On the day the LGBT rights page vanished from the White House website immediately after the new Administration took oath, comic Cameron Esposito is in no laughing mood.
“They’re acting as if we don’t exist,” Esposito, who with her wife Rhea Butcher often trains her quick wit on LGBT-related topics via their Funny or Die channel and in their Seeso series Take My Wife, told Billboard Friday night (Jan. 20).
“Tomorrow I march because I am a woman, and in solidarity with the whole LGBT community and anyone who feels marginalized.”
Esposito traveled to the nation’s capital from L.A. for both today’s Women’s March on Washington and to serve as a co-host of an after-party event hosted by Funny or Die and concert venue the 9:30 Club to benefit Planned Parenthood.
“Donald Trump is so great at singling out groups of Americans to target. There are so many of us, and what’s important to point out is that there is an intersection among these groups. There are members of the LGBT community who are also immigrants, and those people are doubly at risk,” she said. “You’ll hear a lot about that in my performance.”
As Planned Parenthood braces to lose funding and the White House declaration of LGBT citizens’ rights is wiped clean in a keystroke, the fragility of current freedoms is not lost on Esposito. “My wife Rhea and I are hosting this event. At the beginning of the Obama Administration, eight years ago, we couldn’t even marry,” she said.
“We’ve been getting this message from Trump throughout the campaign that this is about the parts of America that have been forgotten. “Well, I tour for a living, I’ve been on the ground in those parts and I can tell you there are LGBT people there too, and there are immigrants in those parts.”
Saturday night’s 9:30 Club event will feature appearances by The National, Sleater-Kinney, Tig Notaro, Janeane Garofalo, Ted Leo, and Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), Phoebe Robinson of podcast 2 Dope Queens, Samantha Ronson and Sam Harris of X Ambassadors, among others.
The National, which performed along with Common at a free pre-inaugural concert hosted by Planned Parenthood on Thursday at the 9:30, returns Saturday for its second benefit in as many days. Frontman Matt Berninger closed Thursday night’s show with a literal wakeup call to the crowd. “We have to get to work tomorrow morning,” he said. “Set your alarms.”
Esposito told Billboard she doesn’t necessarily expect the Women’s March, or Saturday’s event, to resonate with Trump. But that’s not her primary goal.
“I don’t know Donald Trump personally but it seems pretty obvious he has built a wall of ignorance around himself so I don’t really expect to penetrate that,” she said. “I march for all of my communities. I think we deserve solidarity, I think we deserve the feeling of a day free from fear in order to continue to do the work that has to be done. To take action, we need to feel powerful.”