LGBTQ History

LGBT History Month profile: Comedian, political humorist Kate Clinton

Kate Clinton, Comedian
b. November 9, 1947

“Coming out as a lesbian onstage is still a very political act; if it weren’t, more women would do it.”

Kate Clinton is a political humorist with a gay and lesbian perspective. She is an actor, commentator and advocate for social causes.

Kate Clinton

Clinton was raised in a conservative family in Buffalo, New York. She graduated from La Moyne College and received a master’s degree from Colgate University. She taught high school English for eight years.

In 1981, Clinton started out in stand-up comedy, drawing on her Catholic upbringing, lesbianism and politics. Because of her controversial content, many major venues refused to book her. As her popularity grew, comedy clubs became more open to her material.

A former CNN commentator, Clinton has written for The Huffington Post, The Advocate and The Progressive. She has performed for LGBT organizations including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates and Equality Forum. In 1999, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Clinton has released more than 10 comedy CDs and DVDs and has authored three books. In 2005, she was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award for her second book, “What the L?” She was a Broadway cast member of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (2001) and “The Vagina Monologues” (2002). Clinton has appeared in television series and films, and was one of four lesbian comedians featured in the documentary “Laughing Matters” (2003).

Since 1988, Clinton has lived with her partner, Urvashi Vaid, in New York City and in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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