Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-05-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Humor Makes the Man: Steven G. Fullwood's Take on Sex, Religion and Homophobia
by Sanford Gaylord
2004-12-01

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Believe it or not, Steven G. Fullwood is just getting started. In June, the 38-year-old writer published his first book, Funny, 31 humorous essays on being Black, male and, in his words, a 'manhandler.' This collection reveals the author's take on sex, religion and homophobia. Steven is also the co-editor of Think Again ( see Identity, April 2004 ) , a collection of narratives exploring HIV risk among Black men who experience same-sex desire. His writing has appeared in a number of publications including Africana.com, Blacklight, and Venus magazine.

Steven is a librarian at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York, and resides in Harlem where he is member of The Tribe, a group of artists that create publications, showcase art exhibitions, and fund social welfare projects.

Sanford Gaylord: Congratulations on the new book, man! I think it lives up to its title: Funny.

Steven G. Fullwood: Hey thanks!

SG: You've written for the Black LGBT press, and recently co-edited Think Again. Why did you decide to write Funny?

SGF: It was the right time. Humor is hard to write and very risky. Those two things alone inspired me to write Funny. I like to laugh and be silly.

SG: Where did you get the title? I love it—Funny: A Collection of Essays—On Being Black, Male and a Manhandler?

SGF: My best friend James and I were kicking around potential titles, and he said, 'Well, why don't you just call it 'Funny'?' Perfect. Funny like humor, like homo, like a little off. I chose the word 'manhandler' to clue in readers without using 'gay,' or 'homo,' or 'SGL,' or 'DSL.' It's not a book about labels.

SG: How long did you take to write Funny?

SGF: About a year or so.

SG: The book is divided into three parts, 'Us,' 'Them,' and 'Me.' Each section is filled with wit, humor, and fact. 'Conversation with God' is both hilarious and affirming. Why did you choose to write and then select that essay for Funny?

SGF: I think you can go to 'God' and get anything you want. So if you choose to be a homophobe, you can find a 'God' who will say 'yes.' 'Conversation with God' is a wink at those types of people. I put this essay in the 'Us' section because I am interested in folks like me ... man- and woman-handlers ... empowering ourselves with tools to navigate our spiritual lives. Shit, any time someone writes about their lives they are creating their own bible. Funny contains parts of my 'bible.'

SG: 'Dicktation,' what can I say, a conversation with one's own penis! Does the little head often try to control the big one?

SGF: Of course. We are always having conversations with our bodies, regardless of whether we acknowledge it or not. Subconsciously we may say things like 'I hate you,' or 'I am in pain, but I will not address it,' and these types of dialogues often manifest in illness. With 'Dicktation' one of the things I am attempting to do is illuminate the struggle I have had with learning to love and accept my body.

SG: Other notable essays that caught my attention and reverberated to my core as a SGL man include 'I Don't Care,' 'Eye for Eye,' and 'Homo Haters.' What did you want the reader to take away from these essays?

SGF: That's a big question; so let me divvy it up. With 'I Don't Care' I want the reader to luxuriate in his or her own essence. Whatever anyone writes about anyone is just a perspective. What you, the reader, infuse the text with is your experience. If it resonates with you, fine. But to seek validation in someone else's words can be dangerous. No one holds your truth—only you do. 'Eye For Eye' is my declaration of independence from a Christian God. Many homos seek the love of this 'God.' Fine. I don't. I don't read the bible, much less understand it. 'Homo Haters' is meant to be a quick dismissal of stereotypes. I am tired of reading about re-conditioned men, or smart gay men, dumb choices, or that homosexuality is a disability, so I penned this essay to blow off some steam.

SG: I believe that you even address sexual compulsivity and you're quite poignant in your writing, covering many topics. Do you feel that it's important for writers to be honest?

SGF: I think talking about sex makes it easier for me to be better to myself and to others because for such a long time it was taboo. I say that because I find that Black LGBT/SGL fiction allows fiction writers to hide a bit. As a reader, I want to attach words to bodies to experiences to faces to real people. My main love has always rested firmly with writers who put the shit down and confess—'yes, yes, baby it happened to ME.' Writers who have the wit and courage to share their experiences are always useful to readers.

SG: I can say that I haven't read such raw honesty since Essex Hemphill, yet you allow the reader to laugh and learn. Who inspired you as a writer?

