Friday, February 27, 2015

Q & A With Jennifer Davis

Jennifer Davis is a housewife and an activist/agitator currently residing in Lakewood, WA.  When she isn't baking, gardening or reading, she tries to cause as much as trouble as possible around social justice issues, focusing on full, federal, LGBTQ equality & trying to ensure intersectionality within the LGBTQ movement… and she occasionally, as cliche as it may be, does her best to piss off the religious “right.”

How long have you lived in the Central Valley?

I was born & raised in Bakersfield, and moved back as an adult to Visalia for about 5 ½ yrs.  My wife, Joan, and I moved to Lakewood, WA about 8 months ago.

Married/Single/Relationship Status?

Married… Joan & I have been together over 10 years, married for a little over 1.
When did you come out to the first person in your life or are you a straight ally?
I came out in 1992-ish, I was 22 or 23.

Something you like about yourself?

I make a wickedly delicious vegetarian lasagna…

Something you dislike about yourself?

I smoke – it is a dirty, disgusting, expensive addiction, and it is literally killing me.

Character trait in others that you most admire?

Desire to learn, ask questions, expand their world, their perspective… I find people who want to/search out opportunities to be better informed, to be more open-minded… not only do I admire it, I find it sexy!

Character trait in others that you most dislike?

Being dismissive of others perspectives, experiences, stories, etc.  I would rather have someone question a perspective, argue a point of view, have an opinion, but just dismissing someone because it is “different” than their frame of reference, I find that offensive.

What is your biggest regret?

Starting smoking/not quitting smoking

What are you most passionate about?

Social justice issues, with my focus, at this point, being full LGBTQ equality… very few things get me fired up (good & bad) like injustice.

Favorite thing to do in your free time?

Read, bake, garden… oh & organize a direct action against injustice… boots on the ground & fist in the air – that is how change, real change, is won!

What aggravates you the most?

Not having real ½ & ½ for my coffee – and that powdered shit has got to go… and BTW, fat-free ½ & ½ -- what joke – by definition that is skim milk people, gross!!!

What makes you the happiest?

Sharing a meal with people I love.

What are you, quite frankly, over?

Whispers!!!  If it needs to be whispered or said as an-aside – check yourself, maybe you shouldn't be saying it!  If it needs to be said, say it out loud, even if it is just to yourself or a select person(s)… I believe we NEED to say more OUT LOUD – we need to talk about suicide, addiction, mental health, trans-phobia , privilege, heteronormativity, racism, classism, sexism, domestic violence, our rape culture, etc…. and not as a whisper but with our voices, our most powerful tool & weapon!

What is your biggest challenge?

Remembering that not every fight is mine… it is okay if I concentrate on one part, on one aspect, on one perspective & then trust that others can lead and move other aspects so that we all reach the same goal.  I can be a strong ally, a strong supporter without taking on the “whole” issue.

What was your favorite decade so far?

This one!

Who is your favorite person to talk to?

My Mom, who, unfortunately, completed suicide 3 weeks ago… we talked about everything, and I am still trying to figure out how to fill that void.

Name a person you know personally who has had the biggest impact on you?

If she reads this, I am sure she is going to give me hell for it, hee, hee… Melissa McMurrey… She says I taught her so much & we gave her so much – to that I call “bullshit”… I think she forgets how much she taught me, how much she gave to us.  I am forever grateful she came into my life through a shared, drunk ride home from Reel Pride & then history was made for all of us… and there are so many others… Slade Childers, Robin McGeHee, Cheryl & Sandy Waymack, Jim Reeves, Joan & Steve Palmer, Patrick & Dawn Finney, Erica Keppler, Joan Davis, William VanLandingham, Myndi Hargrave – I could go on for days, literally…

Name a person you don’t know who has had the biggest impact on you?

Alice Walker – for me, the embodiment of intersectionality, and positive, peaceful activism and a role model for the power of Voice!

The most important lesson you've learned so far?

I am never 100% “right.”

Besides a phone, what piece of technology can you not live without?

What superpower would you most like to have?

Dangerous question!!! Invisibility would be awesome, but if I am honest, the Aries in me comes out, mind control… hee, hee!

Who would you like to play you in a movie about your life?

Jodie Foster, but first I would want her to end her dysfunctional relationship with crazy boy Mel Gibson…

What is the best part of your day?

Snuggling into bed with my wife!  She was active duty Navy for about 7 years of our relationship, and we had months and months and months and months apart… so I am grateful, every night, when we can be together.

What is your proudest moment?

I am proud of a lot of things I have done, but really… I don’t think I have reached my proudest moment yet… at least I hope not…

What have you overcome?

Grief… my brother, who was gay as well… Eric James… my mother – I have had three very close family members complete suicide, plus the loss of so many friends and family members to other causes… and it is hard, so hard to be on the other side of it… and I don’t know if I have “overcome” it or am working through it/scraping by, by the skin of my teeth/using it to drive me to make the world a somewhat better place for them and people like them… but right now, today, I will NOT let grief define me nor silence me…

Where is your ideal place to live?

Exactly where I am – I love my life, my family, my home, my community… but… if I win the lottery… I will seriously consider a little cottage/villa outside of Paris…

What words do you live by?

“Do one thing every day that scares you” – E. Roosevelt

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