I feel live a roving correspondent these days. And in Portland this week…
Tonight I performed Queer 101–Now I Know My gAy,B,C’s at Portland’s Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center, or SMYRC (pronounced smurk). Okay, the place is beyond coolness. About ten years ago, two teens started the center. I think one was 14 and the other 19. They got a grant and have been going at it ever since. It is completely youth-run. They have adult volunteers (who must go through a training) and all speakers and events and rules must be decided on by the youth.
Being invited to perform there, I felt so honored. Many of the youth I met spoke so intelligently about gender issues, (issues that I find that many older gay men–like over the age of 25–struggle to understand. These young folks have such a healthy view of it from what I heard them share. Wise, funny, engaged and real. Great people. They also affirmed me and my work in a big way.
After speaking to a few groups this week, I have been asked (hat tip to Art) to post a blog entry about How to Speak to Conservative Evangelical Christians. I would have put something up today, but I have been away from the computer all day. Soon, very soon.
The Portland Mercury, a weekly paper, is currently running an interview of me. Lately I’ve been thinking about my conversion experience during my teens. It wasn’t just spiritual. So much more happened.
At age 17, I became a born-again Christian. What happened immediately wasn’t just a religious conversion, but a cultural conversion. Looking back, I see that my faith didn’t just change, but my political beliefs, my style of dress, how I talked, my activities. So I became a very staunch Christian, which meant I had to be anti-gay, anti-abortion—particularly then, during the Reagan years with the Moral Majority. When Pat Robertson ran for president I was like, “Yes! We’re going to have a man of God in the White House!” I was all for it. That became my identity, particularly because I saw in my own life what I thought were the dangers of sin and immorality, because of my own struggles with same-sex attraction.