Monday, May 30, 2011

Still a Presbyterian minister, still gay: check!

Nothing much has changed, and everything has changed since Amendment 10A was ratified, coming into force in July 2011: we, who are LGBTQ and in relationship, can serve in ordained positions in the Presbyterian Church (USA).



Monday, May 16, 2011

And celebrating NBA Executives who come out: Rick Welts, Welcome!

This was a weekend of top people coming out.

There was also Rick Welts, owner of the Phoenix NBA team.

From the, Welts said this about coming out:

This is one of the last industries where the subject is off limits,” said Mr. Welts, who stands now as a true rarity, a man prominently employed in professional men’s team sports, willing to declare his homosexuality. “Nobody’s comfortable in engaging in a conversation.”

Dr. Richard Lapchick, the founder and director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, and the son of the basketball legend Joe Lapchick, agreed. “The fact that there’s no other man who has done this before speaks directly to how hard it must be for Rick to do this now,” he said.

Click here for more.

Welcome Rick!


Back in the Closet Again: "My View" in Chapel Hill News

Here's my latest column from Chapel Hill News:

At dinner, my friend David, with sadness in his voice, recounts what it was like to come out reluctantly to his 80-year-old mother.

She was stunned initially, uncomfortably so, and then openly fretted: "You better not tell your older brother. He is so conservative. He probably won't understand what is happening."

Unlike a younger generation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth who more readily self-identify who they are, David, who is now in his sixties, decided that he didn't need to come out to his older brother. He remains in the closet, for his brother's sake. He has dropped hints, but has never come out and told his family that he is gay, fearing the aftershock of sharing such news in the sunset days of life.

David is like a lot of LGBTQ people who are nearing retirement. Theirs is a generation of women and men who, having established themselves in life in the closet, see no advantage of letting others know who they really are later in life.

Deciding whether to come out later in life is but one of the unexpected hurdles that LGBTQ people encounter.

Over a cup of coffee with my friend Stuart, we talked about unexpected questions and issues that are raised when one grows older. Stuart is a Southern gentleman, born and raised in Tennessee. Almost 65 years old, he retired here after a lifetime in ministry as an Episcopal priest. Having served various parishes throughout his life, his last parish was in New York City.

From his experiences in the South and metropolitan New York and New Jersey, he believes there are more retirement communities and care facilities that are more welcoming of lesbians and gays up there than in the South.

Nevertheless, he moved back to the South because "my roots are here; these are my people."

Stuart shared the grave problems facing many lesbians and gays who retire here in the South. Growing up in the South as a closeted young gay man in a straight man's world, Stuart said, "Coming out meant that one would almost literally be marked with the letter 'S' for shame."

The Southern culture made sure that the shame was not only overt, but was so insidious that it entered into one's very unconsciousness, the marrow of one's bones, thrusting generations of lesbians and gays deeper into their closets.

Stuart continued: "To be gay meant that one was defective, in need of psychiatric care, or should simply move away, for the sake of honoring the integrity of one's family of origin who had to endure such an embarrassment."

The culture of shame that entombed many lesbians and gays continues this very day in many care facilities and nursing homes in the South. Some administrators and staff of various retirement communities in the area, while welcoming gay and lesbian couples to their institutions, do not openly broadcast that they are safe places for gays and lesbians to retire. In looking on the websites of many retirement communities in the Chapel Hill and Carrboro area, none publicize that they are especially welcoming of lesbian and gay residents.

Meanwhile, there are stories in the South in which lesbian and gay retired couples have been quietly asked to leave care facilities because their relationship has made other straight residents, or staff and administration personnel, uncomfortable.

"As a result of such discrimination, lesbians and gays walk on egg shells, some reverting and re-closeting themselves," said Stuart. "After all the time, energy, and talent it took to come out in one's younger years, this is where many lesbians and gays end up: back in the closet."

The culture of shame that labels LGBTQ people as "defective" leaves little wiggle room for older gays and lesbians. They are caught between the rock of grief and the hard place of regret as into the closet they go, again.

