Thursday, December 28, 2006

Entering in the new year - Gandhi & cats

Hi guys. I'm sore today and I think I best get used to it. I've been joining in on Luane's workouts with our personal trainer and Luane's been sick so the trainer's had me to focus on and she worked me hard yesterday. The cool part is she does exercises with me without machines, the weight I lift is usually my own, we use stuff around the house like chairs, stairs and walls. Anyway, so I've been running more often lately and after the work out yesterday, I combined errands with exercise and ran this morning to the DVD store (a locally owned one, yes, they do still exist!) to return movies we watched over Christmas. I'm paying high for it now. I've been here on the computer working for a few hours and ugh, my thigh muscles are screaming.

Our two cats are also huddled in the office here with me around the portable heater. They sit around it (or sleep) like a campfire, sm'ores are sure to be next.

The pain of getting my body into better shape coupled with the innocence and simplicity of our cats snoozing got me to thinking of how to mentally and emotionally prepare for 2007. We have so many amazing plans in the works that I'm excited about, I can hardly wait. But wait I will, like recovering from sore muscles, so I enjoy the journey along the way. The simplicity of the cats reminds me of no matter how crazy our calendars get, Luane and I have to keep our focus and remember to do the dishes. The simple, humble tasks are quite meditative for me actually. One of the movies I returned today was Gandhi, the epic film with Ben Kingsley. I study Gandhi, among others, but seeing how this national leader of 300 million people spends his days spinning thread and mud packing goat legs made perfect sense to me. I totally get it.

So, as I head into 2007, I charge into it with a lot of gusto here in 2006. The balance of physical action pulling us more and more into becoming more of who we are now - and the simplicity of smelling the roses (or sleeping by a portable heater) to make sure we don't miss a moment of life available to live.

Best to you as we head to New Year's. Talk to you in 2007, it's gonna be FUN!!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Episcopalians on the Mend - Update on the Snow People

Hope you all had a WONDERFUL Christmas! Luane and I did, we went to see Pursuit of Happyness and webcam'd with my family in Florida. Luane has a cold, we lit a fire, she had JoJo fall asleep on her (one of our cats), she got me a voice recorder so I can record my article, blog and workshop ideas no matter where I am (will come in handy when we start touring again in January) and I made her a mixed CD and got her the Quantum version of What the Bleep?! Down the Rabbit Hole. See...told you our personal and professional worlds are pretty intermingled.

If you've seen the movie, you've seen the two women standing in the snow while there is a truck behind them that garbage is being thrown into and off camera you can hear a stage being torn down. Ah, yes, the fun of indy filmmaking. Well, we talk about a lot of those behind the scenes anecdotes on our audio commentary track that we haven't released yet. I have a knarly cough when we recorded it so it'll surely be a classic cinema treasure when we release it.

One of the Snow People, Kathy, talks about her estranged relationship with the very kids she raised in the church. They are Episcopalian and if you haven't heard what's going on with that denomination recently, check out one of many articles on the Virginia churches. Anyway, we don't know if this has had an influence on Kathy's kids, but Kathy recently wrote us and gave us an update on how she and her kids are doing. It's perfect to cozy us up as we head into the holidays:

"Things have shifted a little with my kids. My son and I met face to face for the first time in over five years on the day before Thanksgiving. I also met my granddaughter for the first time. We stayed away from the subject of God and Gays for the three hours we were together. It was a beginning. We have exchanged one email each since then. He seems ready to figure out how we can relate now.

My daughter came to see me in October. I had not seen her or her daughter for two years. She said she came to see me to ask for forgiveness for trying to play the Holy Spirit in my life. She has been in therapy and is working through some personal issues.

Both visits made me very grateful that I didn't shut them out or discount my relationship with Donna. They both know that I love them and want relationship with them but... relationship with them is not more important than my living in truth about who I am and the reality that Donna is my partner for life.

I don't know where my relationship with my kids is headed. I do know that both of my granddaughters now know I exist. That feels good. Hopefully they will ask questions that will help to change the world in the years to come."

Be Who You Are and the rest will follow...

