Article by. Robert Stinson | Photos by. Jennifer Martinez
The revolution will not be televised; it will be streamed to your Android phone or living room. The advent of technology has enabled political activists and freedom fighters to mobilize like never before. The Middle East is ablaze with revolutionary ideas that are spreading like wildfires through social networking sites like Facebook. Like Prometheus stealing fire from the Gods, the access to information and the ability to enact reform is no longer exclusive to the social elite; it has been delegated to anyone who has access to technology. Within the LGBT community, grassroots organizations have influenced policy on Capitol Hill through the simple act of blogging and social networking.Â For this edition of NUG, we interviewed Sally Hall, a local activist who is taking it one step further with thatssogaylive.com, an interactive video blogging site that brings a personality and face to the gay community.
What has been the mission of Thatâ€™s So Gay Live since its inception?
To fill a gap in the media that has been dominated by heterosexuals. When we turn on our TVs, our community is rarely depicted accurately or itâ€™s just relegated as something to be laughed at or characterized. When we walk together outside, we are made to feel ashamed if we show any affection at all. In most communities, itâ€™s frowned upon if gay people kiss or hold hands in public. So as a consolation, it is nice to be able to provide an outlet where gay people can see accurate depictions of themselves.
What inspired you to become an activist?
Seeing all the marginalized individuals in our country, of course. The ones that are pertinent to me are womenâ€™s rights and the gay population.Â Over the years, I have bore witness to so many inequalities and injustices. So in response, I decided to stand up and take action.
Absolutely! What I got out of viewing some of the shows on Thatâ€™s So Gay Live is that there is a disparity between the images we see in the media and reality.
I call that being filtered through the heterosexual eye and, right now, we are bringing in an unfiltered perspective from the homosexual eye. At its essence, TSGL is a means for eradicating stereotypes, lifting people up, and showing them for who they are. We recently conducted an interview with openly gay supermodel Jessica Clark from the set of her movie A Perfect Ending. She is an absolutely beautiful model who is very comfortable with her sexuality and has been out since 1993. This is another example of our community being represented.
On that note, do you believe that celebrities have a responsibility to come out of the closet?
I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s a responsibility because I understand that people have careers they need to protect. However, I do believe itâ€™s important that we all come out of the closet, so people can see us for who we really are instead of relying on stereotypes. Someone famous recently said, â€œIf all homosexuals came out of the closet, then we could eliminate homophobia,â€ and I do believe that. Besides many celebrities like Ricky Martin, Ellen DeGeneres, Chely Wright, and Jessica Clark, many others have successfully come out of the closet without it affecting their careers.
What was it like growing up in a small town in Texas? Was your family accepting of you coming out as a lesbian?
Texas is a little on the conservative side. I assume it was a little easier for me being a girl because straight men donâ€™t seem to have as much of an issue with lesbians as they do with gay men; but I did grow up in a small conservative town. With that being said, Houston now has its first lesbian mayor, so I do believe that a lot of changes are going to be made and equality will finally prevail. Growing up, I had a fairly solid family who believed that me being gay was just a phase, and that I would get over it. I have a gay older brother, so between us, my parents were able to get some education. I feel very blessed to have them in my life.
Your site has a colorful array of people from the whole spectrum of the gay continuum. Can you tell us about some of the shows that are currently featured on TSGL?
We have so many great shows. I want your readers to know that we are taking an active stance on trying to assist in bringing safe and legal access to medical marijuana patients. Eugene Davidovich from the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access comes by to update our viewers about pending legislation and what is going on in the medical marijuana community. On top of that, we have a Laotian cooking show called Sticky Rice. We have a talk show called Beyond Beauty, a health and wellness section featuring Dr. Kim Ward, Dr. Hillary Stokes and Dr. Katie Fox, who focuses on ways to better our health. Weâ€™re also partnering with Operation Shine America, which is an organization that works with homeless youth within the LGBT community.
Many San Diegans are threatened by the prospect of having medical marijuana facilities near their homes. And with the passing of the city ordinance, most of the collectives will be forced to close their doors. What can we do as a community to aid the medical marijuana community in their struggle against oppression?
If marijuana was viewed like most pharmaceuticals, then I donâ€™t think there would be as much of a struggle within the community. Neighborhoods are not rising up against drug stores that dispense medications, so it doesnâ€™t make sense that there is an opposition against cannabis as an alternative medicine, which has been proven to reduce the risk of cancer and aid in the recovery of those afflicted by the AIDS virus. It is pertinent that we stop this ban because if dispensaries close, we will see an increase in crime coming from the Mexican cartels. There will be more of a demand on the street.
How can the public get involved with TSGL?
I encourage all people who have creative talents, who want to be a reporter for gay news, or wish to have their voice heard to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or friend us on Facebook.