SGF: I like comedians like Whoopi Goldberg and Steve Martin, and the creators of 'Strangers With Candy,' the Comedy Central sit-com. Cynthia Heimel and Anne Lamott, both of who are writers who manage to tell you something while they crack you up. My mom told jokes. She could always see the ridiculousness in something.

SG: In the chapter 'Me' you broach the subject of religion again with 'I Hate God.' I love the line, 'the thought that someone might discover that I was homosexual terrified me so, hence my trying to wash it away with a weekly trip to church.' A lot of people 'in the life' wrestle with God and organized religion. Have you reconciled yourself? How do you suggest others reconcile?

SGF: I suggest everyone listen to his or her heart. Spiritual matters are personal and private. I shared mine because that's what my heart wanted. My clarity isn't around reconciliation; it's about liberation from beliefs that aren't mine.

SG: Reading Funny is like having a conversation with an old friend. How is it being received?

SGF: Thanks for saying that. I wanted Funny to be conversational, so that's good to hear. Overall people have been supportive and get what I am trying to do: giggle and heal.

SG: Are you doing readings?

SGF: I am just finishing up the 'Your Mama Thought It Was FUNNY' tour. Readings in New York, Baltimore and I hope to be in Chicago in early 2005, so look for me. Ask for me by name ( laughs ) .

SG: How can one purchase a copy of Funny?

SGF: We are in the process of redoing the Web site stevengfullwood.org, which will enable folks to purchase Funny online. Until then, folks can send a check or money order for $13.95 payable to Steven G. Fullwood to: Vintage Entity Press, P.O. Box 211, New York, New York 10037-9998.

SG: What's next for you?

SGF: I am co-editing a book about Black LGBT/SGL organizations called Fierce, and there is follow-up to Funny due in 2006. Next year, the Black Gay and Lesbian Archive will open to the public in December at the Schomburg Center.

SG: Aché, brotha!


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Shout! releasing all 11 seasons of 'The Carol Burnett Show' 2020-05-03 - Shout! Factory TV announced that, on June 1, all 11 seasons of The Carol Burnett Show will be made available for viewing on ...


Gay News

Out comedian joins Humanities event 2020-04-25 - On April 16, comedian Cameron Esposito joined the Chicago Humanities Festival for its first virtual event of the spring 2020 season. During the ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Global concert, TV doctors, Sean Hayes, GLAAD event, 'Circus' 2020-04-20 - Some of the world's top stars helped to raise nearly $128 million for the World Health Organization during the coronavirus pandemic by performing ...


Gay News

Margaret Cho at Chicago Improv on May 8-9 2020-03-04 - Actress/comedian/author Margaret Cho will perform at Schaumburg's Chicago Improv Comedy Club, 5 Woodfield Rd., on May 8-9. Cho, among other accomplishments, has three ...


Gay News

Out comedian Cameron Esposito in town March 29 2020-03-02 - Comedian Cameron Esposito will bring her "Save Yourself Tour" to The Den Theatre Sunday, March 29, at 8 p.m. on The Den's Heath ...


Gay News

NUNN ON ONE COMEDY Zach Zimmerman bringing 'Fabulous' tour to Chicago 2020-02-19 - Out comedian Zach Zimmerman's first comedy album Clean Comedy debuted at number one on the iTunes Comedy charts. He's a Princeton University graduate ...


Gay News

OUTspoken at Beverly Arts Center to Place LGBTQ Stories in the Spotlight 2020-02-13 - ( Chicago, February 12, 2020 ) — The Beverly Arts Center presents an evening with LGBTQIA storytelling collective OUTspoken on Friday, April 10 ...


Gay News

COMEDY 'The Haggard Unicorn:' Queer trans comic talks representation, hurdles 2020-01-14 - KJ Whitehead wants to see unrepresented voices take over the comedy world and her latest project, The Haggard Unicorn, is a reflection of ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Best LGBTQ films, Eddie Murphy, Obama's songs, DJ retires 2020-01-07 - Advocate released its list of the 30 best LGBTQ films of the 2010s. Some on the list include Appropriate Behavior, Moonlight, The Kids ...


Gay News

Funny Feminism: Podcast "The Guilty Feminist" comes to Chicago 2020-01-03 - Deborah Frances-White knew there was humor to be mined from her bungled attempts to be a good feminist. Which is why the U.K.-based ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.