Though she always had a passion for writing and self-expression, Patricia R. Corbett’s parents discouraged her from pursuing a creative career. But she always wrote anyway.
“I wrote my first play in elementary school,” says the 48-year-old Richmond, Va., native. “My mother kept every bad poem, everything I wrote as a kid. It was just always the medium I had a strong affinity for.”
Friday night at Black Pride’s opening ceremony, Corbett will receive the Wemore Cook Award for her work on the Black Pride board and overall in the community. She says she’s “very surprised and honored” and thinks Black Pride is “still very relevant and very, very important.” Her 27-year-old son, Jordon, is her date for the evening.
Corbett launched her JUSTaSISTA/Girl in a Tie Productions in 1998 and has been doing the work full-time for the last six months. She previously worked in the non-profit sector and taught high school and college. Her newest play “Fall of the House of Snow” is slated for a Richmond production in December. More details at prcorbett.wix./com/justasista. She has a gofundme page at gofundme.com/fallofthehouseofsnow.
Corbett is single and lives in Aspen Hill, Md. She enjoys cooking, playing Scrabble and touring historic cemeteries in her free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I have been out with my family for 27 years. The hardest to deal with were my parents because they found out before I could have the conversation with them.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
My LGBTQ “shero” is my very best friend June Crenshaw. She is a tireless and passionate worker in the DMV community.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
I used to love Tracks! When I was in my 20s, I used come up to D.C. and fall out of a smoke-filled van in front of the club.
Describe your dream wedding.
A private ceremony on a small island. As the breeze comes off of the water, the linen my fiancé and I are wearing blows in the breeze. We stand barefoot in cool sand. While looking into the eyes of the most amazing and beautiful woman, I would nervously recite my vows to her in lyrical poetry and prose. Then we would come home, throw a huge party and dance the night away!
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about juvenile justice. The fact that so many of our youth find themselves incarcerated or on probation because they are often failed by their parents, the community, church and their educational system irritates my soul.
What historical outcome would you change?
The founding of this country at the expense of an entire nation of people.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Seeing Prince perform for the 1999 tour when I was 16 years old. If my mother had only known that he would be gyrating on a heart-shaped bed, I would have never been at that concert!
On what do you insist?
I am very smell sensitive. Everything must be fresh — linens, food, women.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
Don’t make me embarrass myself by doing drag, Support “Fall of the House of Snow” or my next step is pole dancing and I have weak wrists!
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Lies Lesbians Tell: Karma is a Boomerang!”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Why would I do anything? I am perfectly happy as a “swagtastic” lesbian!
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe in oneness of being that is guided by a Great Spirit.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Some of us need to get out of the LGBTQ bubble. The messages that resonate the loudest with people are those that touch the hearts of our family and friends. We have too many highly intellectual ideas and conversations over cocktails. Let’s get the work done and invest time and money in our youth and community.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
My son Jordon and my family.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
I am annoyed that many people believe that because a woman assumes a masculine style of dress she wants to be a man. I am clear that I am 100 percent woman in boxers and it feels liberating that I define who I am as a woman and defy who others tell me I am based on clothing I purchased with my hard-earned money.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Pricilla Queen of the Desert” — you gotta love desert drag to ABBA tunes!
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Texting. I just abhor when my texts are misinterpreted. Then I have to go back and forth trying to clarify. You can break up over a crazy text. I am old fashioned. Just call me!
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I am most proud of winning the 2007 Maryland State Arts Council Award for my first play, “Fall of the House of Snow.”
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
I wish I had known the importance of living my truth and causing as little harm to those I love and those who love me. Age has a way of humbling you, or at least it should.
With all of its contradictions and political shenanigans, Washington is still more liberal than most places and it attracts people from around the world. Lots of room to build multi-cultural relationships.