Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ex-Gay Survivors Speak Out in Memphis

What a day! The Ex-Gay Survivor Art Show opened and we also had a powerful press conference at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (a really great spot) to kick off Deconstructing the Ex-Gay Myth—A Weekend of Action & Art. Then this evening I performed the official retirement show of Doin' Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House.

The art is amazing and Christine Bakke did a great job of putting it together along with the help of so many others including Jason Ingram, who also has art in the show. We even have art from John Evans, one of the founders of Love in Action.

Daniel Gonzales of Box Turtle Bulletin took video and I know that Bruce Garrett took a bunch of photos. The video is up already (wow Dan, fast work!).

Here see and hear Jim Burroway speak about his recent visit to Love Won Out, what he hear and saw. It moved me to tears.

Here fellow ex-gay survivor and former Love in Action participant Brandon Tidwell shares his story and an impassioned plea to understanding, love and acceptance. Brandon speaks so clearly. I learned a lot about telling my own story from hearing him tell his.

Here Jacob will tells his story including the summer he spent at Love in Action. He was there during the summer protests sparked when I 16 year old boy cried for help when his folks forced him to attend the Refuge program. Jacob relates the horrendous Family and Friends weekend encounter when he had to share his most shameful sexual experiences in front of his parents and a bunch of strangers. Very powerful and moving.

Here John Holm speaks out for the first time publicly as an ex-gay survivor. He will tell his full story tomorrow in front of Central Church, and from hearing it, I know he has so much courage and has done so much to reclaim a life that seemed so desperate for so long.

Here Christine Bakke provides us with a gallery walk about the Ex-Gay Survivor Art Show. Daniel Gonzales and Jason Ingram speak about their art too. Christine explains the idea behind her House of Cards art piece which is sooooo amazing!

I felt so much hope and encouragement at the work these folks have done to reclaim their lives, address the harm they experienced because of their ex-gay experiences and the effects of an anti-gay society. These are not victims. They are survivors and people who thrive in this world. I feel so pleased to be among them this weekend.

Hope to have some images soon. I have not taken any photos yet.

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