Romancing the tune

Serenading a lover always works for out singer Nancy Beaudette

Nancy_Beaudette_color

ACOUSTIC DIVA | Beaudette blends her Celtic and folks sounds with some spirituality and compassion.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Nancy Beaudette is ahead of her time. Literally. Feb. 14 isn’t until next week, but Beaudette and her girlfriend have already celebrated Valentine’s Day: A gift exchange, a relaxed morning in the hot tub and a long walk on a gorgeous Massachusetts day.

“Oh and we had a wonderful Chinese dinner,” she adds.

That’s what happens when a working musician hits the road — you celebrate the Hallmark moments when you can. For Beaudette, right now there is no calendar other than her tour. She’ll be playing throughout the month, including a stopover in Fort Worth on Saturday. She’s fine with it. At 50, with a healthy discography under her belt dating back 30 years to 1982, Beaudette is finally doing the “musician thing.”

“This is the first time I’m doing music without having a full-time job,” she says. “I’m embarking on a lifelong dream of songwriting and performing.”

Romance isn’t lost in Beaudette’s brand of folk. Like any singer, she’ll croon about love, but she also sings her fair share of heartbreak songs. She’s quick to point out that love is not all fuzzies and wuzzies. There are layers of complex issues that she deals with through her music, including a split from her wife of 22 years and from her church. She covers both on the title track of her last album, Honestly.

“The song is the language of divorce, but it was really about my emotional connection between my church and me,” she says. “It was devastating.”

Having the benefit of legalized marriage in her native Canada, Beaudette and her wife were excommunicated by the Catholic Church after they exchanged vows. An active member and choir director for 25 years, the blow had devastating effects; she cites it as the reason her marriage failed, but she found therapy in music.

“I journal a lot and music has been helpful,” she says. “Those pages are a great place to get to my raw emotions.” (Ironically, her church still performs all of her music.)

Despite such drama, Beaudette hardly has a bitter tone. She’s ebullient and optimistic and clearly enlivened by her new relationship and perhaps by her nebulous future with music. Her smile is practically evident through the phone line.

“I left my town, fell in love, got a performance visa and now I’m living with Chris in Massachusetts,” she says. “The U.S. market is so much larger and much more competitive, but it’s been very positive and my trips to Nashville have been very inspiring.”

The last time Beaudette came to Texas was for a conference in Waco in the mid-‘90s. This time, she anticipates a proper introduction to the Lone Star State. As with any non-Texan, she’s banking on an epic experience.

“I think everyone says this, but I hear everything is bigger in Texas,” she quips. “I’m looking forward to seeing it. I’ve met some really delightful women from Houston who will be hosting a house concert when I’m there. And the Open Door people have been so kind. The glimpse I’ve seen so far is pretty welcoming.”

She’ll also perform at Agape MCC’s Sunday morning service. Despite being hurt by a religious institution, she’s determined to use it as a bolster to her spiritual and musical side. Besides, it goes hand-in-hand with her Charter for Compassion work, a movement with the mission to “restore compassion to the center of morality and religion.”

“I’m not the first gay person to be hurt by a church,” she says. “We are spiritual and looking for ways to express it. I get to talk about the charter I’m involved with. The movement is growing all around.”

Pursuing her dream and spreading her message, Beaudette should have a fulfilling tour, but with all that, she still wants to be with her lady and serenade her with a song — that is if Chris doesn’t beat her to it.

“She’s a singer-songwriter too so we have lots in common. She’ll sing to me,” she says. “I serenade her all the time. It always does the trick.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 10, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

‘A-List’ casting in Dallas! Now you can be FAMOUS for being a selfish jerk!

Admit it: You watch The Real Housewives because you see yourself in those characters. Are you kept by a “big papa” like Kim? A crazy, in-your-face bitch like NeNe? A big-haired, table-up-ending psycho like Teresa? Or maybe you crashed a White House party. Only you could do it better and be fabulous at the same time. And with more product in your hair.

Well, now’s your chance.

