Controversial gay author Singnorile to speak in Clarksville
A master of cutting-edge media, Michelangelo Singnorile first came to prominence in the ’90s with his writings on gay politics and culture and was the center of much controversy over the unfortunately termed practice of “outing” coined by “Time Magazine” after Singnorile wrote a piece about the recently deceased tycoon Malcom Forbes where he indicated Forbes was gay.
Singnorile madly obsesses about politics, media, popular culture and a host of other things that irk and interest him. He covers the gamut of issues, though he began his career — and is best known for — his writings on gay politics and culture.
Today Singnorile hosts a lively four-hour radio program each weekday, on Sirius Satellite Radio. Four hours of his own brand of “conversion therapy — converting people from that nasty, vicious, perverted and insane right-wing agenda to a more fun, fabulous and enlightened one.” Michelangelo Singnorile will be the keynote speaker at the 2006 Clarksville Pride on May 20. Recently Singnorile spoke with O&AN.
You’ve been to the Nashville area a number of times in the past. How do you perceive the gay community in such a largely rural area?
I’ve spoken in Nashville actually a couple of times. I was in the Pride parade there one year and I spoke then as well. It’s encouraging that the Nashville area has such a large gay community. It’s important that areas where there is the most homophobia that there be places of safety where people can gather and feel safety in numbers and a place where they can speak out. I love coming there because it’s always very warm and exhilarating. The people always treat me with respect and I always feel welcome. This will be the first time that I will be in Tennessee outside of a larger city, so I am excited to see what it’s like in Clarksville.
As a journalist, you have had the unique opportunity of participating in a variety of media outlets. Did you ever imagine you would be as widely regarded not only as a journalist, but as a gay journalist?
I’ve been a journalist since the Mid-Eighties. I first started writing about gay issues in 1989 and in the years since I have managed to participate in almost every media available. I have been empowered to communicate my views in every way modernly possible and I have been a witness to people who had been marginalized by the mainstream suddenly explode with the advent of the internet. Suddenly gay people across the country who couldn’t find a gay magazine anywhere they had a support network that was within their reach that wasn’t there before. It has been a unique experience and I have been privileged to be one of the first in gay media to reach many who had previously been left out. It’s like our own version of a national campfire because we are able to communicate the issues of the day to people who previously had no connection to gay culture at all. I feel humbled that so many admire and are inspired by my work.
You have always been passionate about your work so much so that you have often drawn a lot of “friendly fire” from the community for your revolutionary journalistic practices. What would you say it is that drives you to speak with such passion and determination to the world at large?
I feel that there is so much injustice that I see all around me that It angers me. I won’t pretend that I have all of the answers, but I often feel like there isn’t anyone else even asking the questions. I find I have to ask those questions and speak out because when I do that hopefully I will inspire others to do the same. Even if I’m provoking someone at least they are being forced to think. We have the have disagreement in order to have a dialogue and a debate. There are discussions that are not being had and we have a responsibility to get them out unless we want to remain invisible.
What issues do you feel are the most important for the GLTB community of today to inform itself of in order to better involve themselves in the world around them?
We’ve become such a broad based movement focused on such a wide array of issues that I would not for a minute begin to say that one is more important than the other. There are people fighting for so many different issues in the community that I feel they are all tied together and cannot exist independent of each other. I try to encourage people to not fight for only one issue over another because they are all important. The Religious Right will use every single one of them against us any chance they get so we can’t afford to let our guard down by being one-issue and putting one thing ahead of another. We have to fight for everyone’s rights not just a few.HIV & AIDS is an important issue that seems to have been forgotten by everyone. This year you can be sure that gay adoption will be used as a wedge issue in the same way that gay marriage was in the 2004 elections. Every one of these issues are important and we need to make ourselves aware of them all because you can be sure that as soon as we think an issue isn’t important it will be made important before we realize it.