LGBT on Campus: Advocating for Better Healthcare

LGBT on Campus: Advocating for Better Healthcare

 

On March 8th, Kelli did a workshop called When the Rainbow Meets The White Coat: Advocating for Better Health Care for LGBT Students on College Campuses at the Five College Gender and Sexuality Conference at Hampshire College.

Students, alumni, staff, and health care providers all showed up for the conversation. Here are some of the talking points and tactics the group came up with. If you have any additional suggestions, please add them to the comments so this can be an ongoing conversation.

WHY BOTHER ADVOCATING FOR A CHANGE?

Remember: as a student you have a lot of consumer power, because you are not only buying insurance, you are paying TUITION. In capitalism money talks. But you know that.

Also remember: YOU DESERVE HEALTH CARE

YOU DESERVE HEALTH CARE HEART

Got that? Say it with us: I DESERVE HEALTH CARE.

Research supports that healthcare patterns we start when we’re younger continue when we’re older. If culturally competent healthcare isn’t available at the college level, many LGBT people will delay care for a long time.

“HOW TO” POINTS

Identify the problem (is it a single provider? System-wide?). This includes defining what is NOT the problem.

Identify a clear solution. It should be something concrete.  You might want to start with something easy to change. Forms are a great idea. Ask other colleges what they’re using, or check out the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association website for suggested changes to intake forms. Intake forms are a great place to start because they are self perpetuating. Providers might think “there are no LGBT patients in our practice” until they start asking more sensitive questions. Then, people start to identify as LGBT and providers realize “oh hey, I do have LGBT patients!”

Find research, research in a peer reviewed journal that that supports what you want (if you can’t find what you want, email kellidunham@gmail.com, she’ll try and help you look)

Research what other schools that your administration sees at competition for yours  Make the comparisons with other similar schools.

Prepare an elevator speech: a 45 second pitch about why LGBT students on campus need this action you are requesting.

Make it seem easy to change,

Find allies:

-Other students

-Other student groups

-Staff

-Faculty (especially TENURED faculty who have less to lose)

-Alumni, especially MONEYED alumni. (who are the buildings named after? Is that person or family likely to side with you? Contact them!)

Schools are afraid of liability (it’s why they send students that they seem as potentially sucidal home on medical leave) so introduce that concept early and often. Find cases where schools have been sued for similar incidents.

If your school is blocking you on ideological grounds, keep going back to what it will cost them financially. Often what seems like an ideological problem can mysteriously be dissolved by fear of a lawsuit.

More thoughts? Comment and share!

The Story of a Queer Comic & A Knee Replacement. Oops. Part II

The Story of a Queer Comic & A Knee Replacement. Oops. Part II

mySuperLamePic_33295205cb034ec8e3ce35957d339361

mySuperLamePic_5154fc3fb730c980689928ddf8b28b0c

AKA The Queer Comics’ Loss Is Your Gain

Well, that did not go exactly as planned.

On January 21, despite having had an awesome recovery from knee replacement surgery (read about it way too much detail here) the Queer Comic had to have emergency surgery for a “raging” (that’s what doc in the ER called it. Was that a reference to Queer Anger? Hard to say) deep infection in the aforementioned knee replacement. The queer comic got to keep the replacement but will be on IV antibiotics (mobile style) for quite some time, and can’t be flying all around the country for gigs.

But hey the queer comic still needs to make a living. So this is where the “your gain” part comes in.

If you or your college, conference, faith community, pride event, coffeehouse, bookstore, livestock auction, etc were thinking of bringing Kelli in for some good ol’ fashioned genderqueer nerd comedy, or comedic health training, and you’re within 8 hours of NYC by bus or train….now is the time. Kelli needs to work, and she’s very interested in negotiating. Which means book her between now and June 1 and you will get a break on her fee, or she’ll throw in an extra workshop. Or copies of her CD for all the participants. Or teach an extra class. Or bake brownies. Or. You get the idea.

