Friday, February 29, 2008

Gay Friendly Straight Allies: Do They Get It?

There was an interesting essay in SELF magazine, written by a straight spouse of a gay man, in which she describes her feelings regarding life before the marriage, the marriage, and the after effects of a divorce and finding the "man of her dreams." Click here for the article. Thanks to Citizen Crain and Andrew Sullivan for the tip about this article.

I agree with both Crain and Sullivan: the vast majority of straight-allies do not understand the constant prejudice that we, who are LGBT, face day in and day out regarding the laws of the land that do not include us at all. By and large, our straight allies have no clue as to what we are not afforded, either as single LGBT people, or people in committed relationships. I am made aware of this truth when giving book talks from ON BEING A GAY PARENT, and some people express shock when I tell them about the 1000+ laws that heterosexual married couples have that those of us in long term committed relationships do not have, all because of a $45 piece of paper called a "marriage license."

The term, "Wake Up!" is not enough. Like Crain and Sullivan, our hope is that, with our collective voices, change is afoot.



Thursday, February 28, 2008

We're Here, We're Queer...and We're Your Pastor, Your Priest, Your Rabbi, Your Youth Leader, Your Choir Director, Your Organist, Your Wedding Guru

Sorry Bishop Robinson: there have been other Bishops and Archbishops, Cardinals and priests, rectors and assistant rectors, choir directors, vestrymen and women, parish board members, session members, elders, deacons, ministers, pastors, youth leaders, wedding consultants, choir directors, organists, contemporary music directors, Christian educators, liturgists, theologians, biblical scholars, ethicists, pastoral counselors, leading lay men and women, religious life members, brothers, sisters, monks, nuns, janitors, secretaries, missionaries, members of the body of Christ...who were gay before you. Of course, Bishop Gene Robinson has said that he is the first openly gay bishop, not that he was the first bishop.

Am I missing any class or group of people in the Church? If so, count your group infiltrated by LGBT people too. Because we are everywhere, no matter how conservative or liberal, evangelical or non-evangelical, Catholic or Orthodox, Protestant or non-denominational, African American, white, or Hispanic a church is!

Proof of that has come in the latest in the pages of the New Yorker magazine. Episcopal Bishop, the late Paul Moore, was gay. Honor Moore, the late-Bishop's daughter, has written a book on the subject. Listen to it after clicking here.

We're here, we're queer, and, well, just check the list above and circle which one you are!

Peace, Brett

Obama Targets Advertisements for the LGBT Community...And We're Waiting for McCain's Advertisements!

Barack Obama's campaign rolled out an advertisement for the LGBT community in Ohio and Texas, as reported on the Click here to read more.

Now what we are waiting for are the advertisements from John McCain's campaign! Perhaps Log Cabin Republicans can help him out, if need be. We missed Mike Huckabee's campaign for the LGBT community.



Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Andrew Sullivan and "Gays and Social Conservatism"

Andrew Sullivan had this interesting blog entry regarding social conservatives and LGBT people, in which he poses this rationale for why most social conservatives aren't homophobic, but just haven't thought about the kind of hurdles we live with daily:

Gays And Social Conservatism, Ctd.

27 Feb 2008 05:04 pm

A reader writes:

I am an American expat in Italy, and I share the perspective of your other reader. There is a widespread assumption among people in America, and in Italy, that gay couples actually have most legal rights. My expat situation, thank goodness, has been facilitated by a huge multinational company, so my employer has been very supportive of doing everything possible to keep me and my partner together.

The surprise? The HR people that have been handling this all assumed that the US Government and the Italian Government would treat us as a couple! Here you have human resources PROFESSIONALS, on two sides of the Atlantic, who didn't realize that the laws of two major Western democracies abandon some families to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

In the end, the hard work of my heroic colleagues in HR have given us a modicum of household security. But they should have known that a bit of heroism would be necessary.

These readers are onto something. Most heterosexuals do not understand that it's illegal to get married in 49 states in the US for gay couples; they don't understand that even if you have a legal contract with your spouse, your legal next of kin can and will challenge it, if you die or get sick; most heterosexuals have no idea that America bars gay spouses from immigration, and bars all HIV-positive non-Americans from even entering the country (a policy that the Bush administration, for all its action on AIDS abroad, has not changed in eight long years).

