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    Sweat and Glitter

    zoeHappy New Year to our faithful San Francisco Bay Times readers! I hope your year is off to a good start. How many New Year’s resolutions have you made? How many have you kept, and how many have fallen by the wayside?

    Conventional wisdom is that only 10% of New Year’s resolutions are successfully kept. Some of the challenges include the fact they are often too ambitious, they span a long period of time (a year, or a lifetime), you try to do it alone, or you try to stop something cold turkey and beat yourself up when you relapse.

    I myself have a long wish list of things I’d like to accomplish in 2015. A recurring theme each year is my wish to live a healthy lifestyle: exercise more consistently, eat better, lose that extra weight I’ve slowly gained in the past 10 years, and get more sleep. I’m sure this sounds familiar to many of you.

    Not to fulfill every lesbian stereotype, but I have always been a Sporty Girl. I was a multiple varsity letter winner in track & field, basketball and tennis through high school and college. I have run a marathon, competed in the Gay Games and even completed a sprint triathlon. So it pains me a little (figuratively and literally) to slow down a bit over the years. I can still do most things. I just do them a little more slowly, and it takes me longer to recover. For me, it’s not about personal bests any more; it’s about consistency. It’s about prioritizing my exercise and doing it early in the morning before other demands squeeze it out. I’ve probably even seen some of you at Fitness SF SOMA bright and early at 5:30 am!

    One technology that has really helped motivate me is my Fitbit Flex, the bracelet device that tracks my movement all day and night. It gives me immediate feedback on how I am doing—how many steps have I taken today? How many active minutes? How many calories have I burned (and consumed, if I log my food)? How long did I sleep last night, and was it restful or fitful? This kind of immediate feedback helps me set goals (10K steps and 30 active minutes a day), measure my progress against them, and even stir up a little competition with my friends who also have Fitbit devices. If one of your goals this year is to be more active, I highly recommend investing in one of these products. You may be surprised at how much they can help you achieve your activity and exercise goals.

    Switching gears from sweat to glitter, I am excited about this year’s Imperial Court elections and, in particular, one candidate for Empress, Khmera Rouge. To many, that name may sound a bit shocking. I remember myself being a little taken aback when I first heard it. But when you ask her, or go to her website,, you will get an explanation on why she chose this name. You see, Khmera is a Cambodian and Chinese-American drag queen who is using her name to help educate. As she explains on her Facebook page:

    “Recently, some have asked me about why I chose the stage name, ‘Khmera Rouge.’ Isn’t that something bad? Well yes, yes it was. My stage name is in direct reference to the Khmer Rouge, a communist group, which in the 1970’s, forever changed the history of Cambodia and my family. This is the group responsible for the Cambodian Genocide. Simply put, they imposed a radical regime and eradicated all forms of class, culture and education. They forced all civilians into an agrarian social experiment that, as a result, killed over 2 million people and displaced countless millions more. As a result, my family became refugees and were sent off to refugee camps, first in Thailand and then the Philippines, where my mother met my father, before finally being resettled in Washington State, where I was later born…It has always been my goal that, after someone heard my name, if just one person asked a question about it and learned something new or took time to look up what exactly the Khmer Rouge was or did, then it served its purpose.”

    Not only is Khmera Rouge beautiful, and not only has she helped raise over $20,000 for organizations that support the LGBT and API community, but her campaign for Empress 2015 to help educate us about a terrible stain on our world history that impacted her and her family. I hope you consider joining me and voting for her on February 7. Anyone 18 or older with ID showing residency in Marin, San Francisco or San Mateo counties can vote at the following locations and times: Project Open Hand, 730 Polk St. (10am-4pm); Powerhouse, 1347 Folsom St. (11AM-5pm); or Castro Muni Station (12-6pm). Hope to see you there!

    Zoe Dunning is a retired Navy Commander and was a lead activist in the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. She currently serves as the 1st Vice Chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party, as a San Francisco Library Commissioner, and as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club.