In Las Vegas, comedian Wanda Sykes made a surprise appearance at the rally Saturday. Sykes, who was in town performing on the Strip, said the passage of Proposition 8 has led her to be more outspoken about her sexuality.
“You know, I don’t really talk about my sexual orientation. I didn’t feel like I had to. I was just living my life, not necessarily in the closet, but I was living my life,” Sykes said. “Everybody that knows me personally, they know I’m gay. But that’s the way people should be able to live their lives.”
“I thought, man we are moving in the right direction. And then at about 11 o’clock I was crushed. We took a huge leap forward and then got dragged 12 feet back. I felt like I was being attacked, personally attacked, our community was attacked. I got married Oct. 25, I don’t really talk about my sexual orientation, I felt like I was living my life, I wasn’t in the closet, but I was just living my life. Everybody who knows me personally, they know I’m gay. And that’s the way people should be able to live our lives, really. We shouldn’t have to be standing out here demanding something we automatically should have as citizens of this country. … They pissed off the wrong group of people. They have galvanized a community. We are so together now and we all want the same thing and we shouldn’t have to settle for less. Instead of having gay marriage in California, no, we’re gonna have gay marriage across the country. When my wife and I leave California, I want to have my marriage also recognized in Nevada, in Arizona, all the way to New York. … I’m proud to be a woman, I’m proud to be a black woman and I’m proud to be gay.”
…Sykes also disputed the much-reported claim that 70 percent of black voters in California voted to ban gay marriage. Several prominent writers, including Dan Savage here, have railed against homophobic blacks. Wanda said the exit polls were wrong and admonished me, “Please stop spreading that 70 percent of African-Americans voted Yes on Prop 8 because it’s just not true.”
I’ve been a fan of Sykes for a while now, and her coming out doesn’t surprise me. I saw her on television a couple of months ago, having lunch with Margaret Cho (another of my favorite comedians), on a Logo network show, and I said then, “I bet she’s testing the water and getting ready to come out.”
Lately, we enjoy Sykes’ brand of humor via “Back at the Barnyard” (where she gives voice to Bessy), which has become one of Parker’s favorite shows. But Sykes’ funniest and best moments are when she’s just being herself.
Good for you, Wanda. Good for all of us. More power to ya and — if it’s possible — you just made me an even bigger fan.