Introducing our second Hero of Pride!
In celebration of the NYC arrival of World Pride 2019, The Mixx is honoring 12 individuals. Our second Pride Hero is writer Elizabeth Wallace, recent author of The Ambition Decisions: What Women Know About Work, Family, and the Path to Building a Life. Read the interview below!
What is your favorite thing about being involved with the NYC LGBTQ Community?
LIZ: I first celebrated Pride in New York City in 1994, for the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. I was immediately captivated by the energy and spirit of queer New York—and just New York in general. I visited a lesbian piano bar on the Upper East Side, alone, and requested "New York State of Mind" from the singer—that's how in love with the city I already was. I knew I had to build a life here. I moved to New York in 1997, got a job at Vogue magazine, and met my life partner here that same year—she worked at The New Yorker. We came of age as young lesbians in New York together, running around bars in the East Village, going to fashion and book parties, meeting other LGBTQ young writers and creative people. We moved here to become the interesting people we dreamt of being. We started a family in Brooklyn in 2007 and that extended family now includes many other LGBTQ families and allies. Our community has evolved, grown and shifted, and we've loved participating in that. We now have openly LGBT New Yorkers running for statewide office, working to make New York a better place for all. Next year is the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, honoring those marginalized activists who, five decades ago, refused to be silent, and I feel privileged to continue to be part of that community and our beloved city.
Who is someone that has paved the way for the community?
LIZ: Audre Lorde, the black lesbian poet/writer/activist. She was born in New York City to Caribbean immigrants, and was an early writer on identity, race, sexuality, and intersectional feminism. She wrote this, about being "other" and about the necessity of community: "... without community there is certainly no liberation, no future, only the most vulnerable and temporary armistice between me and my oppression." She also survived breast cancer and lent her name to the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, along with activist Michael Callen. Callen-Lorde provides comprehensive healthcare to NYC's LGBTQ community and people living with HIV/AIDS, and was the first organization I volunteered for when I moved to NYC in 1997.
Where is the home of the superlative gin martini?
LIZ: Oh, the martinis I have drank here! If I could count the ways! Beefeater, very very dry, up with olives. I could, and have, written entire essays about my relationship with martinis. I believe I had my first one at The Royalton Hotel bar in 1997, after my first day at work at Conde Nast — the Royalton was then considered the remote Conde Nast cafeteria. I generally find excellent martinis at old-school New York City hotel bars: The Soho Grand, the Hudson, the Mercer, and have also enjoyed many at NYC bars that are no longer around. For real New York City atmosphere and an always reliable martini, I love the bar at The Odeon—it feels equally 1988 and 2018, and never excess vermouth!
As a partner to the LGBTQ Community, The Mixx is thrilled to be able to put the spotlight on some of our personal heroes all year long. Stay tuned for the next installment, and reach out for more on how YOU can get involved with WorldPride 2019!