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Interview with Dorothy Award Honoree and Host Christine O’Leary

Christine O’Leary will not only be a recipient at this year’s event, but will also be our fearless leader, keeping the event moving with humor and style.  Former Center Co-President Tom Donato chatted with Christine about a variety of topics for this week’s interview spotlight:

 

  1. Why are you so passionate about giving back to the LGBT community?

In my bones I feel passionate about making room for all to belong, even if that includes making room for me within the group, stereotype, label or status in which I am categorized.  We are one human family and there are so many folks that do not remember that we are one, who push out, exclude or are not invited.  Our individual responsibility is to be who we are and to evolve into who we can be, by playing by the rules of kindness and inclusion.  The power and passion for me personally comes from making room for others and myself. I have found a truth to be that the people on the outside are generally sweeter than the ones on the “in.”  I like to be the one to link the two, often with comedy and codependency.

 

  1. What will you do with your Dorothy Award?

I will click my heels every time I walk past it in our home and remember what a gift it is to be nominated without my permission and awareness and honored and chosen by others.  To be recognized makes me feel a tightness in my throat that I know to be that feeling of humble.

 

  1. What is the best advice you have ever received?  What advice do you have for aspiring comedians?

Some of the best advice I have received in my lifetime was to dig deep until you find joy; tell the truth out loud (and in the car alone counts); be near or in art, beauty and nature every day; coast and put your dukes down; interactions come in three colors: green, yellow and red and I live for the green; and this emotionally efficient freedom, when I know what I am afraid of, I know what is next; when people speak it does not mean that is what they mean – it means that is what they said.  Injustice makes me wildly angry and defeated and when I feel stuck I want ice-cream.  My tidy mind makes for my tidy life.  Being extroverted is an engagement and defense. I literally feel happy when others do and am a warrior to make it better and good for all.  There are wins everywhere, with time, patience and my meditation.

 

Comedy is a way to tell the truth and solve a problem and everyone has both – stick to that and you will never be stolen from or a thief.  Take the highest road; it is hard and always funnier.  Look to add to the world, not take away.

 

  1. Who or what makes you laugh? 

My spouse and lesbian husband.

 

  1. What is the most pressing issue facing the LGBT community today?

The commercialization of gathering and the movement, internalized homophobia, poverty and privilege.

 

  1. Can you share anything with us about your own “coming out” story? 

I knew at a very young age I was gay, and did not want to be, as it only felt like forfeit rather than freedom.  My first kiss was a girl, but I was smart enough not to tell my parents – Girl Scouts and sleepovers were a blast 😉  Actually, I had lied for years to avoid telling my parents and one very sad night I called my mother – I had no hope as my girlfriend had left me for our friend, and I caught them!  Anyway, I called Mom and she said, ‘What happened honey, why are you so hurt, what did she do?’ ‘Oh Mom you have no idea.’ (I am crying and sobbing.) ‘Yes I do honey, I know you love her and you are a lesbian.’ (SobbingChoke…) ‘WHAT?  Does Dad know??’ ‘Of course honey, what did you think we thought all that softball and sleepovers were about?’

 

  1. Three quick – but very important questions: Britney or Christina? New York or Los Angeles? Cats or dogs?

Here is my sensible lesbian answer to that: Cher, Musicals, Maine, Boston, did my cat time and only my lil’ Cavalier Tilly from now on!

 

  1. Do you have a Hollywood lesbian crush? 

Martina was my first; I could not figure out how to be a lesbian if I did not want to play tennis.  But, I have met many of my idols and “crush” is weird for me but KD Lang at the Ridgefield Playhouse did give me the vapors.

 

  1. Do you have a drag name? Care to share? 

Penny Murray, Charlie Colgate

 

  1. Where do you see yourself in five years?

As a mean, lean athlete obsessed with my perfect body.  No, actually in five years I will be feeling more freedom and liberation as will all.  We will be 3 years away from retirement and a life on the road in our camper making jewelry to sell on Mallory Square in Key West.  The End.

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Allison Stockel

February 17, 2014 2:04 pm Reply

such a great honor for such a great person- i will be there clapping louder than anyone!!!!!

Kenn Hopkins

February 18, 2014 1:17 am Reply

The world is a better place with Christine O’Leary in it!! Congratulations Bubbalicious!!