Saturday, April 28, 2007

Christine's Q&A

I've been getting really good feedback from people who have read the Glamour article or seen the Good Morning America piece (and by good I don't always mean agreeing with me, but much of it is still good). I'm also getting a lot of questions. So I thought I'd take a minute (er, OK, an hour; I know it's long) to address some questions or misconceptions about me.

1. Are you a Christian?
I don't think most people of Evangelical or Fundamentalist backgrounds would consider me a Christian at this point. However, I am a spiritual person and I do follow many things in the Bible.

Really though, I am one of the countless former ex-gays who no longer identify primarily as Christian. (I guess you could maybe say I am an ex-ex-ex-Christian, because that's not a confusing tongue-twister or anything.)

While I have been hesitant to speak of my own personal faith, and what it looks like now, maybe it is good that I do. I want people to see what often happens when someone goes through ex-gay therapy and finds that they didn't see any kind of change after investing so much emotionally, financially, and spiritually, and they feel misled. It causes you to rethink everything you have been told or have believed in the past. It is unbelievably common that those in my situation end up losing their faith. I think it should give ex-gay leaders, pastors, and concerned Christians pause. At what cost are they advocating change? Who pays the highest price?

I think glbtqi folks should no longer have to pay such a price in order to be accepted in faith communities. It's sad to see people who feel rejected unless they see themselves as broken and seeking a change. (Many Christians proclaim their love and support for the ex-gay struggler, but if that person decides that they do not need to be changed to be accepted by God, the same Christians will often reject them.) They then internalize that and feel rejected by God, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Some who were raised as Christian never even get to the point of trying to be ex-gay, because they walk away from all of it and some live a life disconnected from their spirituality. They think that's the only choice they have.

This is why I'm such a long-time and active participant at, and while is not specifically a Christian site, it is very pro-spirituality and pro-faith. Many of our members come from a Christian background, and some still identify as such. I am all for gay folks finding their way back to a spiritual life; yes, including Christianity. And besides, some of the best friends I have are Christian. No, really. And, yes, even after everything I've been through. There are good things Christians are doing throughout the world, and probably good works programs in your area are being sponsored by Christians. So I am definitely not anti-Christian in general.

2. Someone came to my church and said they have been delivered of homosexuality and are now married. Do you know that people do change?
When people sit in church (or, for that matter, in congress) and hear someone's ex-gay testimony, they do not know whether that person is really faithful to their spouse. They do not follow up and find out if the cure "lasted." They do not find out how many other people are out there who have not experienced change; who have left the church over the struggle, and about those who have committed suicide because they could not change. If all of our U.S. news was only approved news coming out of the White House, would we feel confident we were getting the whole truth?

I think people should research this issue before they think they know the whole truth because of a person claiming change. I am not saying that person is lying; they may very well be telling the truth. But you cannot take one person's experience and say it is true for everyone without doing some research.

3. Have you read the Bible? Perhaps you should read x, y, or z scripture.
I have actually read the Bible many times, and memorized whole portions and chapters. I'd imagine that I've studied the Bible more than most Christians. I have also spent years reading commentaries and books about the Bible, about homosexuality, about ex-gay therapy and reparative therapy. I have attended and been involved with several denominations, including Lutheran, Pentecostal, non-denominational, Baptist (regular and Conservative), Nazarene, Assembly of God, Evangelical Free, Foursquare, and Metropolitan Community Church (and I may be missing something in this list). I'm not saying I know everything, by any means. But my current views are not due to lack of Bible knowledge.

4. Will you go look at the website of (an ex-gay)?
I went to the website of the ex-gay that you recommended and I do not have a problem with people sharing their personal stories. This is mine, and it is different than other people's stories, even other former ex-gays.

What I do take offense at is those who would say what one ex-gay says on his site:
'I have come to realize that though the gay life may be "gay" at times, it promises no lasting, genuine love, joy, or peace. On the contrary, it is fraught with much anxiety, fear, confusion, frustration, suspicion, depression, and despair.'

