Category: Media

Assorted Goodies

So much good stuff out there that has come to my inbox recently.

  • Candace Chellew-Hodge, the creator of Whosoever.org, has a new book out, Bulletproof—A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay & Lesbian Christians. You can hear a public reading here. Check out what Desmond Tutu has to say about the book.

    Gay and lesbian Christians are constantly demoralized and told they are not children of God. In Bulletproof Faith, Chellew-Hodge reassures gays and lesbians that God loves them just as they were created and teaches them how to stand strong, with compassion and gentleness, against those who condemn them. -Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

  • Allyson Robinson gets quoted in a great piece that appeared in yesterday’s Washington Post, Ruling Inspires New Hope for Transgender People.

    But for transgender women such as Robinson, the County Council’s passage of the law was a key reason she chose to live in Montgomery when she moved to the area this year from Texas to take a job at the Human Rights Campaign, a gay and transgender civil rights organization.

    Before settling on a townhouse in Gaithersburg, Robinson and her family sought to rent an apartment. She worried, unnecessarily as it turned out, that the landlord would want to pull out of the lease upon meeting her. Until the law took effect this week, Robinson said, the landlord could have rejected her application because she is a transgender person.

    In the past, Robinson has also worried about taking her four young children to public restrooms at restaurants, because she fears that someone will identify her as a transgender woman and call security. “You find yourself on guard, and mentally and emotionally prepared for that,” Robinson said. “You just never know. For many of us, this kind of thing we fear happens rarely; for others it happens constantly, and the fear of it is very real.”

  • Over the weekend I got to hang out with poet Karla Kelsey. She has done collaborative work with her partner visual artist Peter Yumi. You can see samples here.
  • If you go in for the whole debate thing, check out Opposing Views, which includes polar opinions on politics, religion, money, health and more.

Bitch Needs You!

I adore Bitch Magazine, which provides a feminist approach to pop culture. I’ve been a subscriber for the past two years and never fail to learn something each issue. Well written, funny, insightful and at times outrageous, Bitch provides an excellent resource for creatively exploring women’s issues, gender and the media.

In the current edition, Loud, they offer a bunch of great topics including an article about women in comedy, the untold story of the beauty secrets the cosmetic companies don’t want you to know, and a piece about New Jersey 4 with the injustices faced by a group of young lesbians of color who responded to a hate crime against them and ended up incarcerated .

Bitch serves a well needed purpose and speaks directly to the inconsistencies and injustices that women face.

I received a call tonight from the Bitch offices. They need money to keep the magazine afloat. If you want to receive an excellent magazine and help out a worthy cause, visit the Bitch site. If you have more than enough subscriptions, than get it as a gift for someone (I’m giving Christine a subscription for Columbus Day, shh, don’t tell her!) or just give a donation. Think about how much fun it will be for you or your friend to sit on the bus or a plane or in the doctor’s office with your nose in Bitch as you read and learn and grow.

In other news, I just heard that I was recently featured on the nationally syndicated queer radio program, This Way Out and will be on again this week.

Last time on “This Way Out”, ex-ex gay activist and performance artist PETERSON TOSCANO gave a rousing description of the once-a-decade LAMBETH CONFERENCE of ANGLICAN bishops. That mid-August gathering in ENGLAND was expected to be a make or break event for the worldwide Anglican Communion. The 2004 consecration of openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson and the blessing of same-gender couples in Canada and the U.S. have been the main targets of schism-threatening conservatives in the Church. In the conclusion of his conversation with “This Way Out” correspondent HEATHER KITCHING [CITR/Vancouver, B.C.s “Queer FM”], Toscano shares more about the human approach that transformed a potentially explosive situation [www.beyondexgay.com]

They don’t have a podcast yet, but you can find out here where and when you can listen.

And speaking of women, comedy and feminism, check out Tina Fey and Amy Poehler spoofing Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton on Saturday Night Live.

Lambeth, Quakers and Ex-Gays on the Radio

It’s my international radio weekend! Although I am in Western Maryland right now taking part in Quaker gathering, I will also be on the radio in Canada and beyond.

