Turning coming out into performance art
BY MATT TRACY
When Dubbs Weinblatt started a
new show featuring discussions
about coming out, the idea was
partly inspired by their own story.
It’s just one of the many ways Weinblatt,
who identifi es as trans, genderqueer,
queer, and gay, has come to suffuse their
life with queer-focused themes: During
the day, they work at Keshet, a non-profi t
organization dedicated to LGBTQ Jewish
folks; in their free time, they use performance
art to take on queer topics.
But it was not always this easy for
Weinblatt to explore LGBTQ issues in
the public light — or at all. Weinblatt
grew up in the late 1980s and early 1990s
in a small, predominantly Jewish neighborhood
in Columbus, Ohio, where they
“always knew inside that I felt different…
but I didn’t know how to describe it.”
They felt out of place, and during their
early years at Ohio State alcohol and
drugs helped them numb that feeling.
Those feelings were compounded because
Weinblatt did not feel they could
turn to anyone to discuss how they felt.
“I didn’t talk to anyone, didn’t confi de
in anyone, and didn’t even write it in a
journal because I was terrifi ed somebody
would fi nd it,” they recalled.
That loneliness lingered, and so did
the drinking — so much so that Weinblatt’s
college roommate confronted
their drinking habits. That was when
Weinblatt fi nally felt compelled to come
Dubbs Weinblatt (right) records a recent edition of the “Thank You For
Coming Out” podcast with theater teacher and comedian Scott Austin.
out, but they couldn’t bring themselves
to say it out loud. They jotted down on
a post-it note, “I’m bi,” and handed it to
Their roommate was fi ne with that,
and it was then that Weinblatt realized
they had cleared a hurdle — except it
THANK YOU FOR COMING OUT
wouldn’t be the fi nal one.
Years passed by, the drinking continued,
and something still wasn’t quite
right. A decade later, however, they came
to an entirely new understanding that
their life still was not quite what they
thought it was.
They realized they did not, in fact,
identify with their name, pronouns, or
body. Over time, they became more comfortable
with their gender identity and reacclimated
with their Jewish identity after
grappling with it when they were not
feeling comfortable with themselves.
Weinblatt has since channeled their
own coming out experience into their
work. They created an onstage show,
which they recently turned into a podcast
hosted by Gay City News, called “Thank
You For Coming Out,” in which LGBTQ
folks come on and discuss their own
coming out story.
“Thank You For Coming Out” — available
at gaycitynews.com and on iTunes
and other podcast platforms — has so
far featured stand-up comic Jessica Henderson
and theater teacher and comedian
Scott Austin, among others.
In a way, Weinblatt has always longed
for that kind of a show. When recalling
their isolated younger years, they
acknowledged that they felt “like a part
of” the community on the rare occasion
when they saw public representation of
LGBTQ life in the media.
On Oct. 11, National Coming Out Day
2019, however, Weinblatt is the one making
others feel “like a part of” the community
by producing a show and podcast
that relates to them.
“We all have similar, shared experiences
and can use that to build empathy
and support each other in a really special
way,” they said.
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28 October 10, 2019 Schneps Media