I have had a tremendously great weekend.
Last night I attended a Denver Soulforce event. The new director of Soulforce, Jeff Lutes, flew in from Texas to be with us and tell us about the upcoming action at Focus on the Family in July. It sounds very exciting, with the added bonus of Chad Allen and Billy Porter being there. But where are the famous lesbians? Why don't we get any famous lesbians? Ha. Ah well...I'll live. That's not the important part of the event, in my opinion, and isn't why I'd participate.
Last May I attended May Day at Focus on the Family, and it was a very important time for me. I had just seen Peterson's show, Doin' Time in The Homo No Mo Halfway House and was trying to come to some kind of terms with my own failure to experience orientation change, and was feeling very emotionally undone.
At that point, I still wasn't connected again with the gay community. I didn't know hardly any other gay people in Denver (well, unless you count ex-gays), had not had any contact with my parents in almost five months, and there I was standing outside of Focus on the Family, the headquarters of James Dobson (whose parenting methods I wrote about here).
The day after the rally, over 100 of us went back to Focus on the Family, which had closed its doors to visitors, in honor of our visit. We were forbidden to set foot on the grounds. The group stood vigil and sang as the Reitan family were arrested. I just couldn't hold back the tears. It felt as though I was personally experiencing the weight of the rejection by the Church that queer folks often feel. I was reliving every unkind word and deed I'd experienced from those who profess Christ and I was hearing all of Dr. Dobson's cruel and hateful lies against his fellow Americans, and (whether he wants to admit it or not) fellow Christians. I was standing outside Focus on the Family, with all kinds of other families, and we weren't allowed in. We weren't family. We weren't the right kind of family. It affected me in a deep and profound way.
The debriefing time afterwards was just as important for me. I felt connection to these other people who had stood up against injustice with me. There were straights, gays, all of us together. And we were our own family, and we were loved, and we loved on each other. I got to thank Randi, Phil and Jacob Reitan for willing to be our spokespeople; for willing to be arrested trying to deliver their letter to Dr. Dobson.
I left there energized and changed. Along with Peterson's show, it made me realize how important it is to tell our stories. I think that week in 2005 was absolutely pivotal for me in my journey. Until that point, I'd been stuck and floundering. I didn't know how to get beyond my ex-gay journey, and I was just...lost. So, all that being said, I'm looking forward to this next Soulforce Action focused on Focus and the untruths being spread by Dr. Dobson and his crew (for information and quotes about what Dobson has said, click here - it will automatically download a 1.4 mb PDF).
Whew, I didn't plan on writing all of that. Anyway, last night was a great night, connecting again with many of the Soulforce folks that I'd met last year. I hope to begin seeing a few of them more regularly, as I'm realizing how much I need to enlarge my circle of gay-affirming friends.
Today I had brunch with friends from one of the agencies I work with. They are an awesome couple. Kathryn is a talented poet and Joel is an equally talented, if quirky, designer and...well, it seems like he dabbles in a lot of things. Hmmm. That didn't sound as flattering as I meant it.
Anyway, brunch. Yes, it was fun. They collected a couple of friends in order to celebrate Kathryn's birthday and we had a lot of fun getting to know each other. The biggest shock out of this whole thing was to find out that one couple actually used to be good friends with my buddy Peterson, way back when he lived in NYC. That was a bit of a shocker. It is indeed a small world. They also know a friend of mine from the ex-gay ministry here in Denver. Then there was Bonnie, an incredible artist (check out her work; it really inspired me) and truly funny person. I hope to see them all again.
It was just a great time and something I really needed after the last week (heck, after the last few months). I'm going to be spending next weekend in California with one of my best friends. She doesn't have any contact with her mother (similar situation, somewhat, minus the gay thing) and we are going to have a non-Mother's day celebration of some sort. Or something. It will probably involve a trip to Trader Joes and In-N-Out though, you can be sure of that.