If there’s one thing we know about Margaret Cho, it’s that she certainly isn’t shy. Whether it’s speaking out against racism, sexual assault, or championing women’s rights or the LGBTQ+ community, the bisexual comedy icon has never met a topic she’s too afraid to talk about… and we love her for it. It’s this love that’s gotten her a spot on the Pride50.
Two months ago, Cho spoke out against the horrendous rise of anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States, telling The Guardian these anti-Asian sentiments go far beyond the political climate Donald Trump created.
“I love to Donald-Trump-bash and blame him for any reason I can, but the fact is that his casual racism is more a symptom of the greater problem than the cause of this,” said Cho at the time. “It’s about the repetitive nature of hate crimes and how they’re not new, even if they seem new, because they’re presented as shocking and new by the news.”
But she hasn’t stopped there. Cho has been a prominent voice in the Stop Asian Hate movement, dedicating episodes of her podcast to dig deep into anti-Asian hate crimes. She also amplifies Asian voices, and celebrates the community’s impact on society.
Henry Giardina, editor of Queerty sister site Into, met up with Cho to talk about advocacy work and her short-lived and criminally under-appreciated 1994 sit-com All-American Girl, which was the first primetime sitcom to feature an Asian American family. Here’s what Cho had to say about that groundbreaking show today:
Cho’s never been one to shy away from embracing her bisexuality either. Despite growing up in a gay-centric neighborhood in San Francisco (fun fact: her parents owned a gay book store!), Cho still struggled with bullying and being accepted by her peers early in life.
“At first it was very upsetting and really scary — I felt really alone.” she told HuffPost in 2018. “Then I realized that I could just hang out with the freaks! [Laughs] I finally just asked myself, why am I trying to belong where I’m just not welcome? After being very hurt by people calling me a “dyke” and that kind of thing, I thought, That’s fine! You can call me that because I am one! [Laughs] But it takes a little bit of time to really go, ‘I’m not going to be hurt by what is true.’”
Cho’s been a longtime advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, having started attending Pride parades as a child. She championed marriage equality in the early aughts (before it was cool!), and isn’t afraid to call-out politicians on their B.S. In 2015 special Cho gave an unfiltered and hilarious look into her experiences dating both men and women in her comedy special “Psycho:” (Note: NSFW!)
She’s also been a staple at Pride parades around the world.
But what we love most about Cho is that she’s never been afraid to go there. Or as W Magazine describes her, “Margaret Cho knows no boundaries and inspires palpable fear anytime [she] begins one of [her] riffs.” Her blunt, outspoken humor – whether in regard to love, sex, race, or life’s tragedy’s – has always been her greatest asset. Not to mention, Cho has busted down many doors for Asian-American and LGBTQ entertainers – never shying away from any obstacle that gets in her way.