atmosphere….Heather Gold is someone who deserves the chance to speak to more than just an audience of people seeking acceptance: she needs to speak to those who deny it, because if anyone can raise awareness and support for the  LGBTQQ (which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning, in case you didn’t know) among us, she can.

 Audra Foster- The Gettysburg Forum

I perform and speak at college campus’ regularly, usually about LGBT and diversity issues. For me this comes from the same heart as all my speaking in the Net and business world as well: creating spaces in which pretense can subside and people can be connected as their more authentic selves. Jokes help.

I’m becoming as well known for talking about and teaching how I do this tummeling as for performing.

But I am feeling really proud, and not just because I’m now entitled to a whole lot of toasters. I got serious about this goal of connecting the “audience” in my shows over a decade ago because of my San Francisco peers, mostly early web creators who all often asked “how can I add value.” Many performers give people a public example of something, or publicly advocate for rights as comics Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho do for LGBT rights. I do that too, but since I began doing solo shows (for me these are monologues with lots of dialogue in them), I began asking “what if the show were not about something over there but were focussed on making something really happen right here, right now.”

What kind of difference can you really make in an hour or so? You can change how someone feels about themselves in public.You can change an environment.

To be fair this Gettysburg show did go over the hour I’d prepared to do because I was obsessed with bringing the room together and tipping the public balance in the room there so that people could come out. The students were individually telling me about their frustrations. And who were all these people showing up to have abstract discussions about civil rights, yet had real concrete social and personal difficulties? They didn’t feel safe. They felt isolated even in a room together. And sadly, many of these students were in their young twenties and had already made it through adolesence without getting to openly feel ok about the feelings and actions straight kids take when they are 8 or 9 “I have a crush on him. Which boy do you like best?” and so on. They were in a small isolated college. Were they going to have to go through 4 more years not honestly connected to themselves or dating or sexuality?

I deal in the unspoken. Now the only student I physically brought onstage is definitely straight. But she has a version of the same stuff to deal with as everyone. Could she say no to me? Could she tell her truth? Not being able to talk about what you’re really feeling or what’s really going on isn’t an issue limited to queer kids coming out. It’s at the heart of the breeding ground for everything from unsafe sex to bad bad corporate meetings to dictatorships. It’s one of the main obstacles to our being able to be #WITH (an ongoing project of mine) each other, which I believe is our main collective need right now.

So I stayed on stage until it became easier to be out than in. Till these students had someone else they could talk to in the open, or maybe even ask out. I did my best to use what was about me in the show was used to make things helpful for everyone there.

The awkwardness, the seriousness, the conversations, the discomfort, the comic relief was all done consiously in order to achieve something socially. As I teach in workshops and my keynotes, there’s an informational flow (or a narrative or theatrical flow and there’s a social flow. I wanted both.

It was a funny show. In comedy terms I killed. 

But in life terms, I did something much more important. I connnected. 

We all want to meet more people and feel more ourselves and more connected. This experience inspired me to want to accomplish more every time I perform. I’m a performing aiming for, as Umair Haque would say, thick value. Artists: ask yourself, how can I help? Directly.


Video to come.

To bring me to your campus or event, contact my lovely agents at Speak Out.



Posted via email from subvert with heather gold

984 Replies to “Look out Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho: I bring twenty college students out of the closet in a single show”

  1. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Genuinely rarely should i encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you may have hit the nail about the head. Your idea is outstanding; the problem is an element that insufficient persons are speaking intelligently about. I am delighted we came across this during my look for something with this.

  2. Good day there, just got alert to your blogging site through Bing, and realized that it’s quite entertaining. I will be grateful if you continue such.

  3. I want to point out my love for your kind-heartedness supporting people that have the need for guidance on this one study. Your very own dedication to getting the message around appears to be exceedingly beneficial and have usually allowed others like me to achieve their targets. Your own warm and friendly facts means a great deal a person like me and still more to my colleagues. Warm regards; from each one of us.

  4. It’s actually nearly impossible to encounter well-updated people on this issue, and yet you seem like you comprehend what you’re talking about! Thanks A Lot

  5. I would like to show appreciation to the writer just for bailing me out of such a matter. As a result of scouting throughout the search engines and meeting notions that were not productive, I was thinking my entire life was well over. Living without the strategies to the difficulties you have fixed all through the article content is a crucial case, as well as ones which might have badly damaged my entire career if I had not noticed the blog. That capability and kindness in dealing with a lot of things was invaluable. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t come across such a stuff like this. I can also at this moment look ahead to my future. Thanks very much for this skilled and amazing guide. I won’t hesitate to refer your web page to anybody who should receive guide on this issue.

  6. I really wish to inform you you that I am new to writing and utterly enjoyed your webpage. Very likely I am likely to remember your blog post . You seriously have impressive article information. Admire it for expressing with us your current internet webpage

  7. The subsequent time I learn a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I imply, I know it was my choice to read, but I truly thought youd have one thing attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could repair in the event you werent too busy on the lookout for attention.