Tonight at 10:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time) I will be a once again be a guest on Vancouver’s Queer FM CiTR 101.9fm where I will talk about my recent trip to Lambeth, my upcoming trip to Vancouver, Canada in October and whatever else Heather, the show’s enthusiastic host, gets me to talk about. You can listen live here.

Also, last week while at Lambeth Conference, George Arny of BBC World Service interviewed me for the Reporting Religion program. I talk at length about my ex-gay experiences, Beyond Ex-Gay, my faith journey and being a Quaker today. You can listen to the program here.

Women & the Ex-Gay Movement

This Thursday, in a conference call open to the public, Darlene Bogle and Christine Bakke will share their experiences as lesbians in the Ex-Gay Movement.

For a while I have been considering how the Ex-Gay Movement is an anti-fem movement. Most of the participants in it are male with curriculum and treatment plans geared towards “male issues.” Many of the men involved have felt the need to “change” after years of taunting for being sissies. They learned both on the playground and from the pulpit that the world does not value feminized men.

The cornerstone teaching of nearly every ex-gay program takes a swipe at women while also reinforcing the belief that women must be subservient to men. What makes a boy gay? According to most of these ex-gay providers and proponents gay boys are a bi-product of an “overbearing mother.” This false teaching infers that once a woman usurps a man’s authority and no longer remains submissive, this transgressive act alters the natural order of the world thus misshaping a child. Ugh! Crap with a capital C.

Many ex-gay survivors have come forward and several sites offer thoughtful analysis of the ex-gay world, but we have heard precious little from the women who once partook of ex-gay treatment and have since come to accept their lesbian or bisexual side. Darlene Bogle and Christine Bakke are two women who have gone public with their stories. Last summer Darlene offered a public apology for her previous role as an Exodus ex-gay leader. Christine, the co-founder of Beyond Ex-Gay, has shared her ex-gay story through the Internet, in print and on TV.

You can listen live and partake in a conversation with Darlene & Christine this Thursday:

Many people have either heard of ex-gay therapy in passing or on a brochure laying around their church. Many haven’t heard of it at all. Others have actually experienced it, some even leaving their school, family and workplace to become engrossed in its promises through residential programs spending thousands of dollars.

The cost is not only in money, but also in tears, intimacy challenges, loss of sense of self and even the relationship they once held dear with God. As we mention in our movie, “get to God” is a key factor for people to not only stay connected to the Divine, but also to themselves. Ex-gay therapy is one of the leading ways people get in the way of this connection, trying to fix something that isn’t broke, attempted healing of someone who isn’t sick.

You’re invited to hear the very personal testimonies of two remarkable ex-gay survivors, Darlene Bogle and Christine Bakke. You owe it to yourself to learn from people who have “been there, done that.” Join us on Thursday night.

*********************
Thursday, August 7th, 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern
1. Dial-In Conference Number 1-218-486-1300
2. Access Code: 807282
******************************
You’re invited to participate by asking your own questions.
Email us your question in advance:
info@godandgaysthemovie.com
and during the call, use yahoo! IM:
godandgaysthemovie@yahoo.com

Doin’ Time with the Sunday Times of Malta

I sat for a long interview the other day with Ariadne Massa, a journalist with the Times of Malta. She seemed fascinated with the ex-gay portion of my life and asked many questions about that experience. Of course she on my never dying adoration with the a lovely compliment in the opening paragraph.

With his infectious smile, spirited remarks and positive energy, it’s hard to imagine how Toscano suppressed his true being for 17 years to fit in society’s pigeonhole of ‘straight’ people. At 43, the long traumatic journey has failed to etch wrinkles in his flawless complexion, which he attributes to daily moisturiser and veganism.

See I am a living breathing billboard advertisement to the wonders of being a vegan. Shoot if the environmental impact doesn’t move you or the reality that it is a more humane choice, surely I can appeal to your vanity!

What I like about sitting for interviews is that it forces me to think about places in my life that I might not normally consider. Being in a Catholic country like Malta got me thinking about my own Roman Catholic roots. Ariadne’s questions also got me thinking to my earliest days when I realized how I had been different from other boys around me.

