As an out-and-proud woman of color, author Kisa Jackson welcomes her role in Southern Pride — but hopes all gay communities can one day unite
The last marchers may have stepped away from Lee Park, but don’t dare think that Pride celebrations in North Texas have ended. Fort Worth Pride launches this week (see sidebar, Page 27) and Dallas Southern Pride is officially underway, celebrating the same-gender-loving African-American community.
But Southern Pride is about much more than parties. With workshops, fashion shows and literary events, Pride is also about education and positive messages.
And that’s right up Kisa Jackson’s alley.
"I like the different workshops. I think its good to support the seminars because the education is something we’re definitely lacking," she says.
Jackson is not just a participant. She’s a player in this year’s festivities. The author and playwright will be part of the Book Signing and Author Review Sunday discussing her novel, Caught in the Web. It’s a story, she says, that speaks to all women, straight or gay, even though her main character Tracy finds love with a woman after several unsuccessful attempts with men. Ultimately, however, Jackson says the book is about self-love.
"People put their job or their relationships first usually. We need to put ourselves first. This book is for women in general. Our stories are all the same because pain is the same," she says.
Jackson began writing as a child but her professional published career started in 2006. Since then, she’s written two plays — All in the Name of Luv and After the Rain, the Sun Will Shine —both of which feature African-American lesbian relationships, and dealing with issues such as infidelity, alcoholism and domestic violence. Even though she says her stories can relate to anyone, she’s cornering a niche market by putting a face on the lives of black lesbians.
"I’m trying to say with my work that our focus in life is no different than anyone else’s. I’m trying to take the stereotype out of LGBT people’s lives and show everyday life. Being lesbian does not define who I am entirely," Jackson says.
Even so, it doesn’t take away from her Pride. She turns into a cheerleader almost when the subject is broached. It adds to her dynamic of one stereotype that she might be O.K. with: the strong black woman.
"I have never been in the closet! I’ve never been ashamed of who I am," she says.
Jackson is happy to be a part of this year’s Southern Pride but the idea of two celebrations does give her pause. Although grateful for Southern Pride and what it means for the gay black community, she can’t help but feel that it misses the overall meaning.
"I have a major problem with the separation of Pride. I feel like we’re in it together. That’s just me. There’s no difference between the two except for the parade and the educational classes. Nevertheless, Pride is a success in my opinion," she says.
Still, she challenges all LGBT people to take Pride beyond the special events. Beyond her goal of spreading affirming messages with her writing, she is devoted to working in and for the community and encourages others to do the same. She says this with such conviction as if the future of LGBT people depends on it to move forward. Maybe she’s right.
"We fixate so much on Pride but I wanna see what people do after that. I hope people will take Pride past this weekend. We’re all a family," she says.
Where could all this positive strength come from? Clearly she was comfortable with her orientation when she was younger. That alone can build up a strong confident foundation. She admits to feeling grown after moving out at 18, but perhaps her biggest source of strength right now are her two sons, both teens.
"I have so much joy being a mom. I do so much with them and some of my struggles that I write about have been based on them. My boys are very supportive and it’s a great feeling," she says.
A feeling that clearly radiates with Pride.
Dallas Southern Pride at a glance
Here is a sampling of events happening throughout the DSP celebration.
The Under My Umbrella patio party goes down Friday at Cremona, 2704 Worthington St. at 10:30 p.m. The Masquerade Ball will be Saturday at the Ware House, 1837 Corinth St., starting at midnight. On Sunday, visit Jackson at the author event at the Holiday Inn Market Center, 4500 Harry Hines Blvd. at 11 a.m. Afterward, get free food and drinks at Pride By The Lake at Bachman Lake, 3500 Northwest Highway at 3 p.m.
For more information and events, visit DallasSouthernPride.com.
Pride hits Cowtown
No doubt Pride is going to have special meaning this year in Fort Worth. The community rallied after the Rainbow Lounge raid this summer and became quite a voice of their own. They go all out with a week’s worth of events bookended by the Pride parade this weekend and their famous Pride picnic next weekend.
Fort Worthians began celebrating earlier this week and head for the weekend in high gear. The All-Star Drag Show starts the weekend off Friday and Saturday at 1851 Club, 1851 Division St. in Arlington at 10:30 p.m. The Tarrant County Gay Pride Association holds their Gay Pride Parade Sunday at 2 p.m. on Jennings Street. After the parade, the Fort Worth Divas host Gayfest at the Rainbow Lounge, 651 S. Jennings Ave. Over at Best Friends Club, 2620 E. Lancaster Ave., Family Pride Festivities start at 4 p.m.
But it doesn’t end this weekend. Monday night, Best Friends will host Games and Casino Night at 7 p.m. The Rainbow Lounge gets in on the school night action with the Showing Your Pride Talent Show hosted by Whitney Paige at 10 p.m. Tuesday, the Lounge will host Q Cinema Show Tunes and then Student Pride on Wednesday night. Thursday night, the Texas Sweetheart Ball takes place at Best Friends starting at 7 p.m.
It all ends next Saturday with the Tarrant County Gay Pride Picnic at Trinity Park at noon with food and live entertainment and all the Pride you can handle.
Now how is that for some rainbow celebrating?
For more information and events, visit Tcgpwa.org
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 2, 2009.