That is just simply not true. I am not sure what kind of "gay life" he is talking about. All gay people do not have one kind of life. That would be similar to me saying that people at Mardi Gras are an example of the traditional "heterosexual life" or that "the straight lifestyle" is this or that. It just doesn't make any sense. (Well, it does if you want to put people in boxes, but it doesn't work much outside of that.)

The time in my life when I was fraught with the most anxiety, fear, confusion, frustration, depression, suspicion and despair was when I was trying to change my sexual orientation. It did not change and yet I am the most happy, settled, fulfilled and peaceful that I ever have been in my life. And my gay life is probably not that different than most. I get up, go to work, read e-mail, play with my cats, talk on the phone, and go to bed. That's my gay life.

5. I am ex-gay and have changed. How come you don't believe me? How come you don't like ex-gays?
In telling my story I want to make it clear that I am not trying to invalidate anyone else's story. I do feel it is very rare that people experience a significant change in orientation, but I would also not say it couldn't happen. I also believe that the majority of people experience more harm than good (some do experience some good things, me included; I just feel like it wasn't necessary for me to go through all the horrible things in order to acquire those good things).

But I wish you and all others who identify as ex-gay the best. Truly. Please keep in mind that while I'm talking about the ex-gay movement, ex-gay writing and advertising, and ex-gay leaders, I know that most ex-gays in programs aren't at all involved politically, and I do feel a certain affinity to those who are pursuing what I once did.

6. A man and woman being together is how God designed it. That's the way it should be.
I don't agree with you that it's how God designed things (people have been using the Bible and that argument for everything from a ban on interracial marriage to support of slavery or a reason to deny women the vote). People have also said for years "you don't see animals of the same sex mating; it's not how God designed it" and yet now we're finding out that animals of the same sex, across many species, do mate and have sex with those of the same sex (besides, I don't really think we should base our standards of behavior on animals; I don't think anyone should take parenting tips from species that eat their own young, for instance).

7. It sounds like you have just had bad experiences in the church and with Christians, and perhaps this is why (things didn't work for you; you didn't experience change, etc).
I have run into very judgmental Christians, but I have also come across many caring and wonderful Christians. I am not telling my story because I am bitter at the church. I recognize that all people are human and some do things that wound others.

Many of the Christians in my life cared (and do still care) deeply about me. I do not doubt that. I also think they believe what they are saying. I just no longer agree with them, but it doesn't mean that the things they did weren't out of a caring heart and wanting what they thought was the best for me.

I find that people either want to pigeonhole me as an anti-Christian ex-ex-gay, someone bitter and angry at the church, or someone who has no faith. Neither of these are true.

Some have commented to me that it sounds like I am trying to mock Christians. I'm not. Those who know me beyond the pages of Glamour and the five minutes on ABC will know this. The one thing that's gotten a bit of exposure is my recollection of the women who prayed that I would learn how to accessorize and for God to let me know I could mix and match my wardrobe. This really did happen, and an older woman whom I really liked and recall fondly prayed that for me in a home church meeting. She absolutely wanted the best for me. I find amusement whenever people turn conversation with someone else into a prayer in order to get the message across, but the moment was just beyond amusing, and absurd even then (I had such a hard time keeping a...straight...(poker?) face). I remember going to my ex-gay group the next night and telling about it and we all had a very good laugh.

The other thing to keep in mind is this: I can tell my story, but the only control I have over what is published/aired is what I write unedited (like on my blog). So there are people who think all I'm doing is mocking Christians, or that I'm anti-Christian (surprisingly, even people who read the Glamour article, where I'm pictured with my friend Scott, a local ex-gay leader), but that is not true. It might be what gets the most attention (hey, tv print, and radio folks are always looking for something funny or's how they stay in business), but it's not always the whole truth about my life. Because, seriously, I have lived so much in 35 years and I haven't published the book yet.

Thanks all for your comments, and keep them (and any questions) coming. I'll always answer as truthfully and fully as I can.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A mother's tale

First I'd like to apologize that I have not gotten back to most e-mails and I've not been able to respond to any comments here. I am still in NYC without a laptop and the only internet I have is either a fee by the minute, or when Glamour lets me in their offices to get on a computer for a minute.

