Halifax
8 min

Letters of Pride: Beth Ditto

Day two of the Letters of Pride Open Letters series

Dear Beth Ditto,

Can I have a hug?

I’m not asking because I’m sad or in need of comfort. In fact, quite the opposite. I’d like to give you a hug so that maybe you can catch a glimpse of what you provide for so many people: comfort.

The comfort you provide comes from all sorts of places. It comes from your voice, when you sing, when you yell, when you pronounce everything from lyrics to slogans to quips to rabble-rousing (because that’s who we are as your fans, the rabble rousers of the world) and all those things that come out of your mouth. They are comforting because they are honest. Even when you’re singing someone else’s songs, you make them your own and you deliver them to us, your audience, in a way we didn’t think possible.

Oh, that voice. Equal parts hillbilly country, deep Southern soul, punk rock angst and pop presence, it is a thing of beauty. "Coal to Diamonds" recalls Janis Joplin’s "To Love Somebody" in its absolutely harrowing desire and want. “Standing in the Way of Control” is anthemic not just because of its subject or its throbbing and driving beat but because of the absolute insane energy that drives itself out of your body, straight into ours.

You are a comfort because of the way you present yourself. We read reports of you stripping off your clothes onstage, making jokes about how it’s “too hot” to stay clothed. But you are too hot. Hot as in sexy. Sexy because you obviously love your body. You embrace it. Your confidence reads not as a reaction, but as an embrace of self-love and acceptance. It’s like you eschew any possible concept that anyone could not love their bodies, themselves. You make it seem illogical to do so.

You are a comfort because of yourself. I won’t assume to think that you aren’t capable of having bad days, shitty moments. I won’t assume that you’re not hurt, offended or at the least miffed at negative criticism or snide remarks made about your art, your opinions or your person. But if I can make an assumption about you and how you deal with such things, it’s that you persevere. And that is the greatest comfort of all.

So yeah, if I’d like to give you a hug, it’s not because I want one for myself, but because I think you deserve one for being who you are and for giving others room to do the same.

– S.

***

Tuesday is a learning day for Pride, with two great lectures.

NSRAP presents The State of Pride: Roots & Grassroots
NSRAP’s annual timeOut lecture series returns
.
Pride celebrations across Canada in 2012 might look unrecognizable to the participants in the original Pride marches. As Pride celebrations grow in size and acceptance, are they continuing to serve our communities’ needs? A panel of activists will discuss.
Location: Spring Garden Rd Memorial Library, basement meeting room at noon.

Take Pride in Art: Nudity, Heroism and Lust: The Idealised Body and the Desiring Gaze at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
Join the AGNS for a lecture presentation by long-time gay activitist Robin Metcalfe, director/curator of Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery, as he traces the history of how the human body has been represented. Robin dishes the dirt from 7pm until 8.

 

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