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Perfect Christmas Carol - indy style

We have found the ultimate Christmas carol for your viewing pleasure. Check this out and appreciate indy art with us!

Vote for Mel White as Person of the Year 2006

Mel White has been nominated as person of the year by and is need of your vote. We are obviously very proud of Mel, we're proud of him being a star in our movie, proud of his work with the Equality Ride (along with Jacob Reitan who's also in our movie with his AMAZING parents Randi and Phil) and the release of his book Religion Gone Bad. Mel is the Martin Luther King in the struggle to reconcile religion and homosexuality and Soulforce, based on Gandhi and MLK's teachings, is the vehicle to get people's attention that there's a serious civil rights issue going on right now. Mel receives letters, emails, phone calls and visits from people crying and scared, he gets the letters from people who soon commit suicide or from their family members. He's the guy who's had his life threatened many times because of his standing up for what he believes and his passion for people to be whole and have a relationship with God. Mel is seriously underrated. Being in the same room with him, you can feel his power and his humility. His love and compassion for people is the best Christ-like behavior I've ever experienced first-hand. Please register your vote to help Mel be recognized as Person of the Year....and feel free to add a comment to the bottom of the page and let them know they need to add to Mel's bio that he's in God & Gays: Bridging the Gap and that he has his new book out. How they missed that info, is a mystery. The website's parent company did a feature story on God & Gays just recently! Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New documentaries coming your way...

We've noticed there are indy filmmakers who, I guess in the spirit of competition, are just unfriendly and only promote themselves. Then there are others who do share, who do want to support colleagues and have realized that there's enough interest and audience for all of our films and works. Have you seen one movie and that's it? Read one book and that was it? I dontinkso. So, we make sure we fall into the latter category and help keep you in the loop of documentaries along our subject that would be helpful to you.

Plus, many people have asked us if we'll do more segmented versions of our movie - for Mormons, for Asian-American people, etc. We've definately toyed with the idea and it's still not out of the realm of possibility. In the meantime, I wanted to let you know of some docs that are in post-production right now and you ought to keep an eye on for their release.

The Truth About God made the short list for Sundance that's happening next month but didn't make it in. It's a movie geared in telling the stories about Mormons and homosexuality. Then there's the latest one from the director of Trembling Before G*d, In the Name of Allah, which was shot in 9 countries, dealing with homosexuality and Muslims. There's a short (22 mins) doc on Asian-American gays and lesbians called In God's House as well.

If you hear of other segmented documentaries you'd like us to know about, please feel free to send a comment to this posting. We love that this silence is being broken and documentary filmmakers are leading the way, I'm proud to be a part of the growing conversation and as Darlene Bogle recently wrote to someone who lives in Ohio and inquired about our film:

"Have you seen the DVD? It's available for purchase now through the website. The film has been received well as it has been shown across the country. Our prayer is that it will open the doors of dialogue and that many in the GLBT community will find help as well as open doors to mainline Christian churches have been judgmental and condemning. I am just one of the folks interviewed on the documentary, but I know that with the birth of this film there is going to be many lives saved that would have drowned in the sea of rejection."

A dolphin told me to have fun

Before Luane and I started on our tour last September, one of the things she, my coach, friends and family had been encouraging me to do is, basically, have fun. "I don't know how to have fun anymore" I whined, and continued, "I've forgotten how." Poor me, huh. Well, part of my "work" I've been doing is realizing consciously these totally unsupportive and victim-based statements coming out of my own mouth. It's a lot of work, to be truly present and realize what you're saying, what we're espousing, what we're putting out there as some sort of truth, but OH does it make a DIFFERENCE!

Well, what better teacher to help me do something about the fun thing, than a spinner dolphin on the Big Island. In September, we were invited to join a group of people we did and didn't know to a house where we'd get up every morning and join the locals in a swim with wild dolphins while they were still awake and very playful, coming in from their night of feeding. We'd leave when the obnoxious tourists would come and the dolphins got tired and started their shut down and low swimming patterns. Did you know that dolphins shut down half their brain and one eye and sleep, then trade off to the other side? How cool is that?

Back to the story. So one morning, we each decided to give the dolphins something to help us heal. Mine was to have fun again. We'd use thoughts and feelings, they'd sonar us. This is the morning they were particularly frisky and the babies were performing such beautiful acrobatics for us, it was just incredible. A small pod started doing their flips right in front of me, as to say, hey, let us demonstrate fun for you, shall we? They kept going and going and I'd cheer them on and laugh. The more they did it, the more I started to cry once I realized what they were saying to me. Disclaimer: I don't advise crying while in the middle of a bay in a snorkel and mask....unpleasant.

After their grand finale, they swam about three in front of me and one, the younger one, looked right at me, square in the eyes and nodded his head, smiling and opening his mouth like Flipper did - he looked so happy, he was actually laughing and having a great time. So, in getting the message, I began bawling in my snorkel and mask, fogging the mask and choking on sea water in the snorkel. I didn't seem to care. I just got healed.

So, what made me think of this four months later is how we are sending out cards saying Happy Holidays. I refuse to let such supportive terms like Happy and Holidays roll off my tongue sterile. I won't take them for granted anymore. On one wrist I wear a bracelet from India, on another one with Chinese characters spelling out happiness in couplehood. I'm getting better at the fun thing and the being happy now thing. Yesterday, I threw a cookie at Luane in jest and having played softball since kindergarten, my aim and speed was right on. I encourage all of us to remember the fun we can create and allow daily. Have a fun and happy holiday everyone.

Technorati Tags:

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Same Sex Couples Struggle for Legal Protection

We're often asked what the differences are with civil unions, domestic partnerships and full marriage rights. Although there's a bazillion resources on the web that'll lay these out (see hrc, lambda legal and others) here's a real sense of what Wisconsin gay couples are facing in light of the 59% passage of the discriminatory ban on same-sex marriages. Other states - Colorado, Virginia, etc. - have the same issues. Some people are moving out of those states - gay AND straight - as they don't want to associate themselves with states that blatantly and "legally" discriminate. As Leonardo DiCaprio recently said on Oprah (paraphrased) about his movie Blood Diamond which is about the war and killings that go on to mine diamonds in parts of Africa to feed the materialistic appetite of the US, "we vote when we buy". Many people are voting to stay in churches, states, companies, Universities, schools that are blatantly discriminatory. At private Christian colleges, each student must sign an agreement to "acceptable" forms of behavior. Within the top five mentioned is no homosexual activity or personhood. Many students sign it anyway knowing they are gay because either they are still hiding from their family and they want their college paid for and not get kicked out of the house, or they are basically saying they have no value to other people's rules and will do what they please, and try not to get caught. It can also encourage homophobia and violence (emotional, verbal or physical) on gay people.

Some people who choose to "vote" this way do help keep the spiral silence going, but some believe they stay so they can change from within the system. Some do. Most don't. It's a great idea and I hope people do change hearts and minds they have contact with, we just hope it's a stand that's taken to the point of not forcing an 18 year old to discriminate by signing a piece of paper and contributing to the deafening silence. I hope it's to a point that if a gay person is in the hospital they are lucky enough to have doctors and nurses who allow them to be visited by their gay partner since right now that obvious right is illegal in some areas still.

So, we encourage all of us to deliberately look at our votes and be conscious about what we're voting for and therefore standing for with our time, money and attention. In each moment we have choices and the purpose of goals is to keep us on the path to what we want. What do you want for Christmas? For some of us, it's equality so in each moment we make choices that'll lead to that desired outcome. As Rev. Deborah says in the movie, "all I want is what you would have given me before you started taking things away from me before you knew I was gay. I don't want anything more and nothing less." This is what's on our grown up Christmas list.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Introduction to Paul Cameron by Mel White

Happy Monday. I was perusing Mel White's blog he did during his book tour for his latest book Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right, and he was introducing us to a discredited psychologist that feeds bizarre and absurd "data" to religious right leaders regarding the gay community and they in turn talk of this "data" as truth. Mel is so passionate and cares so much about what is going on under and at the surface of this struggle of religion and homosexuality and if you haven't recognized that, I encourage you to check his blog for yourself (last entry, under San Francisco). If you've wondered the sourcing material for some of the allegations that don't seem rational, much of it can be traced here.

One of our goals is to help people continue to be informed. The unfortunate part of this is most people don't want to be informed which is why suicide rates are so high, families are broken, etc. We get stuck and we don't need to be. We're a vessel of movement, of growth and of expression. It's not so scary to learn something new about something we're convinced of. Learning is mostly adoration for God's creativity.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Darlene Bogle's new book and new life

If you've seen the movie, you know Darlene Bogle was an Exodus Ministry leader for 15 years and while doing one of her many public appearances as a "healed" lesbian, she fell fast and hard for a woman contemplating suicide to rid herself of the pain and judgment of the sterile christianity and homosexuality debate. Darlene wrote or contributed to many books during her Exodus years and during her 12 year relationship of bliss with this woman, she didn't write as her life partner, Des, made her promise not to be public as it would cause Des to be rejected by her family. It's amazing at no matter our age, we are still children, sometimes scared children, around our parents. Des developed breast cancer and passed way too early in life in February 2005. Darlene, through her grief and recovery of such a tragic loss of a best friend and spouse, has found expression once again in writing. She's finished her first draft of manuscript basically as a follow up to her book, A Long Road to Love. She wants to tell people where she's been for the past 12 years. She's sent Luane and I the manuscript and has asked us to write the Forward, which we are honored to do. Darlene is entertaining a variety of publishing opportunities and I can guarantee you we'll be letting you know first when it's available.

The book is incredibly personal and very touching. I've cried in several parts, sometimes from sadness and sometimes from gratitude. Sure, ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you I cry rather easily...I'm rather sensitive but not in a wimpy way, I just really feel what other's go through and can't help but respond. For those keeping score, Mel White is also gifted with this trait, so I'm in good company.

Des had told Darlene that upon her death, she could tell Des' family and go public about their relationship so this book has Des' approval on it. Recently, Darlene visited Des' parents in southern California. Des' father is battling cancer and her mother has alzheimer's. Darlene brought the manuscript, told them what it was about and asked if they'd like to read it, to learn who their daughter was, as a whole human being, to really know their own daughter as a christian woman living out her life with the love of her life. Darlene basically saved Des' life from suicide and her parents had no idea. Here's what Darlene said of the meeting with Des' father:

"I spent a week in So. Calif. with Des's dad. I had taken a copy of the manuscript to give him an opportunity to read if he chose to do so. Des was right in her fears. He told me that he didn't agree with that "lifestyle" but he still loved me and loved Des, he just didn't want to read about it. Makes me sad because I think he could know more of his daughter's faith, not just her sexuality. I've left it in God's hands.
Her brother and his wife feel the same. I've felt a real coolness since I told them I was writing a book. I'm glad Des is in Heaven and doesn't have to experience the rejection. I'm wondering how folks can say they love you, but they don't want to know you? They can only love the "idea' of who and what you are. I guess there is still more to be done in educating the world!!"

We'll keep you in the loop on Darlene's book. Learn more about Darlene from our website.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Empathy Makes Us Better People

We were sent an article by a straight white guy in Florida who, we think, is one of the most straightforward and clear statements on why people should care about gay people and gay rights, if the simple "love thy neighbor as yourself" basics are still complicated to do. We've written a statement to the author in support of his support as he needs to know that IT MATTERS that he is "out" as a straight ally. How can we expect allies to support us if we aren't supporting them? I've pasted the article at the bottom of this posting.

This also reminds me of a conversation I had with our personal trainer, Machelle. She and her husband met us at a gay club on the rare occasion of Luane and I actually going out for a night of dancing. I LOVE dancing, but I've DJ'd many times in my career and it's hard to make me happy musically and most clubs play the best music for the warm up period and then settle into a hip hop or house theme with the same beat for hours on end. We leave after the warm up.

I digress...Machelle's husband Ryan brought a friend from work who's in his fifties I believe and just six months ago came out to him. Machelle and Ryan are straight allies and they don't get what the big deal is around accepting gay people. They are spiritual people, very fit as they are both trainers, normal law-abiding community members. Ryan's colleague came out to him which gives a great testament to Ryan's character and love for his fellow man. I'm proud to know these people. Ryan's colleague actually recognized Luane and I from a cover story photo in the local newspaper. That does happen to us but we aren't in public much. I think of us like the Loch Ness monster...rare sightings.

I'm still digressing...the main point I wanted to make was my conversation with Machelle. I acknowledged and honored her for bringing Ryan's friend, being supportive of him and of us by coming to a gay dance club and being straight allies. I then explained how crucial it is that they are vocal in average conversational opportunities, that they "come out" as allies. I stressed the power she has in being a witness to other straight people. She had a hard time believing that people would listen to her more readily than me on this subject, since it's my life and after all I did make a documentary on it. Alas, I emphasized how she is remarkably powerful just by being straight as to many in society, I'm the morally depraved, perverted freak who twists God and the Bible around to fit my sexual desires. I don't have the credibility as I'm merely "one of them". Machelle isn't and if she says it's cool, others are more apt to listen.

So, to the closeted straight allies, please be a Machelle and Ryan in your town and don't be shy about it. Talk about it. You're helping people at a scale you don't even know....

I recently exchanged emails with a straight ally who brought us out to her University during this last tour. I told her I wish I was straight so people would find me more credible as I'd fit the "norm". She emailed back saying "that's funny, I wish I was gay so I didn't have to deal with a lot of this male gender stuff..." Perhaps we're talking about the same thing. The grass is always greener but we're who we are uniquely and with purpose...and I'm off to continue mine....

Leonard Pitts: Empathy makes us better people
By Leonard Pitts

Published 12:00 am PST Friday, December 15, 2006
Story appeared in EDITORIALS section, Page B7

This is for a reader who demands to know why I write about gay issues. His conclusion is that I must secretly be gay myself.

Actually, he doesn't express himself quite that civilly. To the contrary, his e-mails -- which, until recently, were arriving at the rate of about one a week -- evince a juvenility that would embarrass a reasonably intelligent fifth-grader. The most recent one, for example, carried a salutation reading, "Hi Mrs. Pitts." We're talking about the kind of thing for which delete buttons were invented. So you may wonder why I bring it to your attention, especially since acknowledging a person like this only encourages him.

It's simple, actually: He raises an interesting question that deserves an answer.

If from that you conclude (or fear) you're about to read a stirring defense of my manly male masculinity, no. The guy is free to believe what he wishes; I really don't care. And here, let me digress to confess that, though I refer to him using masculine pronouns, I actually don't know if he's a he because his notes have been anonymous. Still, I assume it's a guy because the level of sexual insecurity the e-mails suggest strikes me as -- boy, am I going to get in trouble for this -- rather guy-specific.

Anyway, to get back to the point, I'm not here to argue sexuality.

I just find myself intrigued by the idea that if you're not gay, you shouldn't care about gay rights. The most concise answer I can give is cribbed from what a white kid said 40 or so years ago, as white college students were risking their lives to travel South and register African Americans to vote. Somebody asked why. He said he acted from an understanding that his freedom was bound up with the freedom of every other man.

I know it sounds cornier than Kellogg's, but that's pretty much how I feel.

I know also that some folks are touchy about anything seeming to equate the African American civil rights movement with the gay one. And no, gay people were not kidnapped from Gay Land and sold into slavery, nor lynched by the thousands. On the other hand, they do know something about housing discrimination, they do know job discrimination, they do know murder for the sin of existence, they do know the denial of civil rights and they do know what it is like to be used as scapegoat and boogeyman by demagogues and political opportunists.

They know enough of what I know that I can't ignore it. See, I have yet to learn how to segregate my moral concerns. It seems to me if I abhor intolerance, discrimination and hatred when they affect people who look like me, I must also abhor them when they affect people who do not. For that matter, I must abhor them even when they benefit me. Otherwise, what I claim as moral authority is really just self-interest in disguise.

