Through my local Quaker meeting, I have had a Support Committee for the past several years. The committee provides me a group of people who know me for the long-term, understand my work, my mission, my goals and give me emotional, spiritual and practical support (including rides to the train station and short-term loans). They also helped me craft my travel minute which has been endorsed by my local meeting, Connecticut Quarterly Meeting and New England Yearly Meeting.
Before we meet, which happens about once every six to eight weeks, I write up a report about what has been happening with my work and my life and what is about to happen–sort of a State of the Peterson Report. Then we meet, gathering in silent prayer and then in a worshipful way walk through the report and discuss the various issues. This process has helped me tremendously in finding clarity and in getting the support I need to do what I do.
For my most recent report I included a little year in review. It’s been an amazing year, so I share it with you, who I also need to thank for your support, encouragement, prayers and help.
2007 proved to be productive and filled with new opportunities.
a. The year of the Quaker: I presented at Quaker gatherings and meetings throughout the US and England including The Quake that Rocked the Mid-West, Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting, Colorado Regional Meeting, Great Britain Young Friends General Meeting, Woolman Hill, NEYM, Multnomah Monthly Meeting, Oxford Friends Meeting (England), Hartford Friends Meeting, Mid-winter gathering of the LGBTQC and FGC. I also presented at Earlham College, twice at Guilford and did a bunch of presentations for New Garden Friends School.
b. The year of the Ex-Gay Survivor: Christine Bakke and I launched the Beyond Ex-Gay web site then partnered with Soulforce to put on the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference in Irvine, CA. We literally started a movement for ex-gay survivors and as a result, dozens have come forward to tell their stories through blogs, videos, press conferences, interviews and public addresses.
c. The year of media: With mentions and features in the NY Times, People Magazine, Glamour Magazine, and several regional and local press outlets like the Hartford Courant along with appearances on Public Radio International, Trya Banks Show, The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet and The Montel Williams Show (twice) I got a lot of exposure and not only was able to share my story about my ex-gay past, but often also about my Quaker faith. I added a new page to my web site which includes an extended bio and links to various media.
d. The year of Europe: I travelled and performed in Europe three times in 2007 returning to the Greenbelt Festival and to the Courage (gay Christian) group. In some ways the European audiences have connected better with The Re-Education of George W. Bush. I was featured on Swedish public radio and on German national TV. An Austrian even wrote an extensive wikipedia page about me in German.
e. The year of Portland: I travelled and presented in Portland, OR three times in 2007 in large part because of the support of the Anawim Community, a gay Christian men’s group that has been meeting weekly for a meal and silent worship for over 8 years. In January I facilitated their annual retreat and also performed at Freedom Friends Church and led a Sunday School class at West Hills Friends Church. I also performed twice at Portland State University and two times at the Metropolitan Community Church and worked closely with Friend Bonnie Tinker on presentations in Corvalis, OR. I have found a supportive community there that helps me to center spiritually.
f. The year of premieres. In January I premiered The Re-Education of George W. Bush and then in November I surprised even myself with the premiered of Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible.
All in all it proved to be an exceptional year with lots of good work.