Wow! The Equality Riders impress me more and more. Such vision, passion and great listening skills. You can see me in my new Soul Force Q t-shirt signed by the 50 of the 52 riders (two were stuck somewhere because of weather but will be here in time). Some GREAT bloggers too including Matt and Brandy who is taking video throughout the rides.
Today I led a workshop on the ex-gay movement. I enjoyed most the Chalk Talk activity where in silence the riders got to write up their thoughts, questions, assumptions, understandings of the ex-gay movement and the sort of questions and arguments they will hear when they visit the schools over the next two months. The activity helped them to slow down, take time to organize their thoughts and helped them to be sensitive to the people around them, making room, trying not to take up too much space.
Some of them have ex-gay experiences themselves having attended programs, support groups and counseling. One man received phone counseling from a NARTH therapist for two years and said that it was very religious-based. NARTH claims to be a secular program. Several Mormons and former Mormons who attended Evergreen.
They expect that some of the schools will respond to their upcoming visit by having an ex-gay visit the campus and tell their story. The Chalk Talk revealed the many issues surrounding the ex-gay movement and the complexity of it all. Change is/is not possible does not come anywhere close to covering the topic.
Some of this year’s riders were actually students at some of the schools visited last year. Having the riders come to the campus spoke to them deeply and helped them in the process to accept themselves and come out publicly. You can read some of their life stories and contribute to cause here.