In fact, Kelli is so interested in working (and let’s face it, so unable to travel) that if you provide a contact that leads to a paying gig between now and June 1st, Kelli will reward you with an electronic copy of her latest book Freak of Nurture, and the MP3 version of any one of her first three CDs (your pick). And a signed, numbered copy of her original incision photo, which was banned from facebook for being “violent” and which  is now officially a collectors’ item (depending on how you define “collectors’ item) as that incision no longer exists, having been cut out during the second surgery.

You don’t have to take the print if you don’t want to.

Ready? You can find everything you need on Kelli’s main booking page.

But let’s make it simpler: here’s what Kelli has to offer the college crowd. And if you’re from a pride event or a faith community, yup there are pages just for you.

But also don’t miss information about Kelli’s one person shows, presentations about health, presentations for health care providers and health professions students as well presentations about the uses of humor. If you’re interested in bringing Kelli to your workplace for diversity, or humor and stress trainings, here’s everything you need to know. Finally, are you thinking about asking Kelli to emcee your next event? Check out the page we made just for you!

Wait, is that feeling overwhelming? Email Kelli directly (kellidunham@gmail.com) or just give her a call (215.964.1963) .

Or a text. Because it’s 2014.

Thanks!

The Story of a Queer Comic & A Knee Replacement. Mostly in Pictures

The Story of a Queer Comic & A Knee Replacement. Mostly in Pictures

Once upon a time in a land called Brooklyn there was a queer comic who could no longer travel to other far off lands to perform, nor even really walk around her apartment, all because she had a messed up hip.

Her friends got together and raised money so she could buy insurance. And when the queer comic went to the fancy big city doctor she found that the problem was never her hip, or at least not at first. Her problem was her knee which had been destroyed by getting hit by a car at age 12, kneeling on a bare concrete floor for four hours a day for a few years and other general knee abuse. The lucky result of this good diagnosis meant that there was also a good solution, albeit an unpleasant one: a total knee replacement surgery.

A few hours post op. The Queer Comic was moved into a room with a person kept refusing her Haldol. It was a long night.

A few hours post op. The Queer Comic was moved into a room with another patient who kept refusing to take her Haldol. It was a bit of a long night and the Queer Comic was glad for company of friends.

Still life with drain. One of the Queer Comic's friends thought that was a container of dried fruit. It was not

Still life with drain. One of the Queer Comic’s friends thought that was a container of dried fruit. It was not.

This photo was on the Queer comic's phone but she doesn't remember it being taken. It was probably taken by another queer comic friend of Kelli's who also brought her a copy of People and attempted to quiz the Queer Comic about celebrity names.

This photo was on the Queer Comic’s phone but she doesn’t remember it being taken. It was probably taken by another queer comic friend of Kelli’s who also brought her a copy of People and attempted to quiz the Queer Comic about celebrity names. The Queer Comic did not do very well on this quiz.

Post Op Day 2. The Queer Comic was already walking around with a walker, albeit not very happily.

Post Op Day 2. The Queer Comic was already walking around with a walker, albeit not very happily.

Can you find the knee in this photo? Knee replacements are like the Olympic champions of swelling. Some people have swelling for as long as one year post replacement. The Queer Comic found this out after the surgery, and was glad she hadn't known about this fact earlier.

Can you find the knee in this photo? Knee replacements are like the Olympic champions of swelling. Some people have swelling for as long as one year post replacement. The Queer Comic found this out after the surgery, and was glad she hadn’t known about this fact earlier.

The Queer Comic's friends have been amazing through this whole process. They brought hummus and tiny tigers. Or lions.

The Queer Comic’s friends have been amazing through this whole process. They brought hummus and tiny tigers. Or maybe lions.

And then the Queer Comic was very happy to go home. Friends and family visited, and a visiting nurse removed the dressing allowing the Queer Comic to see the incision for the first time. It was not a small incision, and the Queer Comic is not very tall, so the incision looks all the larger in comparison.

And then the Queer Comic was very happy to go home. Friends and family visited, and a visiting nurse removed the dressing allowing the Queer Comic to see the incision for the first time. It was not a small incision, and the Queer Comic is not very tall, so the incision looked all the larger in comparison.