  8. I’m also commenting to make you understand of the fantastic discovery my wife’s girl gained visiting your blog. She discovered many details, with the inclusion of how it is like to possess an ideal giving mindset to let the rest very easily fully understand some tricky topics. You truly did more than visitors’ expectations. I appreciate you for distributing these valuable, trustworthy, informative as well as fun guidance on this topic to Emily.

  9. Hi folks here, just turned out to be aware about your web page through Bing, and have found that it’s genuinely interesting. I will appreciate should you maintain this informative article.

  10. I just have to advise you that I am new to wordpress blogging and very much enjoyed your webpage. Quite possibly I am most likely to store your blog post . You simply have superb article material. Get Pleasure From it for share-out with us your web page

  11. I just wanted to send a comment in order to thank you for the fabulous solutions you are writing on this site. My time-consuming internet look up has now been recognized with beneficial facts to exchange with my company. I would say that most of us readers are very much fortunate to dwell in a useful community with many perfect professionals with valuable advice. I feel somewhat blessed to have discovered your entire website and look forward to plenty of more brilliant minutes reading here. Thanks again for everything.

  12. I’m just writing to let you be aware of what a cool encounter my cousin’s daughter developed studying your webblog. She came to understand numerous pieces, including what it’s like to possess a wonderful helping mindset to have the mediocre ones smoothly learn several complicated matters. You really surpassed people’s expectations. I appreciate you for delivering these informative, dependable, educational and even cool tips on that topic to Janet.

  13. Good created details. It will likely be beneficial to anyone who employess that, as well as me personally. Carry on doing your work canr hold out you just read a lot more articles.

  14. I would like to express appreciation to you just for bailing me out of this type of incident. Because of surfing throughout the world wide web and finding suggestions that were not beneficial, I thought my entire life was over. Being alive without the presence of answers to the difficulties you’ve sorted out through the guide is a serious case, and ones which could have adversely damaged my career if I had not discovered your website. Your mastery and kindness in controlling every aspect was precious. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t encountered such a subject like this. It’s possible to at this moment look forward to my future. Thanks a lot so much for the high quality and effective help. I will not hesitate to recommend the sites to anyone who needs tips about this problem.

  15. I would like to express thanks to you for bailing me out of this type of dilemma. Because of looking out throughout the the web and finding basics which were not powerful, I figured my entire life was well over. Existing without the presence of strategies to the problems you have fixed by way of your good guideline is a serious case, as well as ones that might have in a negative way affected my entire career if I had not noticed your web page. Your own capability and kindness in taking care of all the pieces was excellent. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t discovered such a solution like this. I am able to at this moment look ahead to my future. Thanks very much for the specialized and results-oriented help. I won’t think twice to refer the sites to any person who will need guide about this area.

  16. I simply desired to thank you so much once again. I do not know the things I would’ve taken care of in the absence of the type of thoughts revealed by you concerning this problem. Certainly was a real troublesome setting for me, however , finding out a professional way you treated the issue took me to leap with gladness. I am just happier for your information and have high hopes you comprehend what a great job you happen to be getting into educating many others all through your web blog. More than likely you have never met all of us.

  17. Aw, this was a really nice post. In thought I want to put in writing like this moreover ?taking time and precise effort to make a very good article?but what can I say?I procrastinate alot and under no circumstances appear to get something done.

  18. I intended to write you one very small remark in order to say thanks a lot over again with your incredible information you have discussed in this case. This has been really open-handed with you to convey freely what exactly some people might have marketed for an ebook to help make some cash for themselves, even more so now that you could have tried it if you ever decided. These smart ideas in addition worked to be the great way to be certain that the rest have the identical dreams similar to mine to see more and more in respect of this condition. I believe there are thousands of more pleasurable occasions in the future for individuals who scan through your website.

  19. I must point out my respect for your kind-heartedness for those people that really want help on this area of interest. Your personal dedication to getting the solution all around became certainly invaluable and has truly empowered associates much like me to arrive at their ambitions. Your interesting hints and tips signifies a whole lot a person like me and far more to my office colleagues. Thanks a lot; from everyone of us.

  20. Thanks for all of your hard work on this website. My niece delights in engaging in investigation and it is obvious why. All of us learn all regarding the lively mode you provide precious tactics through the website and as well improve participation from other individuals about this subject and my girl is discovering a lot. Take pleasure in the rest of the new year. You’re performing a really good job.

  21. I simply wished to thank you very much once more. I am not sure what I would’ve tried in the absence of the type of creative ideas contributed by you on such field. It became the terrifying circumstance in my position, nevertheless taking a look at a new well-written way you resolved that made me to weep for gladness. I am just grateful for the support and hope you comprehend what a great job you were doing instructing the rest via a site. Probably you have never come across all of us.

  22. My spouse and i got quite cheerful when Ervin could conclude his basic research while using the precious recommendations he made out of the blog. It’s not at all simplistic to just find yourself freely giving ideas which usually many people could have been selling. And we also fully grasp we have you to thank for that. Those illustrations you’ve made, the simple blog navigation, the relationships your site make it easier to foster – it’s got mostly impressive, and it’s really assisting our son in addition to our family do think the article is excellent, and that is highly vital. Thank you for all the pieces!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *