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HOUSTON VOICE /AUGUST 23. 1996 5
New shoes, new do's, and a fresh box of
crayons were what I used to look forward to each school year. That, and
catching up with family members
around the dinner table, reunited after
the kids and our parents spent weeks and
months at camp, visiting cousins and
enjoying assorted vacations.
I used to look forward to writing those
"How I Spent My Summer Vacation"
essays, preparing months in advance,
inventing chilling tales of backpacking through the Yucatan or critiquing the Masters at the Louvre.
I loved school. School was beyond the
breath-to-breath supervision of the
extended family. School was where I
could experiment with being free,
hanging out with the girls my folks
deemed unseemly, or "acting like a
public school kid" at St. Agnes Academy. School was a relief, an escape from
My kids love school too, but not for the
same exhilarating choices. I don't get
it. They're so . . . different.
They go to school to "get to be normal"!
They like normal! They like cloak
rooms—hey, we're friends, right? I can
tell you this: My kids like closets!
On his first day of first grade, my son
Jose' came home gloating. "I know
something you don't know" he singsonged with all the authority in the
world. "There are other shapes besides
triangles! Ms. Femme showed us! And
triangles come in other colors, nol iusl
I had wanted my kids' education to less
elitisl than mine had been. Maybe I had
tried to be too broadminded. Perhaps
I should see if there were still desks, uh,
"spaces" available at Butches and
Beaus School for All-inclusive. It had
been a temptation to enroll Lawrence
in their pre-kindergarten Dykes and
Tykes program. But he was a timid child,
as if uneasy being four years old with a
green Mohawk and pierced nose.
The school's catalog was enticing.
"We encourage our students to assertively Act Up! Take Pride! And Parade
around in their mother's clothes!"
But Lawrence cried and clung onto the
grease-stained legs of my coveralls and
begged not to go to school there. He
wanted to go to "normal" schoo
In a compromise reached under duress,
this family now celebrates Real Life all
summer and suffers through oppressive cultural experiments during the
school term. This season we marched in
the Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade, celebrated with the Metropolitan Community Church in Dallas and partied
with the Houston Pride Band in Corpus
Christi. We worshiped at the San
Antonio AIDS Foundation Casa of Care
and took part in the March on Austin for
Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Rights. We
completed our AIDS Mastery Workshops.
So what will Jose' write his summer
vacation essay about? "I'm gonna write
that I spent [he summer at a Christian
youth camp with my cousins," he said.
Lawrence say's he's moving to Beaumont to live with his dad.
Jazz is on vacation. This is one of her
archived favorites, ll was previously
published in another periodical .
EDITOR'S NOTE: Jazz, its one of my
favorites too. Good luck with your new
The True Story of Lesbian
Couple to be Film
LOS ANGELES—Academy Award Winner Debra Chasnoff (DEADLY DECEPTION) announced today that her next project will be Karen and Sharon . based on the
true story of Karen Thompson and Sharon
Kowalski. Written by Jan Oxenberg.
Karen and Sharon tells the story of Thompson's heroic and highly-publicized eight-
year batik' to be reunited with her lover,
Kowalski. after Kowalski was severely
injured in a car accident. Chasnoff will
direct and will also produce the project
with Wendy Braitman and Michael Ehren-
"It seems that most people have a hard time
imagining that gay people can bring the
same depth of love to Iheir relationships as
heterosexuals, and that our commitments to each other don't deserve the same
status as straight marriages," say's Chasnoff. "I'm excited to bring this love story to
Ihe screen. I think it will touch a wide audience with a very different message. we
are at a great stage with the project, which
was originally developed at HBO. The
script is in place and we are now finding the
In St. Cloud Minnesota. Karen Thompson
and Sharon Kowalski bought a house
together, exchanged rings, took vows of a
lifetime commitment, went to church,
and tried to keep their love a secret. The
accident changed all that. Kowalski S
parents—who denied their daughter was a
Lesbian—decided lo take her to a nursing
home hundreds of miles away. Thompson,
a two-time Ronald Reagan voter who had
never used the word **ga) ' to describe her-
sell was forced to tell them about her relationship with Kowalski. Eight years later.
after une of the country's most bitterly
contested cusrody battles, Thompson
managed to convince the doctors, the
courts, and the world, that Thompson and i
Kowalski were indeed a family that ™
deserved the same respect as a married couple.
Debra Chasnoff wrote, produced and
directed Deadly Deception . which won the
1991 Academy Award for Best Short Documentary. The film received 25 other international awards, including top prizes at
festivals around the world. Her latest
project. It's Elementary (which
recently won best documentary at the San
Francisco International Lesbian and
Gay Film Festival), is an inspiring feature documentary about addressing gay
issues in elementary school. The film will
be screened at OUTFEST'96 and other
pro mi tie nt film festivals throughout
the fall before its theatrical release. Jan
Oxenberg is the writer/director of the
critically acclaimed American Playhouse production. Thank You and Goodnight . She was the creative consultant
for The Celluloid Closet and is currently
writing for the new Marshall Hersko-
vitz/Ed Zwick series, " Relativity ," on
ABC's fall schedule.
Producers Wendy Braitman and Michael
Ehrenzw-eig are principals in EBS Pro-
ductions, a San Francisco-based firm
specializing in international co-productions and financing. They are the associate producers of The Celluloid Closet
. directed by Academy Award winners Rob
Epstein and jL*„a.N Friedman. HBS Productions ls currentl) developing The
Dark End of the Street . a new film by Academy Award winner, Steven Okazaki.
Braitman and Ehrenzweig are the founding directors ol |] FC0N Ihe jmei-na.
lional Film Financing Conference
Which is ;in annual mirkei in, produce
seeking financinB *„, liul(.p(.nderil