There is little in the world more gay than a middle aged lesbian with a knee problem who returns home post surgery to have the resident cat immediately sit on that knee.

Still Life With Feline and Ice. There is little in the world more gay than a middle aged lesbian with a knee problem who returns home post surgery to have the resident cat immediately sit on that knee.

This is the bruise that the Queer Comic had on her back from the spinal anesthesia. Bruise or no, spinal anesthesia beats the hell out of waking up out of general anesthesia, confused and in horrible pain. Bring on the bruises, says the Queer Comic. And not even in a kinky way this time.

This is the bruise that the Queer Comic had on her back from the spinal anesthesia. Bruise or no, spinal anesthesia beats the hell out of waking up out of general anesthesia, confused and in horrible pain. Bring on the bruises, says the Queer Comic. And not even in a kinky way this time.

About five days post-op. The swelling is starting to subside, but there is little sign of an actual kneecap.

About five days post-op. The swelling is starting to subside, but there is little sign of an actual kneecap.

The Queer Comic's mom took this photo. If you look closely, you can see the Queer Comic is being guarded by Lulu the Cat. "Guarded"

The Queer Comic’s mom took this photo. If you look closely, you can see the Queer Comic is being guarded by Lulu the Cat. “Guarded”

Post Knee Replacement, there is no comfortable way to sleep. Even four weeks post op this is true. The cat positioning doesn't help much either, but it sure is cute.

Post Knee Replacement, there is no comfortable way to sleep. Even four weeks post op this is true. The cat positioning doesn’t help much either, but it sure is cute.

The Queer Comic's sister came to visit and brought her wonderful children, only one of who is an actual child. Everyone had a great time making science fiction themed shrinky dinks.

The Queer Comic’s sister came to visit and brought her wonderful children, only one of who is an actual child. Everyone had a great time making science fiction themed shrinky dinks.

Because of a mix-up/miscommunication at the surgeon's office, the Queer Comic couldn't get an appointment to get the stitches out until mid January. The Queer Comic is also a nurse and decided to take out her own stitches. This is just before removing them.

Because of a mix-up/miscommunication at the surgeon’s office, the Queer Comic couldn’t get an appointment to get the stitches out until mid January. The Queer Comic is also a nurse and decided to take out her own stitches. This is the incision just before removing said stitches.

And this is just after removing them. Not bad huh? The Queer Comic felt very very proud of herself. Perhaps ridiculously so.

And this is just after removing them. Not bad huh? The Queer Comic felt very very proud of herself. Perhaps ridiculously so.

These are the stitches after they came out. Kelli kept them for a while but after even her least squeamish friend didn't want to look at them, the Queer Comic threw them away.

These are the stitches after they came out. Kelli kept them for a while but after even her least squeamish friend didn’t want to look at them, the Queer Comic threw them away.

The Queer Comic had a lot of problems getting outpatient physical therapy set up, so with some help from friends, she created her own program. 11 exercises, three times a day. Even four weeks post op, it's pretty unpleasant.

The Queer Comic had a lot of problems getting outpatient physical therapy set up, so with some help from friends, she created her own program. 11 exercises, three times a day. Because anything worth doing is worth overdoing, says the Queer Comic.

And here is the knee, four weeks post op. Note the standing position!

And here is the knee, four weeks post op. Note the Queer Comic is in the standing position! Tap dancing video to come.

There really is a tap dancing video to come, so keep in touch!.

And if you’re in the New York area and you’re interested in hearing all the hilarious tales of the Queer Comic and her knee surgery, come to Stand Up Standing Up and Other Hilarious Tales of Queer Health on 1/25 at the Stonewall. More info and advance ticket link right here.

ALL NEW SHOW!

ALL NEW SHOW!

STAND UP STANDING UP AND OTHER RED AND BLACK

Kelli Dunham is everyone’s favorite ex-nun genderqueer nerd comic and now she is celebrating her knee replacement the only way she knows how to deal with difficulty: making comedy about it.

You’ll learn what her knee was replaced with (hint: not, as you might think, with a Diet Mountain Dew filled implant), what happened when her super queer Brookyn support team met her super Midwestern mother, and five gender-larious mix-ups in the hospital.