As Logo’s The A-List: New York winds down its popular inaugural season, the company that produces it is expanding its franchise a la the Housewives. That means new cities, and first among them: Dallas. (Los Angeles is also casting.)

If you want to be the new Reichen (although, let’s face it: You’re probably more an Austin), you can go to TheAListCasting.com and fill out a questionnaire. Casting agents will then be in town from Dec. 6 through 23 doing on-site interviews to find the gays they want to follow for a few months.

Here are some of the questions you get to answer (and some suggested responses guaranteed to get you noticed):

• “Have you ever been arrested?” (Answer: It’s not that I was arrested — it’s what I did for the arresting officer in the squad car that got my record cleared) …

• “What does your significant other do for a living?” (Trust me: Being my significant other is a full-time job) …

• “Are you sexually active?” (No, I just lie there) …

• “Are you trying to have children!” (Yes! I’ve been fucking my boyfriend daily for a year but he’s still not pregnant … too bad I went to public school in Texas and didn’t get decent sex ed) …

• “Why do you think you are A-List?” (I’m self-absorbed and shallow, and gossip constantly about others while failing to see those same traits in myself … Why? What have you heard?)

We have a weiner! See ya on TV!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Open letter to Pelosi

Calling on the Speaker of the House to keep her promise on ENDA

We are writing to express how extremely troubled we are that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has not yet been scheduled for a vote by the full House of Representatives. We believe a floor vote must be scheduled for ENDA immediately.

It would be devastating for LGBT workers for this Congress to not complete its work on ENDA before the end of this session.

ENDA would be historic in the number of LGBT people who would benefit from its passage. During this economic crisis, it is more important than ever to prohibit the often-impoverishing effects of workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Most LGBT workers have no protections from workplace discrimination. ENDA would provide legal protection against discrimination nationally.

Over and over we have been promised that a vote would be scheduled on ENDA, and these promises have been repeatedly broken. In 29 states, it is still legal to fire someone solely because they are lesbian, gay or bisexual. And in 38 states it is legal to fire someone solely for being transgender.

The current version of the bill would outlaw discrimination on both sexual orientation and gender identity.

A 2006 study by the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Transgender Law Center found that 60 percent of transgender people in San Francisco earn less than $15,300 per year; only 25 percent have a full-time job, and nearly 9 percent have no source of income.

Only 4 percent reported making more than $61,200, which is about the median income in the Bay Area.

More than half of local transgender people live in poverty, and 96 percent earn less than the median income. Forty percent of those surveyed don’t even have a bank account.

What this study reveals is that even in a city that is considered a haven for the LGBT community, transgender workers face profound employment challenges and discrimination.

A 2007 meta-analysis from the Williams Institute of 50 studies of workplace discrimination against LGBT people found consistent evidence of bias in the workplace. The analysis found that up to 68 percent of LGBT people reported experiencing employment discrimination, and up to 17 percent said they had been fired or denied employment.

Public opinion polling shows that Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of making sure LGBT Americans get the same employment opportunities as everyone else. In fact, the latest surveys shows that nearly 90 percent of Americans support workplace fairness for LGBT workers.

As you know, in a few weeks, Congress will finish it’s legislative business for the year so that they can return to their districts to run for re-election. Last month at a LGBT Pride event, Congresswoman Jackie Spier announced to the LGBT community that not only would we not get ENDA before the end of the legislative session, that she did not think we would get it for five years because we won’t have enough votes in Congress again to ensure passage.

It is ironic that Congress plans on leaving town and going home to campaign for their own jobs while leaving thousands of LGBT workers without protections for the next five years. When 90 percent of Americans support workplace fairness, it is challenging to believe that anyone fears a backlash from the voters.

The time to pass ENDA is now. The American people support it; the politicians promised it. No more broken promises. We demand that a vote be scheduled now.

FROM: SF Pride at Work, One Struggle, One Fight, GetEqual, Harvey Milk Democratic Club, El/La, Transgender Law Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and National Pride at Work.

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 30, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas