Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Magnificently Magical Memphis Weekend

I love Memphis, TN. It is one of my favorite cities in the USA despite the fact that so many Memphibians (it is on the Mississippi River) say the most disparaging things about their fair city.

The LGBT communities in Memphis are amazing, and I feel so grateful that back in 1999 when I was just coming out, I had the support and mentoring of so many fine LGBT folks in Memphis.

Nearly five years ago in Memphis at Holy Trinity Community Church, I premiered my play, Doin' Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House (The Rev. Meadows character is actually somewhat based on Rev. Tim Meadows, a pastor at the church). So I think it is fitting that I do my retirement show in Memphis.
(Note: I say retirement meaning that I will officially announce my retirement of the play on Feb 22, 2008 in Memphis and then in Cher-like fashion, I will have a farewell tour that will extend into May, well without all the costume changes)
February 22-24, 2008! You need to come to Memphis that weekend. Not because of my retirement show, but because of so many wonderful events happening in there that weekend.
So, will I see you in Memphis?

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Call to Artists!

Beyond Ex-Gay (bXg) and the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center will host an art show with works by those whose lives have been negatively affected by the ex-gay movement. This could include former ex-gays, as well as spouses, children, parents, and friends of former ex-gays.

In the summer of 2007, at the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference in Irvine, CA Beyond Ex-Gay organized a similar art show that helped to communicate how for many of us ex-gay experiences caused more harm than good. also features art by ex-gay survivors at its online gallery.

Submissions of all types of visual art are welcome including drawings, painting, collage, mixed media, photography, or multimedia. Please send photos of your work, along with dimensions, a brief statement about how the work relates to your ex-gay experience, and any other information by February 13th, 2008 to bxg (at)

We cannot guarantee that we will feature your artwork, but our panel will review your submission and contact you with further details.

NOTE: You do not have to travel to Memphis to be part of the art show. We will provide you with an address where you will mail/ship your art, and we shall send it back to you right after we take down the art show.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ex-Gay Video Roundup

Jim Burroway and Daniel Gonzales from Box Turtle Bulletin posted some new videos recently. In the following two Jim talks about this experience at this past summer's Exodus ex-gay conference.

Celibacy: What if Change Doesn't Happen?

My Expectations Were Blown Away (Including a nod to Broadway musicals, shopping and camping it up)

Two weeks ago Jim posted video about Love Won Out and in it speaks about the parents who attend LWO and the grief that many appeared to express. He shares about how the ex-gay message can drive a wedge between fathers and sons. I love how thoughtfully Jim approaches his time at LWO and the insights he shares.

And although I posted it here before, I thought I would repost Brian G. Murphy's wonderful short film about the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Support Committee UPDATE: 2007 year in review

Through my local Quaker meeting, I have had a Support Committee for the past several years. The committee provides me a group of people who know me for the long-term, understand my work, my mission, my goals and give me emotional, spiritual and practical support (including rides to the train station and short-term loans). They also helped me craft my travel minute which has been endorsed by my local meeting, Connecticut Quarterly Meeting and New England Yearly Meeting.

Before we meet, which happens about once every six to eight weeks, I write up a report about what has been happening with my work and my life and what is about to happen--sort of a State of the Peterson Report. Then we meet, gathering in silent prayer and then in a worshipful way walk through the report and discuss the various issues. This process has helped me tremendously in finding clarity and in getting the support I need to do what I do.

For my most recent report I included a little year in review. It's been an amazing year, so I share it with you, who I also need to thank for your support, encouragement, prayers and help.

2007 proved to be productive and filled with new opportunities.

a. The year of the Quaker: I presented at Quaker gatherings and meetings throughout the US and England including The Quake that Rocked the Mid-West, Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting, Colorado Regional Meeting, Great Britain Young Friends General Meeting, Woolman Hill, NEYM, Multnomah Monthly Meeting, Oxford Friends Meeting (England), Hartford Friends Meeting, Mid-winter gathering of the LGBTQC and FGC. I also presented at Earlham College, twice at Guilford and did a bunch of presentations for New Garden Friends School.

b. The year of the Ex-Gay Survivor: Christine Bakke and I launched the Beyond Ex-Gay web site then partnered with Soulforce to put on the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference in Irvine, CA. We literally started a movement for ex-gay survivors and as a result, dozens have come forward to tell their stories through blogs, videos, press conferences, interviews and public addresses.

c. The year of media: With mentions and features in the NY Times, People Magazine, Glamour Magazine, and several regional and local press outlets like the Hartford Courant along with appearances on Public Radio International, Trya Banks Show, The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet and The Montel Williams Show (twice) I got a lot of exposure and not only was able to share my story about my ex-gay past, but often also about my Quaker faith. I added a new page to my web site which includes an extended bio and links to various media.

d. The year of Europe: I travelled and performed in Europe three times in 2007 returning to the Greenbelt Festival and to the Courage (gay Christian) group. In some ways the European audiences have connected better with The Re-Education of George W. Bush. I was featured on Swedish public radio and on German national TV. An Austrian even wrote an extensive wikipedia page about me in German.

e. The year of Portland: I travelled and presented in Portland, OR three times in 2007 in large part because of the support of the Anawim Community, a gay Christian men's group that has been meeting weekly for a meal and silent worship for over 8 years. In January I facilitated their annual retreat and also performed at Freedom Friends Church and led a Sunday School class at West Hills Friends Church. I also performed twice at Portland State University and two times at the Metropolitan Community Church and worked closely with Friend Bonnie Tinker on presentations in Corvalis, OR. I have found a supportive community there that helps me to center spiritually.

f. The year of premieres. In January I premiered The Re-Education of George W. Bush and then in November I surprised even myself with the premiered of Transfigurations--Transgressing Gender in the Bible.

All in all it proved to be an exceptional year with lots of good work.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

On the Radio with Marvin, Peterson and Kathy Rieser

Kathy Rieser welcomes Peterson back to the Out Loud & Queer radio program on Friday January 25, 2008 from 10-11 pm Eastern Standard Time. This is an hour-long live program that you can hear streaming.

What will they talk about? Hmmm, not sure but Marvin may make an appearance, and I am sure there will be talk about Transgenger Bible characters and talk about upcoming events. Kathy may even open the phone lines.

Radio Catskill is a sustainable hydroelectric powered station. Cool!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Change really is Possible

Change is Possible!

For years that's been the major slogan of the ex-gay organization Exodus. Of course for people weighed down with the expectation that they must be straight at any cost, the vague promise of change lured them to seek a cure from being gay.

Once in the doors, they learned that an actual change in orientation was not a realistic goal for most, yet leaders dangled other vague promises before desperately hopeful strugglers.
"If you stick with it, you will find that some of your same-sex attractions will actually diminish just like they did for me." (statement replete with photo of ex-gay leader accessorized with wife and some children).
People should feel free to live the lives they desire. If someone who experiences primarily same-sex attractions wishes to explore a heterosexual life, no one should hold them back. But if "growing into" that life requires years of counseling, weekly support groups, hundreds of hours of prayer, annual conferences, straight mentors, and a library of books, perhaps the person needs to face reality. That change is not for them.

The pressures to conform to the traditional heterosexual model and the adherence to society sanctioned gender normative expressions drive people to the point of madness. They throw away common sense and ignore modern science. I totally understand the drive though. I look back now at the nutty and even dangerous things I did in order to straighten myself out and wonder how I could have been so misguided.

Over and over again I bowed to teachings that insisted that I could not be gay and Christian. Ministers and ex-gay leaders taught me that the "gay lifestyle" included only reckless behavior, loneliness, and ultimately a life apart from God. No wonder it took me nearly two decades to come to my senses.

And then I changed--not my orientation--rather I changed the ways I viewed myself. I no longer viewed myself as a sick, degenerate, rebellious sinner, but as a normal human being with the same desires as most everyone else in the world--desires for love, for adventure, for accomplishment, for wholeness.

I began to see that being gay was not a curse or a sickness or a weakness. It was just part of how I was wired. And as I grew to accept myself and no longer conformed to the patterns that people in the church and the world laid out before me, I began to grow thankful for being gay.