With special guest comic superstar Red Durkin!

Sliding scale advance tickets now available, 8-15 bucks here. If you need the scale to slide lower, no problem, email kellidunham@gmail.com.

More info and RSVP on the facebook event page.

PS To celebrate Facebook banning the event jpeg Kelli created to promote the event, we’ll be giving numbered, autographed prints of the close up of Kelli’s incision to the first five people in the door.

SQUARER

 

WELCOME, NEW STUDENTS, TO KELLI U!

WELCOME, NEW STUDENTS, TO KELLI U!

UPDATE 20 FEBRUARY 2014: The January classes are already up and running, but if you’re interested in one on one creative coaching, just hit up the contact page.  Kelli is offering specials all through the spring/summer of 2014.

——————————————–

Yeah it’s true.

Kelli is scheduled for a knee replacement in early December.

But don’t worry, they’re just replacing her knee with another (fake) one.

Don’t believe the rumors that her knee is being replaced with a: ADJUSTABLE MONKEY WRENCH

Or a lower leg donation from this very down and out bear:

BEAR WITH CAPTION

Or even an implant filled with Kelli’s favorite fluid:

DMD CAN

Not for lack of trying. Kelli’s surgeon was SO uncooperative!

So Kelli won’t be actively touring until mid-February. However, she’s taking the opportunity to teach a few ecourses that folks have been bugging her to put into action anyway. All include a ton of personal support, are available on a sliding scale basis and make great (consensual please) gifts.

Okay, okay. But Kelli's not offering a graphic arts course.

Don’t worry. Kelli is NOT offering a graphic arts course.For obvious reasons.

ECOURSE OFFERINGS:

The IF I HEAR ONE MORE RAPE JOKE I’LL SCREAM Alternate Alternate Stand Up Comedy Course for Progressive People: a six week career class designed for the beginning to intermediate comic who wants to start in or continue in stand-up without losing their soul. You can read more details and register here.

WHAT DOESN’T KILL US MAKES UM, MORE LIKELY TO TAKE UP KNITTING? This is a four week personalized course in CREATIVE RESILIENCE for the individual looking for creative ways to deal with grief, depression, PTSD or living on a planet that is completely shitty sometimes. Bring your own creative outlet (writing, performing, squaredancing etc) or Kelli will help you find one. More details and registration here.

PERSONALIZED URGING:

PERSONALIZED CREATIVE URGING (AKA COACHING, BUT KELLI HATES THAT WORD) Do you have a creative project you really need to finish but you can’t seem to get there? Kelli can help you figure out what your barriers are, design a plan and schedule, put together a support team, and nag you hard core into getting it done. Kelli has only a few slots open for this service. Gift certificates also available for one-time assessments or urging on an hourly basis. Details and registration here.

PERSONALIZED HEALTHCARE URGING. Getting healthcare is tough tough stuff but our bodies and our lives are worth fighting for. If you or someone you know is struggling to get a pelvic exam, have that mole looked at, make a primary care visit or meet another healthcare goal, there isn’t an app for that. Kelli can provide help with planning, self understanding and support to complete the task. Makes a great gift (with consent) for someone you love. Details and purchase right here.

 





Trigger Warning!

Trigger Warning!

Yup, it’s time for Kelli to record her fourth (yeah fourth!) CD, and she is calling it TRIGGER WARNING.

Because you know, trigger warning for talking about death and other horrible things. Hilarious, but horrible.

For this one night only show, Kelli is teaming up with the also hilarious Red Durkin. There are two shows, and both comics will perform at both shows.

Here are the details:

KELLI DUNHAM in TRIGGER WARNING

RED DURKIN in INTERPRETIVE SCREAMING

Friday, October 11th at 8 pm and 10 pm, BOTH COMICS, BOTH SHOWS

Bat Haus Co-Working Space

279 Starr Street,

Brooklyn, New York 11237

Tickets on sale now (we are going to sell out, so please buy in advance) sliding scale starting at 10 bucks and there are a couple of fun options like hilarious VIP options.  And RSVP to our facebook event page and you’ll be kept up to the minute about special promos, contests, etc. We hear a bunch of fans are planning on coming to the shows dressed like situations from Kelli’s or Red’s jokes!