Among the things we seem to have lost in the years since that white kid made his stand is the ability, the imagination, the willingness to put ourselves into the skin of those who are not like us. I find it telling that Vice President Dick Cheney hews to the hard conservative line on virtually every social issue, except gay marriage. It is, of course, no coincidence that Cheney has a daughter who is a lesbian.

Which tells me his position is based not on principle but, rather, on loving his daughter. It is a fine thing to love your daughter. I would argue, however, that it is also a fine thing, and in some ways a finer thing, to love your neighbor's daughter, no matter her sexual orientation, religion, race, creed or economic status.

I believe in moral coherence. And Rule No. 1 is, you cannot assert your own humanity, then turn right around and deny someone else's. If that makes me gay, fine. As my anonymous correspondent ably demonstrates, there are worse things to be.

About the writer:

* Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. Reach him at His column routinely appears in The Bee on Fridays and occasionally on other days. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Gay Parenting, Dobson and TIME Magazine

Yesterday, TIME published a decent-sized article by Dr. James Dobson on his opinion of Mary Cheney (Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter) and her partner's pregnancy.

Read the story

Wow, can you imagine planning to have a child (same-sex couples have to plan, there's no "oops" in these families), investing the money, the time, the physical health in hopes you as a couple can become pregnant and having your motherhood, coupledom and qualifications questioned in TIME magazine by a Christian leader!? Now add you're dad is in the highest political office and his days at the office aren't much fun lately.

Wow! Plastered for the world to see, when you're so excited about this new phase in your family, you're going to have a kid! Then wham-o.

TIME magazine has been very good in handling LGBT issues and allowing Dobson his own article based on inaccurate and non-existent claims about someone else's happiness just blew me away. What right does Dobson have to even want to write this article? Why not do the usual and talk about it over his radio show to his followers, why hit the mainstream? What's he trying to control and possess? Essentially, what's he afraid of that he'd step out like this in TIME and recently on Larry King Live after the Ted Haggard outing? He told Larry he doesn't have the time to help Ted with his struggles (ouch) so apparently he wants more time to rain on other people's parades.

All I know, from our research while making the film, talking to people who've listened to him for years and have been in his circle and with my gut, is that it's always a business strategy and it's ALWAYS fear-based. I'm writing a series of articles (clearly I'm in writing mode...I've been blogging every day lately...I got in trouble with the staff when I didn't...) and one of them is on fear-based versus love-based decision making. It's really amazing and illuminating. I look forward to sharing it with you soon. All the symptoms are in the article of coming from fear to persuade the reader to believe what he's saying.

Anyway, Soulforce is also concerned about the misinformation printed by Dobson in TIME and have started a petition requesting TIME to look into the facts, as it is a very credible journalistic venue and as the fourth wall, the watchdog of the people, we need them to be looking out for us and weighing agenda of the religious right with what's just plain the right thing to do.

From personal experience, I encourage you to not always believe what you read in the media. That's a whole other series of articles...I used to teach media studies at a University for eight years and it's a passion of mine.

We've written a letter to the editor of both the NY Times for the Evangelical article and to TIME. People need to know the struggle and division isn't all drama and pain, there is lots of love and reconciliation if you're looking for it. We focus on what we WANT to happen, not what we DON'T want to happen...what we focus on expands. Ta...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Even the NY Times Gets It

Wow, guys. I'm feeling a shift...are you feeling a shift? The consciousness that so many of us have been stepping into - love and acceptance - seems to be making it onto the front page of the NY Times.