The main reason for this, I think, is not so much homophobia, as the fact that most heterosexuals simply cannot imagine falling in love with someone, and being told by their own government that they cannot marry him or her. The experience of gay couples is simply beyond most straight people's experience. If it happened to any of them, there would be outrage. Splitting husbands from wives, tearing children apart from their parents, using government to attack and punish and stigmatize family life: it's unimaginable. And yet, with gay couples, it's the law. And it's government policy. And one political party routinely celebrates attacking and demonizing gay couples and using every legal tool to undermine our families and relationships.

Which means we have much, much more work to do. And only gay people can do it.

Fascinating rationale...

What do you think?



The Times (Washington Times) They Are A' Changin'

Notice that The Washington Times, owned by a certain Rev. Moon and his Church, have made significant changes in how they address those of us who are LGB or T, as read this morning in

Washington Times updates style guide, conservatives up in arms

When the Washington Times, the conservative newspaper founded and run by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, changed its top leadership recently, observers expected that more change would be coming. They weren't wrong -- with the replacement of Executive Editor Wes Pruden by John Solomon, who has extensive experience at more mainstream media outlets, we've already seen one small but meaningful change to the paper's coverage. The Times has altered several elements of its style guide, telling staffers to use more neutral terminology instead of the doctrinaire wording and scare quotes favored by the previous editorial regime. In an e-mail memo that's been widely circulated now, one editor wrote:


Here are some recent updates to TWT style.

1) Clinton will be the headline word for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

2) Gay is approved for copy and preferred over homosexual, except in clinical references or references to sexual activity.

3) The quotation marks will come off gay marriage (preferred over homosexual marriage).

4) Moderate is approved, but centrist is still allowed.

5) We will use illegal immigrants, not illegal aliens.

This is good, when even more conservative publications are starting to make changes, a cultural shift that is slight but noticeable.

Times...they are a'changin'!



Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Bible Says, "He That Pisseth Against the Wall'

Cruising's website, I was caught by this YouTube'd episode of the young Baptist preacher who is preaching from his inerrant perspective of the Bible, arguing passionately against those "males" who "sit down on the toilet," when God clearly wants us "men" to "piss against the wall," according to Scriptures, "The word of God," and "wholesome words." The fall down of civilization, according to Rev. Sanderson, is because we are sitting down now to piss rather than standing up. He decries those who wrote the New King James Version and the New International Version who, he declares not only piss sitting down, but take out this reference, along with the word "damnation". He is angry against Germans for there are signs against pissing standing up. "We have a bunch of pastors who probably pee sitting down; we have a president who sits down when he pisses." To this young pastor, the Bible is clear: to be a man of God is to piss against walls. Anything less than that is, well, um, er: a sin!

(I'm falling down laughing now, rolling on the floor.)

After I caught my breath from being in hysterics while listening and watching this clip, I realized that this passion is also caught up in the arguments that many people in churches make against us who are LGB or T, using a total of eight (8) passages in the Bible that have little to nothing to do with our modern understanding of sexuality identity, orientation, or sexual expression among gays and straights alike. For years I have been in the presence of great theologians, biblical scholars, pastors, preachers, pastoral counselors, religious educators, and ethicists, who have seemingly boundless passion against those of us in the LGBT community based solely on 8 (did I say eight?) Scripture passages that refer to nothing akin to the modern sexual mores that straight and gay people practice and live today (sorry to be it hint of incredulity).

Enjoy the clip! Yet also remember that it is this same passionate man, caught up and believing his only rhetoric, who spews hate against those of us in the LGBT community.



Monday, February 25, 2008

"Hate is Not a Family Value"...Neither is Murder

At various pride festivals and parades, I often see the bumper-sticker, "Hate is Not a Family Value."

And murder is not a Christian virtuous practice, according to the Gospels. And according to the Decalogue (a.k.a., the 10 Commandments), it is not a Jewish practice. Nor is it a Muslim practice. In point of fact, I cannot think of any world religion in which out-right murder is a virtue. Can you?

On and South Florida Sun-Sentinel, there is a report of a killing of a 17 year-old teenager who is gay, dressed up like a woman in Ft. Lauderdale(click here). The investigation is ongoing as they seek to find out if this is a hate crime, e.g., was the young man Simmie Williams killed because he is gay.

This murder is on the heels of the young teenager, Lawrence King, who was killed in Oxnard, CA because he is gay. This was labeled a "hate crime." Click here for more.

