After over three weeks, mostly at home in Hartford, I head out on Thursday to begin my winter/spring tour which semi-officially ends on June 8 with a few days here and there at home in between.
Yesterday at Quaker Meeting one of the Friends marveled at how I travel so much (about 70% of the time) and yet seem to stay connected and grounded. (Of course he doesn’t see me when I feel particularly disconnected and uprooted.) Over the last two years I have been able to develop strong support systems both in Hartford and throughout North America and Europe (and now South Africa).
In doing activism (campaigning, ministry, whatever word one wants to use) I have found it essential to be in community, especially because I most often travel alone and do one-person shows. In addition to my local support committee, attending Quaker meeting for worship in places where I visit, and finding and maintaining micro-communities in various parts of the world (England, Northern Sweden, Portland, OR, Vancouver, BC, Tennessee, Central PA and more), I have found great value in social networking through blogging, YouTube, podcasting (Hey Joe G. I’m waiting for an update!), Facebook (thank you Auntie Doris for getting me Facebooked), GCN, Twitter, Skype and instant messaging.
Christine Bakke just attended the Creating Change Conference and went through the leadership development track of workshops where she learned a ton about what it takes to care for oneself while doing the work one does.
This winter/spring tour I will focus primarily on presenting Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible, a play that looks at the stories and lives of gender-variant Bible characters. In many ways the performance is a mediation on body image and how so often the bodies we live in do not adequately reflect the reality we experience on the inside (the complexity of gender, how old or young we feel, etc).
As a non-trans gay man, I have felt drawn to these transgender Bible stories because in looking at them I see a mirror to the diversity of gender in our own modern world and the conflicts and triumphs that exist when one chooses authenticity.
The tour will take me to all sorts of places including Central Pennsylvania, Portland, OR (where I will be for my 44th birthday later this month!), Seattle and Spokane, WA, Chapel Hill, NC, Houston, TX, England (and quite possibly Germany and Sweden) and more. Not all the details are up on the schedule yet, so keep an eye out if I come to a venue near you.
Since launching Beyond Ex-Gay with Christine in April 2007 retiring Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House last year, I have moved beyond simply addressing ex-gay issues. Since so many people do it in so many effective ways today, I feel confident that I can place my focus elsewhere. In regards to the Ex-Gay Movement I see my primary role as a support for Ex-Gay Survivors. Much of my activities take place in communicating with survivors through e-mail, on the phone and in person, and in telling parts of my own story to assist in broadening the conversation about why people would choose to “de-gay” themselves, the processes involved and particularly the harm that can come of it.
Knowing that during the Creating Change Conference Christine Bakke and
Daniel Gonzales led a super successful workshop about the Ex-Gay Movement and Survivors, I feel thrilled and comforted. So many ex-gay survivors have stepped up over the past year and a half to tell their stories in many public ways.
I want to give a special thanks to you for the e-mails, comments, Facebook wall scrawls, etc that you send my way with words of encouragement, advice, comfort and even smart ass remarks. It’s great to do the work that I do in community. I could not do it alone.