Author: Deanna Brown

Women Who Inspire: Kate Kendell

                  NAME: Kate Kendell AGE: 53 OCCUPATION: Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights WHO SHE IS: Kate grew up in the notoriously gay-unfriendly state of Utah, receiving her J.D. from the University of Utah. A onetime attorney for the ACLU’s Utah chapter, Kate is now widely known as a spokesperson for LGBT rights, appearing on and in such media outlets as CNN, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She lives in San Francisco with her wife and their family, and is said to be very passionate about grass-roots community advocacy. WHY SHE INSPIRES ME: As a gay woman, I’ve been moved, inspired and empowered by how Kate has created change and made the world a better place. She’s been working towards our goal of equality for all every day for the past decade (and I’m sure her work is not done). This agent of change possesses a profound sense of duty and pride – I’m a fan and one who would stand …

If You Play Chess with a Six-Year-Old, Plan on Losing

I can’t imagine having more fun in an afternoon than losing a chess match. Really. And I’m not a loser. Here’s the game: Find the nearest six-year-old and challenge him to chess. Not checkers. Chess. It doesn’t matter if he has any experience playing the board game or not. He’s still likely to beat you. And that will be fun. And therapeutic. Here’s how I know: One spring day in Sonoma, a six-year-old named Oliver appeared on my doorstep with his Dad, who was my friend. With a full head of tousled hair, Oliver wandered around my home, scouting a spot for entertainment. He took little notice of the big screen TV and even the energetic, eager-to-play Labrador, complete with ball in mouth. He was looking for a game — a chess game. “Can a six-year-old play chess?” I asked, laughing. “Of course!” Oliver’s dad insisted. So Oliver and I headed off to the outdoor picnic table with game in hand. Initially, Oliver looked disinterested, but this was clearly a poker face. He quickly set …

Gay Is The New Brown

It was “obvious” to most and “not a big deal” to others, but it took me almost a decade to figure out that I was not the person I thought I was. A pivotal moment came in 2008: I was with my then-girlfriend on my way to work, and we stopped in a posh little West Village coffee shop. A few important facts: – I don’t live in the West Village. – I’m not a posh person. – I wasn’t “out.” So when I ran into two former colleagues from Conde Nast, I was terrified. These were two of the highest-level executives who knew me, and knew that I didn’t live in the neighborhood. So why was I getting coffee with a woman at 7 a.m.? My girlfriend expected to be introduced and acknowledged as my lover. I was trying to avoid the “guilty, I’ve been outed” look. These were the same two people who, almost a decade earlier, had accused me of being gay when I was adamant that I wasn’t. I believed that …