Urbana, I’m coming for you.
One, I’m really excited to perform at Urbana because it’ll be my first live show since this website has taken off. The last time I performed, this website was basically a static showcase for my show, not the source for educational articles about social justice and fun graphics about identity and sexuality it is now. The site now gets well over a thousand new visitors each day, and the discussions that have taken place have placed me in an even better position to head to Urbana. I’ve been re-energized, educated, and re-educated on so much of this stuff, and that will only benefit those in attendance at my next show.
Two, I wanted to create a landing place for Urbana students to come to after the show. I hope to get some decent video (crossing my fingers that I don’t continue my technology failure streak), photographs, and other fun stuff that I can post here. I’ll also post a reflection about the show and my experience on campus once I get back, so stay tuned for that.
Now in past tense.
I’m at the Columbus Airport sitting in the “Chili’s Too” (because I’m classy like that), and wanted to take a second to jot some things down. I would have written this last night, but there was only room on my lap for either my computer, or a large pizza, and I can’t eat a small child’s weight in computer. I’ll post videos when I get home, one of which is sure to be a doozy.
It was great to perform at Urbana and meet all of the students and staff and faculty members I met. When my first introduction to the town was a billboard with a fetus so large I had to assume it was your school mascot, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The response seemed positive, a lot of people connected with the message (read: don’t be a jerk), and I ended the night with pizza – all good things.
Only dead fish swim with the stream
Some of the concerns that were brought up to me by lgbt+ folks who I spoke with after the show were that UU (an incredibly accusatory acronym for a school), Urbana, an Ohio in general have a long way to go before we can call them safe spaces for folks who don’t fit the Ohio “mold.” Taking lessons learned from the show and running with them will require you to go against the grain a bit, and it may result in some friction.
When I was eating breakfast in my hotel this morning, there were two people sitting at the table beside me, one black, one white. The white person seemed to be training the black person, and ended the lesson with, “And if anybody gives you trouble about your race, you just come straight to me.” True story, bro. Maybe that’s an example of the current state of things in Ohio. Maybe it was a fluke. In either case, not great news.
But there’s good news, too.
Urbana University (and the sponsoring orgs specifically) brought me to campus to talk about battling stereotypes and creating a more inclusive classroom, campus, and country. That’s huge. That means that you have an institution backing you, saying that they care about every student, and that they are prepared to help you swim upstream. Take advantage of that support. It’s rare.
And I’m here to help, too.
As I said at the end of the show, I’ll hope you won’t let the conversation about the stuff I introduced to you end last night. This website is a great platform for continuing the dialog, and so is facebook (we can do the twitter thing if <141 characters is more your style). And you can always email me, as well.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch. Don’t hesitate to act upon what you heard last night. And don’t go to Sparky’s Pizza – that place looked like a set where they filmed one of the SAW movies.