There are the countless deaths--whether murder or suicide--of young people because they are part of families, youth groups in churches, synagogues, and mosques, going to a middle school or high school, or all alone and dealing with depression, or living a homeless life on the street, because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning youth. For some, dying and death is slow. Staying in the closet, is a form of death. For some, it is a death that is preceded by depression, which may lead to substance abuse or abuse of one's very being by denying one's sexual orientation and expression, slowly eats away at the very core of a person's being. For others, as in this situation, in which there were other people who, for whatever reason, killed these young men, death was quick. Nevertheless, when it is related to one's grappling with one's very being in a world in which many of us are not accepted simply because of who we are, it is past time to change the world in which we live.

New bumper-sticker: "Murder is not a Christian virtue."



Friday, February 22, 2008

Marriage: Reluctant Gays and Lesbians Not Rushing to Say "I Do"

On, there is an interesting article about the "Gay Marriage Slump," by Caren Chesler, in which she notes that getting married among those of us who are gay or lesbian, bisexual or transgender, is not as "easy" or "painless" as many thought it could be.

As a pastor who has wed over one hundred couples, and as one who has been married but is now divorced, let me say that while one can get married for as little as the $45 or $50 it costs to get the marriage license (let alone the cost of a wedding), it costs a great deal more to get divorced. There are couples that I was present at their wedding who, after being in a marriage for several years, countless hours of therapy, prayers to God for help, children, jobs, extended family intrusions, decided to sign off on the marriage because the "worse" part of the "for better or for worse, in good times and bad" relationship had taken over.

I'm glad--no, relieved--that gay and lesbian couples are doing what more straight couples should do: not rush into marriage! I've married too many heterosexual couples who simply got married because they felt pushed by their families, or the great American script of "happily ever after," and the "biological clock" that determined, for some, that they should get married before having a baby. I met and married too many heterosexual couples who were in "wonder lust" or just plain lust, more than thinking sanely and with a clear head about what they were about to commit themselves to: a life together of an everlasting quality and goal.

Marriage is an important, vital, communal, relational union, in which a wedding--whether or not it is understood as a sacrament or simply a timeless ritual--makes public what two people have felt, thought, intuited, sensed, and believed in for a long time. Couples therapy before people get married is a must in my book; spending a good few years in something called an "engagement period" isn't bad either. Go on an "Engagement Encounter" weekend. It is important that couples get to know each other well--through times of celebration and the "thin times" when everything goes wrong--before saying, "Will you?" and "I do."

Separating and divorcing is miserable, not fun, and can be ugly, heart wrenching, and mostly sad...let alone what the state and federal governments, along with businesses have you do once you separate and try to divide evenly the assets a couple has together. Messy does not begin to describe what is happening when a couple divorces, gay and straight alike.

Bravo to gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender, and straight people who think seriously before they say "I do," whether in a domestic partnership, civil union, common-law marriage, or marriage. What a great habit to practice!

Click here for the article.



Thursday, February 21, 2008

Scouting for All

Years ago, I watched a great documentary on the first days of a group called "Scouting for All," which was a reaction to the Boy Scouts of America. I grew up going to Cub Scouts, and went into Civil Air Patrol, missing the politics of the Boy Scouts of America for the politics of being a junior airman.

The Boy Scouts, which always seemed like an honorable and noble group of young men (and yes, we're all aware of the coming out stories among Scouts), embraced a faith perspective that was largely based upon a Jewish-Christian world view that excludes atheists and agnostics, let alone other faith traditions. And it wasn't until years later that it became obvious that the group did not welcome out or self-identified gays, bisexuals, and transgendered youth. While there are many Scouts who I have met later in life who were in the closet when in the Scouts, it is obvious that they too played the "don't ask, don't tell" politics of the Church and American military service.

Thus the power of the film: this was one of those films that simply reminded me, "Oh, yeah: that's another group that practices discrimination, like the some churches!"

I was reminded of this movie and movement when reading, and the Dallas Morning News, in which the Governor of Texas, Mr. Rick Perry, has, with another author, penned a book on the virtues of the Boy Scouts of America, which he construes is caught in the culture wars of modern American society. Click here for the article. Perry basically blames the ACLU and other groups for drawing our attention to the internal politics of the Boy Scouts of America, which they have done.

