Published in the Fall 2004 issue • Features
Loud and Proud
Comic and activist Margaret Cho takes on rowdy Republicans, fat-fearing TV execs and anyone who wants to legislate love
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Cho’s ability to deliver humour based on her own tragedies has built her a loyal and diverse fan base of various sexual identities and ethnicities. Her followers cite Cho as not only an incredibly funny woman, but an inspiration to anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.
Robert Lidstone, a 22-year-old gay student in Vancouver, explains why he is attracted to Cho. “She seems to bring people together across various lines of difference precisely because she is very critical of the mainstream through her comedy,” he says. “I think I relate more to her comedy because it’s not just funny, it’s political. She purposely weaves together a critique of mainstream society through her bits so I find it empowering as well as entertaining.”
Offstage, Cho practices what she preaches. She has been honoured by organizations such as the National Organization for Women, PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) for her activism.
In February, San Francisco began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Bush administration threatened to amend the constitution to effectively ban these marriages across the country. So Cho decided it was time to raise her voice for equal marriage rights. Since she was already writing about social equality online, it made sense for her to create a website supporting same-sex marriage. Loveisloveislove.com was born.
“It was just a natural reaction to wanting to make a site that was a place for people to come and get all the latest news and information about this issue which is so vitally important, not just to the gay and lesbian community, but to a world that is humane, looking towards a future of equality for everyone,” Cho says. “It’s about really honouring the aspects of the heart. We can’t deny love in all of its forms. When we put limits on who can get married and who can’t, and when we put biases in terms of what is legislatable in terms of love, then it’s a really bad, bad thing.”
Webmistress Keri Smith updates the site daily with the latest news and resources. She says, “It started as a way to point Margaret’s fans in the direction of petitions like the one she did with the Democratic National Committee, where they could make their voices heard against a Federal Marriage Amendment.” The site features a “Bible Verse of the Day” that Smith says is a funny, yet astute way of discrediting religion as an excuse for homophobia.
Unlike other celebrities whose idea of supporting a cause is simply donating money or face time at gala dinners, Cho takes her values further. She gets down and dirty with fellow activists, often protesting and speaking at events such as rallies for equal marriage and the March for Women’s Lives (a historical march for women’s reproductive rights that took place this past April in Washington, D.C.).