I sat down for an exclusive, one on one interview with Jade Esteban Estrada after the November performance of ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 1. Please enjoy the interview, photos and video from the event…
Video: (modem) (dsl/cable)
When did you come out?
Oh my god, it really depends on who’s asking the question, because I remember the moment I came out to my theater friends.
We were sitting after rehearsal, and we’re talking, talking talk, and someone goes like this “your gay right?”, and I went “yeah” I had never verbalized that.
I remember when I told my sister, we went out to the Catskills for the weekend, sharing a hotel room, we always talked at night until like 3 in the morning. She had met my boyfriend at the time but I had never introduced him as my boyfriend. I was like you know Jeffrey is my boyfriend, I had told you I’m gay, right? She was like “no you didn’t” She was very clever. To myself, 8 years old. To my grandmother I was probably 21 years old.
How did you feel your family accepted you differently since you were born into a Latino family?
I’m a very Americanized Latino. The older people in my family that I cared about are that tradition, religious drenched people. I’ve always said that if my grandfather hadn’t passed away when I was 17 I don’t know if I would have came out. What I’ve found is that the younger generation of latinos are immersed in an Americanized world that says be who you are, say what you think, vote, do all these things and they go home to their cultural origins and they’re like religion, culture, you never wanna do this… Theatre really gave me a great freedom in my expression, and I was lucky enough to almost find it immediately, so I’m happy. I had good role models that weren’t my family and that is what helped me to be more free and to develop my freedom to what I do today.
What are your thoughts on gay marriage?
I’m a great advocate for the separation of church and state and your question, in general, appalls me just because the word marriage has nothing to do with what we’re fighting for, it’s confusing the great masses that don’t know anything about anything. And it scares people because it brings God into it, we’re not talking about God, we’re not asking our priests we’re not asking the pope for permission to be a sanctioned union we’re asking our senators, our governors, our president. That is what we’re talking about. And so, gay marriage that’s not anything I’m in for, I’m in for everything that we’re entitled to as Americans when we get together. I understand California is very far along that I understand as far as civil unions or domestic partnerships.
At what age did you begin performing?
I read on your website that some of your titles include singer, dancer, performer and choreographer, what do you get the most enjoyment out of?
I’m a showman, they are all related. For me just to say I’m a singer, everybody goes “oh what do you do?” and I feel stupid sometimes going “I’m a comic” because I’m not just a comic, yeah I can do that. When I say I’m a singer they say oh Julio Iglesias … No… I say a dancer and they think [of] these things they see on TV these days. And, that used to be me but this is what I do, I’m a showman, a showman.
What do you feel our gay history can teach us and help us with in the future?
Once upon a time dear Jason, there was a show in Fresno on a Monday night about gay stuff and in the next room, audibly, there were a bunch of straight firefighting guys having a beer, playing pool, they felt the confidence to play pool and be disrespectful to other people’s cultures and interests because their fathers were like that and their grandfathers were like that and their great grandfathers and their great-great grandfathers and they can trace back their history of homophobia, of culture of “Irish people are loud” that’s how we are, we can’t help it. But, Jason when you just go I think I have a third cousin that might be gay too, It’s not like your reinventing the wheel. Why is gay history important? Because you have to understand that you’re not the first one, you’re not the second one, and you have a beautiful, beautiful history of people that were like you in the 30’s the 40’s 50’s the 1800’s the 1700’s and they were silenced, like you. And if the tables were turned, we would have that. George Bush is a perfect example. His daddy was president, because his mom is a fourth cousin of President Franklin Pierce. Why the hell shouldn’t he be president, in his head. That is why gay history is important. Because if you don’t know where you come from then how the hell do you know where you’re going? I feel every time I walk on the stage that I may be performing for my 7th icon in the show. All we can do is the best we can do. If you don’t know these stories you’re on your own, baby and that’s a lonely place to be. That’s why it’s important.
Want to read more? Please let us know and we’ll post more Q & A’s…
To learn more about Jade or purchase his CD goto www.getjaded.com
The following photos from Jim Daggs: