September 20, 2017

The Ladies of ‘Just My Opinion’

This podcast out of Kansas City just celebrated it’s 3rd anniversary, and it’s where you go when you want to hear discussion about concerns from LGBTQ communities get real.
Before I begin this article, I would like to dedicate it to the Black Lesbian I met at The Dover Fox back in 1976. She observed the hurt look on my face when I witnessed the blatant racism from the doorman. He required Black and Latinx LGBTQs to provide 2 or 3 pieces of identification to be admitted in the disco, while White LGBTs walked in without showing identification or showing one piece of identification. I am quite sure their youth, good looks, and Whiteness was their admission.
She told me “Honey, whatever happens in mainstream society, also happens in the Gay community.” It looks like she was in her 50’s at the time. Now, it is 41 years later, and I think it would be pretty safe to say she has passed on. I will forever be grateful for her words of wisdom, which made me realize things aren’t always what they seem, a lesson I have kept with me through the years. Here is this week’s article:

“The message you received from your family or your childhood experiences may have caused you to believe that assertiveness is unacceptable or even dangerous. Practice the following; I have a right to be treated with respect by others. I have the right to express my feelings and my opinions. I have the right to say no without feeling guilty. I have the right to ask for what I want. I have the right to make my own mistakes. I have the right to pursue happiness.”

Beverly Engel
Author/ Internationally known Therapist
“The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop being Manipulated and Abused – And Start Standing Up For Yourself.”

Twenty years ago when I started my weekly article Chuck’s Chat, I, later on,  became the official photographer for KC Exposures magazine. It was volunteer work I enjoy immensely. I had two primary goals in mind.

1.When it came to my writing, I didn’t want to address a lot of fluff and nonsense. Being a former Executive Vice President of The Communication Workers of America Local 6321, I recognized early on how politics at the Local, State, and Federal levels affect every aspect of our lives. As I became older, I found out facts that were not taught in schools. I wanted to educate myself and share what I had learned with all of you. I did a lot of observing and noticed how history was repeating itself. I tried my best to warn you all that apathy and complacency were ingredients for turning back the clock on what we the LGBTQ community had attained… I’m afraid for the most part it fell on deaf ears.

2. Through the years as a photographer for KC Exposures magazine I PURPOSELY sought out LGBTQs of color, the aged, the overweight, etc.. I wanted so much to believe in the diversity flag. I wanted to show we were really a diverse community. I had heard through the years that LGBTQs of color especially were treated as we are invisible or second class citizens. I saw the lack of photos of Non-White LGBTQs in a number of national LGBTQ  magazines. I read the complaints from Non-White LGBTQs and others in the above groups I mentioned how they felt. Some here in Kansas City were so browbeaten that when I tried to take their photo, they told me they were too ugly to be in the magazine. When I let this fact be known, some White Gay men defined me as racist apparently not knowing what racism is. They said I purposely didn’t see LGBTQs of color so I could create division. I knew what my eyes see and didn’t see. For those folks, actress/comic Maya Rudolph said it best on her television commercial, “Quit playing with my eyes, goo!!!!”

Host of Just My Opinion

With all of that said, there is a podcast in Kansas City staffed by two Black Lesbians that seems to be ignored here. The podcast is called “Just My Opinion.” The two hosts are Spiritual Studd and MT Baby . They had recently celebrated the third anniversary of their podcast last month. I call their show, “Kansas City’s Best Kept LGBTQ Secret.” These ladies are not afraid to be who they are with no apologies. They are not afraid to tell you how they feel concerning the LGBTQ community or other issues of the day. Sitting down with both Spiritual Studd and MT Baby, I wanted to learn more about “Just My Opinion” and share it with all of you.

Spiritual Studd had an idea about the show several years ago. “I went to technical school for Multimedia and Video production.” She explained. To hone her skills in technology, she took a podcasting class. Spiritual Studd informed that originally she had someone else in mind to co-host, but their schedules were conflicting. She explained. “I met MT Baby through my wife. She and I hit it off. We had so much in common. We started recording the podcasts and found various venues to broadcast it.”

The original premise of Just My Opinion was spirituality and how LGBTQs were treated and bullied in religious institutions and organizations, especially LGBTQs of color. The first episode was “The Gay Agenda.” They tackled the Conservatives’ favorite talking point of how LGBTQs have a hidden agenda to force everyone to comply with our standards.

Spiritual Studd (Host)

Spiritual Studd  grew up in the South under a rigorous religious upbringing. Her mother and grandmother were well known and active in the community. She disclosed. “I knew I was different. I was not a feminine girl. I kept fighting who I am because of the firm religious foundation I grew up in. It brought a lot of problems for me. Eventually, I moved to Kansas City in 1985. I met a girl who did not go to church. She opened me up to new experiences like meeting people of different races and cultures. We went to Soakie’s, Tootsies, and Weatherbee’s.”

MT Baby (Host)

MT Baby  revealed. “I was born in Los Angeles. I moved back and forth from Los Angeles to Leavenworth, Kansas because some of my family members lived there. I moved to the Greater Kansas City metro area after breaking up with my girlfriend. I met Dr. Bob Minor, Jaime Rich and other activists who spoke their minds. I met drag king Dakota. We became friends. It was through Dakota that I met Buttweiser. Six of us became The Kings of KC. We performed male drag in clubs such as Push, Soakie’s and Papa Joe’s. I started volunteering with the group Passages, the Kansas City LGBT Community Center and hosted The 10th Voice at 90.1FM KKFI. Eventually, I had to be a grown up and find a paying job. I love our podcast. It allows me to have a voice and be a support system. We went to Pride. I loved seeing all those young people. The torch is now theirs. I want to see what they do with it. They want us to be wiser. They want to get people out of their prison mindset.”

Looking forward to the future, the Just My Opinion ladies’ goal is to expand. They want to build their audience up. They want to travel to different Prides and report to us what they find. Both of them are ordained ministers. They want to bring the message that God loves us all. It’s not just for LGBTQs to hear. They are also expanding to video podcasts instead of audio. If my memory serves me, I think they already have three video podcasts. MT Baby remarked. ” I have an office at my place that I want to turn it into a recording studio. It would help increase our video productions.”

You can listen to episodes of Just My Opinion on Thursdays at 7:00pm at kcpride.com Community radio. Just My Opinion has a Facebook page. You can also listen to previous episodes there as well. New episodes are posted every other Tuesday.

Chuck’s Chat operates under an open authority. Opinions and comments are always welcome. Send them to soultraindancing@yahoo.com

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