Yeah, I thank God that I am a man with a homosexual orientation. Even though I chose to plow through decades of confusion, false hopes and despair seeking a change, I now feel grateful for how I am wired, how God wired me.

Being gay remains only a part of me. I have much more going on that defines me, but being gay has affected the way I view the world. It has both toughened and softened me in the best ways possible.

I can't speak for most people, but some flee the gay life out of fear. Fear of disease. Fear of hell. Fear of letting other people down. Fear of an empty lonely life.

Fear breeds confusion. Literally neural pathways in our brains shut down, and we cannot think clearly or rationally.

We need not live under all that fear; change is possible.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tell Your Story Through Art

I once heard Kurt Vonnegut say,
Everyone should practice art because art enlarges the soul.

Not too long ago a queer high school student from California contacted me about a project he began for school. The idea soon blossomed and he realized that more than just his peers could participant.

According to the site,
Lost2Found is a project that aims to shed light on the journey of coming-out as well as being out in today’s society.

The project is art based, encouraging the use of any medium of art to portray the journey in all its aspects. From the hard and painful experiences, to the lighthearted and simple ones, coming-out is overlooked.

If people could see what it means to an LGBTQ individual to come-out, if they can see how we feel. How we see the world and how the world treats us, we can give them a perspective they’ve never seen before.

How so? Art. Art is a window into an artist’s soul, as many have described. Those who create art, put their emotions and messages into the pieces, passing them on to the viewer, who in turn learns from the piece.

Lost2Found is a place where anyone, anywhere, of any sexuality can show how she/he feels through their art.

A deadline will be announced where the art should be finalized and submitted, where we will create a physical gallery just south of San Francisco, CA where the project originates. We hope to change the views of people one community at a time. Please help us. Join us.
Yeah, totally join in. We all have different experiences of understanding and accepting and proclaiming who we are. This is not just an LGBTQ thing. All sorts of people experience coming out of all time.

I submitted my Grave Robbers poem that I read at the end of the Homo No Mo play.

Soooo, submit your photos, drawings, videos, poems, short stories, whatever.
Visit Lost2Found


Monday, January 21, 2008

Marvin & the Presidential Election

Marvin is really taking his role as a video blogger seriously. In this one Marvin Bloom wipes out the four leading Republican candidates (McCain, Giuliani, Romney and Huckabee) and instead reveals the Republicans' secret weapon to destroy Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

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Behind Every King There is a Queer

Today in the USA we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Hillary Clinton recently drew fire with her suggestion that President Lyndon B Johnson helped to realize Dr. King's dream with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN. The life, work and death of Dr. King will move you deeply.

But Mrs. Clinton raises an important point. It takes a village to raise the issue and to make change happen. With all of his charisma, intelligence and skills, Dr. King relied heavily on others to not only see his dream come to pass, but even to shape the very nature of that dream.

I think of the extraordinary efforts and contributions of Bayard Rustin, the Black, gay, Quaker, who fought for civil liberties beginning in the late 1930's. Rustin served as the key organizer of the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, the very first Freedom Rides.

According to Standford University's King Encyclopedia,

Rustin became a key adviser to King during the Montgomery bus boycott. He first visited Montgomery in February 1956, and published a ‘‘Montgomery Diary,’’ in which, upon observing a meeting of the Montgomery Improvement Association, he wrote: ‘‘As I watched the people walk away, I had a feeling that no force on earth can stop this movement. It has all the elements to touch the hearts of men’’ (Rustin,‘‘Montgomery Diary,’’ 10).

Rustin provided King with a deep understanding of nonviolent ideas and tactics at a time when King had only an academic familiarity with Gandhi. Rustin later recalled: ‘‘The glorious thing is that he came to a profoundly deep understanding of nonviolence through the struggle itself, and through reading and discussions which he had in the process of carrying on the protest’’ (D’Emilio, 230–231).

