Margaret Cho on Bisexual Chic
By Michael Musto
Photo by MissMissyPhotography.net
Having recently finished the European leg (or maybe just the thigh) of her Mother tour, Margaret Cho has been tearing up the place with her racy wit and wacky wisdoms. The bisexual funny lady—who’s a regular on Drop Dead Diva—recently paused to give me some insight into the many labels that make her completely uncategorizable.
Hi, Margaret. They love you in Europe, right?
I think so. I feel so cunty and fierce, like Josephine Baker, an expatriate embraced by the Europeans. I dress up more there because being an American abroad is the best accessory.
Lots of feathers popping out of everywhere, I’m sure. Is your Mother tour about motherhood in general?
If you’ve been around the gay community forever, you achieve Mother Superior status. “Fag hag” is an outdated term, so I want to start using “dick widow.” At a certain point in the night at a gay bar, you become invisible as a woman. You’ve lost your friends to dick.
I know the feeling. When you talk about Mother Superior status, do you mean your enchantingly mouthy mother or yourself?
Both. Being an old hag—it’s just the best. If you’ve been through everything and seen it all, you can offer advice and comfort to the younger people and also be superior and tell everyone what to do, and they’ll do it, so it’s great!
You were one of the first celebs to announce themselves as bisexual, weren’t you?
To me, it’s very ‘70s to be “bi,” but it’s really fabulous. I like the term “queer” too. But I think “bi” is more elegant. “Bisexuality” feels good. It’s perfume ads…it’s very elegant.
Have you gotten a lot of flak through the years over your revelation?
I don’t think so, because it’s so rare for people to come out as bisexual since you’re claiming yourself as everything. There are more rules for men when it comes to coming out as bisexual. Ever since Basic Instinct, for women it’s become dipped in chic. It’s much easier for women.
Any advice for other men or women who may be bi?
It’s great. To find love is always hard. For bisexuals, it’s doubly hard. People say it opens up so many horizons and avenues for you to go down, but it also makes everybody a threat.
In what way?
For me, there’s the potential of falling in love with everybody!
Well, everybody loves you back, so congratulations.
I’ve fallen in love with virtually all the Oscar movies this year, but as the January 16 announcement of the nominees approaches, I’m sad to admit that this won’t exactly be seen as a banner year for LGBT presence. When Brokeback Mountain lost for Best Picture in 2006, there were gay frowns all around, but at least there was representation. (And a win for director Ang Lee.) This year, the mountain is broke and so is the collective imagination. Yes, that period drama of conscience Kill Your Darlings and the feisty sapphic epic Blue is the Warmest Color were both superb, but they don’t look likely to pick up any nods, especially since the latter was ruled ineligible for Best Foreign Film. And while Mary Poppins author P. L. Travers was bisexual, that somehow was left out of Saving Mr. Banks in lieu of a spoonful of hooey. And while there’s a prominent female-on-female kiss in American Hustle, it’s not so much sexual as a matter of devious power seizing, plus a possible nod to the fact that the characters are metaphorically in bed together. And I’m hardly going to rejoice about the gay reference in August: Osage County, in which the venomous mama played by Meryl Streep tells her makeup-less daughter that she looks like a lesbian. (Still, I’m glad the hateful wretch is thoughtful enough to include same-sex stuff in her material. It’s equal opportunity offending.)
But thank the gay gods for Philomena, which has a major gay twist and some stinging rebukes against the church and Republicans, plus The Dallas Buyers Club, which features a transsexual character trying to survive amidst the desperate early days of the AIDS epidemic. I also found one lyric in Frozen—“Why have a ballroom with no balls?”—to be a little bit gayish, but I realize I’m clutching at pearls here.
In any case, you can make the Oscars gayer just by watching them on March 2. And if you want to learn the wildly accurate predictions of myself and other top-notch experts, check them out here at GoldDerby.com. As a bonus, let me tell you those who I feel are way worthy but won’t get nominated (because life isn’t always fair, as Joan Crawford famously told her daughter). They include James Franco for Spring Breakers, Julianne Moore for Don Jon, Paul Dano for Prisoners and 12 Years A Slave, Sam Rockwell for The Way, Way Back, John Goodman for Inside Llewyn Davis, Mads Mikkelsen for The Hunt, and Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux for Blue. I guess for me, there’s the potential of falling in love with everybody.