Queerty Exclusive

INTERVIEW: Margaret Cho Talks Gay Marriage And Deems Herself “Prime Minister of the Gays”

Queerty had an opportunity to chat with comedienne and gay icon Margaret Cho because she has a new web series, In Transition.

So we grabbed it, chatting up about the Supreme Court rulings on Prop 8 and DOMA, marriage tips for gay men, among other important topics.

What was your response when you heard that DOMA had been struck down?

I think it’s a great step towards equality. I think it’s an exciting thing. Things have been used to justify homophobia and inequality and I just think it’s a great move towards democracy.

In his dissent to the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA, Justice Antonin Scalia compared gay marriage to an over-cooked meatloaf. How do you respond to that?

I don’t understand what that means. Gay marriage is about equality. It’s about respecting LGBT citizens as much as you respect heterosexual citizens. I don’t understand when people have these weird metaphors or when they say something like that. You know? I don’t get when people use overblown situations to describe what really is equality.

You and your husband just celebrated your ten year anniversary. What advice do you have for gay men who are considering tying the knot?

It’s about creating family. It’s about creating the relationship that you’re meant to create. I’m all about commitment. And I’m all about marriage. And I’m all about family. And I’m queer also. A lot of people have questioned my marriage and questioned the validity of my marriage, but I’ve been married 51 times longer than Kim Kardashian and that guy she was with. 51 times longer. 51 times! I mean that’s, like, significant.

You have an open-marriage, and that seems to be working for you.


Is traditional marriage a thing of the past?

I don’t know. I can’t say what other people do. But I know that what I do works and works for my marriage and my family. Everybody has their own way of interpreting and working out their relationship. For me it’s worked out really well.

You got some flack for outing John Travolta in your live act earlier this year. He’s never officially come out as gay, but the rumors have been flying for years. My question for you is: If John Travolta were gay, do you really think his male lover would allow him to wear those awful hair plugs?

Oh no! I would hope not.

You know, I would hope that he would be able to be himself. It’s not even like I’m outing him, because it’s so obvious. That’s like outing Liberace. All I’m doing is taking public speculation and joining it with what I know to be true.

The whole thing baffles me because he’s been married to Kelly Preston for so long.

But it works for them. I think they are legitimately a family. But this is not about that. This is about whether or not celebrities have a responsibility to come out. Especially when their private lives are under such scrutiny. That’s sort of me outlining his choices, as opposed to me accusing him of anything or outing him.

I live so openly. But other people are not able to do that. And then they have to endure a lot of accusations and speculations. I was just trying to talk about that and talk about what that must be like.

Ultimately, I think he’s a good guy, and I think he is suffering, and it’s sad for somebody like that, who has made such a big contribution to film and to pop culture, who’s made to live under this guise of heterosexuality. I’m actually on his side.

I know you’re friends with Kathy Griffin.

People always ask me about her because we’re really good friends, and they always ask: “Who’s the Queen of the Gays?” And I would have to say that would be Kathy. However, I am the Prime Minister of the Gays. I’m the one who actually makes the laws and creates change. And she’s the monarchy. She’s the popular one.

So what’s the deal with your new series?

I wanted to do something that was fun and funny and weird and subversive. And I have love for the “women in prison” genre. So my friends and I got together and made it.

You play an ex-con who is in transition re-entering society.

Yes. She’s in between a lot of things. In between addiction and sobriety. In between prison and street life. In between blonde and permed.

And how can people watch it?

We have a new episode every Wednesday for 13 episodes. The first one’s out now. People can find it online. They can follow me on Twitter. See it on Margaretcho.com. It’s on my Youtube channel.

Are there any final words of wisdom?

I’m thrilled about DOMA and Prop 8 being gone. I am certified and deputized to perform weddings, even in City Hall in San Francisco. I have that legislative power. I have the ability to marry couples all over the world, but especially in San Francisco. And I would really love to that once again. I’ve done it before and I’d be overjoyed to do it again.

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  • ToxicLittleQueen

    I’d marry my partner just to have her officiate.

  • Scribe38

    I am a big fan of hers. Personally I think the only people who should be outed are people who have spoken out or voting against our interest. Other than that I believe people shouldn’t be forced out of the closet. I would seduce, bang, upload video proof to xtube of people actively fighting against married who are also gay.