King recognized the advantages of Rustin’s knowledge, contacts, and organizational abilities, and invited him to serve as his adviser, well aware that Rustin’s background would be controversial to other civil rights leaders. As King’s special assistant, Rustin assumed a variety of roles, including proofreader, ghostwriter, philosophy teacher, and nonviolence strategist.

Rustin was also instrumental in the formation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), proposing to King in December 1956 that he create a group that would unite black leaders in the South who possess ‘‘ties to masses of people so that their action projects are backed by broad participation of people’’
Along with long-time Civil Rights activist and leader A. Philip Randolf, Bayard Rustin organized the famous 1963 March on Washington where Dr. King delivered his I Have a Dream speech. Dr. King appeared among several other leaders whose organizations helped sponsor the event, but the idea behind the march and the work of organizing it fell to Randolf and especially to Rustin.

What too often happens in the US is that ONE hero emerges both in our history and our movies. This one larger than life figure looms over us as an example of what one man can do.

But what about the women and the men working alongside of that man? What about the people who went before that man opening the ways, building a movement? What about someone like Bayard Rustin, brilliant, vital to the movement, but also openly gay in a time and place when that rarely happened? History, the media and our own deeply ingrained concept of heroes erase or cover over the contributions of someone like Bayard Rustin.

In the US we only have two national holidays that celebrate individuals. One is for Christopher Columbus and the other for Dr. King, two men who both had a quest for a dream. We have begun to see how historians distorted the story of Columbus manufacturing a hero to admire all the while overlooking the genocide he helped to initiate thus opening the doors to the slave trade in the colonies.

Dr. King on the other hand brought about good and positive change to this country. His life and death helped pave the way for presidential hopeful Barack Obama. But Dr. King did not act alone, and by celebrating him as the lone hero, we teach each other the wrong lessons about activism. No one person can bring about change, and when we think otherwise, we despair that we can ever make a difference.

Today in the USA we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, but let us also celebrate all the people instrumental to his life and work.

Listen to or read Barack Obama's speech he delivered yesterday at Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. He reminds us:

Brothers and sisters, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle for peace and justice, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle for opportunity and equality, we cannot walk alone

In the struggle to heal this nation and repair this world, we cannot walk alone.

You can read more about Bayard Rustin in an article published today at or at another piece published in the New West Network.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ex-Gay Survivors, Transgender Surgeries & More

Thanks to Noa Resare, I began to use Google Reader for the first time. What a great way to keep track of news' stories and my favorite blogs. I can use it on my phone as well off-line on my laptop. So here is a little round-up of some of the things happening in the blog world.

Myths over the "Gay Plague"
Jim Burroway over at Box Turtle Bulletin published some articles about MRSA, the staph infection that was in the news this past week. Lots of hype and misinformation going around about this, and some anti-gay folks locked onto the story and gleefully announced a new gay disease. Seems it is not so new and not a gay thing at all. The media now has begun to set the record straight. Check out Mainstream Media Retreats From MRSA Hysteria--Where are LaBarbera's and Barber's apologies? and Testing The Premise: Is MRSA The New Gay Plague? Not according to the medical literature.

Quaker Response to violence in Kenya

Peggy Senger Parsons, who has done work with victims of trauma in Eastern Africa, has published some blog entries about the recent violence in Kenya and the Quaker response. Peggy quotes from and links to a beautiful and powerful pastoral letter out of Friends Church in Kenya. She also shares an e-mail from a trauma counselor in Burundi she helped train and his efforts to reach out to and train Kenyans in trauma work.

The Kinder Gentler Marriage Equality Debate
Bruce Garrett quotes an article about the gay marriage debate in Vermont. They have had civil union for awhile now, but the discussion has now opened to consider actual marriage (like real grown-up straight people get to do). Seems this time around the discussion is tamer. A similar debate is happening in Sweden where they also had something less than marriage for same-sex couples. And all these years I heard anti-gay preachers talking about gay marriage in Sweden (along with drunken orgies, anti-god citizens and the decline of civilization as we know it. Having been to Sweden three times now, I have learned a different story).

