This past week I got serious about moving at the end of the month. I was packing, cleaning, donating, tossing, and finding surprises! As a part of all that, I decided to filter through about 20 years worth of paperwork (receipts, bills, taxes, old condo papers, etc.) In the process of digging through all this paper, I found a hard copy of The Los Angeles Times ad I was in on July 23rd, 2004.
The weird thing about July 23rd, it is a day that just sort of pops up in strange ways. On July 23rd, 1992, I went to my first Exodus group meeting in Arlington Texas. This ad was placed exactly 14 years, to the day, later. Then, 11 years after the ad, on July 23rd, 2013, I made a public apology to the gay community for doing things like that ad. I consider that apology my last “statement” as an ex-gay leader. I would lay myself off from Exodus, as a part of shutting it down, a month later. More about why I include this tidbit later in the post.
Seasons change, and one date I do not feel trepidation over 🙂 and love is January 12th, 2015. The next 1/12 will be my two year anniversary of coming out. Interestingly I will be interviewed in mid and late January for two different documentaries that I am excited for and want to tell you about.
At the end of January, I will be interviewing with Kristine Stolakis out of San Francisco. She describes her documentary as, “a documentary film exploring the history and ramifications of conversion therapy.” Her amazing bio reads in part,
Hello! I am a BAFTA nominated documentary filmmaker dedicated to making creative and diverse stories. I am a director at Paper Bridge Films, a documentary production company based in San Francisco.
Click here to read her full bio. I have thoroughly enjoyed talking with and getting to know Kristine. Love her heart, professionalism, and vision. All that, and she’s fun! She is flying into Orlando twice to do interviews and visit local places. Looking forward to her visits.
In Mid January, I will interview with award winning documentarian Daniel Karslake. Daniel made a documentary that drove me nuts back in 2007 called “For The Bible Tells Me So.” I was not a fan of the worldwide hullabaloo it generated at the time and never actually watched it (then.)
After watching his film last winter, I was so wrong. Daniel’s documentary is powerful and good. I highly recommend watching For The Bible Tells Me So.
Daniel and I have become friends over the past year. He is an amazing man, artist story-teller, with an incredible heart. His bio reads in part:
Daniel Karslake is an award-winning American director and producer whose highly acclaimed work deals with pressing issues of national and international social justice.
From the director/producer of FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO comes a new film that continues the conversation about the intersection of religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and the real definition of “family.”
Daniel sent out a film update last week. Click here for the PDF report and read all about where the film is currently at in its development. Please, after reading, consider supporting this project. Daniel and I have spoken in person several times when he has been in Orlando visiting friends and a few fundraisers. We have also had many conversations online. He is a genuinely great guy. I am really looking forward to the interview and helping his project in any way I can.
I included the photo of the LA Times ad at the beginning of this post because running into it this past week caused my heart to sink. Even so, it is a timely reminder that while I believe I was wrong back then, I’ve always been passionate about what I believe. Finding this ad reminded me to not shrink back; to continue to press forward and seek to make a positive difference. If I was willing to put a face to that side of the issue, I need to continue to speak up about how true freedom includes being honest with ourselves and others. Lend my voice to the truth that being gay is a blessing, a gift even. As a person of faith, I also want to share that Christ accepts us for all of who we are, including our innate relational state of being as LGBTQ people
My story is just one of many that can and will be told. It will take all of us sharing our stories in whatever way we can to make a loving impact for the greater good. Sharing our lives is one of the many ways we manifest beauty in the world and possibly help others navigate in healthy and safe ways. Sure, I would love to help others avoid the pain and confusion I went through. More importantly, I hope they experience abundant joy, overflowing grace, honest relationships, and the treasure of personal authenticity.
I spent many years talking about “freedom.” Now that I have finally found it, I want to share it in whatever ways open up to do so.