I got this comment today on the Glamour comments section, and I wanted to share it. It actually made me cry (well, that and all the e-mails I've been getting).

Seething Mom writes:
Unlike so many others reading your story and finding comfort, I am not gay, but I am equally comforted by the story of your journey and its final outcome: self-acceptance and peace. I am a straight woman, married 25 years with 3 great kids, one of them gay.

Your story really highlights how far we have come, but how far we still have to go. Until no child has to worry about coming out and being who they are, until no child has to weigh and measure whether coming out is worth possibly losing their family and friends, and until Christianity is not used as a convenient cover for homophobia and exclusion, we cannot consider ourselves there yet.

But your story gives us all hope Christine. And though my journey is very different from yours, I still hope one day I can arrive at some kind of peace with my faith also. Unfortunately my path so far has taken me in a different direction. I have yet to reconcile what my church, the Catholic Church, says about homosexuality with the unconditional love I have for my son. I have felt forced to leave the church because I cannot walk through the doors of an institution that proclaims my son's love for another human being "objectively disordered" and "intrinsically evil". Abandoning my son or forcing him to be someone he isn't so that he fits the Church's narrow view of normal were just not options, but abandoning a church whose attitudes are so unChrist-like was. I chose to walk away from the church, not my son.

She also has an essay her son wrote in high school, and it is posted at this link. It is very moving, and I can't tell you how beautiful it is to me that she demonstrates such love and acceptance for her son.

I also have written several comments on the Glamour comments section, so if you'd like to read more of my thoughts (many of which would answer questions on my blog comments), please feel free to stop by there and check 'em out.

I need to run, but thanks all for the comments, suggestions, and support.

P.S. It came to my attention tonight (4/24 11pm) that in my hurried posting frenzy, I'd linked to an essay by Jarred, who is not SeethingMom's son. However it's wonderful and moved me again when I looked at it. So hope you'll take a look at Jarred's essay that he wrote. I've corrected the link above so that it takes you to SeethingMom's actual son, although I'm sure she's adopted Jarred as well. :) Thanks for pointing my error out to me...and now it just gives us more great things to read!

Monday, April 23, 2007


Wow, what an amazing morning!

I had a great time on Good Morning America. I'll upload pictures when I can -- my friend Jed took some, and one of me with Diane Sawyer. I'm not aware of there being any video online, but it if happens I'll try to blog about it.

I'm thrilled that I got a chance to tell my story. It's so important, and I really hope that not only were some eyes opened to the damage that is often done to gay folks through many of these ministries, but also perhaps some people who have been through an ex-gay experience will find hope and healing, too.

If you're a survivor of ex-gay ministries, or just want to find out more, check out We're putting on a conference at the end of June in Irvine California that will be a great place for folks to learn more, and also a place for us to tell our stories and support and encourage each other. Check it out!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Good Morning America!

"I'm here at my house with a film crew, being taped for a segment on Good Morning America! Will wonders never cease! The worst part is that I didn't even wake up on time.

I want to tell all the people who are writing me that you are definitely not alone. For those who are formerly ex-gay, we all have a shared and common history in our time as ex-gays, and now in the process of coming out as ex-ex-gays. And with the support of others, we'll do more than survive -- we'll heal and thrive and have wonderful lives.

For those who are not ex-gay, or ex-ex-gay, or even gay, so many can relate to the experience of attempting to change who you are, or the feeling that who you are is not "right" for everyone else.

We have so much more in common with each other than we often realize."

This is what I typed this morning while being filmed by a local ABC crew in some pre-taping for Monday's Good Morning America. They just told me to type a blog entry. I'm supposed to be on there live on Monday, but I won't count these chickens until they've hatched and had chicks of their own. So much can happen in the world of news and TV before then.

I really feel horrible that I haven't been blogging (I have so many thoughts going through my head and so much I want to blog and write about). I've also been so touched and inspired by the numerous e-mails and comments and I haven't had time to respond to those either. Maybe I just need someone to take dictation for me. :)

In my defense, I worked 80 hours in the last 6 days and now am flying out early tomorrow to be in NYC, where I'll be without a computer for a few days (sadly, don't have a laptop). If I can get some quality time with a computer in the next couple of days I'll try to do some blogging about the Good Morning America thing, and answer some of my e-mails.