And, thankfully, we are a nation with many choices: we can go the way of the Boy Scouts of America, or Scouting for All. We are also a nation that is constantly changing, and some of those changes are an improvement: maybe one day there will be a scouting program truly for all who wish to participate.

Aware of the number of LGBT youth who commit suicide because they do not feel they belong in either their families, among friendship circles in school, in communities of faith, and not even necessarily civic groups like the Boy Scouts of America, I shake my head in dismay for all the ways our young people are excluded and shunned in this world. Through groups like GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) and other groups concerned about the youth of America, we can make a change for the better.

It is time to make a change as a nation, as a church, in other communities of faith, and in scouting programs.

Peace, Brett

Legalistic Mudwrestling

In reflecting upon my denomination's (PCUSA) struggle over Amendment B, a.k.a., "fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness" issue, in which we seem to find ourselves acting more like the Sadducees and Pharisees of our forbears, missing the Spirit totally in which it was written, I received this YNet news report from my friend John, in which being a lesbian is, under Jewish law, O.K.!

Consider the following: "First, as far as I know there is no problem with lesbian women in the Halacha. So we are left with a problem about the males. Here I expect the rabbis to resolve this issue once and for all, and preferably not in the Iranian way. I’m not talking about lifting prohibitions, but rather, about social acceptance."

Asaf Wohl argues that there is such a thing as religious homosexuality:
"This is because the same-sex model threatens the familiar family tradition. And from there it is a short distance to the demonic hatred many among the religious community hold towards the homo-lesbian public.
Even the argument that there is no such thing as a “religious homosexual” is baseless. If we have religious slanderers, religious thieves, and thank God, even religious murderers, why can’t we also have religious homosexuals, who don’t hurt anyone? After all, those who desecrate the Sabbath in public also deserve to be stoned, so why are you only angry at homosexuals?"

Click here for more serious fun, mudwrestling (after all, this theological argumentation is down and dirty work, but someone has to do it) and reflection as our Jewish brothers and sisters are struggling, like we are, to walk in the light of day, realizing that we are made, by our Almighty Creator, to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered people of God.



Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Reading and Speaking Engagements Today: Chapel Hill High School and at a Presbyterian Church in Burlington, NC

Today I am going to my daughter Adrianne's alma mater, Chapel Hill High School (NC) to speak to the students of the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance). Tom Greene, an out-teacher at the Chapel Hill High invited me to come to the high school this afternoon to simply talk with the students about being gay, being a gay parent, and being a Christian. Tom himself is a "P.K.," a.k.a., a Preacher's Kid, growing up in a Southern Baptist Church, though he no longer attends worship. As is the case for so many LGBT people, coming out of the closet in the context of a church often times means leaving communities of faith. In a day and age in which there is an emphasis on evangelism, especially among the mainstream Protestant churches, it is amazing to me to see that, as the numbers decrease across the board in these churches, someone doesn't realize that while, with one hand, they extend the right hand of fellowship to one group of people (heterosexuals), while with the other hand they push LGBT out the door. The problem? Not as many people (heterosexuals) are coming into the door as there are people being pushed out the door (LGBT).

So what would happen if the Church stopped pushing people out AND kept welcoming new people in?

What would Jesus think? Do? Say?

And tonight I will be in Burlington, NC, substituting for my good friend the Rev. Joe Harvard, speaking out about the place and presence of LGBT in the Church.

It is a good day to be out: being gay AND a Christian.



Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bullying Matters

When I was in junior high, my favorite bully was Keith Martin. He had blond hair and blue eyes, and he was a bully. Before I married and changed or hyphenated my name, my initials were "Brett Mitchell=B.M." I remember asking my parents often throughout the years, "Did you think about the ramifications of the initials before giving me a first name that began with a 'B'?" Their response? "We gave you a middle name (Parker) that began with a 'P'. You are BPM." It was always a chore reminding Keith that the name wasn't "BM," but "BPM." In seminary, another colleague, Doug, would love to sing out my initials across Princeton Seminary's grounds, "Hey, BM!" he would call out, and fall down laughing. We were both in our 20s. Bullying knows no age limit.

Bullying matters.

Most recently, my son was bullied in high school because of me and my book, ON BEING A GAY PARENT. Said one of the two bullies in his school, "You know, it (being gay) runs in the family." I already blogged about this earlier, when my son's friend told the bully how big and muscular I am, which seemed to draw to a close the bullying in the high school for or against my son.

