Whitney Weddell is the Chair of Bakersfield LGBTQ and Bakersfield Pride, fighting the good fight since 1982. She lives in Bakersfield with her wife, Lori, a huge extended family (both bio and not), and their three dogs. She pays the bills by being a high school teacher.
How long have you lived in the Central Valley?
47 of my 50 years
Married or single?
When did you come out to the first person in your life, or are you a straight ally?
I told my older sister I thought I was gay when I was about 13; that’s also when she told me about her!
Something you like about yourself?
I don’t take myself too seriously. Usually. Well, most of the time. Well, some of the time. Ok, never.
Something you dislike about yourself?
Character trait in others that you most admire?
Courage “I wanna see you be brave…” AND me, too.
Character trait in others that you most dislike?
Complainers who don’t contribute. If you don’t vote, you can’t bitch. If you didn’t help, don’t criticize. If you’re not willing to help fix it, don’t point out the problem.
What is your biggest regret?
That there are only 24 hours in a day
What are you most passionate about?
My family & human rights
Favorite thing to do in your free time?
Cards Against Humanity with a roomful of family
What aggravates you the most?
See #7 And poor grammar. “A LOT” is TWO WORDS!
What makes you the happiest?
My wife, every day, all day
What are you, quite frankly, over?
Pharrell’s “Happy” (AAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHH!!!!!)
What is your biggest challenge?
There are so many important challenges right now. Trans rights; Homelessness among LGBTQ adults and youth; Bullying; Suicide prevention; ENDA. I want to get involved in all of them, and (see #8)
What was your favorite decade so far?
The 2000s are really when I came out of my shell. After twenty years involved in our community, I began to take steps to make a real difference.
Who is your favorite person to talk to?
My wife, Lori Renee.
Name a person you know personally who has had the biggest impact on you?
Nancy Bailey, one of the original pioneers of the LGBTQ political movement in Bakersfield, and still our godmother. She showed me what political courage really is. (And she’s speaking at Bakersfield PFLAG in April!)
Name a person you don’t know who has had the biggest impact on you?
Too many to list. All the amazing heroes of history, known and unknown, who sacrificed so much for the rights we have today.
The most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
Delegate, delegate, delegate. I say I’ve learned it, but I don’t practice it very well.
Besides a phone, what piece of technology can you not live without?
My car. Independence is everything.
What superpower would you most like to have?
Just call me Super Dyke, righter of homophobic wrongs; bouncer of bigotry; and evangelist for equality! (See #4)
Who would you like to play you in a movie about your life?
My students once told me Rosie O’Donnell would be perfect. I thought Lea DeLaria. Maybe Melissa McCarthy for the early days?
What is the best part of your day?
There’s no best part. I love being at school with my kids; I love doing the work of this movement; and I love quiet times with my wife. Life is good!
What is your proudest moment?
Assisting couples in legally marrying in Bakersfield in 2008, despite a homophobic county clerk who refused to do ceremonies. We arranged for ministers to come and married 27 couples that day, and dozens more that summer.
Who did you overlook in your past?
My wife Lori. We were acquainted for many years before the sparks flew.
What have you overcome? Intense shyness and low self-esteem; a need to analyze everything absolutely to death; the need to always have a plan B and a plan C and a plan D…
Where your ideal place to live?
Wherever Lori is, and where I can make a difference.
What words do you live by?
“Live your life with love & bravery, and you shall lead a life uncommon.” Jewel;
and a paraphrase: The best way to conquer an enemy is to make him your friend. Abraham Lincoln