For those of you who are just now finding out that it might be possible to reconcile your Christian faith with your sexuality, please check out, and for other faiths, check out our links page on

And definitely think about attending the conference at the end of June. It is not just for survivors, it is also for allies, straight and gay and anywhere in between - anyone who wants to find out more about the ex-gay movement, folks who want to stand in solidarity with those of us who need healing from our experiences, who want to be able to understand this issue and help us help ourselves and others...

So please consider the conference. I'd love to see you there.

Oh, and hopefully you'll see me on GMA on Monday morning!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Overworked, overfed, going to bed

I think that pretty much sums it up.

Sometimes life is like this. No work, and then you get a week's worth in one weekend. That whole feast or famine thing. And I'm definitely feasting right now — there's no time to take a break or go out for lunch with this project looming, so the agency keeps ordering in food. And lots of it. I think they're scared that if I leave the building I won't come back.

I'm not complaining about the work though (I haven't had any in weeks, which was good when it came to all the time on the website; but not so good when it comes to grocery money) but I've put in almost 50 hours in the last four days and I'm just wiped out. I'm going to bed since I need to be back there in less than eight hours. I can't believe I used to work 12 hour days all the time, and regularly sleep at the office or under my desk (no really, I did, way more often than I want to remember).

Anyway, apologies for my blogging absence. For those of you waiting for replies to comments or e-mails, it might be another couple of days. I appreciate all the feedback on the article and the new website.

In the meantime, here's a picture of my wonderful nephews. On Easter. In Texas. Crazy.

(By the way, is it just me or does the snowman look like Homer Simpson? Hmmm...donuts.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Assault on gay teen in Colorado

Last Thursday, in Pueblo, Colorado (an hour south of Colorado Springs), a 15-year-old openly gay student, Anthony Hergesheimer, was attacked by six classmates while walking home from school. He was beaten and some bones were broken in his face. They called him a fag, hitting him with a full can of lysol (I know, odd — a can of lysol being used now as a weapon).

Today he underwent facial and nose surgery to repair the damage, so please keep him in your thoughts and prayers for a very fast recovery.

What I'm more concerned about, though, is his recovery emotionally, although he is confident that most of his other classmates will be accepting. I think it's got to have some impact emotionally (hey, it did to me and I'm two hours away, safe in my house, and don't have to worry much about how cruel some kids can be), and I hope that his friends and the gay community in Pueblo will shower him with love and support.

It's sad to me that this stuff happens. These kids don't get this from nowhere. They get it from their family, from society, from people who think that homosexuality is on the same level as being a rapist or a murderer.

But Anthony's mom is different. She said, "I'm very upset. Yeah, my son is gay. But that shouldn't matter. He should be proud of who he is."

With that kind of love and support, perhaps he really can fly through this and be OK.

"You shouldn't be afraid to be who you are. Of course there will be people who won't agree with you," he said. "But you shouldn't be scared to be who you are."

Good on ya, Anthony. Here's to a speedy recovery and a wonderful life full of people who love you.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A cocoa puffs moment

People sometimes ask why it takes so long for some people to come out (or why it took me so long to understand I was gay, and have a name for it). A few people assume it means I chose to be gay, because it was later in life, and well past puberty, and after dating guys. Some say it was because I went to a secular (i.e., non-Christian) college. Or that I went to public school my senior year.

But the funny thing about growing up without a lot of television, newspapers or magazines is that you don't really know what you don't know.

An example of this is when I asked a friend at college "Whatever happened to that John Lennon guy?" In 1993.

Or when I was listening to a new Elton John song and said, "Wow, I like this song. Has this guy recorded anything else?" In 1994.

Coming out of my closed family and sheltered Christian school life, I felt constantly amazed by the big world out there. And constantly surprised at learning new things.

Folks who weren't raised as I was may not understand what this is really like. I compare it to the time my parents took my sister and I to see a movie at "the movie house" (i.e., a movie theater). I was eleven, and Savannah Smiles was a family movie. It was a big deal for us to go to a movie theater.