Read the story

If I were straight, I'd be just as on fire about this struggle for gay and religious people as I am for being one of them. I'd be an awesome ally, fearless and standing up for what's right in my words and in my actions. By society's definition, I'd actually have more credibility as a straight person on the issue. Straight allies have so much power and now more than ever in history, allies in churches are gaining more and more opportunities to show God's love to the isolated, hurting and schizophrenic. The NY Times ran an article today called "Gay and Evangelical: Seeking Paths of Acceptance". Dude, this is all that we talk about in the movie and everywhere we do talks. Mel White's been doing it for a bazillion years too and he got recognized in the article as probably the most well known on the issue. We often wonder who our "leader" is...who's our MLK? Who's our Gandhi? Rev. Dr. Mel White is...and he's in our movie for that reason. The man that's been there and back, the man who gets email and letter after another of people killing themselves over the struggle and he still gets up in the morning and lives through his passion for compassion. Luane and I are THRILLED he got some attention for his work in the midst of the Haggard and Barnes outings. People may be shocked or even feel betrayed in the evangelical world, but those of us with this Christ Consciousness have our arms wide open for these folks, it's another day at the office for us. We know these people exist, we never believed they didn't. We couldn't agree that it's preventable and we can be de-programmed from how we were constructed. We've always kept the door open for them, kept the light on.

NOW is a huge opportunity to get the conversation back on the table. It's in the public sphere so bring it to the private level and get people talking. Get our movie as a means to hold a house party to get people to talk, to get to know Mel White, to see what they can do to learn to be safe spaces of acceptance and love for those in their world who could be Haggard and is scared to death to be themselves. Don't kid yourself that you don't know anyone, it's no excuse anyway.

Keep your eyes open and step into the power to make a difference. Here's another way to make our lives really really count. God gave us power, not timidity and to help those who are current and future Haggards, we owe it to them to learn from other's mistakes of oppression and repression and step into love. Talk about it.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Colorado Pastor Paul Barnes Comes Out

We thank Darren Main for sending this our way...people have asked if we'll be sending our movie to Ted Haggard and now Pastor Barnes so they can have the opportunity to reconcile sooner than later. We are showing them our support and encouragement, the same that is open to everyone. And yes, we will be sending them the movie once the wound isn't so open and they aren't in a total state of shock here around the holidays. Pastor Barnes' remarks, feelings and experiences are not at all unusual, I'm so thankful he's shown courage and honesty with himself and the world. He'll now be able to be an even better pastor, man and human being fitting into his own skin...finally!

"I have struggled with homosexuality since I was a 5-year-old boy. ... I can't tell you the number of nights I have cried myself to sleep, begging God to take this away." -- Pastor Paul Barnes

Check out the story

From Darren Main:
For the second time in as many months, another Colorado Evangelical pastor has stepped down for being gay. Considering the fact that Pastor Barnes has been asking God to change his sexual orientation since he was five with no effect, he might want to consider that it is not God who is conflicted about his sexuality. I hope he will find peace with who God created him to be.

For the college and high school students: get with us on facebook

As you know, we've been touring many universities the last few months and will be heading back out starting at the end of January in Ohio. We're meeting so many tremendously courageous, smart, active students on our trips and want to keep in touch with them all. So, we set up a facebook page so we can keep on top of what the college students want to know, need to hear, desire to be informed on and be helped by. So search us out on facebook and get involved in the discussion group today. As those who have come to our screenings have heard me say, "yeah, many of the homophobic problems are residing in the church and the church is a big part of the problem right now. However, I also believe that the church is and can be a major part of the solution as more and more religious folks connect the dots as God always has." There's thousands and thousands of teens and college students who are really freaking out and are scared to death with no one safe to talk to around them. It's our mission to be accessible, support, encourage and empower these guys. There are problems within the youth, and they can be their own solution. THAT'S a choice. Are you part of the problem...or the solution? Join us and be a part of the solution, get into our groups, get the DVD and get fired up! Time's a wastin'!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

New Yahoo! Group available!

We have learned of a new yahoo group around our movie, God & Gays: Bridging the Gap. We're aware of who started it and are completely comfortable with them as leaders in handling the delicacies of this emotionally charged issue. They are religious folks, many of them straight and they "get it." They saw the movie and felt compelled to do something about it and started the group. So, we wanted to make you aware of it and invite you to join. If you're involved in PFLAG, Christian, Catholic, Morman, Jehovah's Witness, atheist, straight or GLBTIQ, please join and spread the word and help out your fellow wo/man. We will be kept in the loop on how we can help and support the group.

