Do you have an experience unique to Texas or Austin? Well, I spent time with Lady Bird Johnson. I adored her. She was fantastic. One of my favorite memories is just talking to her about the world as she knew it. I loved her.
You were recently honored at the HRC New York Gala in February with the Ally for Equality award. How did you feel about receiving that honor? I was really happy to get it. You know, for me, it’s a no-brainer. We are all one people, we are of the human race, and so if somebody in our human race is not being treated well, none of us are being treated well. So having somebody give you an honor for doing the right thing seems a little silly. But I took it because who doesn’t like to be honored?
What award have you received that has the most meaning to you and why? All of them. Listen. Look at me and say “who in their right mind would have ever imagined someone looking like me would have the career that I’m having?” I don’t fit any stereotype. I don’t look like anybody else. A lot of people look like me now, but, that’s different. I just sort of feel like every time somebody says, “I see you, I like you,” it means the world. So I love having all of them.
You’ve been an advocate for the LGBT community long before it was trendy for celebrities to be supporters. Are there any events in your own life that sparked your activism? Aside from having lots of friends in the community, you know, kids I grew up with, friends I made later in life, these are my friends. When I see somebody disrespecting them or making light of their needs and beliefs and hopes and dreams, it’s not okay with me. Everybody wants to be treated with respect and dignity and I don’t see why that’s so difficult for people. I just don’t get it, you know.
What do you hope will be the outcome of the Supreme Court hearings in June? I’m hoping that they’ll strike Proposition 8 down. It’s a stupid law. I don’t remember them saying anything in the Constitution about men and women or marriage, so why is it your business?
What is your latest project, and why are you passionate about it? I’m doing a documentary about Moms Mabley, a black woman who was a comedian from the ‘20s to the ‘70s. And I’m doing a small documentary on ESPN about an amazing coach called C. Vivian Stringer. I’m passionate about them because they’re two diverse amazing women doing amazing things. Moms is a character that I did for years on stage, so I wanted to reintroduce her again because I feel like a lot of people didn’t know who she was. She’s so extraordinary. And Vivian Stringer is the amazing coach from Rutgers whose girls were disparaged by Don Imus. Her personal journal is amazing. Forget Don Imus—that’s like a little drop in the bucket. What she has accomplished—given all of the adversity—is phenomenal. So I’m excited about them because we don’t know a lot about either one of these women and I’m happy to bring it to fruition, to the forefront.
What can audiences expect from your performance in Austin? It’s going to be wild, funny, poignant, a little bit raunchy and fun, fun, fun. And informative, especially for all those women who have turned 45 and up.
Where do you think your career will be in the next five years? Well, if it’s anything like the last 35, it should be great.