I was sitting in my seat, looking up at that big screen, and heard Savannah ask for cocoa puffs (which, incidentally, I'd never tasted, but knew existed). Completely blown away by this, it was like my mind was doing a huge double-take.

You see, at age eleven, I didn't know that movies could be made about the present day. I had absolutely no idea, and I continued to feel shock, and a shiver down my spine as we were watching the movie. I pondered this a lot when I went to sleep that night. I'd watched Heidi, Little House on the Prairie, The Sound of Music, Carousel, It's a Wonderful Life, and even a John Wayne movie (and I still laugh about my younger sister asking "Why is he talking about our pastor?" when someone said "Bastard"). But it had never entered my mind that a movie didn't have to be about something 50 years ago. I didn't have any category in my head for that, and struggled to come to terms with this new reality.

This is what it felt like when I started to realize I was gay. I didn't even have any framework in my head for thinking about it. I didn't know how to even conceptualize it. It was so far out of my realm of thought, that I didn't know how to categorize what I was feeling.

Because of that, it took me a long time to realize I was gay. It doesn't mean I wasn't gay before, and it doesn't mean I didn't know there was something a little "off" about me; it just means I didn't even know what all I didn't know.

Sometimes people (gay folks especially) can't understand why I would want to change who I was. All I can say was I didn't know what I didn't know. Now I know that I'm fine just how I am. Accepted and loved. Not in spite of something, but just because of my character, personality, humor and compassionate nature. It's nice to know that finally.

I really hope this next generation of kids don't have to wait to find that out in their thirties.

(The painting is one I did in 1994-1995 when I was trying to come to terms with being gay)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The slippery Easter slope

Over on Pam's blog, she recently wrote about getting her dog fixed, and her young son's reaction to such a drastic surgery. The comments section is the best part of that post, though, as people talk about whether "change is possible" for the dog.

This comment caught my eye and I thought I'd post it as an Easter special. Robert writes:
I have to share a scene from one Easter when I was a boy:

We used to have lots of animals, including a small cat, a one-eyed rabbit, and a mallard duck (that my sister had hatched on a heating pad). The rabbit was not fixed had a thing for my little cat -- and my dad knew it. But it was Easter, so my dad let the rabbit out of his hutch to hop around Easter Bunny style.

Needless to say, the rabbit saw the kitty, and started to chase kitty around the yard. The duck, who was watching things unfold, decided to chase the rabbit. My cat finally gave up in the middle of the yard, hunkered down into the grass, while the rabbit mounted him from behind. Not to be outdone, our duck proceeded to mount the rabbit. So, for a few seconds on Easter Sunday, we got to watch triple-decker, interspecies live animal porn in the backyard.

Fortunately, no Easter eggs were harmed in the Springtime frolic.

Which just goes to show you, it's not the gays marrying donkeys that you have to worry about.

The online wait is over!

The Glamour article is now online (but if you want to see all the pictures from the article, you're just gonna have to buy a copy). There's also a section to leave comments and ask questions (it's a free log-in; plus, afterward you can discuss things like getting your bikini-area waxed....yikes!)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Creating God

I just stumbled across this while sitting here eating my breakfast.

M, who blogs at fifty-one percent sure writes:
Anne Lamott said, in Bird by Bird, that "You can tell you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." I think that is such an amazingly true statement. But what if it turns out God hates you just as much as everyone else? Perhaps that means you've created God in someone else's image.
Read the rest of her post here.

Long after I'm done with breakfast, I'll be chewing on this.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Glamourous coincidences

I got my first e-mail today from someone who read the article in Glamour, and it was very encouraging. I wish I could send her something; some kind of prize. A picture of the cats, Max and Sophie, perhaps? OK, maybe not so much a prize to anyone else but me. It's a little surreal to know that tons of people you don't know are going to read about your life (and some parts that are really private, er...were). Ahem.

It was a very deliberate decision I made to have my story out there. I knew it had the potential to be inflammatory, unflattering and/or incorrect. I know that's happened to a lot of folks who have talked to media. I was worried about my family. It was one thing for me to decide I would come out nationally, but my family didn't have a choice in the matter. I was surprised they actually agreed to talk to Glamour. My sister, especially. I'm glad they decided to participate.