  • LadyL

    Okay, here’s my take on the whole outing uproar–maybe we should apply that rule (if we can call it that) only to private citizens. Celebrities are strictly on their own, no matter how cute they are or how much we like them.
    Cho has been taking a lot of shit for daring to talk honestly about Travolta’s situation, and this being 2013 I cannot understand why. I cannot understand why because someone like John Travolta can’t deal with himself, the rest of us are on lockdown. No one else is allowed to publicly say his name and the word “gay” in the same sentence? Really? This 58 year old closet case is smooching a guy on the lips as they’re boarding a plane yet everyone is either supposed to pretend they didn’t see it or use words like “allegedly” to talk about it? It just gets so absurd. What exactly is our collective silence supposed to be protecting him from? If anything, silence has been causing Travolta’s problems!
    On second thought, maybe that rule shouldn’t apply even to our adult friends and neighbors, seeing as we all know how someone else’s relentless lying can cause unfair dilemmas for everyone around them–just like chickenshit celebs who can’t face their fears.

  • dwndckd

    Wow, strictly speaking as a str8 male—I have never let anyone define me- as a person. Yet, it is interesting to see that the homosexual community is allowing this woman (Margaret Cho) to not only speak on your behalf, but to also throw speculation into the wind regarding who is and isn’t gay? Interesting! Consequently, I have always been an advocate of what happens in the privacy of one’s home is private and that neither the government, nor anyone else should be involved. But, from what I am reading—it would seem that all this has gone out the window and what has followed is insult and innuendo concerning ho is or isn’t gay. Wow, what ever happened to privacy and respect for one’s private life? Why the “hang-on” and intrigue of determining who should be “outted?” Honestly, I don’t get-it. All I can say is that I’m glad I’m not part of a community that’s “hell-bent” on finding/defining itself, based upon the relevancy of celebrity and more-so, I’m glad that this Margaret Cho chick doesn’t speak for me or my community.

  • LadyL

    @dwndckd: Wow, indeed.
    Excuse me, Mr. Str8 Male, but who besides you says that Margaret Cho is speaking on anyone’s behalf other than her own? She’s as entitled to her considered opinions as you or anyone else, and as a member of the LGBT community I dare say she has insights into the dilemmas of celebrity closet cases that you clearly never will. Given how few secrets there are within the Hollywood industry–which Cho has been a part of for some time now–it’s a safe bet that if she names a name she knows whereof she speaks.
    And can I say how sick to death I am of clueless twits like you using your obvious discomfort with “the homosexual community” to push the beyond-tired “privacy” argument?There is nothing remotely “private” about being gay, no more than there is anything “private” about being straight. Gay is an identity, not some thing that “happens within the privacy of one’s home” and speculating that someone is gay is not invading their bedroom and turning on the lights–that’s YOUR hangup.
    No, dwndcked, you don’t get it–that admission represents the one intelligent statement you’ve made here.

  • GeriHew

    John Travolta isn’t obviously gay at all. He’s obviously some kind of bisexual man. And that is obviously why it is highly unlikely that he will ever “officially” come out.

    It’s kind of strange that as an out bisexual woman, Margaret Cho doesn’t seem to get this.

  • dwndckd

    @LadyL, I totally standby my last posting… “I have never let anyone define me- as a person.” And you know what—I never will. Also, Twat…sorry… to use your term– “twit,” what I have issue with are individuals who consider themselves to be the “authority” on the personal matters/lives of others… I really don’t care if individuals who are claiming this prestigious title (Margaret Cho) are gay, str8 or otherwise. I do however believe that it does a disservice to those to whom the accusations are thrown and I, for one would not want to recognize for anything other than who I am. Consequently, neither would I opt to have my name and reputation tarnished, over innuendo. Now, moving on to your next statement, “Gay is an identity.” I am not arguing this point—I am not gay, therefore your identity is your identity. Moreover, what I am saying and what I have said in my previous posting is that, “no one (gay or str8) should push an agenda when it comes to an individuals’ identity.”
    Additionally, I have no hang-up in the bedroom. However, what happens in the bedroom should stay in the bedroom, regardless to who the individuals are in “said” bedroom (this is what I tell my str8 friends when they want to discuss their escapades and— this is what I am sharing with you).

    @LadyL—Does that clear it up for you?!?!

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Straights have been defined since the beginning of time. It’s just been happening so long that you don’t realize it.

  • dwndckd

    @1EqualityUSA —I have not been around since the dawn of time and therefore, I can only speak to the present