Joe G is less sucky
Joe G admits that his podcast is getting "less sucky," so check out Bored Beyond Belief episode #15 (but according to Joe, avoid the first few). In episode 15 Joe terrorizes his family with a serious thoughtful question, and we learn that his family members are much funnier than Joe himself (but Joe sounds sexier).

Mila and Jayna go under the knife

Also, episode 29 and episode 30 of Trans-Ponder Podcast are excellent. Mila and Jayna have gone to Boston for some important surgeries and talk pre- and post-surgery. Great conversation about growing up trans and trying to figure that all out and about the Orchi surgery. They don't have the shows listed yet on their episode page, but you can get them through iTunes.

Ex-Gay Survivor speaks out some more

Finally, Eric Leocadio shared two more videos produced by Box Turtle Bulletin and Beyond Ex-Gay. In one Eric talks about the isolation and exclusion he experienced in the church and among church friends (and also mentions flirting with veganism after an awesome meal we shared in LA.) In the second one he talks about the Side X (or ex-gay) culture.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Very Vegan Friday

I landed at JFK Thursday evening and spent the night with family friends in the Lower East Side. Since the weather in NYC was so beautiful (and I desired to delay my homecoming) I spent the day in the city on a progressive vegan meal tour that extnded from 2nd St to
Lincoln Center in the 60's.

To start off I had vegan BLT bagel w/ a schmere of tofu cream cheese along with a soy latte. Two Thai meals later I landed back at the home of the family friends to sample their vast wine selection (I recommend the malbec, but then I always do).

Today I take the bus home to face a messy apartment ravaged by roofers who did their dirty deed in my absence.

Soon I will resume normal blogging (whatever that means). Marvin tells me he has a video about the US Presidential election. seems Mr. Bloom has taken over this blog again gathering many more comments than I do. But I am so modest, I don't mind.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Winter in Sverige

Thought you might like to see some photos. Alex and I went for a walk yesterday during sunset. We walked into town for fika and decided to stay for the film, The Golden Compass, which I liked very much.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Marvin Bloom Hot & Bothered

Marvin Bloom returned safe and sound to the secure shores of the USA and soon after e-mailed a video file he wanted me to upload for him. I was sick with a stomach virus for a few days, so got delayed, and then I received a flurry of frantic e-mails from Marvin. I tried to explain that I was ill and most likely under attack by the devil (something that I thought he would appreciate), but he claimed that Satan won't mess with me since, like Joe G., I am backslidden. He then accused me of kissing too many Swedish men. As if I were that lucky.

In this video Marvin recounts yet another bizarre incident that occurred during his brief stay in Sweden. I was off having a normal fika with a new friend when Noa and Alex lured Marvin into a sauna with a pack of other hot naked Swedes. Needless to say this sorely tested Marvin's ex-gay convictions.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Austrian Radio Explores Ex-Gay Movement

Earlier this week I heard from Riem Higazi about her English language radio program for FM 4 in Austria. She wanted to explore the ex-gay myth and felt it vital to include the voice of an ex-gay survivor. After a spirited conversation (she made me laugh out loud three times), we did the interview where I shared some of my story and talked about the ex-gay movement and the ex-gay survivor movement. She will air the piece today which can be heard streaming on-line.

Also featured in the piece will be Jean-Marie Navetta, director of communications for the national office of Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians (PFLAG). Jean-Marie recently attended Focus on the Family's Love Won Out event, and she will share about that harrowing experience.

Seems that Riem had trouble finding ex-gay providers who would be willing to speak to the press. But she finally found someone willing to speak out. Wendy Gritter, of New Directions, an ex-gay program in Toronto, Canada will be featured. Wendy comes across much more moderate than some ex-gay leaders even advocating referring some clients to gay-affirming resources.

The program airs today at noon Austrian time (6 hours earlier than NY time) and will also be available via podcast at some point. I''ll keep you posted.

To learn more about the radio program, click here. If you are disappointed by an Austrian radio program in English, you read all about me in German here.

