lifeblood: listlogs: 1998v01n196-news

ig-news-digest        tuesday, october 6 1998        volume 01 : number 196

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] clemson...           [a pretty pretender <>]
  [ig-news] clemson spitfire transcript     [sherlyn koo <>]
  [ig-news] spitfire article from rocktropolis, oct 2  [sherlyn koo <sherlyn]


date: sat, 3 oct 1998 17:35:04 -0400
from: a pretty pretender <>
subject: [ig-news] clemson...

[sherlyn's note: this is an excerpt of a message which was
originally sent to the indigo girls mailing list at]

ok all..i have finally transcribed amy's speech..
you can see it here
a couple of notes too
1)i know amy's stance on the legaliztion of marijuana has been discussed
recently, and at this lecture woody harrelson talked about this..and amy
didnt say anything, but i was watching her the whole time (obviously) and
just by her expressions and by her clapping at woody's points, it seemed
pretty apparent that she was in favor of legalization..


k. hope you all enjoy the speech.  if anyone is going to the other shows,
i'd appreciate it if you did the same!


  a&e  "i will walk down the street. i will hold my head high. i will say
   #    hello to everyone i meet. i will have love in my heart.  when i
   #    have hate, i will turn my hate into energy. and when i have anger,
  _#_   i will turn my anger into energy. when i am negative, i will be
( # )  negative only for as long as i need to be, until i understand it
/ o \  and then i will be positive. and i will not be complacent. and i
( === ) will not be complacent. and i will not be a racist. and i will not
'---'  a sexist. and i will not be a homophobic asshole. and i will love.
and i will love. and i will be happy that i am alive."  -amy ray


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date: tue, 06 oct 1998 07:59:59 +1000
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] clemson spitfire transcript

hey folks,

here is the transcript of amy's talk at the clemson university
spitfire date on october 1, as so excellently transcribed by
sarah - thanks!

