TV's Gay-themed 
Under the Pink Carpet
and its one-of-a-kind star news correspondent
 Clover Honey
Article and Interview by Robert Urban

Perhaps more than any other U.S. cosmopolitan center, New York City presides over the world of arts and entertainment. For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered New Yorkers who are important players in all aspects of culture, Under The Pink Carpet is there to document the creativity.
Under the Pink Carpet is the gay-themed TV news-magazine with its own irreverent brand of sass, wit and humor.  The show is taped in NYC and presented to PBS stations across the USA by WYBE-PBS-TV Philadelphia and distributed to cable stations by FSTV (Free Speech TV). In Canada, Under the Pink Carpet is seen on PrideVision cable network.
The program is produced and directed by its founder, New Jersey gay media entrepreneur Tony Sawicki, who also serves as its primary correspondent.
Under the Pink Carpet proudly declares its queer cultural mission from its website - "From television to music, from film to comedy, from cabaret to chorus, from big budget Broadway spectacles to no-budget underground productions, gay people and gay themes are prominent in venues that range from tiny performance spaces to the grandest of show palaces - We take you to all of these places, and introduce both the famous and the infamous movers and shakers who make, and are made by, New York".
Celebrities who have appeared on Under the Pink Carpet read like a who's who of perennial gay favorites and include: Donna Summer, Cyndi Lauper, Rosie O'Donnell, Boy George, Joan Collins, Eric McCormick (Will & Grace), Whoopi Goldberg, Harvey Firestein, Jerry Herman, Liz Smith, Kelly Ripa, Rue McClanahan (Golden Girls), Valerie Harper (Rhoda), Judy Gold, Jai Rodriguez, Carson Kressley, Jennifer Tilley, Eden Riegel (All My Children), Michael Musto, Sonia Braga, Mario Cantone, Deborah Voight (Metropolitan Opera Co.), Judy Tenuna, and Steve Weber.
But Under the Pink Carpet is more than just superficial entertainment news.  The show often probes beyond the fabulous facade of queer lifestyle by critically examining many aspects of gay subculture.  During June 2005 pride month it did just that - offering a special hour long news report subtitled Bright Lights/Out City that explored NYC as a center for LGBT artistic inspiration and aired on PBS stations nationwide.
With its exceptional "inside" coverage of au courant NYC concerts, film/theater premieres, nightclub events, book signings, live music performances, plays, parties, etc.; plus it's in-depth reportage of the "real persons" behind the media personalities, UTPC is even gaining a wider, more mainstream audience, becoming as popular with hip "straight" audiences as it is with LGBT people.
Under the Pink Carpet features a most unique news/entertainment correspondent - celebrity drag personality Clover Honey (the 1st and only transgendered reporter on national TV!)
Clover Honey is the well-known en femme persona of New York City entertainer Mr. Clover Welsh, who has enjoyed a successful career expressing himself as, and performing as, a "Lady".
It was Clover's visibility as drag/transgender entertainer, socialite, activist, comedian and television personality that brought her to the attention of the Under the Pink Carpet television producers.  In 2002, she was invited to join the show's cast and be their "Man on the Street".
 "We just kept running into her," says Tony Sawicki.  "I knew she was a girl who got around.  But more than that, she had poise, intelligence, character and a genuinely likable personality - It turns out she was designer tailor-made for the job."
Signing on a drag news correspondent turned out to be a daring and history-making move.  The LGBT Historic Archives in Washington DC notes that Lady Clover Honey is the first openly Transgendered correspondent to regularly star on a national TV show and only the second Drag Queen (after RuPaul and her show.) (Television history buffs can note - RuPaul was the first Drag Queen to host a show in 1996.  In 1948, Milton Berle was the first man to impersonate a woman on TV). 