Red made this flyer. She is super talented.

Red made this flyer. She is super talented.

MORE ABOUT THE SHOW:

Red Durkin is the kind of comic who can make audiences wince one moment and fall over laughing the next. Kelli Dunham is known for gently edgy humor that can only come from a someone who was a very bad nun turned big huge queer. At these two shows, Red will be recording her first comedy CD and Kelli her fourth.
———————————–

MORE ABOUT THE COMICS:

KELLI DUNHAM is everyone’s favorite ex-nun genderqueer nerd comic. Kelli was one of Velvet Park Magazine’s 25 Significant Queers of 2011 and was named to the 2012 Campus Pride Hotlist. Kelli was also given the The Fresh Fruit Festival Award for Distinction in stand-up comedy, although Kelli has never before or since been called distinguished. Kelli is a registered nurse and the author of five books of humorous non-fiction, including two children’s books being used by Sonlight conservative home schooling association in their science curriculum. Kelli’s fifth book, Freak of Nurture, a collection is humorous essays that none other than lesbian comedy godmother Kate Clinton called “laugh out loud outrageous storytelling” is just out from Topside Press and caused author Barbara Carellas to give Kelli the moniker “the David Sedaris of the genderqueer dyke world”

Kelli has three released three comedy CDs: “I am NOT a 12 Year Old Boy” “Almost Pretty” and “Why Is the Fat One Always Angry” all which are on regular rotation on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio’s Rawdog Comedy Station and Pandora’s Margaret Cho Comedy Station.

Kelli was recently the expert on “What Is Normal” in Twist Magazine (known as Tiger Beat’s little sister magazine), on a page facing a full color poster of Justin Beiber. There isn’t even a ironic statement to match that, it’s just strangely true.

RED DURKIN is the managing editor of PrettyQueer.com and one the most promising young queer comics in the country. She has toured extensively as part of the Tranny Roadshow, performed at Camp Trans and the Transgender Leadership Summit and was a member of the Fully Functional Cabaret. She has written 9 zines, was featured in the final issue of Punk Planet magazine and Topside Press’s The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard.Her work on Youtube has reach over 100,000 views and has appeared in classrooms and boardrooms nationwide.

Writing Easy When the Subject Matter Is Hard

NOTE: I use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because it’s okay to repeat yourself sometimes, but never to post other folks’ work as your own!

Recently a friend who read FREAK OF NURTURE asked me to tell her “how I did it.”

“Did what?” I asked with a sliver of defensiveness, thinking she might mean “how did you make so make dubious decisions which led to so many of the stories of the book?”

Silly me.

What she really meant was “how did you write about all the shitty stuff that happened to you in many of the stories of the book.”

Slightly different question.

Unfortunately I’m not sure I know the answer to the latter any more than do I the former, but perhaps I have a few tricks. Or maybe they’re tips. I’m not really so tricky like that .

 Kelli’s Surefire Might Work But Might Not Work Tips for Writing About

Bad Stuff That Happened To You Without Losing Your Mind Further, More, or Completely

#1—REMEMBER PTSD IS A REAL THING. Yup, it’s got a DSM code and everything and the government spends money studying it so you know it’s got to be legit. Respect the power of words, and how crafting and creating narratives can mess with your head.

#2—COMMIT TO CREATING BEYOND YOUR COMFORT LEVEL. If something bad happened to you and you want to turn it into art, that’s amazing. And the end result might also be amazing. But it’s not necessarily going to be easy to get there (see tip #1) and so you have decide that creating something is more important than feeling good, or even okay.

#3—CONSIDER IF YOUR LIFE IS STABLE ENOUGH TO ATTEMPT A HARD PROJECT. If you just broke up with your boyfriend and had to move back into your parent’s basement which they had been using to house their rare incontinent ferret collection, maybe it’s not the time to start your memoir about your time in a abusive commune/ hostage stand off / religious cult. Or maybe it is, what the hell do I know. Point is, consider your current situation before you tackle your past situations.