“I knew I was different at six. I was on a cabin cruiser with my family and I was staring at these beautiful lace curtains and I just wanted to touch them. Suddenly my uncle roars: ‘Don’t wipe your hands on those!’ ” he says, smiling.

By the time he was eight, he had crushes on his male teachers , which he kept to himself.

“I got the message pretty quickly that boys are supposed to like girls, and I heard bad things about homos, fags and queers,” he adds.

Raised a Catholic and fascinated by spirituality, Toscano contemplated becoming a priest because being celibate meant he did not have to deal with his sexuality. He even went on a Capuchins’ retreat and that was where he confided in a priest.

You can read all of Ariadne’s article A Musing here.

I will have photos up from the Malta Pride March once I get them from Clayton, a young gay Catholic man who looks like an exact copy of my friend Vince Cervantes. It was weird. I felt like I spent the evening with Vince. What I loved about the Malta Pride event was that EVERYONE marched in the parade. The route took us through the most populous part of the city with thousands of people going in and out of clubs flanking the parade route. That meant that most of the parade viewers were straight people watching this amazing spectacle of a pride parade plow through their partying.

The rally afterwards had a decidedly political bent as the political climate in Malta has not been affirming or supportive of rights for LGBT people. Moviment Graffitti, a far left human rights group marched in the parade as well. This group stands up for the rights of all people who are marginalized and discriminated against. I admit I felt a little anxious marching through a crowd of intoxicated straight revelers, but we encountered no opposition or negative reactions. On the contrary at times the crowd cheered us on.

Afterwards at dinner some of the Maltese apologized for having such a small Pride March compared to what we have in the US. I explained that in most parts of the US our Pride events are actually quite small compared to NY or San Francisco. Places like Richmond, IL or Rochester, NY have modest events. They also expressed surprised when I spoke about problems with racism, homophobia and sexism that still exist in the US. They had the impression that we were beyond all of that. Perhaps that is what they experience in the movies or in our news reports, but the reality is that in the US we have work to do around skin privilage, male privilage and heterosexism. It astounds me that we have so many people living in the closet still in the US today, but then again I completely understand it.

In the article, I got to express some of these thoughts,

Toscano’s advice to gay people is: “It’s not easy or convenient, but if we’re ashamed of ourselves, it’s as if we give them permission to treat us shamefully.”

Now I must dash to take a shower to wash off all of the salty sea out of my flawless complexion :-p

(Photo: Jason Borg)

Mom Accepts Transgender Tween

Jack Drescher sent me a link to the following article, a story that moved and encouraged me greatly.

MANCHESTER, NH – In the first grade, 6-year-old Nicholas stood up one day and told his teacher he had something important to say.

Not just to her. But to the whole class.

“My name is Nicholas, but I want to be called Nikki because I’m really a girl,” he told his classmates at Parker-Varney School in Manchester.

News of the incident did not come as a surprise to his mother, Diana. By the time Nicholas reached preschool, it had become obvious her foster son was never going to be “one of the boys.”

Nikki turned out to be a very insightful and aware young girl.

And then there was the issue of the “two hearts” – a pink one and a blue one. A young Nicholas insisted he had both, and then woke up one night and said he dreamed a monster took the blue one away, Diana said.

Nikki is now 11 years old, and with her mother’s help, she has been able to live as a girl at her school. It took work, education and a lot of advocacy on her mother’s part.

You can read the rest of the Nashua Telegraph article here.

I had a conversation with someone recently who confessed that she just doesn’t “get it”. A straight woman, she has come to understand and accept gay and lesbian people (we didn’t discuss bisexual individuals who struggle with being silenced and marginalized by straights, gays and lesbians). Transgender issues boggled this woman’s mind though.

Sure it is foreign for many, and it is complex. It doesn’t help that gender and sex and orientation get all mashed up together. With the oppression of women in a society which still has deeply ingrained gender roles and gender rules, any discussion of gender and sex gets complex.

