Sunday morning I took an early train from London to Cambridge (and on the Underground had to navigate through many London Marathon runners wearing nothing but tight spandex. Distracting!)
After attending Quaker Meeting for worship and then lunch with my good friend Esther and her girlfriend (who is adorable and wonderful), I gave a presentation at the Quaker Meeting House, a highlights show of sorts where I did bits from several of my plays.
Quaker Meeting Houses are not designed for theater (although much theater and drama sometimes occur during our time of worship and especially business meetings), but I like to present there as a way of both in-reach to the meeting about LGBTQ concerns and out-reach to the community in hopes of introducing folks to Quakers (who can be pretty cool).
Last night I spoke at Cambridge University about the Ex-Gay Movement. Lots of people who know little about the ex-gay experience may assume that it is just something that uneducated and unintelligent people choose to do.
My primary goals were to help the audience members (a packed house by the way!) understand the basics of the very complex ex-gay world and more importantly to comprehend the many different reasons why someone may choose and ex-gay route for themselves. I speak about some of those many reasons here in a YouTube Video.
The whole ex-gay thing may seem utterly illogical and irrational. But many of us who pursued such a course had what seemed highly logical reasons. Many of us were college educated and have at least average intelligence.
Sadly fear, guilt and shame clog the brain making it nearly impossible to think clearly. That with a load of anti-gay messages coming at us from all corners increased the shame and fear. We then found “therapists” who offered “treatment” in Jesus’ name and with what initially sounded like solid science. Many of us folded under the weight of it all and succumbed to a path that kept us running in circles in some cases for years.
What surprised me were the number of students at Cambridge who are still fairly closeted about their own sexuality. It seems as I travel to campuses around the US most students are open about their orientation and gender identity with friends, families, church, etc.
From what the students told me here and from what I have heard from both teachers and students on previous trips, seems that secondary schools are really dreadful for LGBTQ students and teachers and children of LGBTQ parents.
With the Gay Straight Alliances we have in the US, it seems that we have a little more to offer. When some of the students heard about these sorts of LGBTQ-affirming organizations in state-run schools in the US, they just marvelled.
Yes, things are so much better, safer, legally secure for LGBTQ people (especially in the UK), but putting these protections into place, helping people grow in their own understanding, undoing the damage of Section 28 and other laws that silenced teachers and students in school, this will take work to unravel.
As you can tell from my photos, I have been taken by the amazing spring flowers here in Cambridge. I will end this post by posting the most beautiful. (Enjoy Sheria!)