Age and occupation. How long have you lived here, where did you come from, and where do you live now?
I'm 32 1/2 years old (at what age did we stop counting the halves?). Non-profit fundraiser. I've lived and worked here for almost 10 years. Grew up in suburban, politically conservative Madison, NJ, and like most of my contemporaries was pulled to NYC after college by the jobs, the energy and, above all else, the food. I live in a big, sunny, rent-stabilized apartment in a non-gentrified section of Jersey City, which is the envy of all of my NYC-residing friends.
Three for You
1. You founded the group, S.W.i.S.H., or Straight Women in Support of Homos. Is this an evil spawn of the Will & Grace Fag-Hag Nation and are you its Debra Messing?
My S.W.i.S.H. co-founders and I were politically and socially gay long before Will & Grace and the new "gay" TV. Will & Grace finally captured the spirit of the fag hag relationship, which has been around as long as there have been gay men. Gay men and straight women have always been kindred spirits -- at the most basic and kitschy level, we both love men and shoes, but deeper than that is a mutual respect and a completely non-threatening, non-competitive kind of relationship that doesn't really exist in other kinds of couplings. S.W.i.S.H. just formalized that relationship by making the personal political. Being a woman and being queer have always been anyway.
I'm equal parts Karen and Grace -- been through it all and then some with the gay boy friends -- dated them before they or anyone knew it, the coming out experiences, the mutual shitty dating experiences, the emergency wedding or Saturday night dates, losing loved ones to AIDS. As Margaret Cho says, we've been their guides on the gay Underground Railroad. They'd surely say the same thing about us.
2. The short history of your organization revolves around the Gay Pride Parade. How did S.W.i.S.H. celebrate it this year?
The idea that would become S.W.i.S.H. came to me when I was at my first GLBT Pride March in 2002. I was standing on the corner of Christopher and Greenwich with about a half dozen of my gay guy friends. I could really identify with the overwhelming sense of pride and couldn't help feeling that I was already part of this movement. My original thought was to have a fag hag float in the parade, which had never been done before. But as more people became involved -- both gay and straight, men and women -- S.W.i.S.H. evolved into a very loud and proud voice for the entire GLBT rights movement and issues of concern to the diverse GLBT community. S.W.i.S.H. believes unequivocally that equality cannot be fully achieved and hateful policies cannot be overturned without the non-gay community standing up shoulder to shoulder with our GLBT friends, family and co-workers. In a year since our founding, S.W.i.S.H. now boasts over 250 members in 20 states and 4 countries.
This year S.W.i.S.H.'s presence in NYC Pride events expanded to the festivals in Brooklyn and Queens and The Rally in Bryant Park. On the last Sunday in June, S.W.i.S.H. hit 5th Avenue in the parade with an island-themed float (an homage to Hawaii being the first state to recognize same-sex marriages) celebrating same-sex marriage.
3. You know that episode of Sex and the City where Samantha is propositioned by a gay male couple because they wanted to do it with a chick? Of course you do. Well, even though that was a bust, have you ever been so lucky with any of your vaginally-curious gay guy friends?
One of my favorite episodes! Two closeted-hetero friends do come to mind (one seems to have a bit of a breast fetish), but I think they would find something fundamentally missing as Samantha's boys did. Once you've had beef, fish just isn't the same, you know?
Time travel question: What era, day or event in New York's history would you like to re-live?
I'd love to be a blues singer during the Harlem Renaissance -- I am so attracted to that part of our history, the sounds, the fashion, the politics, the whole aesthetic.
Best celebrity sighting in New York, or personal experience with one if you're that type.
Had to be Al Pacino doing his trademark strut out of a Roundabout Theater production of The Three Sisters that I attended. Probably the only time I've been truly speechless.
Describe that low, low moment when you thought you just might have to leave NYC for good.
I'm sure I'm not the only one -- after 9/11. And depending how the November elections go, I may move to Toronto and run S.W.i.S.H. from there.
Who do you consider to be the greatest New Yorker of all-time? (Name up to three if you must.)
I could never name just one: Larry Kramer, Irene Diamond, Edith Wharton.
Of all the movies made about (or highly associated with) New York, what role would you have liked to be cast in?
The Dianne Wiest role in Bullets Over Broadway or to be some extra in Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing. That was a life-altering movie experience for me.
Feel free to hang or hag out on the corner of Straight and Gay St. to find out more about SWiSHPride.org. Pictured above with Sue is SWiSH board member, Mark Von de Heide.