by Beth Corbin
She's energetic, articulate, endearingly confident -- and she's out. Billing herself as a "famous lesbian comedian," Suzanne Westenhoefer will take to the stage at a key, election-year fundraiser for feminist candidates this month.
Nominated for a Cable ACE award for her HBO comedy special, Westenhoefer has made the leap into mainstream comedy. Her popularity is due in large part to her ease in answering obnoxious questions.
"How'd you become homosexual?"
"First there's the talent competition, then the interview -- swimsuit and evening gown pretty much get rid of the undesirables."
"Did you chose to be a homosexual?"
"No, I was chosen."
In an important election year, Westenhoefer will use her talent to help the NOW Equality PAC "Party with a Purpose" Friday, March 29, in Palm Springs, Calif., during the LPGA Dinah Shore Golf Tournament.
"This is a natural time for us to bring together women sports celebrities, performers and candidates around issues of importance to all women," said NOW President Patricia Ireland. "This tournament draws thousands of women to Palm Springs each year to watch great golf and enjoy themselves."
Westenhoefer champions lesbian rights and women's rights not only in her performances, but also in volunteer work in high schools. She calls herself a "human visual aid" for meeting bias face to face in the classroom and educating teenagers about lesbians and gay men.
At a New Jersey high school, Westenhoefer began by introducing herself as a famous lesbian comedian. "I hope that's not going to be a problem for anybody," she said. "I've been in therapy for quite a while and I think this comedy thing is something I'm going to work out. But this lesbian thing is working for me. I think I'll keep it."
At another stop a 15-year-old boy asked Westenhoefer whether she thought she could make love to a woman better than he can. "Let's see," she said. "You're 15 years old and you have braces. What do you think?"
Challenging the idea that being lesbian or gay is anti-family, Westenhoefer deadpans, "Have you ever heard of a homosexual throwing out their brother or sister because they're straight? Straight people throw us out of our families. They don't let us in jobs. They try to take our own children away from us. They don't let us marry and create families. I think that's anti-family."
Westenhoefer's work with teenagers stems from her twin desires to stop a generation of gay bashers and to be a role model for students who may be gay themselves. "I want to try to create tolerance every place I can," she said.
Don't be surprised if Westenhoefer tries to organize the audience while she's in Palm Springs. Westenhoefer has said that if MGM can sue the gay activists Pink Panthers for misrepresentation, she is going after Dyke Lumber. "It's just old men and wood. Where are the babes?"
Westenhoefer will perform Friday, March 29, at the Wyndham Palm Springs Ballroom. Tickets for the show and dance to follow are $20. You can meet her in person at a reception before her show. Tickets for the reception
You can meet her in person at a reception before her show. Tickets for the reception -- which also features NOW President Patricia Ireland, political candidates and other celebrities -- are $100 and insure VIP seating for the show.
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster outlets at Blockbuster Music, Tower, Robinsons-May and Ritmo Latino locations, or by calling 213-480-3232, 714-740-2000, 805-583-8700 or 619-220-TIXS.
Tickets are also available through the NOW Action Center at 202-628-8669.
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