Free To Be LGBT: Kelly Clipperton




Today, Harmony shines the spotlight on another creator in the LGBT community.

Say hello to Kelly Clipperton of Toronto’s Kelly & The Kellygirls.



H: Hello, and thanks for being part of our Free To Be project! When did you first know you wanted to create? Did you ever expect it would become more than a hobby?

KC: I wrote and produced my first play when I was in grade 6. Presented it to the school. My great grandmother, Daisy, would always tell me the story of how wildly frenetic and expressive I was, soon as I could crawl….so, yes I’ve always known it would be my life.


H: What is it like being your own ‘boss’?

KC: Ideal for someone like me who doesn’t take instruction well (smiles). [The] only downfall is it can get lonely.


H: If there were one word you could use to describe your music and/or visual art, what would it be?

KC: Dramatic.


H: Have you ever faced adversity because your music or photography was unabashedly queer? If so, how did you – or do you continue to – get past it?

KC: Oddly no, not to my face anyway. I got bullied a lot when I was a kid. I think I paid my penance there…. I’m sure I don’t get into certain festivals and events because of my outness, but no one who’s had the nerve to actually tell me that.


H: You’re known mainly as a musical performer, but you’re also a photographer, hair stylist, among other lovely things. You seem to always have a mix of artistic projects going on. Name two milestones in your creative career.

KC: Firstly, realizing I could sustain and provide for myself and for others solely as an artist.  Huge. Been doing that for 15 years or so. Second…hmmm, so many…super recent is the Kellygirls new album charting on the nation campus radio top 50.


H: What do you hope your music/art/etc. bring to your audience?

KC: Joy/insight/comfort/fancy footwork.


H: Name something that makes your heart swell; makes you proud.

KC: My husband of 14 years.


H: Name something that brings you to tears.

KC: Guilt.


H: What are your current projects and/or any recently completed projects?

KC: Heavy promotion for ‘The Deep Ending’ through to next fall. We’ll also be releasing an EP in the spring.  I have several photo series that I’ve been shooting for years and hopefully something will be mounted in 2014. I costume designed a play at Buddies in Bad Times this past season too. Been busy…


H: If you could impact the LGBT community in one positive way, what would it be?

KC: You can realize yourself in any way you see fit, and be successful as that person.


H: Similarly, if you could positively impact the way non-LGBT people view us, what would it be?

KC: See above.


H: Do you have any advice for those hoping to have a fruitful career in the arts?

KC: Always have additional plans, always look ahead… and….. trust. your. gut!


H: Have you heard that therapists have decided to replace “LGBT” with “GSD”? ( “Gender and Sexual Diversities” as a label sounds a bit odd. (Hi, I’m a gender-and-sexual-diversities, nice to meet you. They used to call me “gay”?) What do you think about this newfangled label, very possibly even invented by heterosexual therapists?

KC: What the heck is a GSD?…  LOL…seriously…. gay search and destroy???  LOL. I call bullshit on the GSD thing. New terms are not really at the core…semantics.


H: If you’re open to it, would you share a coming out story? Big or small, funny or sad…

KC: I wrote a play. Naturally… LOL. First year at York University, I came out to everyone who mattered… pretty quickly, then my need to turn it into art feverishly took over. I saw it as an issue much bigger than me (being gay in modern culture) and wrote the play ‘Trash (The Age of Consent)’, mounted it at York University for a week I believe. It was very naive and honest and in your face and ‘of an era’. […] Most people asked why I couldn’t come out like everyone else…’over coffee’.


H: Could you give us a roundup of where to find your work and be in the loop about your projects?


“The Deep Ending” OUT NOW on iTunes!

If you feel you are forging a place for yourself in the artistic and/or business world and would like us to interview you, please get in touch!


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