K.D., Barack, and Me
K.D. reaches a watershed and Barack comes out.
By Kate X Messer,
10:45AM, Tue. Nov. 4, 2008
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.
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.