UPDATE: The podcast is now available. Go the FM4's podcast site then scroll down to the Reality Check program. I was able to download it through iTunes, and it contains some great music. You must listen if for nothing else than to hear the Delta Dawn remix.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Marvin Touched by a Swedish Angel

In a bizarre incident reminiscent of one that I once experienced, Marvin Bloom, recounts an intimate encounter with a hot Swede that resulted in a sexual release (it is not what you are thinking).

As a former homosexual (AKA ex-gay) Marvin gets touched by the Holy Spirit (or something) and finds even more evidence that God is at work to will and do his good pleasure, and at the hands of a Swede no less!

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ex-Gay Survivor on the Morning Show

As I mentioned earlier this week (um is today only Tuesday???) Vince Cervantes along with his mom appeared on The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet. The topic was about on-line secrets. Vince had come out gay through his MySpace page. Vince shares about the experience on the show here. And you can see video of it here.

Thank you Vince for stepping up and telling your story.

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Ex-Gay Survivor Speaks about Ex-Gay Program

Previously Eric Leocadio spoke about a suicide attempt at age 14. In the following video Eric talks about how his struggle led him to find help.
This is the second video segment of my four part Survivor series telling my story of growing up gay, becoming Christian, struggling with same sex attractions, and reconciling the conflict between my faith and my sexuality. Daniel Gonzales of Box Turtle Bulletin (and in partnership with Beyond Ex-Gay) recorded, created and edited the video (creative commons license).

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Marvin in Sweden

Marvin is on the road with me for the past four days. I flew him out to Northern Sweden to help me with my play The Re-Education of George W. Bush--No President Left Behind. Marvin serves as the Emcee of the show and has begun traveling with me. Of course he didn't want to leave his room all week. Well you can learn about this for yourself.

Spiritual oppression, binding the strong men, "normal" Swedish families and the evocation of Willie Hewes.

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Ex-Gay Survivor Vince to Appear on Morning Show

Vince Cervantes, a fellow performance artist and ex-gay survivor, has been busy telling his story these days through his blog and YouTube videos (y tambien en Español) He also will appear today (Monday) on the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet (mostly on Fox stations in the US).

The subject will look at teen confessions and in Vince's case, those who have come out on-line. I heard from Vince that his mother will be on the show too. I believe his partner (also Vince) will tape it and post it, but check it out live if you can.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Doin' Time in Umeå

As many of you know I flew to Sweden on Christmas Day and will be here in the Northern city of Umeå until the 17th.

My hosts, Alex and Noa, take very good care of me with a full vegan spread at every meal. They even let me cook when I want. :-) I face no danger or fears here, other than I might get crushed in the elevator by the garbage can if I am not wary. Of course if this does happen, I have been sufficiently warned, so it will be my own damn fault.

I realize that less than 10% of people living in the US have a passport. Most of us do not leave our country, which impoverishes us culturally, intellectually and socially. Sure not everyone can afford to travel, but as a culture we cannot afford to stay home either.

I learn so much on the road. It's like I've been on an advanced graduate course learning something new every day about history, philosophy, music, food, science and even math. Last night we had dinner with a brilliant mathematician, Ewa and her partner Pontus. Also Bjorn a professional church musician rounded out the group as we spoke about Swedish and American culture, politics, sexuality and so much more. Nothing like a tasty meal, good wine and even better conversation. I feel fully nourished after such a meal.

Today the whole family (with the three children, Alice the dog, and this crazy American) walked to the store as the sun began to set (about 1:00 in the afternoon).

The youngest possesses perfect faith that I understand every Swedish word he utters. He chatters away about monsters, Spider Man and Bat man. The girls are less shy than when I first arrived, and we have begun to teach each other words and songs in our native tongues. Thank God for the Simpsons! We can speak to each other in Simpsonease, with regular references to Spider Pig.

Tomorrow night I perform at Ålidhemskyrkan, a nearby church (with the coolest building), where I will present The Re-Education of George W. Bush--No President Left Behind. Ah, I want EVERYONE to see this play. In some ways it is my best work.

Artistically I find much satisfaction in the layering of imagery and the slow unfolding of the real message behind the play. The dramatic tensions I seek to provoke as well as the cognitive dissonance I hope to inspire require a careful construction of sentences and a specific delivery that provide me with a challenges at each performance.