Some think a drag news reporter could be a liability; reasoning that people might not take a cross-dressing interviewer seriously. Think again. "People remember me," says Clover.  "I was recently surprised when Rosie O'Donnell recalled me from among all the people she meets."  No doubt, Lady Clover Honey would surely stand out in a crowd of journalists on the red carpet.  "Celebrities come over to me and bypass other reporters. I've never had a problem getting anyone's attention," she says.
An interesting topic in itself, Clover's groundbreaking work in journalism certainly challenges the stereotypical notion of drag queens in entertainment as being little more than award presenters or event hostesses. As the San Francisco Examiner recently noted of her, "Having a drag queen reporter could itself be seen as a political statement of sorts considering drag queens, whose flamboyance was once not only embraced but celebrated by the gay community at large, have recently been made to feel like outsiders by their gay brothers."
In addition to her collaboration with UTPC, Lady Clover Honey also hosts her own local television program on Manhattan Cable called Gender Talk TV - a news, talk and interview show where she chats with local transgender individuals, drag performers and trans political activists. Her other television work includes appearances on Sex in the City and Straight Plan for the Gay Man.
Beyond television, news and entertainment, Clover is active in the world of politics.  She co-chaired the planning committee that organized the first fundraiser for the New York Association of Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA) and assisted NYAGRA board and staff members during the successful campaign to pass Int. No. 24, the Transgender anti-discrimination law enacted in 2002.  Clover also participated in lobbying the NY State legislature in Albany on the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and has done volunteer work for the Empire State Pride Agenda, HRC and other LGBT political organization.  She is also a well-known presence at NY Democratic committee functions, holding seats on the Board of Governors of several prestigious Democratic Committees.
I recently caught up with national broadcast journalist Clover Honey as she covered the 2005 Fresh Fruit Festival's opening night gala, held at The Museum of Sex on July 11th in New York City.
Robert Urban – In addition to your work as an interviewer, I have also seen you operating Under the Pink CarpetŐs video camera at several different events.  How do you like being a "camerawoman"?
Honey Clover - I'm kind of new at behind the camera. I just purchased my own video cam and I love the control aspect of deciding what gets taped (in other words – what gets seen).  Not that many people are good both in front of and behind the camera.  I've always been kind of "ambidextrous" at it.
RU - Has the recent blossoming of new gay cable television stations and shows, such as MTV's HERE channel, etc., had an affect on independent ventures like Under the Pink Carpet?
CH – For years, our show has been seen on PrideVision (Canada's gay cable network), and is a favorite queer show up north.  Gay TV networks are still relatively new in the U.S., so we'll have to wait for the impact.  Under the Pink Carpet has spoken with the U.S. gay cable networks and nothing fell through as of yet.
RU - Has the current right-wing/conservative political and religious atmosphere in the U.S. had an affect on Under the Pink Carpet gaining continued access to PBS and/or cable television stations?
CH - Indeed it has.  Even though Under the Pink Carpet was picked up for circulation by a top PBS distributor, (NETA), it was not picked up by many areas.  Many foundations that fund PBS are conservative, making many PBS stations air programming that is non-offensive and staid.  The producers of Under the Pink Carpet insist on realistically portraying the LGBT community and will not offer a sanitized version.  We received favorable mentions in Current magazine, a PBS trade journal, and on the PBS TV magazine program News Hour with Jim Leher.  However, many PBS stations are reluctant to air a series that is unique and honest. For example, we let viewers know that some males dress and express themselves like women.
RU - Can you also tell us more about CLOVER HONEY'S own cable television show – Gender Talk TV?
CH - It's on Manhattan's community access television. I always did love to educate the public about Transgendered people and those who express their gender in alternative ways.  ItŐs not slickly and professionally edited, but it is community television and those who are interested in the topic enjoy watching it.  One episode was 28 minuets of myself and Pauline Park of NYAGRA (New York Association of Gender Rights Advocacy) talking about non-discrimination laws.  I thought it would be boring to viewers, but so many people wrote in to say they loved it.  
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