- -sherlyn

amy ray -- october 1, 1998 -- clemson university

i'm here to talk about being a lesbian. there...i did it, i came out, yeah!
a couple of years ago, emily and i were asked to be judges in a high school
lyric writing contest. we agreed to do this and the finalists, the semi-
finalists, were sent in to us, and we read their entries and what we read
from them was basically a lot of comments expressing that they were glad to
have a chance to express themselves artistically.  they talked about being
in love, they talked about being abused by their parents, they talked about
gang warfare, drugs, suicide, you know, it ran the gamut. it ran the socio-
economic and race gamut as well. so we got a real perspective on where high
school students were coming from. after we did this, we were thinking two
things : number one we wanted to hear more of what students were thinking,
cause we felt their hearts and their minds were open and it was very
exciting to hear them expressing themselves and number two, we recognized
that school arts programs, and arts programs in general, are being cut and
underfunded and music programs are being underfunded.  um...we went to
school at a school called shamrock high school in decatur, ga, in dekalb
county. we were very much a part of the music system there and it pretty
much started our whole career for us. we started playing in high school, we
were encouraged by our teachers, we played after school, we played at
talent shows, you know it was very fertile grounds for the arts. and as i
got older, my peers and people that i knew that were younger than me were
experiencing a lack of arts programs basically in their schools and i felt
it was pretty sad.  so we decided we would do a short experimental tour to
speak about the arts in schools, to support song writes and poets, artists
of every style who wanted to express themselves we would go in and play 30
minutes during the school day, do a question and answer period afterwards
and then leave and we would pay for this tour on our own, you know, fund
the whole thing and basically do all the logistics ourselves. we brought in
a sound system, made it like a real show so the students could understand
that part of the music industry, as well as student groups would sponsor us
so they would learn what it was like to sponsor a show. we jumped through a
lot of hoops and came up with 5 shows in the southeast that's the only...
thats as many as we were able to get to begin with.  as far as going
through administrative boards, parents and school systems and when we
played the 1st show, we went off and did a few other dates afterwards, and
i woke up to a phone call that ermo high school in columbia had canceled
citing sexual preference as their reason. what happened is they received
phone calls from 40 parents out of 4000 students saying that they weren't
comfortable with two lesbians performing at their school because we
wouldn't be positive role models for their kids and didn't want their
kids exposed to us.  my first reaction to that was 'we gotta figure out
another venue', so that's what we did and in the process of doing that,
discovered that the students at that school were rallying behind us and
were organizing protests on their own grounds and we also found out that
two other schools were canceling and citing profanity issues rather than
sexual preference issues.  but we were informed later by the sponsors,
the teachers that sponsored those shows, that the principal was more
concerned about our sexual identity than that any profanity issues,
especially after i called the principal myself and suggested a
permission slip system where the kids would have to to get permission
from by their parents to come and i would agree not to use profanity
even though it was against my better that was
a red herring because the principal still wouldn't have us.  the positive
impact of this was we did alternative shows in knoxville and in
columbia...we went in on the day of the show and we did a show in a club
after school...all alcohol and the students, teachers and
parents got in for free and what happened is that students organized at
their own schools and had walk outs and formed these coalitions of people
to come to our show and worked with local gay organizations and had
dialogue with their parents and dialogue with their teachers and they
understood what it meant to stand up for something they believed in.  now
ll of these students weren't gay, you know, they were just open minded
and they were just willing to accept it and they were willing to put
their own... and you know how high school is, your reputation is really
important in high school, but these kids didn't care, they were willing
to stake their reputations on the fact they were going to be supportive
of us regardless of who we choose to spend the rest of our lives with,
sexually.  i think that the empowerment of that is something we can all
learn from because as a high school student, you already feel
disenfranchised, you don't have as much power, you already feel like
you're inferior and that your voice doesn't count. for those kids to stand
up and rally behind us was a very big deal for them and it was the
reason..that's why a negative situation became a positive situation and
it was the reason why parents were forced to talk to their children about
this. it might not have been discussed if the kids hadn't brought it
up. i think along with the positive impacts there were a lot of negative
impacts and the main one i was concerned about was that if i felt like the
object of so much vehement hate, how would the kids in high school feel
who are either gay or questioning their sexuality, or just a little bit
different, they go against the grain just a little bit, they are
vulnerable. then they have this thing come up, it's trying, but to see
them stand up in the face of that, it made me feel hopeful.  i think one
of the interesting things that has happened also is that i read a lot of
letters to the editor that were written after this event, at ermo high
school especially, in the atlanta paper and various other sundry places,
and a lot of them, were letters of support, but what i noticed is that a
lot of the letters also had very subtle homophobic tendencies.. a lot of
the letters of support said that they supported us playing at the high
school because we weren't going there to talk about our sexuality, we
were going there to talk about the arts.  this is very subtle.  but to me
it was a light bulb.  its like 'oh, its ok for me to be gay if i'm not
going to talk about..its ok for me to be gay, if your kid doesn't know
that i'm gay but the minute that the the gay - thing becomes an issue,
it makes everybody uncomfortable' and i think that's a very important
point to remember, because even myself, in defending our going to these
high schools, we had a tendency to say we weren't going there to talk
about being gay, we were going there to talk about the arts.  but what i
did realize is that it was implied when we went there that we were gay
and that we believed in ourselves as individuals and we were being role
models as gay women for these kids and that was ok.  you know its ok to
be gay...basically and that's what i had to keep telling myself because
i think what know the next week, i live, i live outside
of atlanta in a rather conservative town and i found myself walking
around feeling ashamed of being gay and i've been gay all my life.  i
never really, i've never came out really.  i've had an evolution
that's been really slow, i've always believed in myself..i've always
felt very pro-gay.  i've never had a problem with it and this specific
incident made me falter...i walked around thinking maybe i should
dress differently, maybe these people in this restaurant won't
appreciate me being know, imagine what a kid feels like
who has no clout, still at home, still under their parents guise, you
know. so i think those are some important points for me that came out
of ermo, that i wanted to mention.