Bullying matters.

Now there is this article in the Denver Post, about a young boy who is bullied who can, under the Colorado hate-crimes bill, bring charges against the bully. Click here to read more.

When are children taught to be bullies? At a tender age starting at birth. Who teaches children to be bullies? Often times, it would be the parents and siblings in the bully's home. Where and when do you stop bullying? Nip it in the bud: it starts at home. As do demonstrations of love: love and hate are both taught at home.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Civil Unions=Marriages? I Think Not

No surprise, really: In a study from New Jersey, it turns out that those LGBT couples who enter into a "civil union" (e.g., New Jersey, Connecticut) do not have or share the same advantages of "marriage" (e.g., Massachusetts). Civil unions simply do not offer the same legal rights or protections that marriage does in a court of law.

Notice here that I am not using the language of "gay marriage," because, first of all, it is not an all inclusive term, leaving out those who are lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered people. Secondly: the hope and the aim is marriage for all: gay, bisexual, transgender, lesbian, or straight people.

Third: last and not least, because of the rituals of modern American society, let alone the rituals and language of communities of faith, the very language of "civil unions" is awkward, not making those of us in such a relationship legally "husbands" or "wives," but still "partners," which we are before we enter a legally sanction, state-recognized "civil union." And our children still have an awkward time knowing how to refer to our relationship if we're not necessarily a married couple in the "eyes" of the state or religious community.

Governor Corzine of NJ is correct: he is willing to sign a marriage law for all in the state of New Jersey, but prefers not to do so in a presidential voting year, because of, well: the politics. The Republican party is already starting constitutional amendment initiatives in those states they missed in 2004, making "gay marriage" a "wedge issue" that divides voters in terms of voting a straight party line in one political party, and going for another political party.

Click here for more.



Sunday, February 17, 2008

Liberate the Penguins! Loudon County Elementary Schools are Hiding "And Tango Makes Three!"

The Washington Post had a story about the Superintendent of the Loudon County Schools (VA) taking out the copies of the wonderful children's story, "And Tango Makes Three," from the elementary schools in that school district because a (one) parent objected to the story.

Oh, please!

The story is a true life, real life story of Roy and Silo--male chin-strap penguins--who have a chick--Tango--and care for the young chick with tender affection...just like all male father penguins do!

Even though the principal of the school where the complaint arose, and the committees that were assigned to review the book, thought the book was fine, Superintendent Hatrick made the unilateral decision to take the book off the shelf away from children's ease of checking out the book. However, the book will be held in the "back" with the librarians/media resource staff who can let the book be read by teachers to a class. Why this decision? Because the children weren't developmentally ready for this story. Which or what developmental stage does one need to be "in" or "at" to understand the concept of "family?" Click here to learn more.

Is this not a form of censorship, hiding the book from all those who may want or need to read it? Rather than exposing children to all kinds of ways of being family, the children in this district are being deprived of knowing other ways of being family that are natural, designed by none other than God!

Let's liberate "And Tango Makes Three!"



Friday, February 15, 2008

Straight Spouse + Gay Spouse=Open Marriage? Divorce? Separation?

Interesting story today on CNN on-line, regarding straight spouses with gay spouses (Thanks to John for the tip). It seems that, like me, there are occurrences where one of the people who are married comes out of the "closet," deciding that he or she is gay (or lesbian, bisexual or transgender), and instead of choosing to divorce (like I did with my former spouse), stays in the marriage, though it is an open marriage (Click here to see story). By "open marriage" I mean each spouse can go and "date" (loosely defined) other people, though they are still, technically, married. Everything is above board; everyone knows what is happening within themselves and the other spouse; everyone is "in" on what is happening in the relationship, e.g., each spouse goes out on separate dates now and then. Of course, such an arrangement could also leave to a polyamorous relationship, but that is an entirely "other" blog entry.

In recent judicial actions in the Presbyterian Church (USA) regarding the ordination clause (to paraphrase) "fidelity in relationship and chastity in singleness"--which more or less means that only straight people who are living in marriage (but doesn't this now include or pertain to LGBT folks in Massachusetts who can marry? LGBT couples married abroad? How about civil unions and domestic partnerships? Are they not also a relationship of monogamy and fidelity?), or chaste (meaning celibate) in singleness (meaning you can be LGBT or straight but just not in a sexual relationship with anyone, period)--how would we treat the couple above who are living in "fidelity" in an "open relationship" marriage? They are faithful to one another, living no secret life, above-board, and beyond reproach: what about them? Can one be ordained in the PCUSA and live in an open-marriage? Can one be ordained and be LGBT as long as one is in a married relationship, at least in the state of Massachusetts?

