Post Taken Down: “Why Ex-Gay/Conversion Ministry Is Worse Than “Conversion Therapy”

After some really great feedback on how to make the points in yesterday’s blog post even better, I have decided to unpublish the article, “Why Ex-Gay/Conversion Ministry Is Worse Than ‘Conversion Therapy.'” Thanks to those of you who read and shared the post. I still believe in the core content, but will work on it being more clear and impactful. Thank you!

The Life of A Duck

I am looking out my kitchen window at the pond over behind the mailbox. I love being able to see the water and catch glimpses of Delores, Delilah, and Desiree (the 3D’s) as they swim by from time to time.

The 3D’s are gorgeous solid white everpresent ducks.

They preen, a lot. They eat yet undiscovered Reese’s peanut butter cups. Well, that is what is happening in my mind because the bug eating thing is a gross part of nature I don’t care to think about. Plus, Reese’s Easter Eggs have to come from somewhere, right? They honk at other birds or animals moving in or around their pond. Other than that, they nap, and just float around in the beautiful sun while dreaming of exclusive pond domination and listening to the waterfall.

They don’t know what a Trump is. They don’t care about whether they are getting the correct amount of upload and download speed on their Internet connection. Zyrtec isn’t drying out their skin, and they are not wondering what the hell the neighbors are remodeling this time. They are not worried about their next car payment or if the duck’s in the next pond have the nuclear codes or not. The 3D’s seem quite content being with their crew, hanging out at the pond, saying hello to the turtles, and enjoying the Reese’s cup filled environment they exist in.

Don’t worry, I am not going to say something cliche like, “Here are 5 life-lessons from Delores, Delilah and Desiree.” They are *ducks* and we are humans for goodness sakes. But what they do remind me to do is to look outside of my ordinary and allow imagination to roam freely in the environment the universe has seen fit to place me in. And…

  • To be grateful for the sunshine.
  • To be grateful for provision.
  • To be grateful Divine Synchronicity.
  • That my upload and download speeds on my internet connection are SO much better than 20 years ago.
  • To be grateful that our Creator is magnificent and extravagant in everything beautiful.
  • That my faith and spirituality are thriving.
  • To be grateful for the ability to choose to be grateful.

In other words, looking out the window at the 3D’s reminded me to be grateful for the present, the now, the “what is,” and not be distracted by the fleeting cares/concerns of what was or unrealistic expectations of what could be.

And, … so what if I mythologized the origin story of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups? …. 😉

Intentional imagination and gratitude is always a good thing.

Being Free is Good,

Will & Grace Unfiltered

Dan was all excited last night. He texted from work that it was the premiere night for the reboot of Will & Grace. His text got me excited for the show, too.  This is the truth, before last night I had never seen an episode of Will & Grace except for one in 2000 where they were lampooning ex-gay ministries. When that one aired, I was the Executive Director of a local Exodus ministry in Texas little over two years before joining Exodus’ staff in 2002. I was SO upset during that show. I was incredibly angry with the actors. But, I felt I had to watch because everyone in our groups and online forums (what we did before Facebook) would be talking about it. I never watched an episode of Will & Grace before that or after… Until last night.

It’s weird how being honest with yourself and living an authentic life can remove fear and anxiety. I genuinely couldn’t wait to watch the show! Apparently, 99% of the gay people in America were excited as well. During the episode, my Facebook newsfeed was filled with happy gay people exclaiming versions of “OMG! Will & Grace!!” or “With friends having a Will & Grace party!” or “They still got it!” or “LMAO … Karen!”

Ok, that last one was me leaving a comment on a friend’s post. 🙂

We sat on the couch and just laughed through the whole thing. I am the political #DumpTheChumpTrump one, so I really got into last nights episode. Great writing, great acting, great… funny. But there were moments while laughing where I remembered the other time I had watched the show; memories of how knotted up my stomach was, how sad and angry I was at how they just “didn’t understand” us. Last night, it was fun to be able to belly-laugh from a once knotted up stomach. It was good to see the show for what it really is and not filtered through the lens of religious fear and stigma.

The first time around, it was that religious filter that caused me to misunderstand Will & Grace, not the other way around. We were culturally conditioned (in the ex-gay/conversion ministry world) to believe that any challenge to our beliefs was intense “persecution” and “a cross to bear” so we saw it as such. Now, of course, I know that is not true. Satire is simply satire, comedy challenges and explores… there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s evidence of how incorrect and shaky our beliefs were that we were so easily offended and insulted. Plus, the knots in my stomach were as much from a desire to live life open and free as it was from the fear of living life open and free. How wonderful it is that today I can join my LGBT+ brothers and sisters and simply enjoy a funny show.

I think perhaps it is time to binge watch the older seasons of Will & Grace. Starting with the episode that bothered the old Randy as he watched from the stained glass closet.

Being free is good,

Post Hurricane Irma Update

Good morning! Here is another Post-Irmageddon Update: LOTS of loved ones traveling today so please pray. Got up this morning at the butt-crack of dawn to take Dan to the airport. He is going to visit and work with some friends in Alabama for a week. But, while he is leaving the state, millions are still trying to get home. My parents and a lot of friends are trying to get back into Florida and I have heard from three different ones that it’s been horrible traffic. I know they are anxious to get home so join me in praying for all the congestion to clear up, people stay calm, and they are safe.

