Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Being Bi

Bi-Coastal that is. This week I live on two coasts. I left Hartford (East Coast) on Monday morning and flew to Portland (West Coast) spent a day and then flew last night to Baltimore (East Coast) where I do a show at Goucher College tonight. Tomorrow I fly back to Portland (West Coast) to perform the Ho Ho Ho Mo No Mo Holiday Special at the Metropolitan Community Church. After that I stay in Oregon for 10 more days and will perform Transfigurations for the folks at the Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC) in Portland and Freedom Friends Church in Salem (where I get to see Peggy and Alivia and Roger and other cool people).

Yesterday on a flight from Minneapolis (No Coast) to Baltimore, I worked on the Holiday Special and burst out laughing at some of the stuff I hope to do on Saturday. Of course Marvin is going to make a special appearance (as he recently did on Joe G's podcast Bored Beyond Belief). Others include Chad, Vlad, Tex and Pastor Meadows. The Holiday Specials is all about gifts--like the gift of restraining straps giving to one participant in the Ho Mo No Mo Halfway House to keep him from "genitalizing" himself in the middle of the night. Although I will retire Homo No Mo for good in 2008, I may keep this Holiday Special in the my bag of tricks mainly because it is so much fun.

On a flight Monday from Atlanta to Portland a young butch guy sat next to me sporting a Red Sox cap. I am a Yankees fan, but deigned to speak with him all the same. He exuded manliness and because he was so gender-normative based on common qualities of masculinity on the East Coast, I assumed he was straight. He asked me about my profession. I never quite know how to answer. Theatrical Performance Activist always requires further explanation. And I felt a tiny twinge of ambivalence. He could be anti-gay. He could be a religious anti-gay person and we still had five hours of flying ahead of us.

"I am a playwright, a comic, and a gay activist," I replied.
"So you are pro-gay or anti-gay?" He asked.
"Oh, totally pro-gay." I said.
"Cool, 'cause I'm gay too and am just coming back from Toronto to visit my boyfriend. We're getting married in January." He announced.

Wow. You can never judge a book by the baseball cap it has on. Turns out not only is he gay but in his early 20's (he is 30 now--yes, which is young to me, okay.) he was a member of the Assemblies of God, went to Bible school and worked for a major TV evangelist. Our backgrounds were strangely similar with him even coming from a Catholic home and converting to Pentecostalism later in life. His father is even a former US Marine like mine.

But unlike my own story, he did not go into the ex-gay movement and never really struggled to reconcile his faith and his sexuality. By age 23 he realized that he was gay and that is how it is and he needed to be honest about his life. He left Bible school, went to college and accepted himself as gay. He experienced little to no guilt or fear as he left the highly superstitious world of the Pentecostal church.

How refreshing to hear of someone who didn't have to go through all that mess. I feel so happy for him.

Well, I have a visitor, the amazing Bruce Garrett, so I must go and explore Baltimore in his hot new car. It is snowing out and I don't have to fly for the first time in three days :-) But back to the West Coast tomorrow.

You can check out my performance schedule here. 2008 will be up by the end of December--cool stuff is coming.



At 12:20 PM , Blogger Nonsequitur said...

Nice that you are staying busy and productive Peterson! :) By the way, I totally know what you mean about not judging a book by it's cover, lately I've been confronted a lot with errors in my own judgement of people.

Here's wishing for safe traveling and further fruitful interactions on your horizon!


At 12:33 PM , Blogger brittanicals said...

If you ever make it to Seattle, you would be more than welcome at our garden and table.

Thats so cool about that guy next to you. I don't think its coincidental, do you?

Funny about first impressions. I work at a call center, in the town I grew up in here near Seattle. More than one caller has assumed they were talking to someone on the East Coast. One in particular said it was because I sounded like one of those "girls who went to finishing school."

This aging hippie with the bright dyed hair and peasant skirt and nose ring and working class background, well, she got a good grin out of that one.

You never know, do you? And just think, if you had stayed with first impression and shrunk away, you would have missed his story. Makes you wonder how many stories we have all missed out on.

At 6:36 PM , Blogger Allyson Dylan Robinson said...

You jet-setter, you!

Travel safe and stay warm in all that was 75 degrees here today [/gloat] :)

At 1:13 AM , Blogger Allyson Dylan Robinson said... Marvin said, "Spiritual pedophilia." I *love* that guy!


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