Next up in our Queer+ Voices series, we'll be featuring musician Laura Payne, who proudly identifies as a queer womxn.
Image description: Photo of smiling Laura Payne (right) wearing a hat, glasses and earings (right) standing next to her smiling fiancée Lauren Hermas (left) wearing glasses and earrings. Background is an HRC step-and-repeat and foreground is a rainbow filter that reads “Together We Rise" Photo taken at an SD Human Rights Campaign bowling tournament and fundraiser.
Tell us a little bit about your coming out experience(s). How has life changed for you since being “out”?
LP: Coming out occurred soon after my first son was born. it was difficult due to religious family members not being happy or very supportive in the beginning. It is much better now, but there is still religious bigotry unfortunately. By being out in and outside of work now, my life is 100 times better. I can be totally authentic with everyone.
LBP: How do other aspects of your identity intersect (or perhaps clash) with your sexuality?
LP: In addition to being queer, I've had to deal with misogyny as far back as I can recall. I've always fought against it by striving to be at least two times better in everything I do. I have a proverb on a banner in my home that says, “To be considered equal, a woman must perform twice as well as a man. Fortunately, this is not difficult." I feel my actions and the results of those actions speak louder than words.
Square graphic with yellow background and large white quotation mark at the top. At bottom of square, large black text reads: "queer+ voices." In the middle, in black text, is a quote from Laura's interview. (The first two sentences of her response to question 3). Under the quote, in bold black text reads: "~Laura Payne. Pronouns: She/Her/Hers"
LBP: Pride is a celebration of liberation but also an acknowledgement of struggle, resistance, and revolution. Where do you see yourself in that celebration? Where do you see yourself in that struggle?
LP: Although there is still much to be done, I've witnessed tremendous progress over the last three decades in LGBTQ+ rights all over the world. I celebrate those moments, those wins every year during Pride, pay homage to those who fought for our rights, and work towards leaving a better world for future generations. Just this year's Pride season, I've seen and participated in an allyship between LGBTQ+ Pride organizations and #BlackLivesMatter, which is amazing. We need to be strong community members and strong allies.
LBP: As an artist, how does your “queerness" or sexual orientation show up in your creative work?
LP: It does all the time! Most recently, my band The Resizters released a live performance video for Pride 2020 and in support of #BLM. This video was and will be featured in: OUT Central Oregon virtual pride; SD Pride headliner for their virtual pride event on July 18; Seattle Pride will feature the vid in their post Pride bonus content; Listen Local Radio has featured the audio of the vid in their July 2020 show; and, we shared with #GlobalPride hashtag and @globalpride2020 social media tag to participate in the first ever Global Pride event June 27.
I'm also an employee resource group (ERG) leader for Live Nation's Pride Nation LA Chapter. I get to create and plan fun LGBTQ+ events and volunteer opportunities at the company as a part of my job.
LBP: What queer-centered artists, shows, films, podcasts, authors, etc. are you into right now?
LP: I really enjoyed all the artists and speakers who participated in the recent GlobalPride2020.org virtual event on June 27. Just being able to see talks and performances from all over the world in a 24 hour period was absolutely amazing. Over 57 million people attended the live event.
I also love to watch Randy Rainbow's political satire videos, not necessarily queer-centered but definitely queer produced and cathartic with all that's going on currently in the world of crazy politics. Randy is very talented.
Locally, my fave queer music artists include: Mishelle Banaga and Cora Hepburn of Ingénue, Tori Roze, Celeste Barbier, Rhythm Turner, The Banduvloons, Mel Peters-Paisley and Valerie Hardie of The Resizters, Veronica May, Alisandra Del Nero, Lisa Sanders and Lindsay White.
LBP: What are some of your favorite LGBTQ+ organizations or businesses you'd recommend our readers look into, buy from, donate to, volunteer for, etc.?
LP: Locally, the San Diego LGBT Center is a great one-stop resource for all things LGBTQ+ related (events, programs, services). They are currently raising emergency funds for the LGBTQ+ community during the COVID-19 pandemic - please donate if you can! Also, the San Diego Equality Business Association, which is our local LGBTQ+ and Ally chamber of commerce. More broadly, I've been focusing more attention on #BlackTransLivesMatter efforts. There's an excellent list of information, resources, actions and links available here. Lastly, please support the Arts! We need them now more than ever!
LPB: Open mic - Is there anything else you'd like to mention in closing?
LP: Thank you Lady Brain Presents for the opportunity to participate in this interview! I'm looking forward to reading and learning more from other interviewees. Also, I'm getting married on July 25! Me and my fiancée Lauren Hermas will have our ceremony over Zoom to avoid an in-person gathering and keep everyone safe. Instead of receiving any wedding gifts, we are asking attendees to donate what they can to the Trevor Project.
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