VIP Little Cofee with Ben Patrick Johnson

¡Haz click aquí para leerla en español! :)

We are proud to inaugurate the section "VIP Little Coffee" with a special guest of exception: Ben Patrick Johnson, a renowned american artist and multifaceted. One of the millionaire voice-over actors of Hollywood, writer, blogger, model, and of course, LGBT activist and human rights defender.

Following invited to inaugurate the section with a first interview, he accepted eager and... here it is! We hope you like :)

Fist of all, thank you so much for agreeing to the interview Ben. To me it’s all proud to interview you and I am sure that all “Apoyo LGBT” visitors will appreciate it.

1. How has it influenced your life the fact of belonging to LGBT collective and defend rights group like activist? Has it influenced your work?

Being an LGBT activist has had a huge impact on my life, and it’s influenced my work. When we reach beyond our previous limits in support of a noble cause or belief, we become bigger as people. It echoes through our every day, resonates through each action we take. It calls on us to be excellent in all areas of our lives. For me personally, I find myself sharper and more engaged in my work when I’m also in tune with being of service.

2. How did you live your sexuality in adolescence?

My first actual sexual experiences were in Paris, when I was there for a summer with my parents. I was fifteen years old. I recognized my same-sex attraction from about age 13, but was scared to talk about it, much less act upon it, until the rush of teenaged hormones made the lure of sex irrepressible. Back in the United States, I started coming out to friends, and had my first boyfriend when I was sixteen. He had big spiky hair and wore studded clothes and I thought, at the time, he looked like Prince. (Thinking back, he actually looked more like Sheena Easton than Prince. But, oh well.)

3. Does it get better?

I believe it does. Growth doesn’t often occur in a straightforward, linear fashion, whether personal or cultural. It’s easy, at points along the way, to get discouraged by a setback – in the case of acceptance of LGBTQ youth, it’s jeers, torment, bullying, sometimes violence. But the more we speak out, as individuals and as a community, the less frequent these setbacks will become, and the closer we’ll grow to being a society that is welcoming to all its members.

4. As you know, our followers are mostly young teenagers, what advice would you give them according to your experience?

Don’t let anyone convince you you’re less than whole. Don’t let anyone get away with suggesting you’re less than a miracle. It’s THEIR small minds and frightened hearts that will try to make YOU smaller. But it’s a losing game. You have an army of loving, encouraging, supportive grown-up LGBTs out here, all across the globe. We’re available to you on Facebook, on Twitter, via connections on YouTube. Even if you live in an environment where being gay is look at as horrible, there are cool gay adults all around you every day, in the street, in your school, bringing you your mail, giving you your vaccination, handing you your food in the market. Find us. We’re waiting for you.

5. Do you think there is much to be done on the LGBT collective rights?

If by collective rights, you mean unionization, I think Harvey Milk did a great job of showing how LGBTs and working people seeking collective bargaining rights can work very effectively together. If you’re asking whether I feel we have a long way to go in the struggle for LGBT rights overall, the answer is yes … and no. In much of the Western world, the younger generation is overwhelmingly accepting of gays. Our main work is getting the playing field even legally in terms of marriage, etc. But in other parts of the world – Iran, Uganda, Nigera are particularly difficult to watch right now – public opinion is largely against us. The laws are horrible and cruel. And we have a long, long way to go.

6. In your novel, In and Out In Hollywood you take us into the LGBT world of Hollywood. How did you see the picture of LGBT visibility among celebrities? Why do you think that many will not be visible? Don’t you think it would be a big step toward visibility for the entire LGBT community, especially for young people?

The challenge for any performer in coming out is that not only will their own income be potentially affected, but so might the incomes of a variety of people they employ or wotk with. It’s a heavy decision. Certainly more celebrities being out would make things better. And we do see more and more acceptance of those who are already out. One thing I think we can do more of, and now, is asking celebrities to talk on camera about it being okay to be gay (regardless of the celebrity’s own orientation.) I’m doing work with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles’ AMP Alive Music Project, going into public schools to talk to kids about music and being gay. We’ve had a number of mainstream celebrities record public service announcements talking about bullying and dignity. Just this week, Slash from Guns N’ Roses agreed to record one for us. We need voices in the hip-hop world on board as well.

7. We can’t deny you're a man of many talents: voice-over actor, model, writer and activist. One of your projects as a defender of human rights is the "Ben Patrick Johnson Foundation." Tell us what it is and what does it do for those who don’t know it.

My foundation is very small. Mostly it’s set up for my own giving—I’m the sole funder. But I like it to be visible as a reminder of what we all can do, and to promote the initiatives I pass funds through to. I’m a defender of human rights, with a concentration in LGBT rights. I see our kids and seniors needing particular advocacy. So I/we give to the AMP Program I mentioned earlier, and Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing. But I also support the freedoms of those who follow non-mainstream religious practices, like Muslim-Americans, and other marginalized groups.

8. What do you think about Apoyo LGBT initiative? Do you think this kind initiatives are necessary to help LGBT youth? Why do you think there are just so few?

Well … I disagree with the notion that there are just a few such initiatives. But I do I think Apoyo LGBT’s initiative is on the front lines of sweeping change, and it’s wonderful to see all the explosive growth in this area. For a long time, LGBT youth had no voice, and no real sounding board. You’re helping to foster dialogue, create a safe space for kids to explore their identity, and highlight resources for the inevitable bumps and knocks that will come as part of the coming-out and adjusting process. I salute you.

Define yourself in one word: Excessive

What is the first thing you look for a person?: Empathy

What do you value most in a person?: Empathy

Any hobby?: Crazy animals

What is your book, movie and favourite series?: Catch-22, Metropolis, Dexter

Are you addicted to the Internet?: Yes!

What is your singer/group and favorite song?: Dire Straits – “Why Worry?”

Beach or mountains?: Mountains

Night or Day?: Day

Something you hate: Bigotry

Something you miss: White Castle Hamburgers

Any dream yet to fulfill?: Marriage.

Any remarkable obsession?: None I’ll mention here!

What has been your latest whim?: Baby Sulcata African tortoises. They’re tiny now but they’ll get BIG.

What is your ideal place for vacation?: Home. My own bedroom. With my doggies.

A trip never to forget?: I will someday spend the New Year in Rio de Janeiro.

3 comentarios:

Anónimo dijo...

When there's too much dirt even a big shovel is not enough.

Reality dijo...

Ben is an adult but he can seem like an over grown kid at times. He knows how to have fun. He has pet tourtises -big turtles- at his home as pets. They live outside. He also takes in shelter dogs until they can find a home. Ben has a loud voice. He uses it to make voice overs for TV and movies. He is a good guy and does a lot to help the community.

Anónimo dijo...

No acknowledgement for nice, that's why means works better.

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