The answer is...



Thursday, February 14, 2008

Reconciling United Methodists: The Latest Petition for Hope

In meeting with other clergypersons who are gay or lesbian on my recent book tour through the Bay Area, reading ON BEING A GAY PARENT to seminary, church and PFLAG groups, I am reminded of where we still are, in this day and age, regarding the open ordination, let alone marriage, of LGBT people: we are still in a position of second-class (or third class) citizenry in this ecclesial bodies. The hoops, hurdles, and strange language, deceptive antics, and legal tactics we must employ as LGBT people, including in my own denomination (PCUSA) and Presbytery of New Hope, e.g., Authoritative Interpretation (a.k.a., AI) and "scruples," are not part and parcel of the ordination process for straight people. While straight candidates for ministry must address theological, ecclesiological, and sacramental questions in the ordination process, we who are LGBT people also, and alone, often get questions that deal with very personal parts of our lives that no straight people are ever asked or questioned about. Talk about a double- or triple-standard!?

One day, hopefully soon, a worship service or two of forgiveness for this albatross-like process will have to be called for and held for making ordination of LGBT people tremendously difficult if not impossible at this time. It is for this very reason that so many clergy who are LGBT people "lie for Jesus," as one former closeted lesbian minister-professor constantly told prospective LGBT clergy at a prominent United Methodist seminary near my now-home in Carrboro, NC. The idea? Lie about being LGB or T, stay in the closet, in order to "get into the system," and make changes from within the system. The only problem was this: once in the system, a.k.a., the church, the lying LGBT minister--who had not only lied to Jesus but all those involved in the ordination track--was now living more securely in the closet, and would continue to stay in the closet because she or he wanted to rise in the rank of the United Methodist Church (or Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Disciples of Christ, Episcopalian, name your own denomination here____), and is now addicted (yes, addicted) to the money, comforts, power, and prestige of being the soon-to-be senior pastor of a multiple staff church. When I asked one intelligent, handsome, closeted pastor to consider coming out of the closet of his parish and work with the religious non-profit, School of the Pilgrim (I am the Director), he said that we could literally not afford him. In other words, he was getting paid more for staying in the closet at his parish, even though it is killing him (softly) and thus was stuck there, because of all the economic strings attached to his life and his parish. I have simply lost count of how many colleagues and former students I know who are "whores for Jesus" (says one friend who stays in the closet because he is dependent upon the church for health care and retirement benefits in his 50s) and "lying to Jesus" just to stay in their respective jobs as clergy. They will tell me, "All I'm doing is answering the call!" But at what cost, personally and communally? Whores and liars: is that what closeted LGBT clergypersons have become in our system of church governance?

What these now-ministers forgot or were suddenly realizing was the kind of courage it would take to be out-spoken out- LGBT prophets, in which they also stopped short of making the next crucial move: "Changing the Church with Jesus." Working in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit to be exact, who still embraces us in love, desires to make the Church more inclusive of all God's people, gay and straight, able-bodied and disabled, women and men, rich and poor, of all races, ethnicities, and heritages, young and old, etc.

How strong is this temptation to lie and be a whore for Jesus? Very strong. I should know: I lived it for over twenty-four years. Today, I am poorer economically, but healthier in body, mind, and spirit in the body of Christ. And with the publication of this book, I am working to change the Church with Jesus with love.

Let me state the obvious: there are people in the Church and in the world who hate us because we are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people, and are living in loving relationships. As my friend Richard Rodriguez reminded me this past week over a wonderful lunch-time conversation: momentum is on our side and we are going to win this argument, because love is more powerful than hate. If you need proof for my position just look at Jesus' life, death, and resurrection: call it love.

I recently received this "flash" news point from the Reconciling Ministries, made up of United Methodists, in which 75 LGBT clergypersons hope to amend their Book of Discipline, which outlaws the ordination of LGBT people. Below is the passage which this group hopes to take out of their Book of Discipline. For more information, please click here.

