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The feminist humor of lesbian icon Kate Clinton

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The feminist humor of lesbian icon Kate Clinton

As the second post of lesbians who’ve made a mark this century (here’s our first), we want to gush about comedian Kate Clinton.

A lesbian icon, Kate seems to be everywhere nowadays, with her emceeing services sought worldwide. A celebrity with an international stature, she’s known for fighting causes for the LGBT.

But that’s no surprise. At 69 years of age, Kate will be the first to admit that she’s not in the calendar anymore. But she’s done a lot.

Kate Clinton: The girl from Buffalo

You only get to see in movies the kind of white-picket fence life that Kate had growing up as a young girl in Buffalo, New York.

Born in 1947, Kate was the middle child of an Irish Catholic family.

Her father was a data processor at a power company while her mother was a former school teacher-turned-housewife.

“You could ride your bike, meet your friends, play all day,” Kate said.

“It was very white, very Catholic. I never encountered any different ethnicities or different foods in my childhood,” she added.

Kate Clinton as comedian: The fumerist

That’s why it’s startling to see that despite such a staid background, Kate grew up to become a comedian. She describes her kind of humor as feminist humor, calling herself a “fumerist.”

She started a career in stand-up comedy in 1981 and often joked about her sexuality, her religion, and her political views.

She has since went on to produce numerous one-woman shows, published three books, and recorded eight CDs and two DVDs.

However, she’s not just a regular comedian as her humor/political commentary from an LGBT perspective has appeared in regular columns for The Progressive, the LGBT magazine The Advocate, and the Huffington Post.

What’s more, during gay parades, she has been tapped as grand marshal.

Kate Clinton, an admitted lesbian

Kate always knew she was a lesbian but kept it to herself for a long time. At an early age she had female crushes, the first of which was their neighbor, Mrs. Hartigan.

“At the time, most of the kids were worried about ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ but I was worried about ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife,'” Clinton said.

“When I look back on my childhood delineations– I just thought she was so glamorous,” she said.

She finally came out in 1978 when she was 31 years old, prodded by the feminist activism at that time.

Long-term with Kate Clinton

Currently, Kate has a partner, Urvashi Vaid, who she met during a War Conference in 1988.

Vaid was executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

With no plans of getting married, the long-time couple presently live in New York and Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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