You know, when I was a kid, I would be asked, 'what do you want to be when you grow up?" I'd say 'actor' or "writer', but really, and all I've ever wanted was this: to make a difference in the world and make the world a better place to live in my own small way; to validate my being born and taking up oxygen on this planet.
The other night I watched the fourth and final night of the DNC and was especially dewy eyed during Hillary's speech. Like many of you, I've followed her career since she was First Lady. Seeing her finally get her due was satisfying. I originally said on Facebook that listening to her speech, it was as though she'd finally arrived. But, afterwards, I thought differently: Hillary Clinton has always been where she was that night. She has always been a strong, powerful force to be reckoned with with amazing ideas and a towering presence. This is why, by the way, the GOP and others hate her - because they (both men and women) cannot conceive of an American woman (or any woman) being this strong. I think she challenges every caveman idea that the country (and, to be fair, the world) has about the role of a woman in society. That we are still having this discussion in 2016 is pretty depressing in my opinion.
So, Hillary did not 'arrive' that night. WE did. She has been standing at the podium for decades and only now we have caught up to her. So it is really we who have arrived. Hillary has been firmly planted in this future for some time.
I have great hope that she will be elected, but, if she doesn't, it's not for lack of support, resources, good taste, experience, and policy.
And no, just to reiterate, I'm not voting for her because she's a woman. No, I am not voting the lesser of two evils. No, it is not a protest vote against You Know Who. I'm not holding my nose, like some have said, and "voting for her anyway'. I am not carping "well, she's not perfect but then who is?"
My vote is FOR #HIllary because I believe in her leadership, her vision, and her service to America now, in the past, and in the future. #ImWithHer ...
But, more than that, something in her speech about public service touched a nerve for me. For, yes, while I started out in this particular part of my life as .. ahem.. on screen talent... it quickly went went far from that. Raising funds for charity and speaking out on issues has truly been the best part of my Will Clark career. But this public service didn't originate in my time in the porn industry.
No, as a kid I sold chocolate bars and oven mitts door to door to raise funds for the Cub Scouts and the school band; I participated in dance a thons and skate a thons for charity; and, in high school, I was part of a sketch comedy group raised money for the American Cancer Society after my father's death from cancer. In college, being a camp counselor and director for a Lutheran camp made me a better person and helped me contribute to the world in a meaningful way.
Then, in the early 90s I volunteered for the Stop AIDS Project in Chicago and spent three years doing outreach in bars and co-facilitating meetings, raising awareness about sexual attitudes during the height of the AIDS crisis and offering up practical information on how to have hot, safer sex. However, the time I'd moved to New York in 1994, I was burnt out and I took some much needed time off.
In late 1995, even though I had already been featured in a few flicks, I was kind of on the fence about continuing. But, I thought it would be fun to go to the annual Gay Erotic Video Awards (GEVAs) held that December - I figured that by the next one I'd either be out of the industry or I'd be entrenched to the point that I'd be all businessy and networky at the next one (the latter, of course, proved to be true).
The remarkable thing about that award show is that the tickets were being sold by an AIDS service organization known as Aid for AIDS. They provided direct financial services for people struggling with rent, bills, due to HIV/AIDS. I would later learn that no other AIDS organization would even touch the GEVAs because, as you all know, AIDS organizations in the 90s liked to pretend that gay men weren't actually having sex in the first place and 'nice' gay men were certainly NOT watching porn or having anything to do with gay porn stars. Heaven forbid! (I hope my dripping sarcasm and extreme eye rolling is apparent, btw).
Anyway, I connected with the Aid for AIDS staff and, along the way, started helping out with their events when I was in town filming and, later, when I started dating one of their board members. Then, as I mentioned in a recent blog post about my emceeing, I started producing events for them, including the Bad Boys Pool Partys.
I never really felt like this was 'charity' or 'public service' but it was, of course. I was having too much fun for me to think about it in those terms. And, later, when I moved back to New York, creating, producing, and emceeing a weekly show raising funds for New York based LGBT non profits was a kind of no brainer. Along the way, I picked up a few honors, awards, and, in the case of the Imperial Court of New York - knighthood!
So here's what I ask of you - if you have time and/or money, please make sure that you make a contribution to Hillary's campaign.
If she's not your thing, then you can donate your time/money to making sure that Dems get elected down ticket.
But, if you're burnt out on politics (and, really, after the shit show we've been through the past year, who would blame you?) there are tons of organizations that could use a donation of time and/or money. If you need a list, email me. (Seriously).
The worst thing that you can do is nothing.
I can tell you from personal experience, that producers of fundraising events ALWAYS need a helping hand. And if you have a skill, (any skill - even if it's "just" being compassionate, having a good heart, and being able to crack a joke) let them know and they'll put you to work using that skill. You'll get to do something that you love and the payment will be something that makes another person's life better. And that's the best kind of public service. Trust me on this one. I know.