My parent’s house is down southwest of here so Irma was a LOT stronger as she went right over their home. I am very anxious (as I am sure they are) to know if their house is ok. Please pray they pull up to their home, it has no damage and full power and they can relax.

At Casa de Dandy, we never lost water so that is good. Electricity came back on last night but the cable (and for us that is basically wifi) is still out. Plus, ever since the electricity came back on, the data service through my phone has been very spotty and frustrating. It’s inhibiting my ability to do some work and resume the job hunt. Plus I am doing some preliminary work on non-profit stuff 🙂. Once Starbucks reopens I may need to just park my butt there all day; that’s assuming their wifi will be working.

Unfortunately we lost ALL our food and burned through the non-perishables quickly. I just had a bread and mayo sandwich for a late breakfast :::laugh::: We’ve been hit pretty hard financially lately so this isn’t helping. But, and I mean this even though it sounds cliche, the Lord will provide. He always does.

Also, I finally got caught up on the news and I can’t believe how much devastation hit the state. From Miami, to the Keys (holy crap the Keys y’all, heart breaking) to my parents area, to the heartbreaking scenes I have seen around here, flooding in Jacksonville, people pulling trees off of homes here and in Gainesville… on and on. It threatens to overwhelm but, like Texas, we are good strong people. I am also looking into how to help those around us, or anywhere really, in the state.

Thank you for your prayers and friendship!

The photo on this post is of our landlords Dwayne & Dante. They are awesome guys and incredibly gracious. Yard work after a hurricane is not exactly fun but I am glad we got to spend time together yesterday.

Prepping For Hurricane Irma

While there is plenty to accomplish while prepping for the storm, the only high priority five alarm items I have on the nefarious gay agenda here in Mount Dora today is to score some bottled water and/or find containers to store tap water. Not succeeding in my quest as of yet but we still have a few days if the hurricane prediction track holds true.

Floridians have been watching the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Texas with empathy and understanding. While not all of us have experienced the complete devastation of historic record breaking flooding, many of us know exactly what it is like to live with anxiety over that impending “cone of uncertainty.” We know how surreal it is to go into survival mode and watch an entire city/state wake up like a swarm of bees 24/7. We know what it is like to hear the winds howling, blinding rain, and sometimes sirens blaring (spinoff tornadoes) wondering if we will be ok and if our friends will be ok. We know how to prep, assess and deal with property damage, blocked roads, power outages for days (some longer), and sometimes deal with personal loss.

It sucks. Completely.

Today’s mission was to get stocked up on gas, water, and basics. Gas was much more expensive than the last time I bought it, and I had to wait in line at the station. As I was pumping gas everyone was talking to everyone else about the price hike and how crazy it was at various stores. I went to Walmart, Target, Publix, and Aldi. Well, I didn’t actually go into Aldi because I couldn’t find a parking spot for 20 minutes and people were crazy driving; I got out of there.

As I waited in the massive Walmart line with my bread, toilet paper, Gatorade, margarita mix (essential I tell you), and other things, I thought, “Any moment some mean-spirited religious person is going to say that this is further evidence of God’s judgment against …” blah blah blah. And then it occurred to me, “So what? Why are you standing here thinking of that? Pay attention to the people around you; that God has seen fit to put right in front of your face.”

That’s when I noticed the Sheriff, an officer and a firefighter in the line behind me. They were having fun teasing each other, but they were also encouraging each other that regardless of how hectic it might get, they got it covered and under control. As I was leaving, I noticed a 50 something man tell a 70 something woman, “Of course I will help you find your car? What does it look like?”

And as I pushed my shopping cart away from my car toward the return bin, snagging up other carts people haphazardly left in various spots along the way to put in the bin as well, I looked up at the sky and called Hurricane Irma something that is probably not Jesus approved.

You know… I am not perfect. I call weather systems cuss words. It happens. It’s part of my “warts and all” disclaimer when people say they love me.

Back to the point, for those directly in the path of danger, this isn’t about politics or fear-mongering. It isn’t about culture war talking points or negative attention seeking opportunists. It’s genuinely about trying to not run over the 50-year-old dude helping a 70-year-old woman trying to find her car while you are looking for bottled water. It’s about doing what you can to provide for and protect your loved ones and taking comfort in seeing your neighbors and local first responders behaving with confidence and compassion.

And for those of us inclined to do so, this time before the storm is about prayer as well. Prayer for the survivors of Harvey and praying for our own safety; that Irma will suddenly swing north and die out at sea missing everyone.

It’s good to stay focused on the positive right there in front of my face, preparing for the worst while praying for the best, being intentionally grateful, and of course randomly cussing at a hurricane under my breath.

Being free is good,

It’s Official, Rough Draft is Done!

YAY! So excited! At 81,115 words and 12 chapters, the rough draft of my memoir is done! A few minutes ago, Dan and I raised cocktail and said, “cheers!” in celebration. I finished it about 4:45 pm today. When I took my hands off the keyboard realizing it’s done, that was a moment I won’t likely forget.  The journey will continue of course because there is the need for editing, finding an agent (might have one soon), publisher and all that. But, having the rough draft done is a sweet feeling.

Thank you for your friendship, encouragement, and support. It’s gettin’ there!