Part of my decision to be interviewed and be out very publically was that I was so pleased that a national magazine was taking an interest in a woman's story. Historically there have not been other women talking about their ex-gay experiences. Jennifer had her story featured in Fish Can't Fly, but I think that was one of the first lesbian former ex-gay stories I've seen. Now I see more women starting to speak out and I'm thrilled about that. I think our journeys often are a bit different from the mens' in ways that have not yet been explored, and I'm interested in that. I'm looking forward to there being discussion on this in the future.

In all (and from other feedback by former ex-gays, including those who have had a lot of dealings with the media) this is probably one of the most accurate and even-handed articles out there (well, from an ex-ex-gay perspective anyway). Stephen Fried did a fantastic job, and he took a lot of care to be as noninflammatory as possible with this topic, which I greatly appreciate.

Here's the crazy coincidental part. Stephen wrote a major investigative story called "Cradle to Grave" for Philadelphia magazine (you can find out more about the story here on Stephen's site) that was responsible for re-opening a murder case.

Subsequently, Newsweek ran a follow-up story after the murderer confessed. That story was published in the exact same issue in 1998 that the Paulk's cover story appeared. So Stephen was well acquainted with that particular issue of Newseek, and when I started talking about the Paulk story, and their book, he did a double take. "Wait, you mean that guy that was on the cover of Newsweek in 98?" Yup. That one.

Anyway, I know many people have asked me how I ended up connected with the magazine. Stephen posted a request on an ex-ex-gay yahoo group, requesting women who were ex-ex-gay to consider speaking with him. I sent an e-mail, thinking he was looking for a quote or anecdote. In speaking with him, it soon became clear that it was going to be focused mainly on me. Yikes. This was only one day after telling my story for the first time at the women's group at the GLBT center in Denver. Only one week after I'd started this blog. It was a huge step for me.

So far I don't regret it, and I'm hoping that will continue to be the case.

(Oh, and in other news, the interview on OutQ went well this morning, although I don't remember much of it since it was 5:30 am my time).

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

What a week!

This has been a fantastic but busy week. It is so exciting to see the fruition of a dream. has been generating great feedback, and a lot of people are excited about it, and about the upcoming Ex-Gay Survivor's Conference.

I have ducked out of the house once or twice this week, but beyond that I've had my fingers glued to the keyboard, working on the design of the site, replying to e-mails. Good thing I don't have paying work this week (and no, you'll not hear me saying that very often—We'll see how I feel about it in June when I need money).

In a somewhat random aside, inflation has caught up with my local dollar theater. It is now the dollar-and-a-quarter theater, which doesn't quite have the same ring to it. After we launched the site on Monday, I finally went to sleep for a few hours. Then I went to my dollar theater (imagine my shock and dismay having to hand over that extra quarter) and saw "The Pursuit of Happyness" which was a great movie to see that day. Someone pursuing a dream, and with a happy ending.

My dream, of course, is to have an alternative to the messages from Exodus, to see people heal from their ex-gay experiences, and to deter people from experiencing something that is often emotionally and spiritually harmful. I know it's been Peterson's dream since well before I was even ex-ex-gay, but it's wonderful to have a partner in this, and to see it starting to become a reality. Documentaries are being made, books are being published, people are telling their stories. It's a new day for us.

We just added a wonderful narrative from Darlene Bogle, a former Exodus ministry leader. She has just published a new book called A Christian Lesbian Journey: A Continuation of Long Road to Love. She wrote two pro-ex-gay books while she was involved in the ex-gay world, one of them being The Long Road to Love, which explains the subtitle of her new book. I'm very glad to have her narrative on our site.

In other news, I have had the duct-tape ripped off my mouth (or fingers) and I can finally talk about being interviewed for a Glamour magazine story.

And one of the things that means is I that I can also finally blog about whatever the heck I want. I agreed to a bit of a blogging restriction about certain topics and anecdotes when I first agreed to do the story (2 weeks after I started this blog), but had no idea it would end up being for a year-and-a-half! I understand why they do it, but maybe now I will be able to blog more regularly. Or maybe I am just making excuses for my lack of previous blogging, and blaming the restrictions when it's really just that I didn't get around to blogging. I'm, um, not saying that's something I would do, or anything...