  • LadyL

    @dwndckd: What “clears it up” for me are statements like “It does a disservice to those to whom the accusations are thrown” and “Neither would I opt to have my name and reputation tarnished over innuendo.”
    “Accusations”? “Tarnished”?
    Your very choice of words imply that to be assumed to be gay is something terrible, something potentially ruinous, and to be avoided at all cost. My argument is that there is nothing wrong with being gay, so there is nothing wrong with being thought to be gay.
    That some people persist in believing otherwise speaks to the ignorance, presumptions and outright bigotry that still exists in our society. The only way to end such prejudice is to continually confront and challenge it–thus my response to your post.
    How nice for you that you have “never let anyone define you” as a person, dwndckd. Unfortunately, LGBT people have not been allowed the same freedom–historically, you heterosexuals have been defining us, usually in the most demeaning and mean-spirited ways, for many, many, many years. Our silence in the face of that persecution has meant for us imprisonment, abandonment, ostracism, and death. Only by finally standing up and speaking out (including to each other, even if it means sometimes we quarrel with one another) have we been able to claim and own our indentities, save our lives and change hearts and minds.
    You yourself are defining gay people with this insistence that “what happens in the bedroom should stay in the bedroom” as though to be openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is to be nothing more than a walking sex organ! And your presumed support of John Travolta’s unwillingness or inability to come out–evidenced by your criticism of Margaret Cho’s publicly talking about his situation–is basically you suggesting to us that we follow his example and keep our mouths shut and stay in the closet so that “self-defined” straights like you won’t have to deal with us or your fascination with our sex lives.

  • LadyL

    @GeriHew: Your proposal makes absolutely no sense. Are you and dwndckd sharing a brain?

  • GeriHew

    @LadyL: Proposal?

    What proposal?

  • LadyL

    @GeriHew: Your suggestion that JT “isn’t obviously gay at all,” is “obviously some kind of bisexual man” and that is “obviously why” he’s not likely to come out.
    How precisely is Travolta obviously not gay yet obviously bi-sexual? Your observations only work if you’re dealing in tired stereotypes–the idea that you can always tell a gay man by his girly lisp and limp wrist; the assumption that gay men don’t marry women unless they’re actually sexually interested in them, in other words bisexual.
    The only way I follow you on this is if what you’re saying is that Travolta will not ever come out because he won’t have to, since his marriage and biological children have given him enough cover with a mainstream press that remains loathe to touch this subject.
    Marriage and kids has been for millenia the tried and true vehicle by which gay men with public profiles have been able to hide more or less in plain sight.
    The problem for the likes of John Travolta is that that party is slowly coming to an end, partly because the culture around him is changing, and partly because he is–his own unhappiness and the sometimes desperate, predatory behavior it’s producing, is creating problems for him that will make it harder and harder for even the entertainment press to continue to sell his bullshit with any credibility.
    This was the essence of Margaret Cho’s comments about him, that he can’t keep up this tapdance forever. She does get it; she’s seen it, she’s been there, and she has a pretty good idea what he’s going through and why it may be healthier for him in the long run to come out.

  • GeriHew

    @LadyL: If Travolta came out as bisexual people like you obviously wouldn’t accept it and would insist that he is really gay, gay, gay. And the great heterosexist monosexist media machine (which includes most of so-called LGBT media) would expect his wife to file for divorce and place intense pressure on the couple to split if she didn’t do so.

    Kelly and John obviously don’t want to get divorced.

    Conversely it is so fucking easy for Margaret Cho to be an out bisexual woman in an open marriage with a man. That’s the real joke here.

  • dwndckd

    @LadyL, “sorry but my bat-shit crazy decoder ring is in the shop right now, so I can’t make out a damned thing you’re trying to say.”

  • GeriHew

    @dwndckd: Why are you quoting CaptainFabulous?

  • dwndckd

    @GeriHew, becuase it applies

  • GeriHew

    @dwndckd: A likely story :)

    Anyway, I don’t agree that it applies. I don’t agree with quite a few things LadyL says, but I do agree with some of it. And I don’t find any of it hard to understand in the least.

  • dwndckd

    @GeriHew, I think that it’s great (str8 and gay alike) to be able to agree and disagree :)

  • GeriHew

    @dwndckd: Indeed. Spoken like a true monosexual Captain Fabulous.

  • dwndckd

    @ GeriHew, only as far as my sexual orientation (Hetero) allows….

  • GeriHew

    @dwndckd: If your sexual orientation is really completely heterosexual then you are a true monosexual.

    A monosexual is someone who is sexually attracted to one sex (or gender) only. A monosexual can be either heterosexual or homosexual – i.e. straight or gay. But obviously they cannot be bisexual. Or pansexual for that matter.

    Whether true monosexuals really exist is something I am apt to ponder on from time to time.

  • dwndckd

    @GeriHew, honestly—I don’t do philosophy anymore—it seems that every year—people come up with different terms to mean different things… Long story short—I am a conservative guy and I only go for “pussy,” so you can define it any way you choose. I never tried having sex with a guy—not that I find it disgusting, or anything of that nature—just never occurring to me and the thought doesn’t do anything for me… I make this statement so that others on this site can understand that I do not represent intolerance. However, I am very interested in what the “gay” community thinks and what the “gay” community has to say… Especially, if I may somehow become affecting by society’s future decisions.

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