Celebrating LGBTQ History Month: June 2, Wanda Sykes

2 Jun

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to out lesbian Wanda Sykes.  TSM readers might remember Wanda being celebrated for her standing up to the homophobic bigot Tracy Morgan. Always outspoken, with a sharp mind and a sharp tongue, Sykes has been voted one of the funniest people in America.

She was born to a banker and an Army colonel in the Washington, DC area. She graduated from Hampton University with a degree in marketing and worked for five years at the National Security Agency. Not fully satisfied with the work, she began doing standup comedy on the side in 1987. She left the NSA and began acting and performing full time in 1992.

Sykes’ family history was researched by the PBS genealogy program Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr. Her ancestry was traced back to a 1683 court case involving her paternal ninth great-grandmother Elizabeth Banks, a free white woman and indentured servant, who gave birth to a biracial child fathered by a slave, who inherited her mother’s free status. According to historian Ira Berlin, a specialist in the history of American slavery, the Sykes family history is “… the only such case that I know of in which it is possible to trace a black family rooted in freedom from the late 17th century to the present.”

Besides her wonderful standup performances, Sykes has been on many TV shows and in several movies. I particularly like her performance as Jane Fonda’s personal assistant in Monster-In-Law–Sykes steals the movie, “Y’all better get that little girl out of there.” After an unsuccessful marriage to record producer Dave Hall in the 90s, Sykes quietly acknowledged that she was a lesbian. She came out publicly in 2008 during the battle against Proposition 8. She and her wife, Alex, were married one month before that odious measure passed. She’s an outspoken advocate for gay rights and marriage equality and calls out injustice wherever she sees it. We love our Wanda, who proves that social justice can be funny and smart at the same time.

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14 Responses to “Celebrating LGBTQ History Month: June 2, Wanda Sykes”

  1. earthfae June 2, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    I have a lot to learn about LGBT hisotry, I have never heard of her until now or that incident.

    She sounds like such an inspiting person

  2. prideinmadness June 2, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    I had no idea Wanda Sykes was a lesbian! I love her!

  3. Christine Noble June 2, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    Wanda Sykes is the bomb! Along with Stewart, Black, Pryor, Carlin and Hicks, one of the few comedians in the history of stand up that actually believes intelligence is an asset to their art.

  4. nevercontrary June 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    She is pretty funny on twitter too.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 2, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

      Bonnie, I wish I knew how to do the twitter, but alas, I’m old!

      • nevercontrary June 2, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

        But you post your blogs to twitter?

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 2, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

        Thanks for exposing me, Bonnie! Actually my husband has to post it to the twitter because I don’t know how to, just as he has to turn the tv on because I can’t! :)

      • nevercontrary June 2, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

        So you married a younger man I see. Nice job!

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

        Actually he is older, thank you for making me feel worse now! :)

      • nevercontrary June 2, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

        Oh no, whoops. People only get better with age :)

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 2, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

        Thank you darlin. You are my favorite today!

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