I just got off the phone with Christine Bakke, the co-founder of Beyond Ex-Gay. Today in Denver (where she lives) the Creating Change Conference has begun. Later this week she and Daniel Gonzales will facilitate a workshop about the Ex-Gay Survivor Movement–reasons for why many of us went ex-gay, potential harm and how the community can help in the recovery process.
On the phone with Christine I felt a surge of happiness and relief that she and Daniel have been telling their stories in the media and at workshops in Colorado and beyond. Sharing our ex-gay pasts can be painful and even embarassing as we reveal to others the outright nutty and desperate things we did to eradicate a part of ourselves. Christine and Daniel do such a fine job of it as have many others who have come forward in the past two years.
I feel relief that others can and do stand up as witnesses about the potential harm of the ex-gay movement and reparative therapy, and how unnecceary it is to put ourselves through these processes. Their lives also confirm that transgender, bisexual, lesbian or gay people experience peace and fullness and health. Integrity changes lives, and people can and do recover from ex-gay harm.
In the spring I retired my play Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House in large part because I had grown beyond telling my ex-gay story in that way. To continue to do it week after week would have kept me suspended in time and in some ways would have re-traumatized me.
This year I will offer a lively lecture about ex-gay issues, but my major thrust will be my play Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible, a play about gender variant Bible characters. The past few weeks I have been reaching out to seminaries, schools of religion, queer studies programs and LGBT campus groups to get the word out about this piece.
At a time when many campuses find they must address trans issues around housing and their bathrooms, I see that they are more open than ever to consider deeply the lives of transgender people. We can also consider the intersection of sexuality and faith that occurs in many of our lives regardless of our orientation or gender identity.
Below you will see the new postcard that Christine Bakke designed for Transfigurations promotion. My agent, Sarah Miller, and I are sending it out to potential venues all over the US, Canada and the UK. If you know of a group that might be interested, let me know. (Thanks Christine! Wonderful work as always)
- Have a listen to the recent interview Jayna and Mila of Trans-Ponder Podcast gave me.
- Watch video from the PBS In the Life TV episode that explored the Ex-Gay Survivor Movement.
- Check out my current (and constantly updated) performance schedule.
In addition to appearing at unversities, I will make an effort to present at Quaker venues (meeting houses, studies centers, etc). Many of you know that I am a Quaker, and that I have found a solid and nuturing spiritual home among “Friends.” I know that when I perform at a Quaker Meeting House, non-Quakers show up. Some of these have come back to attend meetings and they too have found encouragement and inspiration among Friends.
In the early days of the Religious Society of Friends, they considered some members to be “Public Friends,” those who publicly spoke about the Quaker way. I feel grateful for the vocal Quakers at Watkinson School where I taught a few years back. If they hadn’t let others know they were Quakers, I doubt I ever would have wandered into the local Quaker meeting here.
Today I posted a web page for Quaker Meetings to consider one plan for Creative Quaker Outreach. I like this plan because it gives me an opportunity to speak to Quaker meetings about LGBT concerns while also creating an opening for people in the community to find out about Quakers.
Listening to the radio and hearing terrifying forcasts for the economy, I know that many of us are holding our breaths wondering just how bad is it going to get. We just don’t know, but we can count on one thing for sure–we will need each other like never before.