Lots of people assume the play is simply a Bush-bashing affair. In a way I want them to think that when they enter the theater. I wish to lure Bush-bashers who may carry certain assumptions about conservatives and Republicans.

I want people, who dissatisfied Washington, spend a lot of energy complaining. The play is ultimately more about them than about the US president. It is more about our own personal policies and life choices than about US foreign policy or the choices made by Bush's cabinet.

We can each run the risk of bitching and moaning about the state of things in Washington and in the US all the while supporting the Bush administration with our very lifestyle choices, by the attitudes we hold towards our enemies, by what we refuse to know, and the ways we refuse to become deprogrammed from a society that taught us to be racist, sexist, homophobic, and violent.

We look to leaders to institute the changes that will make the world a better place all the while living lives that demand that our president goes to war for oil and supports the oppression of other people so that we can have those low low prices. The American problem is not purely political. It is a social disorder that we face and it is a problem of misinformation that we need to address. But sadly some of us are so easily distracted by Britney's Who-Ha and the "celebrity news" that they force-feed us (and some of us binge on--me included) that we can loose sight of reality.

So the Bush play is a comedy. Therefore, it addresses some of the most serious issues today. I feel pleased that it is the first piece I will present for 2008. Here's hoping for many more gigs particularly in the US where it has been hardest for me to get bookings for it.

Okay, vegan food is on the table and the sun has fully set (3:00 PM), so I am off.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

A Christian Response to a Christian Critic

Christine and I receive many e-mails and messages via Beyond Ex-Gay. Most of them are from fellow ex-gay survivors sharing some of their story, giving a word of affirmation and support, or offering to help in some way. We also get a handful of letters from people who believe our work is misguided. Recently I received such a message from a visitor to the site, a woman who used to live as a lesbian but now is ex-gay. In her message she shared some of her story and concluded with the exhortation, "Please don't give up!! Pursue Jesus and He will heal you!!"

Below is my response. As with all such responses, I copied Christine, who after reading it, asked me to post it at bXg. I am a Christian, but bXg is not a Christian site. We seek to be faith-friendly, and we realize that ex-gay survivors represent a wide diversity of backgrounds.

My response is written by a Christian to a Christian.

Thank you for taking the time to write to us. From your writing I do not sense that you wish to be disrespectful or abusive. Sadly some people writing us take that approach. Although you do not mean to be disrespectful or abusive, some of what you say is filled with false assumptions.

I hear in your words the assumption that some of us are not Christians, and that we have not spent many years seeking with much sincerity to understand God's will for our lives. You assume that since you do not see yourself being a Christian and lesbian, that this is the only way to approach the situation. The scriptures are not that clear, especially when it comes to lesbianism.

Romans One is usually misinterpreted by people who take one or two verses out of context and overlook Paul's other possible purpose in writing his letter to the Jewish Christians in Rome. Some fail to read Romans 2:1 which is the concluding verse for the several verses that proceed it. Some also overlook the fact that early Church teaching NEVER considered Romans One a passage about homosexuality. That interpretation came later.

But you did not write to discuss scripture. You wrote to lead us to Jesus. You wrote to tell us how wonderful life is with Jesus and the joy we will find in being in relationship with him. I know this joy and live it daily. My "gay lifestyle" includes worshiping with other believers every week as well as sweet times of fellowship on my own with God. My "gay lifestyle" includes listening to God and following God's leading, which has affected nearly every part of my life including my diet, my friendships, my career, my sexuality and how I view and use my body.

At bXg we do not in any way seek to invalidate people like you who say they are happy as ex-lesbians (or whichever term you prefer to use). The reality is that such a life is not possible for the vast majority of people who have earnestly sought after it. Alan Chambers himself admits that Exodus has at least a 70% failure rate. For most of us, not only was it not possible, but we did great harm to ourselves and the people we love.

