Tuesday, April 26, 2005

On the Road

On the Road
Originally uploaded by p2son.
My recent trips have taken me to Upstate NY, Philadelphia and now Denver.

Driving to the State University of NY at Oneonta, I stopped to snap this shot of a field with dry hay bales and new grass. The old and the new.

The juxtaposition of the two looks lovely here, blending harmonously. This is not always the case though.

After a recent performance of my "ex-gay" satire, a man approached me to talk about the show and his life. He reminded me of C.S. Lewis' description of visitors to heaven in his short book "The Great Divorce".

The visitors to heaven lack substance. Ghostlike, they tread carefully on the hard grass which literally pokes through their feet. Some are no more than smudges, others spirit-like beings that if they chose to stay in heaven will eventually fill in and become whole.

The man who approached me seemed to lack solid wholeness to me. He struggled to mantain eye contact and appeared shrouded in a cloak of shame.

I found out latter that he is a gay, Christian man, who still attends an ex-gay support group. He is in limbo, not Out and not In. A foot in both worlds, he belongs to neither.

Several people I know who attended ex-gay programs with me live in this state of being. I ache for them as I see them painfully conceal their true identities from the people they care about most. They live often hating themselves, feeling trapped, unable to cross over from one world to the next.

But should they cross-over, I believe they will find harmony, peace and joy. They will even mix old and new in a sane fashion and ultimately become a solid, fully formed, beautiful human.

Friday, April 22, 2005


Originally uploaded by p2son.
Today I seek to center myself.
After so much travel, and so much more yet to do,
I feel stretched, drained, weary.

I seek the balance of rest and reflection along with action.
The action part comes easy but the


takes real effort.

I pause this morning,
wait in silence,
wait to emerge from tight, rushed places
into an expanse of light.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Originally uploaded by p2son.
Priscilla and I arrived in Yaounde, Cameroon on the same Air France flight from Paris, and from the moment we properly met in the hotel lobby, we became fast friends and fellow adventurers.

Priscilla is one of those people who draws adventures to herself wherever she goes. Her friends in Paris and her native country in the Mauritius Islands listen to her tales dumbfounded. "How do these things always happen to you?!?"

Priscilla, intelligent, insightful and magnetic drew attention wherever we went. She defied classification. Was she African? European? Indian?

She is her own person who knows her mind and heart well enough to risk going to new worlds knowing full well that her beauty can be as much of a liability as a novelty.

Of course adventures always follow me too, and the combination of the two of us together has provided unbelievable stories that will fill many a dinner conversation for several months.

Who knows I might even blog about some of them. But then, you would never believe them. The fact that we survived seems to cast doubt that half the stuff could have ever happened.

But adventurers have their own gods to protect them.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Faith Under Fire

London Chapel
Originally uploaded by p2son.
Saturday night I appeared on the Faith Under Fire opinion talk show on the PAX TV network. The same people who bring you "Xtreme Fakeovers" had ex-gay leader, Alan Chambers and little ole me (as an "Ex-Gay Survivor") discuss the ex-gay movement.

No question, I was terrified.

"Stick to your story" a Quaker Friend advised. "No one can argue your story"

So I told my story, and seeing the show on Saturday I felt amazed at how solid, clear and calm I appeared. For 17 years, as an ex-gay, I never felt that way.
Ah, what some Light can do for a weary soul.

To read a transcript of the show, visit Ex-Gay Watch--Transcript

Cameroon Cafe Conversation

Cameroon Cafe
Originally uploaded by p2son.
"The Look" drew me from across the room.
We communicated volumes before we finally spoke.

He: It is very warm in here.
Me: Yes, it is.
He: I am hot; are you hot?
Me: Yes, I feel hot.
He: The evening is cool, good for a walk.
Me: Where can we walk?
He: We can go to the river.
Me: What is the river like?
He: (smile) There is no one by the river.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Ancient Morality Lesson

River in Cameroon
Originally uploaded by p2son.
Nothing bad happened to me in Cameroon, well, yes, I had some trouble cashing my travellers cheques and I had a little diarrhea thing for a few days, but in spite of the fact that I presented a gay themed play in a decidedly anti-gay country, I met no resistance. In fact, I was treated with respect and genuine warmth.

Not that everyone agreed with me, but unlike the citizens of Sodom and Gomorra who sought to take advantage and disrespect their visitors, Cameroonians treated me, the stranger, as an honored guest.

The friendliness, the warmth, the embrace surprised me, but then it didn't. It's just like when I travel to Southern states in the US. Friends ask, "Are you scared about going down South? Something bad might happen."

No, the only fear I have going South is that I won't be able to get a soy latte (but they even have Starbucks now in Huntsville, Alabama).

The concept of treating the stranger as guest is still alive in many places of the world, although sadly in America (particularly in the North) the practice is in deep decline. We assume that if we disagree strongely with someone then we have the right to mock them, act rudely and make them feel uncomfortable.

My audience in Cameroon was filled with conservative Christians, Muslims and scholars, some of whom firmly believe that homosexuality is a curse on society, and a crime that needs to be punished. That's reality, but a greater reality took over during my visit--the ancient guest-host relationship. That moral code overrode all others.

On my penultimate day in Cameroon I took this photo of young men swimming and lounging in the river. The juxtoposition of wooden canoes, an old rubber tire, sparkling water and young men fills the frame creating a harmony, creating beauty. That is the harmony and beauty I experienced in Cameroon

Thursday, April 14, 2005

journey's end

journey's end
Originally uploaded by p2son.
Sitting at gate in Paris Airport just wanting to be HOME.

Just arrived in Paris on overnight train from Madrid.

This trip I presented two of my plays and one original bilingual presentiation. Wow, and what wonderful people.

No time to process...must concentrate on getting home which includes an 8 hour flight to JFK then a subway to Port Authority then a bus to Hartford then a taxi unless I can get a friend to pick me up. That would be sweet.

More later

Friday, April 08, 2005

At the University of Yaounde, Cameroon

At the University of Yaounde, Cameroon
Originally uploaded by p2son.
Perfect proof that I not only survived my adventure in Cameroon, but prospered from it. Here I am at the university where I presented Queer 101 to a crowd of about 200 students, professors and visitors.

Turns out I am the first openly gay man to stand up in Cameroon and share my story. And the response? Amazing. First off most had never seen a one-person play before, so they expressed great enthusiasm as I switched from character to character. I got loads of laughs (it's a comedy so that's a good thing) and great applause.

During the short Q&A session, one man labored to ask me if I was gay myself. He seemed uncomfortable asking an even gave me permission to pass if I did not wish to answer.

The room grew still and it seemed people leaned forward in their seats as I told them that yes, I am gay and how I wish it were a gay Cameroonian on this stage tonight instead of me, but sadly he or she would probably not feel safe. Then very gently I spoke about queer issues.

Then for the next days the discussions began, all very polite and often without actgually saying the words gay or homosexual, but we talked. Then the gay Cameroonians revealed themselves to me, and there were many.

I feel amazed, stunned that I had this opportunity. I need more time to process it though.

I then premiered my play in London and Birmingham and in a few moments I will board a flight to Madrid. (Big Smile!)