#4—BE AWARE THAT NOT ALL HORRIBLE THINGS ARE INHERENTLY INTERESTING. Include all the horrible details in your first draft, if that works for your process. But since this isn’t your journal, commit to writing many drafts before your work will be publishable. And yes, that includes on tumblr and your blog.

#5—WORK WITH AN EDITOR YOU TRUST. Ideally someone who has suffered more than you, otherwise you might want to punch them in the head.

#6—DO YOUR HARDEST WORK IN THE PRESENCE OF OTHER PEOPLE. That might be at a coffeeshop, or at a friend’s house, or a co-working place you rent by the day or the month. Or home with your room-mates around. You won’t necessarily want or need someone holding your hand, but it’s good to have humans around to remind you that you’re basically okay or at least still alive and breathing.

#7—KEEP IN TOUCH WITH HOW YOU’RE USING SUBSTANCES. In the past I would have said “don’t be an ass, staying up all night drinking whiskey and pecking away at the computer won’t turn you into Hemingway, it will just turn you into an alcoholic.” And I would say generally that’s true. But I know there are some people who tackle their demons equipped with weed or alcohol and it works for them.

#8—HAVE DEADLINES. Deadlines that someone other than you knows about.

#9–WORK SOMEPLACE PRETTY. Or if it feels better to you, someplace really really ugly, some place that matches the mood of what you’re writing. Just be aware of the physical environment.

#10—CREATE OUT OF ORDER. I wrote the first draft of Pudding Day (the one person show about the death of my first partner, which ultimately became a chapter in Freak of Nurture) in chronological order. It felt like losing her all over again. When a few years later my second partner Cheryl died, I realized I needed to mix it up a little, so I wrote about her death first, then our meeting, then her illness. I spent more time editing, but less time managing my own emotional upheaval. Mostly.

#11—ACKNOWLEDGE THAT NOT EVERYONE IS YOUR ENEMY. I know I know, that sounds like an asshole thing to say to someone trying to write about hard shit. But let’s say you’re crafting an essay about how a huge boulder fell on you for Huge Rocks Today Magazine. You can write about your own injuries, and how mean the doctor in the emergency room was to you, what you learned, what you didn’t learn, how mad you are that you stood underneath the boulder, or even how much you hate the person who tricked you into standing underneath the boulder. But if you spend 500 words on how stupid the boulder is, tedium ensues. Many stories and situations have a boulder, don’t give too much time to yours or you lose the reader.

#12—YOU CAN WRITE LIKE HELL ABOUT SOMETHING THAT HURT LIKE HELL and still sometimes people won’t get it. But you created something, so guess what, you win.

PS Kelli will be reading from FREAK OF NURTURE in New York on September 25th at the VP Reading Series, and in Philadelphia on September 26th at William Way Center.  Or come watch Kelli and Red Durkin as they record their CDs (Kelli’s will be called Trigger Warning) on October 11th in Bushwich, BK.

Yeah FREAK OF NURTURE is HERE

Yeah FREAK OF NURTURE is HERE

So let’s say you’ve been wanting to share some Kelli Dunham comedy but you hate going to clubs. Or colleges. Or prides. Or coffeehouses. Or maybe you’d like to hear a little more in depth behind the scenes look at why I was a nun, or all the funny stuff that happens when you lose two partners in a row, or you wish some of my stories about living in Haiti were written down.

Or maybe you lead a high school GSA or college LGBT student’s group and want to bring me to your school but you are having convincing more serious minded folks that you can a stand up comic to your school without some kind of international incident. PHOTO OF REVIEW COPY OF FREAK OF NURTURE

Wellsireeee my friend, you’re in luck. Kelli is Serious Now. Kelli’s fifth book (and her first personal/queer) book FREAK OF NURTURE has just been released by the groundbreaking Topside Press. You can read more about the stories and essay contained within on Kelli’s blog for the book you can buy it right now, or if you’re anywhere in the New York area, come out to the event release reading at (naturally) the Sealy Cuyler Funeral Home on May 18.

