Category: activism

Blogging on the Train

Okay, I am one lucky and happy blogger. I am on a train from Newcastle to Wakefield (UK) and could only get a First Class ticket because everything else was sold out. I get to first class, sit in my plush seat, get a hot cup of tea served to me right away, open my laptop and BAM! wifi. So I blog to you as I speed through the English countryside on my to change trains at Doncaster. I live for wifi.

I just came off a wonderfully exhausting and exhilarating weekend with British Quakers ages 18-30ish. In this one weekend I have had so many conservations with thoughtful, informed and passionate Friends. Really inspires me and gives me hope.

At the weekend I met several people who I only knew through e-mail and blogging as well as dear Friends who I have hung with before (hey Esther, Mark and Alyn!). I got to meet and speak at length with Friend Wes who authors the GatheringInLight blog. Wes is very involved with the Convergent Quaker movement which attempts to help Quakers from various background to connect and converse.

In the past I have read many blog post by Convergent Friends, but I feel like such a novice in all of this that I typically don’t respond other to say, Cool Post! which I am sure they appreciate, but does not contribute much to the conversation. But there is a time to listen and with much of Quakerism, I do much more listening than speaking.

Okay, I want to sit back and enjoy the views, but before I do, I want to share some new music! In Sweden Alex bought me Rufus Wainwright’s newest album, Release the Stars. They adore Rufus in Sweden and the UK (#2 on the UK charts this week). On the album Rufus sings a powerful protest song that speaks to the weariness many of us feel about the US government, its leaders and the harm we have brought to the world.

Speaking about the US as I do my new play, The Re-Education of George W. Bush, I feel so bitter sweet. I come from an amazing country with amazing people, yet we have ruled with violence and oppression. The largest penal colony in the world is in NYC (and grew thanks in large part to Rudolf Guiliani). Our gun laws are outrageous and health care is abysmally bad. We oppress other countries politically, economically and culturally. The waste we produce, the recklessly in which we spend tax dollars, the neglect of the needy and the sellout to corporate interests sickens and saddens me. Then “concerned citizens” spend so much time talking crap about gay people. As if we didn’t have real problems in the world that needed attention! Instead the focus gets put on fake problems that then have a real impact on American families–queer and straight.

In his song Going to a Town, Rufus sings,

Tell me do you really think you go to hell for having loved?
(Tell me) and not for thinking every thing that you’ve done is good
(I really need to know)
After soaking the body of Jesus Christ in blood

I’m so tired of America
(I really need to know)

I may just never see you again or might as well
You took advantage of a world that loved you well
I’m going to a town that has already been burned down
I’m so tired of you America

Day of Truth???

I find my stomach gets sour whenever I read about the “Day of Truth”, and adult-led, anti-gay reaction to the Day of Silence. The Day of Silence allows young people to stand in solidarity with queer and questioning youth, often silenced by the heterosexist societies in which they live. It is not an attempt to convert anyone to gayness (as if such a thing were possible)

So what do some frightened, reactionary adults do? They create the Day of Truth in which they hope to spread lies about LGBT people. I can’t even write about this without feeling sick. It feels to me to be ugly, thoughtless, selfish and unchristian.

Daniel Gonzales produced video analysis to expose the lies behind the “Day of Truth”. The video is brought to you by and hosted by Truth Wins Up. Now I have to go get some Tums or ginger to sort out my upset stomach.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HI4-eDG3Bb0]

Partners

I am sitting in a computer lab right now with Ariadna typing away beside me. She and I are co-writers of the Dos Equis blog. It is a Spanish language blog for gay Christians where we talk about our faith and experiences as queer Christians. Of course I write about the ex-gay movement as well.

Right now we are posting a blog entry together, a little interview. I just gave her a hard question, Como encuentras a Dios–In what ways do you encounter God? Being a religion student, I think she will be at it a little while, which gives me some time to blog here in English 😛

This week I feel like I am bursting with joy and satisfaction. That is big for me. A lot of it has to do with the many partners that enrich my life. Four years ago when I first premiered my Homo No Mo play, I was truly a one-man operation. My good friends Christina, a co-worker from the Watkinson School and Roy Steele,my web master, cheered me on and helped out some, but for the most part I was on my own.

But now, wow, how rich my life has become, rich with partners. I work with Ariadna on Dos Equis. You now know of my partnership with Christine and with Steve on bXg. I have partnered with Soul Force on the upcoming conference. Later this month I get to co-lead a queer Quaker retreat with a wonderful bisexual friend, Judy. Sarah B. Miller has been so amazing doing my booking and giving me clarity about what I do. Daniel Gonzales and I work on scripts for videos and strategize about speaking to the press. I meet regularly with my support committe. Alex helps me with my Swedish blog, Svensk Spädbarn. And with so many of my presentations I get to partner with others to bring together a community.

As someone who lived much of my life in a closet, really in a tomb, I lived in isolation. I felt terrified and refused to let anyone near me lest they see the parts of me I struggled to conceal even from myself. I grew weak in that condition. I floundered. Even when I was married, I held my wife at bay and would not let her come close because I had not yet integrated my faith and my sexuality. I was at war with myself and so unable to partner with anyone.

So as I sit next to Ariadna, oh, and that’s Christine calling me on the phone, I feel like a very rich man with so many wonderful partners in my life.

Grrrrrr!

I don’t feel angry often (although enough wrong exists around us to warrant anger) but today I am hopping mad (that’s American for pissed off which is American for ANGRY!)

It wasn’t dinner with a friend that fell through that angered me–that just dissapointed me.

It wasn’t the frustrating difficulties a dear friend faced today–that moved me to tears and feelings of grief for him.

No what got me angry was the e-mail from Jim Burroway informing me that Focus on the Family will hold an anti-gay Love Won Out conference in Costa Rica this summer.

It is bad enough that this dangerous foolishness happens in the land of the free and home of the brave, but to EXPORT these lies and false promises–Argh!!!
That is plain wrong.

My heart and mind feel all stirred up today with lots of things–good, bad, sad. I have not even been able to blog about the ugly and offensive “Day of Truth”.

Injustice has a tipping point. A friend faces a shut door. Lies and more lies spread like an engineered virus. And in the back of my head I feel the reminder of the poverty, the racism, the wars, the domestic violence, the lack of health care, the environmental calamities we face.

I feel angry because I don’t want to devote so much of my time and energy to queer issues when suffering on such a vast scale occurs. The conservative anti-gays throw up a smoke screen. I am in a position to address some of these anti-gay actions, and I will.

But please can’t we get past this insanity so that we can work together on tragedies that demand our attention? Can’t we stop this petty culture war, this play battle so that we can get into the actual issues of our time?

Blackface Show Cancelled

Good news! I hear the Chez-est, the gay bar that was going to host a blacface dragqueen cancelled the event due to pressure from local activists.

I love it when we see the results of direct non-violent action. Congratulations to all the activists for all the hard work!