and the last thing that i want to talk about is when we played in
columbia, the majority of the protesters outside the venue were not
protesting homosexuality, they were protesting abortion. you tell me
what that means, i don't know!

i'm not going to talk about pro-choice and pro-life, but i do want to
make a connection between homophobia and sexism.  in my career i used
to have a tendency to feel no one was discriminating against us because
we were gay, they were discriminating against us because we didn't
dress right, we were too mannish, too organic, too bohemian, not
feminine enough.  then, i realized that's the same thing...sexism and
homophobia.  sexism is when women are supposed to be a certain way and
supposed to be in a certain place and men are supposed to be a certain
thing.  gender identity.  homophobia...males are threatened by gay women
are threatened for two reasons, i think. one, because they are vying for
the same positions and they are vying for the same women! i mean, its
kinda funny, but it's, i think it's a true thing. but there's nothing to
be scared of, that's not reality and that's what the fear is coming from
and i think the people that are afraid of gay's a fear of the
effeminate side of men and that's sexism as well....i think all of these
things are connected in control issues...people, other people, want to
control our minds, value systems, and our bodies and you should be in
control of your mind, your value system and your body!  they bombed
the olympics in atlanta, they bombed a lesbian nightclub, and then they
bombed an abortion clinic.  that's a control issue, you can feel
differently than i feel, but you should control your own environment and
i'm going to control my immediate environment!

i think this is a great vehicle and i appreciate your attention.  i
welcome other opinions and i welcome protest. i welcome dialogue because
i think we can honestly learn from each other.  mentoring is a two way
street. we should be mentoring each other. we should be helping each
other learn. there is not one right way of doing everything.
there is not one true religion for everybody...we should all have faith
in ourselves and who we believe created us and who we believe created
this world and we should love each other.

introduction to "go"
i'm gonna play a song...i've been working on this song for a couple of
years and then i, actually, i think we were playing at clemson,  there
were all these people waiting out in line in the rain, it was after the
cancellations that happened, it was super-supportive. so i finished the
song because it...i don't made me feel good..

q&a session
(in response to a question about her coming out process)
i fell in love with a woman, a girl, in my senior year in high school,
we spent a year holding hands, and consummated it later in my freshman
year in college..but that year in high was definately...i
had a lot of support from a couple of teacher...who understood i was
going through something, they weren't gay, they were just my friends,
they didn't know exactly what was going on. my mother, at the time told
me she heard i was gay, and i didn't even know what it meant, my
vocabulary was nothing as far as homosexuality.  i didn't know what it
meant to be gay and all i knew is that i was in love with somebody and
that was a blessing because what it meant was that i had something to
hold onto, that i could defend and that sent me on my path and basically
my two older sisters are both gay.  my parents are very religious and
conservative or were conservative and they spent a lot talking to  us
about how sinful it was and through dialogue and talking about it, they
came around to, as far as my father going to church and talking with the
minister about how we could be more accepting of gays in the
congregation, so it was hard work on my parents part, as well as my
older sisters' part. i was just kinda like the person tagging along the
whole time, doing my own thing...i just, definitely, didn't have to
suffer as much for it...i realize emily and i decided that we felt
differently about whether or not to talk about it. she felt like it was
a private issue, i thought we couldn't ask people to be individuals
unless we were willing to stand up and she didn't want to reveal
details of her personal life.  i mean, she would talk about gay rights,
she just didn't want to talk about who her girlfriend was. at some point
though, about seven, six or seven, years ago, we were in the middle of a
college radio press conference on gay issues, and emily just stood up
and answered it.... and that was it...and she said to me outside...'i'm
just tired of not talking about it, it's too important not to talk
about'.   so from that point on, we sort of made it more of an agenda
and i think some of it...i think, that time, in my career there was some
homophobia in myself...i wanted to be musically unordinary (?) ..i
wanted to be rock and alternative oriented and already i was taking the
rap for being a folk musician and i didn't want to take the rap for being
a gay musician too and that's a mistake on my part, because would say,
that it's just much better to do your thing and be strong about it and as
soon as that started happening, it was a lot clearer to me too. these
were subtle things, i was out with my family and with my peer groups...
it was just a matter of how much you talk about it in the press, what
you're willing to stand up for and fight for.  so coming out for me has
been a long, long hasn't been,  it's been easy compared to
what most people go through.