Paragraph 304.3 of the 2000 Discipline is a declaration of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” The practice of homosexuality is a chargeable offense under 2702.1(b) of the 2000 Discipline.

Let us pray,


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Meet Me In Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport: U.S. Sen. Larry Craig and the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee

After a wonderful book tour in the Bay Area, I was on my way home to North Carolina tonight, flying through the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport today, and I went to the men's restroom on the way to Concourse G. I suddenly thought, "I should go find the men's restroom where Larry Craig made history!" It was in this airport that Larry Craig was arrested for his, um, act of indecency, e.g., soliciting sex in the men's bathroom.

While I was meditating on the actions of Larry Craig, who is, most likely a still-closeted gay man--or at least one can come to this conclusion after reading about his past--there was a report on the AP wire regarding the Senate Ethics Committee's findings on Mr. Craig. They came to the conclusion that Mr. Craig acted "Improperly." Click here for more.

On the book tour, I met other closeted gay men and lesbian women who are pastors or are in training to become pastors, along with out-gay and lesbian clergy. In sensing the kind of work and energy it takes to stay closeted, like Mr. Craig, I have to say that there is a sense of healthiness and wholeness among the out-clergy persons. I envy these out-clergypersons, having played the game of "don't ask, don't tell" for over two decades as an ordained clergyperson in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

If only Mr. Craig had the courage to be the person God created him to be...



Monday, February 11, 2008

UCC Do It, Episcopalians Do It, Even Mormons Do It

Amid all the chatter regarding religion and we who are in the LGBTQ "community," (though I'm sure there is little in terms of homogeneity in this family), while we Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, and folks in the UCC (to name a few) are working hard to change our denominations from within, Lo and Behold: so are the Mormons, a.k.a., the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints folk. Affirmation, the LGBT community in the Mormon Church, numbering 2000 members, want to meet with the new prophet, Monson, and the ruling body of the Church. This is a first initiative of its kind!

Welcome aboard the movement, Mormons! Click here to read more!

I've been in the Bay Area, giving readings and having a discussion about the book with the folks of PFLAG-San Francisco. Wonderful discussion!



Gay Couples and Adoption in Israel! Breaking Through the Dam of Resistance

In Israel, the Attorney General ruled that same sex couples in a civil union can now both be the prospective guardians of a child. Before, like some states, only one of the members of a coupled relationship could adopt a child. Both parties, er, partners would be responsible for the well-being of the child. Click here for more,7340,L-3505079,00.html

Like the United States, there were some who were resistant of such a change. And, like the United States, some people have a hard time seeing that not allowing gay couples the right to adopt a child is an act of prejudice by the state.

So Israel is moving toward recognizing adopted children as part of a gay and lesbian couple's life legally. Now we wait for the United States to make such a bold and necessary move.



Friday, February 8, 2008

Another Christian Gay Dad Tells His Story at NGLTF's Creating Change Conference

And of course that father is none other than Gene Robinson! According to press releases, he is going to be speaking at the National Gay Lesbian Task Force meeting, Creating Change, addressing the topic of our coming out as moms and dads, which is, in effect, creating change for our families and the world.

Click here to read more.

I will be reading from ON BEING A GAY PARENT at 3:00 P.M. at the PFLAG San Francisco meeting on Sunday, Feb. 10th, and then at San Francisco Theological Seminary during lunch on Mon., Feb. 11th, and than in the early evening with the PFLAG group in Redwood City. I look forward to seeing you there!



Lavender Lunch at Pacific School of Religion and Book Reading at St. John's Episcopal Church, San Francisco: Thank you!

On Thursday, February 7th, 2008, I had the honor of being at the Lavender Lunch at Pacific School of Religion (PSR) in Berkeley, and in the evening, after the Taize community worship, at St. John's Episcopal Church.  It was great to be in both of these venues, and a big thank you to those who came to the readings and book signings.

At PSR, I remembered a term I had heard before but not used: a young man called himself a Colager, which is taken from the group, COLAGE, Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere.  The young man kindly asked how my children had changed since I had come out publicly, realizing that as I came out of "the closet," so my children were now also out of the closet, in a very public manner.