We don't blame the ex-gay programs for all the hurt we suffered. Much of it was self-induced, spurred on by a society, an ungodly world, that along with some portions of the Church, believes that one must be heterosexual to be acceptable. In this belief the "unsaved" world and the Church live in unison, much like the church and the world both supported slavery for centuries. There is too much of worldly values in the Church of Jesus, and it is time that the church no longer conform to the pattern of this world but experience a renewing of the mind.

I understand that you cannot see yourself living as a Christian and a lesbian. Some early Christians felt it was sinful to eat certain meats. In fact major conflicts arose over that issue. But others felt peace and clarity in eating those very meats. I believe when it comes to many issues of sexuality, it is like this too. Looking at the scriptures, we see many patterns, not all in accordance to our comfort or calling. But we need to be careful not to judge; this is the very message of Romans 1 and 2. We need to trust each other that we have done the work and continue to listen closely to God.

Blessings on your journey,

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

A New Year

Greetings from Northern Sweden, Umeå to be exact, where the snow has fallen steadily and no one minds at all. Really they delight in it as they laugh at folks from the US with our winter storm warnings and canceled events.

The new year started well with a house party outside of the city replete with fireworks at midnight. Each day I have taken a walk in the woods and in the nearby park. Today Alex and Alice (the dog) and I walked around the lake, which takes about 90 minutes. Amazing how many people are out and about in the winter weather--skiing, skating, jogging and even riding bike.

In celebration of a new year, I Simpsonized myself. I went for a genderqueer look. You should try it yourself!

I spent the first day of the new year updating my schedule for winter/spring of 2008. I didn't put everything up yet, but it is a pretty full list up through May with trips to Europe, West Virginia, Philadelphia, Memphis and more. No Texas yet and it looks like I am neglecting the West Coast, but some gigs are in the works on both fronts. I have some VERY exciting things coming up that I cannot wait to share, but I must refrain for several reasons. Soon.

A few things will happen in 2008. One is that I will retire Doin' Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House starting in February (which means I will do a little retirement run up through May. Something I learned from Cher).

At the same time I hope to perform The Re-Education of Bush and Transfigurations as much as possible. I feel that both pieces need to be seen and heard by as many people as possible. The Bush play is NOT about bashing Bush. It is so much more. (Bush bashing is so easy to do). And the Transfigurations piece is well, ah, you will have to see it.

I believe both of these pieces require new types of audiences. Sure folks who like my other stuff will totally appreciate these both (especially with so much Marvin in the Bush piece and my newest character Hegai in Transfigurations), but both of these pieces move beyond the gay issue into broader human, social, political, historical matters to consider. Soooo if you have any ideas of where I should present--conferences, colleges, churches, etc, let me know.

While you are on-line...
  • check out the schedule and work of my fellow performance artist, Kimberly Dark.
  • read this well-written piece that got published back in September but I missed at the time. We all want love to win out. But whose?
  • visit the VERY thorough new web page by Alvin A McEwen: Anti-Gay Lies and Liars
  • enjoy the wonderfully hilarious Nina Conti and her talking monkey. (UPDATE: I totally forgot to give credit where credit is due--Hat Tip to Noa for introducing me to Nina!)
  • and wish my buddy and fellow Love in Action survivor, Bobby Painter, a happy 40th birthday.
My friends grow older and I remain the same :-P

Happy New Years!

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Ex-Gay Survivor Speaks about Suicide Attempt

Blogger, community organizer and ex-gay survivor Eric Leocadio recently sat with Daniel Gonzales to tape some video for Box Turtle Bulletin and Beyond Ex-Gay. Eric recounts much of his experience as an ex-gay including events leading up to his decision to attend and ex-gay program.

In this first of a four part series, Eric talks about a suicide attempt when he was age 14. I have met many other ex-gay survivors who at some point in the midst of their struggle over their sexuality, they attempted or seriously considered attempting suicide.

Ex-Gay Survivor Eric - Part One - Suicide & The Porcelain Punisher

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Favorite Songs of 2007

Ah, such good music this year. I feel like doing nothing more on this New Year's Day than to sit and listen to music. Here is a list of some of my favorites that I discovered this year (although some are older). They are in no particular order.
Ok, your turn. What were some of your favorite songs for the year?