Even among people who have have transitioned, are transitioning or consider themselves transgender, we see diverse opinions often at odds with each other. To me this points to the health and maturity of many trans people. I meet so many who think for themselves. They don’t follow a trans guide book on how to be, how to do it, how to express it. For many, they have been on a path of self-discovery that has helped them to become their own people on their own terms.

As I mentioned before, when we see stories of young children who insist that their outsides don’t match their insides, that they are really girls or really boys regardless of what the birth certificate they, these honest children are the only ones who are not confused about their gender.

Yes, this is confusing for many of us who never had to seriously question our gender or sex. Even many gay and lesbian folks grapple to “get it”. Added to the confusion is all the pressure that gets stirred up from the gender variant issues that have baffled many of us in our lives reminding us of the many ways we have tried to “pass” as man or woman enough for the gender police (both external and internal). I mean consider how much of the ex-gay experience is about gender realignment treatment (playing football for guys, Mary Kay makeovers for the gals, etc).

I also think of the complex and challenging world for people who are born intersex. Life is not always so simple. I recently received a moving message from a person who was born intersex. If the individual agrees, I will share some of it with you in an upcoming post.

For those of us who don’t “get it”. That is fine. It is understandable. But we don’t have to stay in that place. By listening to other people’s stories, hearing their journeys, listening to their heart message, seeing the integrity in their lives, it will help us to better understand.

For further “research,” check out the amazing Trans-Ponder Podcast and (and Jayna’s videos) as well as grishno’s journey she chronicle through YouTube videos.

Homo No Mo now for Sale!

I got news yesterday that the DVD of Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House (edited by Morgan Jon Fox with designs by Christine Bakke–click on images for larger view) is now fully produced and ready for sale on-line. I have yet to see the final product, but the president of the company that did all the printing and copying sent me an e-mail to say how impressed he was with the final product and what a dream it was to work with Christine and Morgan.

Quaker Books Friends General Conference will be distributing the DVD which you can get at their site by clicking here.

After 15 years of submitting to reparative therapy, ex-gay support groups and even three exorcisms, Peterson Toscano enrolled in the ex-gay residential program, Love in Action. He graduated successfully from the program nearly two years later, but in January of 1999 decided he just needed to accept himself as a gay man. He weaves together humor, program jargon and outrageous eye witness accounts to form a piece that is hilarious, poignant and inspirational. Peterson co-founded BeyondExGay.com and is a Quaker. He is appearing at the 2008 FGC Gathering. He retired the show in 2008 and this recording captures that final performance.

If you order one, let me know how long it takes for you to get it. For Quakers it will also be available at various yearly meetings and at FGC. I will also have some copies when I go to Memphis later this month. I am so excited, I just want to fly home from England to see my copy!

On the Radio with Peterson & Christine

I announced yesterday that Christine Bakke will be interviewed live tomorrow (Sat) on Blogtalk Live at 8:00 PM EST. She will talk about the Beyond Ex-Gay and her own story in a program about the Ex-Gay Myth.

On Sunday I will appear on BBC Radio Ulster in Northern Ireland on the Sunday Sequence Show with William Crawley. We taped the segment last week when I was in London and talked about The Re-Education of George W. Bush, living la vida ex-gay, Quakerism and other random topics.

The program runs from 8:30 am- 10:15 am but I don’t know in what portion I will appear. I think they also archive most programs. You can have a listen here.

Christine talks about Beyond Ex-Gay on the Radio

Christine Bakke, co-founder of Beyond Ex-Gay will appear as a guest of Blogtalk Live on-line radio program.

This week on ‘Talk Back Live’ we will be discussing ‘The Ex-Gay Myth’, our special guest will be Christine Bakke from Beyond Ex-Gay. We will be discussing the half truths that come out of the ex-gay world, including those who have survived the false claims of Ex-gay Ministries. I will also share my story, of how I got involved in the Ex-Gay world, and how it was Ex-Gay people like D.L. Foster and Charlene Cothran that really showed me, that this whole ex-gay thing was false.

The fun gets started on May 17th, at 8pm EST. As always feel free to call in and join in on the conversation.

You can listen live here (and the show will also be archived)