Little Rock, Arkansas
3) City/state where you live currently:
Spelman College (Atlanta); BA, English Literature
Queens College (New York); MA, Creative Writing
Director of Community, Cultural and Legal programs at Center on Halsted.
6) How do you describe your sexuality and your gender?
7) Do you have children and/or grandchildren?
One son: Carter Mitchell Harris.
8) If you are GLBT, please describe when you first “knew:
I knew in the third grade when I played house with the neighborhood tomboy who wanted only to be the husband, and I was her wife.
9) Who did you first “come out” to and when?
My first lover outed me to my parents.
10) Did you have mentors in the Chicago GLBT community?
Yes; Jackie Anderson, Renae Ogletree, Kathy Munzer – the women at Mountain Moving Coffeehouse.
11) List organizations (GLBT or mainstream) you have been involved in.
POW-WOW, Inc. - Performers or Writers for Women on Women's Issues (co-founder)
Horizons (board member)
Chicago Foundation for Women (board member)
Lesbian Leadership Council (board member)
A Real Read (performer with)
Chicago Black Lesbians and Gays (volunteer)
Affinity (donor and volunteer)
Literary Exchange (volunteer)
Amigas Latinas (donor)
12) When you were coming out, what were your favorite Chicago GLBT bars?
Paris and Club Escape
13) What were the key issues faced in the GLBT community when you first came out?
Women of color-related events and places; cultural and political issues around social change.
14) What issues do you see as key in the GLBT community today?
Mobilization for change, and incorporation of LGBT youth agenda into overall advocacy work – passing the torch and developing more leaders to ensure the success of an agency or organization.
15) How would you describe the “diversity” within the GLBT community of Chicago?
There is very little diversity amongst agencies and systemic institutions, but is in large organizations that serve segments of populations targeted to their own constituencies. This, to me, is truly a reflection of the zoning of regions and areas within the greater Chicagoland area.
I believe that POC (people of color) organizations started and continue to work within a segment of the population because of a lack of identity within the larger, more fiscally funded organizations. As a result of not seeing themselves reflected in personnel and programming, POC mobilized to form their own organizations that now serve as a central link to that community.
Yet, other organizations find themselves not receiving the funds as before because of their lack of inclusion, and are now trying to find ways to collaborate with POC organizations.
16) Describe what you feel your personal legacy is to the Chicago GLBT community.
My legacy is that of cultural activism – that art is necessary for change, through the development of space to create and perform or by taking it to the streets and creating artistic forums for discussion of hotbed topics.