So, April 9th you can see the article at, and April 10th it will be available at newsstands (it's the May issue). I'll write more about the interview and the whole process soon.

Oh, I almost forgot. I'm going to be on "OutQ in the Morning with Larry Flick" show tomorrow morning on the OutQ Sirius Satellite radio channel (channel 109). I should be on for a few minutes around 7:30ish Eastern time if you want to listen in.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The BIG super HUGE news!!!

Today is a BIG day in the ex-ex-gay world.

Peterson and I have been working for over a year on a website called "Beyond Ex-Gay" and today is the official launch!

In addition, we're also announcing an ex-gay survivors conference, called "The Survivor's Conference: Beyond Ex-Gay" that we're doing in partnership with Soulforce and also the UC-Irvine LGBT resources center.

It'll be June 29th through July 1st and I've heard the workshop leaders will be fantastic! ;) There's info on our site, and also Peterson has just blogged about it.

We could not have done it without Steve Boese (from A Tenable Belief), my friend Joel Bass, and others who have contributed artwork, narratives, video, etc.

So check out the site and let us know what you think!

I'm going to bed...been a long night. But so worth it. :D

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The gift of family traditions

I just got back from Texas, where I helped celebrate my nephew's second birthday. As you can see, he is already a stellar reader. (And you can see his poor hands are swollen, though much better then when I got there, from being bitten by a horde of fire ants. He would hold them out for me and say "Owwies, Teen!"—his pronunciation of my name. Gotta love Texas!)

We visited a nearby lake one overcast day. The boys (2 and 4) flew a kite with the help of their dad. Later, my sister and I broke into the "Let's Go Fly a Kite" song from Mary Poppins. As a family, whenever we flew a kite, we always ended up singing that song at some point. My sister and I grew up with virtually no television (and what we did see was tightly controlled), but we were allowed to watch a lot of classic musicals, and it wasn't uncommon for my mom to burst into a song appropriate to different occasions, many from these movies.

One of the first things my sister and I did when we got to the water's edge was look for shells. We just both naturally bent over and started looking and comparing. Soon the boys, bored with the inactivity involved in kite flying, came over to join us and started looking, too.

We are carrying on a tradition that also came from our mom and dad (well, mostly our mom). Both our parents are beach lovers, and we spent many good and fun times camping near the beach or just going for day visits (we always lived no more than two hours away from the Pacific ocean the whole time we were kids, and it's one of the things I miss the most being out here in a land-locked state). Just like my nephews, my sister and I got in the act of looking for shells or bits of polished glass when we were just toddlers, and it's something we naturally continue and enjoy today.

It was fun for both of us to relive these good memories of family time, and think about the gifts our parents have given us. Traditions that we continue today, and things that we are passing on to our parent's grandchildren.

When I come visit I usually have books stowed away in my suitcase that I bring out every night. (One night, while J. was trying to pick a book to read for that evening, he said, "Let's just get one more out of your suitcase, Auntie Christine!" even though I hadn't told him there were more where those others came from.) My sister and brother-in-law read to the kids before naps and before bedtime, just like my mom used to read to us when we were young (when I was perhaps five, I surprised my grandmother by "reading" her a whole book that I'd actually just memorized).

I just hope that the youngest hasn't inherited my (lack of) fashion sense (another inherited gift from my dad). I remember once my mom coming up with a complicated system of matching clothes that had number or letter combinations on the hangers so my dad could dress in clothes and ties that matched. Here is E. in a pajama top, diapers, and rain boots right before bedtime (he is also peaking at his birthday presents).

Here is the family having some fun in the backyard with the bubble machine and various toys. When I was a kid, we'd go to parks after church (we lived a ways from our church, so would spend the day at a park between the morning and evening service). Sometimes we played lawn darts or other games after our picnic. It is nice to think about those times and know that my boys are having the same kind of experiences with parents who care that they have fun outside.

Enjoy your childhood, boys. And thanks, mom and dad.