Interview with Liz Baxter from @kleffnotes

I had the opportunity to interview Liz Baxter, who made history as the first lesbian contestant on the Love Connection reboot. We also discussed her upcoming short film, Female Connection, that beautifully examines a relationship between two women, which will be screening at some upcoming international film festivals. Thank you so much to Liz for her time and openness.

Could you introduce yourself to our readers?

Hello! My name is Liz Baxter and I am just your friendly neighborhood lesbian living my best life in Los Angeles.  I was lucky enough to be the first gay person/lesbian featured on a dating show on network TV – Love Connection with Andy Cohen.  I do some blogging and YouTubing, but I mostly just live my life as a dog/cat mom, selling medical devices, lifting heavy weights, eating delicious food and traveling the world.

You made history as the first open lesbian on the newly rebooted Love Connection. What was that experience like?

Kind of surreal.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that it actually happened.  Life has gone back to normal, but I have a really great story and I feel super honored to be a part of reality TV history, haha.  I thought I would be way more nervous about the whole experience, but it was actually a lot of fun!

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Could you describe your film, Female Connection, and what inspired it?

Female Connection is a short film with no words that depicts the development of a connection between two women (hence the title).  It reflects the complexity of sexuality and the roller coaster of emotions that comes when you fall for someone who isn’t sure they want to be with you. It was inspired by an actual experience that I had some time ago. The details aren’t the same, but the sentiments are captured.  I think the best content is created from real emotion.

Why did you choose not to have any dialogue in the film?

Music elicits so much emotion!  When there is music and no words the viewer can feel the story as they are watching. Also, with no words, viewers can have different experiences and different take aways, which I think is totally ok.  I think it gives people time to relate to the story and not get too caught up in the details.

What led you to choose the song you did?

I wanted a song that wasn’t too, sad but also not too upbeat. This song was the perfect middle ground.  Also, using copywritten songs can be super tricky and Lost Boy Crow were kind enough to allow us to use their song!

What do you hope viewers take away from the film?

I feel that most everyone can relate to the feeling of loving someone who isn’t ready to show up.  I hope that people can be reminded that it isn’t because you aren’t good enough, it just means that the other person isn’t there.  Whether they aren’t comfortable enough with themselves, scared, ashamed – it is not a reflection of you.  Whether it’s related to sexuality or otherwise. If you are being true to who you are and being vulnerable, you might feel crushed in the moment, but something better is waiting and there was a lesson that you needed to learn.  I also want people to remember the pain that can be stuck long term with the person who isn’t able to be vulnerable.

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I saw that you’re a dedicated gay rights activist, what keeps you motivated and inspires you to do this work?

Until The L Word came along I never saw lesbians that I could relate to in the media – or really any lesbians at all.  I wonder if I had been exposed earlier if I would have figured out that I was gay earlier.  And once I did figure that out, maybe I wouldn’t have felt as ashamed. I think the more visibility we have to lesbians and other members of the LGBTQ community – of all shapes and sizes (butch, femme, andro, trans), the more people out there will feel OK with who they are.  It’s really awesome to get messages from people saying that they loved seeing someone like them represented.  Or that something about my story helped them feel better or more confident about themselves in some way.

How do you balance your job, creative endeavors, and activist work?

Not very well, lol!  I started a new job in December and some of my creative endeavors have definitely been put on the back burner.  But, releasing this film is reminding me of how much fun it is to create lesbian content and share with the interwebs so I am planning to release new content monthly instead of weekly or bi-weekly like before. I try not to put too much pressure on myself to “keep up” with everything because that takes the fun out of it.  I just take things as they come.  Say Yes or engage in things when I have time and it feels right and say no when it doesn’t.  Living in LA makes it easy to stay connected and involved!

Female Connection will be screening at the Barcelona Film Festival and the Florence Queer Festival, what are you most looking forward to at these events?

We have now been accepted into FIVE film festivals which has me in awe. I am REALLY looking forward to going to Italy with my GF to watch the screening!!  I love Italy so much and I haven’t been in years. When I found out that we were accepted into the Florence Queer Film Fest, I knew we had to go…even though it is pretty short notice. Also, the gay community isn’t that big in Florence so I am excited to see what the turnout will be like.

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Do you have any additional projects coming up?

Not at the moment! But, I love meeting new people, traveling, and trying new experiences and it always seems to lead me to the next project or experience.  I am confident that the universe will deliver something into my lap at some point in the near future.

Where can our readers find out more about Female Connection and you online?

I am most active on IG: @lizBinLA. I also have a youtube channel (where I will be releasing the film at the beginning of September) under “Liz Baxter” and a blog: yourfriendlyneighborhoodlesbian.com.

Thank you again to Liz Baxter for agreeing to this interview.

Share your thoughts with us in the comments or on Twitter, @thenerdygirlexp. You can find me on Twitter, @kleffnotes, on my blog, kleffnotes.wordpress.com, on my kleffnotes YouTube channel, and I run The Nerdy Girl Express Snapchat, thenerdygirlexp.

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