Thursday, December 29, 2005

From Cameroon to Saskatoon: 2005 & Beyond

Can't believe 2005 is nearly over. What an awesome year that brought me throughout North America (including US states VA, TN, NY, NJ, CT, MA, AL, MI, PA, CO, IN, KY, RI, MD, CA, NM, , Puerto Rico and my Canadian debut in Saskatoon!), England, Spain and Cameroon.

I feel so privileged to speak with people about the "ex-gay" movement and LGBTQ issues. I presented at universities, high schools, churches, conferences, community centers (as well as on planes, trains and buses). It was especially enriching to hear many people's stories and learn about issues that affect women, people of color, the trans community, people with disabilities, bisexuals and teens.

This year's series of presentations were entitled, The 2005 Burning Bush World Tour (um, that is a Biblical reference). I am so very grateful to Sarah B. Miller, my business associate for all her hard work in organizing my bookings. I am so grateful to all of the folks who sponsored my shows and presentations. I also give thanks to John, Bill and Bobbie for serving so gracefully on my support committe. Loads of other people to thank too at GCN, folks at Exgay Watch, the ex-ex-gays formerly of LIA, the queer Quakers, Hartford Friends Meeting, friends at Watkinson School and gosh a ton more.

2006 is looking very interesting with many college performances booked (I'll have the schedule up soon after New Years). There are still a few openings, so if you know of a college group or some other group who may be interested in Doin' Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House or one of my other presentations, please e-mail Sarah.

If you have a snappy idea for a title for my 2006 tour, please post it in the comments or e-mail me

Finally, I want to recognize my grandmother, Nardina Toscano, who after 97 years on this earth, died this week. I think about all the people who help makes us who we are. My grandmother shared her faith and love with me freely. She would always pray when I was on the road. "Keep helping the children," she would say. I explained that I speak to adults too to which she'd reply, "They're all God's children". I'm going to miss her and her prayers (and those crazy little blankets she would make and give me to hand out to people!)


At 9:37 PM , Blogger Peterson Toscano said...

Thanks to Christine for the silly looking photo from recent Ethiopian dinner in Denver. I am still full!

At 10:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your grandmother sounds so sweet. It seems like she blessed many.

Peace, brother.

At 12:54 AM , Blogger Christine Bakke said...

Actually, Jules took the photo...but I took the liberty of sending it to you. Quite a good likeness...

Your grandmother sounds like she was very cool and obviously well-loved. I'm sorry she's gone, but thanks for sharing about her with us.

At 1:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Peterson just wanted you to know i am tihnking of you and holding you and your family in the light .....your grandma sounds like a woman of faith and to be looked up to.....I'm not really anonymous but hey it was my only blessed dear friend...julesxoxo

At 4:45 AM , Blogger Noa Resare said...

Happy new year to you Peterson. With such an impressive tour record for 2005 I hope that you show up somewhere near Sweden in 2006, or at least film your homonomo show. The snippets on the website and in fish can't fly makes me want to see everything :)

ps. you look really cute on that picture

At 2:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's already been 6 years since my grandmother died at 87. Part of me still feels like it happened too soon.

It shocked us, including Grandpa, because she was the intricately health-conscious one between the two of them, and out of all of us. Grandpa was the logical bet to go first, yet he's still going strong, approaching his 92nd birthday in May, and yet he has always broken all of the rules... was 100 pounds overweight (while Grandma watched every pound) most of his adult life (since Grandma -- and her cooking -- passed, 80 of the 100 pounds have faded away) while preserving his 50+ year devotion to the 5-o'clock Happy Hour.

Grandma's memorial service fit her life... simple yet celebrated, understated yet poignant.

She had always been crafty and creative. I put together a song for her titled "Stitch by Stitch", and sang it at the memorial.

One of the things that has amazed me about my grandparents' long lives is that living near or into ones' 90s means seeing 90% of ones' friends, family, and acquaintances die first.

From a rational perspective as a 40-y/o, I couldn't expect my grandma to live to age 110, but some part of me hoped for that. After all, she was the one who swept my grandpa off his feet when she roared into his tiny town in 1923 driving her own car. (She had just been hired as the town's new school teacher, fresh out of a 2-year teachers' college.

She was such an amazing and intriguing person, though, that it pains me that I don't get to introduce my partner Mike to her, or vice versa.

And then I remind myself that she had said goodbye to so many amazing and intriguing folks. Even some of the friendships my grandparents forged with younger folks ended at cemeteries.

It was a matter of shared highs and lows in the course of their 62-year marriage, and especially shared stories. They met Hubert Humphrey in the 1930s. My grandparents worked up to owning their own newspaper, and Hubert worked his way to the Senate. Humphrey visited the paper every few months, and yet he was famous for starting his visits by ignoring Grandpa and heading for the back office to talk with his buddy, the paper's lead press operator. Grandpa spent an hour with Truman on a WhistleStop train through Wisconsin. He and Grandma visited DC once in the 60s. Gene McCarthy saw them as were touring the Capitol, took them aside, and insisted that they take his car and driver to see the city.

While telling stories like these, they had an effortless way of finishing each others' sentences and adding anecdotes in the gaps between topics.

At 2:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are the lyrics of the song I wrote for my grandma... wishing you peace and light, also, Peterson, as you remember yours.

"Stitch by Stitch"

(song written for Shila Young and performed at the memorial service on 8/9/99)

Stitch by stitch, step by step
Day by day, year by year
As steady as you've been I dreamed
Your gift would never end
But the magic of your gift
Was complete in every stitch.

I still hear you laughing
Relating family foibles
I still feel you listening
Compassionate and able
Not a birthday card forgotten
Hoping each would be the right one
Complaining very seldom
Yet fretting over loved ones.


Teacher, mother, wife, friend
Homemaker, gardener, giver
Nurturer, Grandma
Spirited free-thinker
Arms which nestled babies
Hands which wiped our tears away
Baking trademark goodies
Mending when we frayed


So few of us will show up in the history books
Or leave a mark which stands the test of time.
You've shown us how to make a mark
Which no book can deny
By working steadily
Loving deeply
Laughing often....

Stitch by stitch, step by step
Day by day, year by year
As steady as you've been I dreamed
Your gift would never end
But the magic of your gift
Was complete in every stitch.


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