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Old 12-29-2003, 04:45 PM   #1
TulaneJeff
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Romaine Patterson: Small-Town Girl
 
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Default Romaine Patterson: Small-Town Girl

I found this great story about Romaine from 'Derek and Romaine' on Yahoo, but can't find the source.

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It’s not the story of a small-town girl who moves to the city and lands an acting career. It’s the story of small- town girl who each night looks back on her life and finds something to say that might help another in search of advice or just an open ear.

To the millions who tune in and listen to her voice come through the radio, it’s a pleasant voice backed by the personality to match.

To the millions who tune in and listen, it’s the voice of a small-town girl who, one day while living in Sheridan at the age of 13, faced her fears and announced that she is a lesbian.

Her name is Romaine Patterson, and the events in her life have led her to where she is today — at a radio studio in New York City hosting a gay and lesbian talk show on Sirius OutQ radio, the nation’s first 24/7 talk show program on satellite radio.

This self-proclaimed small-town girl and avid gay and lesbian activist said she faced a lot of challenges when she admitted her sexuality.

However, the opposition did not come from family members or even school faculty; it came from community members who refused to accept her as a “human being who just happens to be gay.”

“In Wyoming in particular the most challenging things I had to face were really establishing (myself) within my community,” Patterson said. “The real challenge was establishing myself as Romaine and not as a lesbian. I hadn’t really changed as a human being.”

Patterson said the stress and opposition left her with physical and emotional problems.

“By the age of 16, I had two ulcers and was in horrible shape,” she said. “But … I don’t look back on it with any negative feelings.”

Patterson spent the better part of her life in Wyoming, and eventually enrolled in Casper College, where she met and befriended Matthew Shepard.

Patterson said she became a close friend with Shepard, and it wasn’t until his death that she really got involved in homosexual activism.

“Essentially I got started as a gay activist around Matthew’s death,” she said. “It was very personal to me because we had been close friends.”

Patterson said she organized the group of people who stood in front of the Rev. Fred Phelps wearing makeshift angel’s wings to block the anti-Shepard protesters.

Her decision to become an activist eventually led her to act at a national level when she joined the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

After doing it for a couple of years, I kind of got tired of activism,” she said. “So I went back to school to pursue my recording engineering degree … and that led me to New York City.”

Living in the city allowed her to connect with a number of people, which ultimately led to the conception of her radio talk show called “Derek and Romaine,” which she helped produce.

“Our show is really kind of a light-hearted (show that discusses) relationships, sex and even some political stuff,” Patterson said of the show she hosts with Derek Hartley. “What I love about it is, our show really breaks down a lot of the boundaries that have been established.”

Patterson said the show is not only well-received by the homosexual audience, but also by a large straight audience.

“We have a very large straight listening audience, which we embrace with open arms,” Patterson said. “To me it says, while we may be gay-themed, we are capable of really being more about people and the issues people are facing, which is an exciting venture for us.”

Patterson said that though she may reside in a big city, she approaches the show as a small-town girl.

“My approach to it is, I’m a small-town girl at heart, and I’m living in a big city,” she said. “My voice in the show is really the voice of kind of the average Joe out there who shops at Wal-Mart and enjoys good sex and having a good time in life. I’m just a small-town girl, and a lot of our listeners I think really can appreciate that and relate to that.”

Patterson said a number of callers are from her home state who call to discuss a number of issues including life in a small town.

“With our show, I think for me, one of the biggest and most important things is to talk about what life is like (in a small town), because a lot of the listeners are living in big cities and don’t understand what small-town life is like,” she said.

Though Patterson admits she encountered opposition from community members when she was living in the state, after having been gone for a time and having participated in so many forms of activism, Patterson said now when she returns she is looked at as a local hero.

“Whenever I go home it’s kind of interesting because I’m now kind of this hometown hero,” she said. “That which some people hated the most about me, has become what has really made them the most proud of me.”

Asked to lend her opinion on some of the issues she feels are of importance right now, Patterson said, “The issues are very clear to all of us. It’s all about learning to respect and care about each other as human beings and not seeing each other as gay or lesbian or straight or bisexual or anything like that. I think we really just need to break down these stereotypes that we have of one another.”

Patterson is currently working on an autobiography of her life with the working title of, “The whole world is watching,” and has recently starred in a pilot for a television show.

She has spoken at a number of universities and colleges including University of Wyoming, Georgetown, Penn State, Colorado State University and George Washington University.

“Derek and Romaine” is broadcast from 5 to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday on Sirius OutQ satellite radio.

Patterson said she invites people to contact the show at 1-866-305-6887 during operating hours.

Jeff
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Old 12-29-2003, 07:08 PM   #2
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It came from the Laramie, WY Boomerang, Romaine's hometown newspaper: http://www.laramieboomerang.com/news...StoryID=100485
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Old 12-29-2003, 08:55 PM   #3
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Thanks Ron!

Jeff
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