Click here for the article.



Don Lemon of CNN: Welcome!

Don Lemon came out of his closet this morning, joining Rachel Maddow and Thomas Roberts of MSNBC this morning as out lesbian and gay anchors...though there are other out LGBTQ reporters on network news.

This from his interview via

“It’s quite different for an African-American male,” he said. “It’s about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You’re taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away.” He said he believed the negative reaction to male homosexuality had to do with the history of discrimination that still affects many black Americans, as well as the attitudes of some black women.

“You’re afraid that black women will say the same things they do about how black men should be dating black women.” He added, “I guess this makes me a double minority now.”

So why do it? It really came down to the act of writing the book. Mr. Lemon said he had been on a panel a couple of years ago called “The Black Man in the Age of Obama,” and was approached afterward by a publisher’s representative about writing an inspirational book.

“It was supposed to be a little pamphlet,” he said. “You know: say your prayers; have a good, hearty handshake; say good morning to your boss.”

But as he began to write, he came to realize that he could not hold back the truth of who he was. He started to pour out the details of his personal life. How he had grown up not knowing his father, how he had suffered abuse by someone close to him."

From my experience of teaching at NC Central University, an historically black college/university there are many young women and men who are LGBTQ who are deep in their closet. The fear factor is very high in this context.

Click here for more.

Welcome out, Don!



Saturday, May 14, 2011

PCUSA: 10A Wins

For the first time in my life, especially as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament of the Presbyterian Church (USA) I can write and say and sing and dance:

I'm a Presbyterian Minister of the Word and Sacrament, and I'm gay.

The beauty of saying it now is this: I no longer fear expulsion. I will not be censured. I will not be defrocked. This is because the PCUSA announced to the world, through Amendment 10A, that I no longer have anything to fear about being out, because who I love and who loves me does not decide who is or is not called to ordained leadership in the PCUSA.





Love...At Any Age...

From the, this wonderful story:

May 11, 2011, 7:30 am — Updated: 11:31 am -->
After 60 Years, an Unfaded Desire to Make It ‘Legal’
Fred R. Conrad/The New York TimesRichard Adrian Dorr, left, and John Mace have been together for over 60 years.
Richard Adrian Dorr first sang for John Mace at the Juilliard School of Music in 1948: a rendition of the show tune “All the Things You Are,” in which the singer elegantly explains all the wonderful things his lover is to him.
Mr. Mace knew the song intimately and he accompanied Mr. Dorr on piano, with no sheet music.
The song ends with the hope that, “someday I’ll know this moment divine, when all the things you are, are mine.”
For Mr. Mace, who is 91, and Mr. Dorr, 83, that moment divine would come with a marriage in New York City where the couple has lived together for more than 60 years.
“Our friends have told us, ‘You two guys should get married in Massachusetts or Connecticut,’ but we’ve always been New Yorkers, and after 61 years of togetherness, we feel we have a right to be married in New York,” Mr. Mace said recently inside the sprawling apartment on West End Avenue and 96th Street in Manhattan where the couple, both of whom are voice teachers, live and work.
They have taught the likes of Bette Midler, Vanessa Redgrave, Natasha Richardson, Kim Basinger and Marsha Mason.
Both men continue to teach full time, and they took time between lessons to discuss their new role in the effort to legalize same-sex marriage in New York State. They have become part of an online advertising campaign in support of the change. A short video about the couple has been making the rounds in the past week, as part of a campaign by Freedom to Marry, a gay-rights advocacy group that is helping lead the effort on same-sex marriage.

Go to



Sunday, May 8, 2011

Being a Gay Parent

Here's the thing about being an open gay parent: in a country in which being an out gay parent is still a rarity, it brings with it certain kinds of injustices and acts of overt and covert discrimination.

This week, job discrimination has taken place in two interim positions at different Presbyterian Churches (PCUSA). One church search committee has not returned any emails for over two weeks, while another Presbytery gave the most convoluted answer to how they were going to introduce me to a prospective church.