K.D., Barack, and Me

K.D. reaches a watershed and Barack comes out.

A Watershed for her... and for us.
A Watershed for her... and for us.

I was having a nice little chat with K.D. Lang the other day (you know I sit around and practice typing sentences like that all the time… but this time it happens to be true) and she was telling me about marrying art and politics.

Okay, "marrying" is my word, but bear with me, it applies… later. Anyway, amid our discussions about her new album, Watershed, I asked the Canadian crooner about recent activism that lead her to an Obama and National LGBT Finance Committee fundraiser this past October in New York.

Originally, Joe Biden was to appear, but this was the same week as his mother-in-law's passing, so scheduled to take the wanna-veep's place was an old friend of K.D.'s: Bill Clinton.

Lang's decade and a half as queer icon has often put her in the LGBT spotlight, and this election is no different. Not only are the states choosing a new leader, but gay marriage propositions are on the ballot in Florida and California. And for Lang, the political is personal. "When it makes sense to a number of issues in my life, I participate. It comes from a place of relativity for me. And in this environment of communication and über-media, there is a danger of having the wrong motivation to do these things."

Since Lang is Canadian and a practicing Zen Buddhist, and probably thinks Americans are crazy, I figured I'd ask her specifically about the election. "I've always thought, with your proximity to the U.S., you guys should be able to vote in our elections..." I began.

"Everyone in the world," she jumped in, "should be able to vote in U.S. elections, because your country has…" she paused, perhaps to consider her words. "Extensive influence."

"Well, that's very kind." I quipped, not wishing to make awkward her generosity.

She, like the rest of the world is watching our national folly with vested interest:

"I'm hoping… I'm feeling quite positive, that we'll have a positive change… I'm looking forward to sort of sense of progressive normalcy," she said.

She also, however, expressed disappointment at Obama for his lackluster support for LGBT issues. And while we didn't discuss California's controversial Prop 8 specifically, I'll take her nuance as disappointment in his not "coming out" for gay marriage.

We talked a bit more about her new band, her album, and her upcoming evening at the Paramount, and after the election is over, I will post a follow-up blog post with more quotes from K.D.

I must say that I, too, have been saddened by the Senator's lack of ease around my life's issues. Part of my eager support in the primaries for Senator Hillary Clinton certainly had to do with this. It's simple and personal for me: Sen. Clinton always seems totally comfortable not only in discussing gay issues but in relating to the LGBT community. And although my support for Sen. Obama is 100%, I take personally his discomfort with queer issues.

However, later this weekend, after my chat with K.D., Senator Obama came out for us in his patented conciliatory way (reminding me of another great conciliator when he was running for office: Hillary's hubby). Senator Barack Obama got off the damn fence and finally came out against the preposterously discriminatory Proposition 8 in California.

This is landmark. If I hadn't already early voted, I'd be racing to the polls today in complete and utter resolve to support this man who finally found his voice for us.

Thank you, Barack Obama.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Election 2008
Craddick's Cash
Craddick's Cash
Texans for Public Justice file ethics complaint about former speaker

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 7, 2009

Small Consolation for Doherty
Small Consolation for Doherty
Last November's CD-10 challenger was the "biggest loser"

Lee Nichols, Jan. 27, 2009

More Music
A to Um... With Stephin Merritt
A to Um... With Stephin Merritt
A,E,I,O,U, and sometimes Y am I doing this?

Rob Cohen, May 6, 2015

Mo' Music Monday: February 23
Mo' Music Monday: February 23
Disrespecting artistry one act at a time

Rob Cohen, Feb. 23, 2015

More by Kate X Messer
The Gay Place: It's Aliiive!
It's Aliiive!
You can't keep a Gay Place down; just ask Sarah Marloff

Jan. 20, 2016

Gay Place: I'm Not Gonna Miss You
Gay Place: I'm Not Gonna Miss You
K(X) THX BYE

Jan. 15, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Election 2008, Music, K.D. Lang, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Prop 8, Proposition 8

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle