GA Voice - - Black­gaypride -

The Ge­or­gia Voice: By the time we go to print, you will have just hosted a lo­cal fashion show for les­bians. How did your role come about?

Kia Com­edy: Yes, I am host­ing an event called “Dap­per: The An­dro (an­drog­y­nous) Fashion Show”. Some friends and I were talk­ing one day about fashion shows when it crossed our minds that there never seems to be any­thing to high­light cloth­ing for an­drog­y­nous les­bians. We de­cided to put it to­gether. The de­sign­ers are also mem­bers of the LGBTQ com­mu­nity and ev­ery­one in­volved is happy that it’s a com­mu­nity event. The re­sponse has been huge.

In ad­di­tion to your com­edy and dab­bling in an­drog­y­nous fashion, you’re also a hu­man rights ac­tivist.

Yes. I’m go­ing to par­tic­i­pate in a sym­po­sium at the Cen­ter for Civil and Hu­man Rights. My pre­sen­ta­tion, called “Queer Ques­tions,” is about LGBTQ his­tory, progress, is­sues that we still face, cur­rent leg­is­la­tion and ac­tion points that can be taken.

What do you see as the big­gest is­sues fac­ing the LGBTQ com­mu­nity right now?

The fact that we can be fired or face hous­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion just for be­ing gay here in

ATL Pride Week­end Com­edy Show Queer Com­edy Jam

Satur­day, Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. The Metro­plex Theater Ge­or­gia is pretty con­cern­ing. We need to get in­volved in help­ing to pass ENDA to pre­vent work­place dis­crim­i­na­tion. Work­ing some­where and hav­ing to live in the closet can be ter­ri­fy­ing. You know the light bill is com­ing at the end of the month so you live in fear of be­ing found out and fired. When I was a teacher, I couldn’t speak out.

Tell your teacher story…

Af­ter gay mar­riage was le­gal­ized, I asked my in­sur­ance car­rier if I could add my wife to my pol­icy. They said if I wanted to add her, we’d have to get two sep­a­rate poli­cies which would have cost twice as much as adding her on my own. The in­sur­ance com­pany said they could ask the school I taught at to see if they might ac­com­mo­date. I said, “Don’t do that!” Be­cause I taught at an in­ner-city African-Amer­i­can male char­ter school that was mostly black Mus­lims. I knew there would be trou­ble if the school found out.

They made the inquiry any­way. Immedi- ately, I went from be­ing depart­ment head, team lead and teacher of the month to where I could do no right. I had to go out on med­i­cal leave for stress and then re­signed be­cause it just got too crazy.

It ended up be­ing a good thing for me. It freed up my time so that I could pur­sue my dream of be­ing a come­di­enne and ag­gres­sively start tour­ing with the sup­port of my wife, Ken­zie.

How did you meet your wife?

My wife is a die-hard WNBA fan and had court-side seats. I went to the games just to see the girls. I was up in the nose­bleed sec­tion with the pe­ons. We would see each other at the games but we never spoke. She ended up mes­sag­ing me on so­cial me­dia and acted like she wanted to go play bas­ket­ball with me. That was a lie. [laughs] But we de­vel­oped a re­la­tion­ship from that and three years later, here we are still go­ing strong. We got mar­ried in DC be­fore the Supreme Court de­cided to give us a pinch of free­dom. I’d also like to add that we are an in­ter­ra­cial cou­ple.

You have built quite a fol­low­ing for your com­edy in At­lanta.

The At­lanta com­edy scene is huge. As I started per­form­ing, I kept notic­ing that I was sit­ting through shows where half the jokes were mak­ing fun of gay peo­ple. I de­cided to join Queer Com­edy Jam be­cause they high­light LGBTQ co­me­di­ans and en­ter­tain­ers. It’s great be­cause we’re not the ones be­ing joked about now.

Through my work with Queer Com­edy Jam, I’ve built a net­work of LGBTQ co­me­di­ans that help me tour more. Now, I’m go­ing to their ci­ties and bring­ing my show, Lez Laugh, to their city. The show that we’re do­ing in At­lanta (Septem­ber 3rd) for Black Gay Pride is go­ing to have the best LGBTQ co­me­di­ans from all over the coun­try.

Is your com­edy mostly about gay things?

Mostly. When I tell my jokes, I ad­dress is­sues that af­fect us. I present it in a way where it’s funny, but it cre­ates an aware­ness that al­though we can laugh about it, it’s a real is­sue that needs to be dealt with. For ex­am­ple, I tell the story about when my wife told her dad about us. She called him and said, “Dad, I have some­thing to tell you.” He said, “Baby, I’ve been wait­ing for this a while. Just go ahead and say it.” She said, “I’m in love with a woman and we’re get­ting mar­ried.” He said, “Oh, thank God! I thought you were go­ing to tell me you were dat­ing black guys.”

Peo­ple laugh at the event but then the is­sue is planted in their minds. Com­edy is my dis­guise. I’m tak­ing Lez Laugh all over the coun­try. I’m proud to rep­re­sent and en­ter­tain the LGBTQ com­mu­nity.

Septem­ber 2, 2016

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