At St. John's, we had a gathering of largely gay and lesbian parents, with a great discussion about the challenges we have all faced with being parents and parts of families in which our long term committed relationships are part of daily life.  The discussion of when normalcy and the exceptionality of being a gay or lesbian couple breaks through was fascinating.  On one hand, we who are in lesbian and gay committed relationships keep moving along, living life normally as out-people, but we are always surprised by the sudden road bump that emerges and jostles us in realizing how unique we still are in the American landscape.  

Thanks to both groups for hosting a reading and signing of the book ON BEING A GAY PARENT!



Wednesday, February 6, 2008

In Britain, Our Agenda Has Been Discovered: The Destruction of the Family

Having recently written the book ON BEING A GAY PARENT, I find this BBC News report fascinating: that the Christian Congress for Traditional Values believes that we who are LGBT are out to destroy the family. (Click here for more). This Congress realizes that there is a chance that a "modern family was increasingly less likely to include a married man, woman and their children."

Whose image or concept of this family as being "married man, woman and their children" is the modern family of today? Was this ever the only way of being a family? Being a family=one married man + one married woman (though the ad doesn't include a married woman) + children is, itself, the magical elixir of being a family? After all, both Oxford and Webster dictionaries have eleven definitions of the word "family."

We who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or those who are transgender, along with our straight brothers and sisters, have a choice to be any kind of family we want to be, because there is no "one size fits all" kind of family.

Or is there going to be a Constitutional amendment defining a family?



Monday, February 4, 2008

Being Faithfully Jewish AND Gay!

In Y News, there is a wonderful story of faithful Jews who are gay and lesbian, creating a new website. Like ON BEING A GAY PARENT, this story is important as well, because we, who are people of faith, are not bashing our religious communities nor being gay, but celebrating both as God's gift! Click here to the story!

Having seen the DVD, "Trembling Before G_d," by Sandi Dubowski, following the lives of orthodox Jews who are gay or lesbian, this website is a wonderfully audacious event.

Mazel tov!


In Oregon, Domestic Partnerships are Happening!

How great for the people of Oregon! Though there had been an attempt to thwart the legislative body's work in allowing domestic partnership, the state-wide newspaper, the Oregonian reported that "U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman's decision means that starting Monday, same-sex couples can start signing up for domestic partnerships, entitling them to most of the duties and benefits that married residents receive." Today, lesbiand and gays lined up to become recognized as a civil, domestic couple. Click here to read the rest of the story.



Friday, February 1, 2008

TN: The State That Wants to Take Away the Ability to Say the Word "Gay" in Public Schools!

Ah, just for a TGIF moment, there is this little tid-bit from In TN, Representative Stacey Campfield wants to prohibit teachers in elementary and middle school to say the word "homosexual," or references to it (click here). That would mean that my children, were they in a public school, could not actually talk about Dean and me in the public schools. That would mean that young LGBT teens could not talk about what is going on in their lives.

While hunger and homelessness blanket so many of our states, racial inequality still abounds, discrimination based on gender, race, economic class, abilities, ethnicities, heritages, and sexual orientation abound, Mr. Campfield wants to ban certain speech in the public schools.

Tell me again how this is protecting the Constitutional mandate for freedom of speech?



The Politics of the Body

Let me see if I understand this correctly: what true conservatives, or what we would call today libertarians who are still true conservatives, desire is less intrusion and strictures of the so-called state in regulating the lives of those of us in the body politic. The cry of some so-called conservatives is that those of us who are liberal is that we want the state to regulate our lives through and by too many laws, e.g., social engineering.

So are the people, who identify themselves as so-called "conservatives" today acting in a non-conservative way, again, when they believe it is necessary to amend state constitutions to make sure that marriage is between one man and one woman? Isn't this the state working over time to regulate adult relationships in both the public and personal sphere?

This morning, I woke up to the news that the state of Oregon still has not implemented a domestic partner bill, which was supposed to be implemented Jan. 1, 2008 but was delayed because of a "conservative" group petitioning a certain circuit court in order to stop the implementation of the law (click here). Meanwhile, Indiana legislators are working hard to amend their constitution to be sure marriage is between one man and one woman (click here).

Politically, OR is a blue state or leaning Democratic, while IN is a red state, or leaning Republican. Yet are both states acting liberally?

Both states are joining others who have amended the constitution of their states, making it harder for our families to feel safe and secure, and are not living up to the conservative ideals that so many so-called conservatives espouse: less intrusion by the state on our public and personal lives.

There are times that I too want us as a nation to act with a more conservative bent.