An occasional series where we pose some questions to local LGBTQ folks (and Allies) to learn more about their personal experiences with LGBTQ culture. Click here for a complete list of all LGBTQ&A profiles. During Pride 2013, we are trying to feature someone each day.
The first time I saw Vanessa perform was at a queer arts collective around 2005 – she spoke about her “friend” Jorje and I was mesmerized by her fierce power and her grace and beauty. I haven’t really had a chance to get to know her beyond a few words exchanged here and there, but I believe that her work as an artist – her life as an artist – has had a profound impact on me. I don’t believe it, I know it. When she performs at Pridefest each year, it is a moment of deep pride for me – to know that she is one of us and she connects us to so many and she gives herself back to us. The mere fact that I can’t write this introduction without sounding like a star-struck fangirl is why I don’t invite her for coffee. But I did ask her to contribute to our Pride LGBTQ&A and she graciously has done so.
Name: vanessa german
Affiliation: artist. lover. citizen.
Tell us about the very first LGBTQ person you met and what that meant for you. the very first lgbtq person i met…? it’s hard to say, i grew up in los angeles in the 1980’s so, i was surrounded by human beings who were super comfortable in their skin and soul. but, going back through my gay people inventory, the first lgbtq person i remember loving, crushing on, being hypnotized by, was my around-the-corner neighbor laura. she lived with her girlfriend. she was a kind white lady in a neighborhood of africans, koreans, el salvadorans, liquor stores, panaderia’s, taco carts, bag ladies and us. i had a crush on her because of the way she moved. how she looked in her blue jeans. and how kind she was. mind you, it was los angeles- so my school vice principal was gay, my next door neighbor jimmy, and i lived across the street from a GLASS house; gay and lesbian adolescent social services. so, two things, the vice principal and jimmy, died of AIDS; i knew AIDS before I knew gay. and second thing, i crushed on all the hot skateboard girls from the house across the street. i made them mix tapes and they made me promises that they could not keep. but true word, they were the first, truly, Brave people that i knew.
How do you stay informed on LGBTQ issues? how do i stay informed on lgbtq issues? i don’t. i stay informed with the fight that every human being might know their own power, grace and gifts and be able to share them, with liberty and justice for all. i define liberty, as the soul’s right to breathe. i can’t even look at lgbtq issues without looking at each and every issue it takes for me to leave the house with my head on straight and my soul up right. i walk in the beauty of knowing that wherever i place my love, my talent, my grace, my hope, my energy, there forth will rise a clearer more just and infectious knowing of the liberty of human citizenship.
What’s the most important issue facing the lgbtq community today? i don’t know.
if i could wave a magic wand and change one thing…? i have a magic wand and i wave it all the time and nothing happens ‘cept glitter getting all over the side walk in front of my house. i don’t want to change one thing, or just one thing, i want to journey through to a clearer more just place and feel safe in the process… i am not an issue hungry whore– i don’t feed off of the next hot thing to get mad-as-hell about… i’m not down to just be bitchy and angry, for the sake of the color red, or just the way it feels good to be loud and mad sometimes… i recognized that i am surrounded by waves and waves and a depth of injustice, confusion, and hate that is catastrophic and overwhelming– and i won’t do that truth the injustice of the magic wand treatment.
(but, if i had a magic wand and i could create any event in the whole world…i’d have ru paul and all the past winners and participants of ru paul’s drag race put on the 2014 super bowl halftime show. holla.)
favorite lgbtq person of the day: Brittney Griner
one thing reader can do to support the lgbtq community: if they are allies, they can stand up and be outraged when some wildly unjust, cruel, hateful shit goes down– our allies have to stand up and say, no you don’t. not for me, not to me, not to my people. and what can we do to support our own communities… be not lazy with our hearts, our hands, our stories and our human citizenship.
And here is a sample of Vanessa’s poetry.