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date: tue, 6 oct 1998 13:29:59 +1000 (est)
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] spitfire article from rocktropolis, oct 2

hey folks,

i found this on rocktropolis (
it's dated october 2nd.

- -sherlyn
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= a+e=ig
sherlyn koo -                  [sydney, australia]
"when they make the movie of my life,
  i hope they get somebody famous to direct it..."   - susan werner

night one of zack de la rocha's spitfire '98 proves inspiring

approximately 2,000 people turned out thursday night (oct. 1) at
littlejohn coliseum in clemson, s.c., for the first installment of
spitfire '98, a "word tour" put together by rage against the
machine's zack de la rocha.

billed as the first- ever "traveling tour of artists, musicians,
and activists in a format aimed to enlighten, entertain, and
instigate action regarding issues such as politics, gay rights,
environmental awareness, personal responsibility, and medical
marijuana," the three- hour event featured actor woody harrelson,
mtv vj kennedy, ex-nirvana bassist krist novoselic, and the indigo
girls' amy ray. rounding out the panel were gay and lesbian rights
advocate tracey conaty and marijuana activist todd mccormick.

after a brief video montage that featured clips of nirvana, rage
against the machine, and the indigo girls in performance,
novoselic introduced himself as moderator, as the rest of the
panel settled into living room furniture placed on one side of the
stage. novoselic then spoke eloquently of his youth, describing
his feelings of alienation and the sense of belonging that punk
music offered him. he also discussed the perils of censorship,
specifically focusing on jampac, an organization he fou
ded dedicated to preserving freedom of choice and expression in

following novoselic, ray opened her presentation with the words,
"i'm here to talk about being a lesbian." theorizing that
homophobia is largely rooted in sexism, ray spoke movingly about
the pain inflicted by discrimination, saying that both homophobes
and sexists possess a misguided desire to control people's minds,
bodies, and value systems. her comments were echoed by conaty,
who delivered a brief talk before ray treated the audience to the
event's sole musical performance.

the most animated speaker of the night was kennedy, who paced the
stage while railing against a growing abdication of personal
responsibility that pervades the country, or a burgeoning
"culture of blame." citing the clinton scandal and the o.j.
simpson case as examples, she pointed out that wealth and power
seems to confer exemption from accountability for one's acts.

next up was mccormick, a cancer survivor and medicinal marijuana
activist whose expose on the nutritional benefits and practical
uses of hemp drew several whoops of applause. his comments paved
the way for harrelson, who spoke at length about environmental
issues. armed with financial data and political statistics, the
film star cited numerous instances in which the government
subsidizes industries that spread carcinogens and wreak havoc on
the eco-system. like the other speakers, he advised the audience
specifically on ways to promulgate change, especially through
political persuasion. he also spoke of constructing a web site in
the coming weeks (, through which
individuals could come together and develop strategies to
facilitate change.

not surprisingly, the event was met with scorn by conservative
activists who insisted the participants' goal was "to promote
homosexuality and recruit students into a gay lifestyle." four
groups -- operation standard, the council of conservative
citizens, citizens for traditional family values, and the
carolina family alliance -- issued a written statement
proclaiming, "queer rights is the goal, and recruiting is their
game plan." sarah haynes, one of the tour's organizers, put out
her own statement inviting detractors to come to the event and
engage in a dialogue. however, no groups showed up to protest.

- -- russell hall

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end of ig-news-digest v1 #196

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