Note: Kate McKinnon is the first openly lesbian cast member of Saturday Night Live, and was nominated for two Emmy Awards in 2014.
If you are reading this, then please come to brunch with me. We’ll bond over our shared love of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the Vegetti, and Food Network.
Okay, there are two problems with that proposal. 1) I don’t actually watch Food Network. And 2) you’re not reading this, because Saturday Night Live Season 40 has just begun, and you’re busy getting in frame with Chris Pratt.
I appreciate your work. By being openly gay, you’re breaking down walls for LGBTQ actors and comedians—and on a smaller scale, you’re breaking down walls for me. I first saw you on the Big Gay Sketch Show two years ago. I was 18, and the good Lord had just blessed me with Netflix. I had never seen anything like BGSS before, because its comedic platform didn’t just tolerate LGBTQ identities, it celebrated them.
"Fitzwilliam the Gender-Confused English Boy" was the first sketch I ever saw that addressed trans* identities in a creative way, rather than the tired “Surprise! She’s a man!” trope. I entertained a sloppy Jewish crush on Julie Goldman, envied your relationship in “Lesbian Speed Dating,” and felt proud to identify with many of the jokes on the show. You threw yourself into every character you played, and it showed.
I’ve always been ashamed of being gay. (Hell, I’m writing this under a pen name in case my grandparents ever discover the Internet.) But I’ve started to, quite honestly, just get over it. I’m queer. And proud. And I write. Next?
Although I’ve always loved comedy, it wasn’t until I gluttonized on BGSS that I seriously considered writing for the screen. I’m not naïve—I’m a queer woman of color, and Hollywood isn’t bending over backwards to hand out QWOC producer credits—but seeing you embrace your sexuality on screen helped me realize that I can do the same thing. Or at least dream about it.
It’s terrifying to be out in the workplace, especially in the entertainment industry, but performers such as you, Neil Patrick Harris, and the entire cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race prove that one can be both wildly queer and wildly successful.
This is an open letter for two reasons. 1) Because right now, you’re probably cooking zucchini pasta instead of reading this. 2) Because this letter isn’t actually for you. It’s for the young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, asexual, pansexual, genderqueer, genderbending, agender and fabulous teenagers who are scared to be themselves. This letter is to remind them that embracing their identities is terrifying, but it’s worth it, and it never hurts to laugh along the way.
I plan to keep writing and I plan to keep being gay. Both identities are terrifying, are unchangeable, and nearly gave my parents heart attacks. So thank you for being an inspiration to me. Thank you for showing LGBTQ youth how to embrace their true identities. Thank you for doing a flawless Angela Merkel impression.
If you happen to see this letter, my dear Kate McKinnon, then please send me an email (ümail?). It would make my year. But even if you never see this, then thank you for the work that you’ve already done, and I look forward to seeing how you—and other LGBTQ young adults—conquer the world.
Cheers and queers,
Catch McKinnon in other inspirational lesbian roles, including Bethany on Vag Magazine, Justin Bieber on Saturday Night Live, and Just Jamie on Hudson Valley Ballers.
Looking for other comedy shows? I recommend The Big Gay Sketch Show, Words with Girls, Vag Magazine, Julie Goldman - Lady Gentleman, and Féminin/Féminin.
Photo courtesy of Pedro Simoes / Flickr.