So, now you can have more dialogue from the privacy of your computer, no excuse to keep it to yourself anymore and if you're straight and accepting, let me remind you of just how powerful and important you are by getting involved and "outing" yourself as a supporter for ALL people. Join the group and share the love...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

"Funny Hurts" from Jason Stuart

Hi guys. Here's an article Jason Stuart, who's featured in our movie and is a wonderful comic and human being, has written that I felt deserves posting on our blog. Take a gander and go from there...

All I ever wanted to do was act and do stand up comedy. Since I discovered that being gay was an issue to most folks one way or another, I feel compelled to take a stand when I see a group of my fellow human beings attacked. I was never the kind of man who could sit at a family dinner when a racist comment was made about any group. So if a racist joke were made, I would simply say, that's not ok with me. They would reply but you're not Black. Well, it's still not cool or funny.

So, I was saddened and offended at the crudeness, the lewdness, the brazen racism expressed by Michael Richards unloading his rage. Surely most comics have the skills to handle hecklers or distractions, from a large group of friends gathered for a surprise party at a comedy club where alcohol is routinely served. This should come as no surprise to any comic, and our tactics should be playful, to engage, and win over the noisy fuckers. It's part of our job.

To demean, an audience member with a vile, hateful diatribe, simply has no place in comedy. It's not even the word, it's who says it on our cultural landscape, in what context it is said, and most importantly the intent behind it. Nonetheless, I side with Oprah and think the word has too much meaning to be used in a public setting.

It is time for us all to stand up for an internal audit. What are we capable of? How many Mel Gibson and Michael Richards' moments have we witnessed in ourselves, both in and out of a comedy clubs?

As the NY Times stated on Dec. 3, "For some, the most important lesson, one which may show some progress toward racial tolerance, is that it is the man who first hurled the racial insult who appears more damaged this time, not the target of his epithet." Mr. (Dick) Gregory said his son told him a joke the other day: "What is worse than a white man calling a black man a nigger?" Mr. Gregory said, quoting his son. "Calling a white man Michael Richards." My hope is that Mr. Richards is able to turn this negative situation around and make it a positive by supporting the community with his celebrity. My hope is that then, he'll no longer be the target of jokes, and all of us may be changed by the discussion his behavior ignited.

I found myself in the lobby of the Laugh Factory after the news conference on November 27th and was asked to be of support to the owner Jamie Masada, who has had me work at his clubs for over 20 years as a headliner and always as an equal. After the press conference the New York Times asked me some questions. But the NY Times misquoted my words. So I wanted to set the record straight.

What I said was that, "about 25% of black comics have anti-gay material in their act and just as many or more white comedians do the same. What are we doing about that?" Nothing.... I spoke with Najee Ali, a civil rights activist and he responded by stating that he has been on the front lines to support all folks from prejudice.

So I turn to you, my community to start an enlarging dialogues on the social acceptability of gay-bashing. I ask the question where do we draw the line? The current all-important discourse on racist speak is vital. How can we as gay folks add to the crucial discourse centered now on racism? At a time when LGBTQ folks are scorned, do we not have to address the hate radiating from the Religious Right, and to all comics making us the "butt" of their homophobic fixations? We must ignite amongst Americans a desire to also dig deeper and address the hate. Most Americans have soul-searching to do in their comedy choices, on street corners, and middle school hallways, that are often not very funny either but painful to others.

I learned when I was 12 the word "fag" scraped on my locker with a nail. I saw it every day for 3 years in Jr. High School. I never said a word to a soul. It shredded my sense of who I was for almost 20 years, until I started speaking on college campuses on the power of being out in the workplace.

It is time for change and I for one intend to continue to be a part of it in my work and my life.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Podcast Interview with Luane Beck & Darren Main

Darren Main hosts her own podcast interviews where she discusses health, wellness, spirituality and more from all kinds of angles. She recently interviewed Luane, our director and has posted the interview on the web. Please take a listen and pass it around via email to as many as you can, keep feeding yourself and others on the subtance that'll help us feel "full", no more twinkie content to keep us asleep.

Darren, thank you for the interview and your support for our movie. Opportunities such as these will make differences and change lives, many of which we won't know about but know enough that they are there.

Listen to the interview
For iTunes