And if you need help explaining Freak of Nurture to your friends, just show ‘em this Venn Diagram. A Venn Diagram always helps.

Totally clear it up, right?

Totally clears it up, right?

 

Hey I was tagged (along with the brilliant Imogen Binnie) by authors Johnny Drago and EC Crandall (who penned the hilarious and bizarre and parodical book Executive Privilege) to do this self interview as part of the Next Big Thing. I’m not exactly sure why I’m being so snarky, since it’s a self interview, but it’s early and I haven’t slept much.  At least that’s my excuse. So here goes:

PHOTO OF REVIEW COPY OF FREAK OF NURTURE

Beautiful book, right? Thanks Topside’s Julie Blair for that!

What is the working title for the book?

I don’t know how hard it’s working, but the title is Freak of Nurture, which comes from a bit in my stand up act. “Some lady saw me on Showtime and emailed me to tell me I’m a freak of nature. No, my friend, you don’t know me, you don’t know my family, or you would know I’m a freak of nurture.”

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve been playing around with the idea of a book of essays for hmmm, almost a decade, but never really thought I had a platform, or maybe I thought it was too narcissistic to have a book that’s just about my adventures and misadventures “oh look how fascinating my life is, gee whiz, golly folks, it’s all about me.” It seemed like those girls on GIRLS (the HBO disaster series) where everyone is running around trying to get other people to pay attention to them and affirm them and they HAVEN’T DONE A DAMN THING YET.

Anyway through my work with Queer Memoir and cajoling college students in storytelling workshops about the importance of telling their own story (I say “tell your own story or someone more powerful than you will tell it for you, and it won’t be the same story” at least five times a day) I realized it’s a little hypocritical to ask other people to tell their very personal stories publicly unless I have the guts to do the same.

Tom Leger from Topside, Mr Success Bully himself, is the person who convinced me that I needed to put out this book at this point in my career. This is actually my fourth book, and all the other books are doing quite well, but they’re all niche nonfiction. For example, The Boys’ Body Book (Simon and Schuster, 2010) is first in its category in Amazon and is being used by everyone from LGBT focused foster care agencies to Sonlight Conservative Christian Homeschooling Curriculum. Which is pretty scary.But despite its success, which I’m grateful for, no one has ever heard of it unless you’re the parent of an 8-12 year old boy.

So Freak of Nurture is my first really personal, really queer book.

What genre does your book fall under?

Traumedy (trauma + comedy)

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmmm, well, I think I should play myself because I won’t have to do anything complicated to look like myself. Unfortunately, I can’t act, I’m a comic and a storyteller. So maybe all my talented acting friends can all play themselves and I’ll play a missing person in a newspaper that someone else,playing me, is reading.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Freak of Nurture is a book of stories and essays that demonstrates hilarity and chaos reign when you combine what Kelli Dunham’s therapist calls “deep biological optimism” with a hearty midwestern work ethic and determination to make bad ideas a fantastic reality

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Writing it took both a lifetime and six weeks.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

See above, and also 2011 The Year I Stopped Getting Invited to Parties (not for the faint of heart)

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It covers a lot of ground! There are stories about my first job in the shelter system (“You Know Who Does Anal”), the first ever in print story of my disastrous attempt at being a nun (“Bad Habit”) as well as lots of stories of smart kids in Haiti who beat the hell out of each other with their prosthetic legs (“Dishonoring Columbus”) and some good ol’ fashioned gender confusion humor.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Freak of Nurture will be released May 21, 2013 by Topside Press; pre-order available oh so soon!

And I’m tagging the hilarious Red Durkin!

PS And oh here’s what lesbian comic icon Kate Clinton has to say about Freak of Nurture: “This hilarious collection covers a lot of ground – daredevil childhood, big-hearted caregiving, behind the scenes Catholic convents, coming out as uh whatever, comedy and good samaritan road-trips, death defying hospice  – with a bracing self-awareness, a keen appreciation of language, sexual frankness and buoyant optimism.   It is laugh-out-loud outrageous story-telling.”