The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus will honor comedian extraordinaire Kathy Griffin today with the Vanguard Award for LGBT equality at its 11th annual Crescendo Gala.
Along with Griffin, the SFGMC will recognize actor Wilson Cruz, The Fosters’ Hayden Byerly, the plaintiffs in California’s Prop 8 case, and activists Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami. “We couldn’t be happier to honor this extraordinary group of game-changers at this year’s Crescendo Gala for using their voices to amplify the message of equality and acceptance,” says Chris Verdugo, executive director of SFGMC.
Ahead of the ceremony, which will benefit the group’s Lavender Pen Tour through the American south, we chatted with Griffin about her love of touring, her thoughts on anti-trans bathroom bills, and how she’s contributing to the resistance.
Congratulations on receiving this exciting award, Kathy.
Thank you! I’m so proud of the work the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus is doing with the Lavender Pen Tour. As a touring animal, I think it’s so cool the places they’re going, and it really shows that there are so many different forms of activism. What’s better than a bunch of gay guys going to these Trumpy areas and singing songs?
As an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community, how does it feel to be recognized by an organization like the chorus?
It actually feels like someone is noticing what I’m doing, and it gives me an opportunity to shine a light on the issues even more. I’m a comedian by trade, but part of my job is talking about what’s really going on in the world. Plus, the LGBT community has such a history of galvanizing people and coming together to demand and enact change. You guys are going to be the leaders of the new movement in a lot of ways, so it’s an honor to be recognized like this.
What role do you play in the resistance as a comedian?
Well, one of the biggest criticisms our team gets from the right is that we don’t know anything about the “real America,” but Fox News ain’t got nothing on me. I went to 80 cities across the U.S. on my last tour, and this year I’m going to over 50—many of which are red Trump areas. They know that I’m a big, fat liberal, so I always tell them that, no matter how they voted, they’ve got to let me make fun of the cheeto calling himself the president. My job is to shine a light on the very real things he’s doing in office.
Speaking of red Trump areas, what are your thoughts on the anti-trans bathroom bill that Texas is trying to pass?
That’s their window into the true oppression of the transgender community. Making it about bathrooms—when no trans person has ever been reported of going into a restroom and hurting anyone—that’s their game, to attack the weakest groups at their most vulnerable. I think [the Trump administration] is gearing up for a bigger assault on LGBTQIA folks. But good luck to those racist fools when they come for you all, because I’m going to be right there with you, screaming, “We are an army, motherf*cker!”