Jun 242015

E Patrick Johnson

This week features my interview with scholar, writer & performer Dr. E. Patrick Johnson, author of Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South, a collection of life stories from black gay men who were born, raised, and continue to live in the southern United States. Traveling to every southern state, Johnson conducted interviews with more than seventy black gay men between the ages 19 and 93. He adapted his book into a hit one-person show, including a recent run in Chicago presented by Project&. With complexity and raw emotion, Sweet Tea humanizes a community often forced to the outskirts of society. Poignant and often heart-wrenching, Johnson reinforces the spoken-word tradition while challenging stereotypes and finding humor, humanity and hope within. “Sweet Tea is not a show fixed in history,” says Jane M. Saks, Project& President and Artistic Director, “it is a production of this moment, lending its voice to the necessary global conversations around race, sexuality and identity.”

Tune in to the show on Friday, June 26th at 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET. Join the discussion on Facebook or Twitter. Sex Out Loud airs every Friday, you can listen along on your computer, tablet, or phone, find all the ways at SexOutLoudRadio.com.

E. Patrick Johnson is the Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University. He is also a Project& artist. He is the author of Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity and Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South—An Oral History. He is the editor of Cultural Struggles: Performance, Ethnography, Praxis by Dwight Conquergood and co-editor (with Mae G. Henderson) of Black Queer Studies—A Critical Anthology and (with Ramon Rivera-Servera) of solo/black/woman: scripts, interviews, and essays and Blaktino Queer Performance. In 2009, he translated Sweet Tea into a full-length stage play, Sweet Tea—The Play. The show has been co-produced by Jane M. Saks and Project& with the following theaters: About Face Theater (Chicago); Signature Theatre (Arlington, VA); Durham Arts Council (Durham, NC); Towne Street Theater (Los Angeles), and the Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts at Northwestern University.

Feb 012010

Last year, I discovered my extreme sexual attraction to women and since then, my desire for men has been decreasing. I’ve never been with a woman sexually but intend to really soon. I am wondering if perhaps my attraction for the same sex is simply stemming from my bad relationships with guys (one being a sex addict male cousin) or if I’m really a lesbian. Can I be so attracted and turned on by women without being a lesbian? Is this normal? Or can I be a straight female who is just disgusted with guys at the moment?

My advice to you is to stop worrying so much about labels and identities like “straight” and “lesbian,” and just follow your heart. You may be one or the other, or you may be bisexual, but in any case, what you call yourself isn’t the most important thing, especially right now. It sounds like your attraction to women is new, and I would say that if you feel it that strongly, it probably has nothing to do with your attraction, or lack thereof, to men. If you feel attracted to a woman, then I encourage you to trust your instincts and explore the possibilities.