Arts & Entertainment

Kathy Griffin: ‘We Can’t Keep Playing Nice’

Comedian poses for Pride Portraits campaign before Houston show.

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In case you missed it, comedian and longtime LGBTQ ally Kathy Griffin was in Houston on Monday night, performing a three-hour set at Jones Hall.

Backstage before the show, Griffin posed for Houston photographer Eric Edward Schell’s Pride Portraits campaign. Via Schell, here’s what Griffin said in her statement accompanying the photograph:

“What defines resistance for me as an ally to the LGBTQIA [community] is actions. There is nothing like doing actual door-to-door canvasing. I think the most important thing is educating people of all communities, especially the LGBTQIA community. Elections are every year. I have friends who get excited for the presidential election every four years, and the truth is, thanks to this crazy administration, [what matters is] the downballot [races]: the attorney general, the lieutenant governor. They are actually the deciders of our human rights and our civil rights. As you know, nationally the GOP has been trying to dismantle the progression of minorities, in my opinion, since the Cvil Rights Act of 1965. They have been slow and methodical and played a long game. What I admire about the LGBTQIA community is that it’s a community that knows how to mobilize. I always say as a feminist, ‘We’ve got to learn from the gays: as women we bitch and moan, but gays actually get legislation done. They write bills, put candidates up, and get them elected.’ So honestly it’s about getting mobilized. Things like the bathroom bill, that isn’t a federal law, that’s somebody on a local level. I believe in what I lovingly call voter fraud, which is when I take to my own social media and I say, ‘All right gays, it’s not rock the vote; it’s vote for whoever I fucking tell you to vote for.’ With this president, it’s shirts and skins. We can’t keep playing nice. I don’t care about getting into the heads of angry white Republican men; it’s a fake narrative they’ve been given. In terms of the gay community, I don’t put anything past the GOP. I’m scared for equal marriage, but I fear we need to be worried about basic rights. We have a lot of work to do in the trans community, too. For November 6, we have to go back to basics; we need people to realize they can loose their rights. We need to make sure black people can get to the fucking polls. [We need to educate] people about what gerrymandering is. We have to start thinking long-game.”

Asked about meeting Griffin, Schell said he was ecstatic but not quite sure what to expect.

“Instantly upon arrival, Kathy behaved as if we were old friends,” he said. “She arrived with her two dogs and immediately handed one to Pride Portraits Director of Operations Crimson Jordan and the other to assistant Brandon Hevey.

“She was excited to do the campaign, and once [I] told her about the origin and creation of the campaign, she was even more enthralled,” Schell added. “She sat and posed like a pro. We then talked with her and boyfriend/tour manager Randy about the sate of our country politically.”

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John Wright

John Wright is the editor of OutSmart magazine. He has spent two decades in the mainstream and LGBTQ media. Most recently, he served as senior editor of Dallas Voice, and covered LGBTQ issues in the state Legislature for The Texas Observer. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Wright earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida. He resides in the EaDo area of Houston, where he is currently remodeling a 1930s row house.
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