Meet Cheri Gaulke from SHADES OF DISCLOSURE
Cheri is a member of QueerWise, a Los Angeles based group of LGBTQ writers and spoken word artists. She wrote and tells her own story in SHADES OF DISCLOSURE.
I grew up in the Midwest - St. Louis, the same town our director Michael Kearns is from though we never met back then. At 4 years old, I had my first feminist thought - my observation that girls could not be ministers (I wanted to be one just like my dad), and that girls would have to change their names when they married a man. Both of these ideas seemed grossly unjust and ignited my life-long fight against all kinds of injustice. Art is the medium through which I found my voice. I moved to Los Angeles in 1975 (at 21) to join the feminist art movement and hone that voice.
At the Woman’s Building, a feminist art center, I met my now wife, the wonderful Sue Maberry. I also did a lot of performance art about social issues including cofounding two groups – Feminist Art Workers and Sisters Of Survival (who wear nun’s habits in the spectrum of the rainbow and address the nuclear threat). I’ve made all kinds of art from public art (check out my Metro-Rail station at Lincoln Heights-Cypress Park, to artists’ books (I’ve got three in the show currently at the Craft and Folk Art Museum), to video art (my film I Am Be is currently in the film festival circuit).
A big part of my life is mentoring teens in filmmaking and particularly activist filmmaking. I’ve made videos about LGBTQ youth (Out Loud), facilitated youth-made films about domestic violence (I CAN WE CAN project) and facilitated teens to make media projects with Holocaust survivors (in my role as Artistic Director of the Righteous Conversations Project). I am thrilled to have my student, 16 year old Sophie Kim, join us on stage and share her journey. She was 14 when I first worked with her on a public service announcement about how homophobia hurts our queer youth.
I joined QueerWise about 2 ½ years ago and fell instantly in love with this safe space where I could develop my writing. I have been diving deep into personal narratives as well as swinging out with fiction. Michael Kearns is a midwife to our creativity and the group is the soft blanket that receives the delightful and delicate creatures we birth. Speaking of birth, telling you who I am would not be complete without mentioning my 22-year-old twin daughters Marka and Xochi. Marka is named after Mark Niblock-Smith, an artist-friend who died of AIDS in 1993; Xochi is named after a goddess. They give me hope every day that the work of our precious movements to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive world is in good hands. They are the future and it is beautiful, just and strong.