Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘tour’ Category

Homeward Bound

Today I leave Seattle and spend a long day traveling home to Hartford. Because of Gustav, the conference I had hoped to attend in New Orleans got canceled. 😦 The upside is I now get 10 uninterrupted days at home. This has not happened since March.

I cannot begin to write about how special I found the Gender Odyssey Conference.

Gender Odyssey is an international conference focused on the thoughtful exploration of gender. We strive to create an empowering environment where people of all genders can share their experiences and learn from the experiences of others.

Through dialogue, peer-led presentations, and sharing skills and expertise, we work to create broader and evolving language, social support, and life pathways that support all gender identities. By doing so, we hope to strengthen ourselves and develop communities that celebrate all expressions of gender at any age.

I met so many amazing trans men, heard many of their stories, and participated in excellently facilitated workshops. You know when you step into a place that at first seemed foreign with new people and new constructs but suddenly you find yourself in the midst of community? That’s what it has been like.

Last night I had a long and fruitful discussion with Ron, an ex-gay survivor, about the Ex-Gay Survivor Movement and our next steps. He attended the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference we held last year in Irvine, CA and has felt a desire to get more involved with the movement. Now that the summer has ended, I feel able to begin to prepare for our upcoming ex-gay survivor events in Nashville and Denver later this year.

Anthony Venn Brown, an Australian ex-gay survivor, also attended the conference last year. He recently posted a blog entry that consists of a series of questions for ex-gay leaders to consider. You can check them out at his blog: 20 Questions for Ex-Gay Leaders.

I leave the Pacific North West excited that I will return soon. In October I will go to Vancouver, BC and then in November return to Seattle to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance. I’m still hoping to get back to Portland soon to visit Doug and Bruce and the guys at Anawim.

Now that summer is basically over, how is everyone doing?
Okay, I must get ready to board my plane…

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

After a whirlwind adventure in Washington, DC, which included a heated toilet seat with special cleansing superpowers, I landed in Seattle, Washington with a full blown case of the cold. Fortunately I had a full two days with nothing to do but indulge in a NyQuil induced coma. I emerged 48 hours later c0ld-free but muddy in the head. One stiff cup of a Seattle soy latte cleared away the funk and gave me liquid courage to explore the city.

The Gender Odyssey Conference began today with registration and meet & greet. I saw Katie, partner to Paige, so I didn’t feel so all alone and awkward. Tomorrow I will attend a few different workshops including, one on being Genderqueer and another on Class, poverty and the trans community.

I will leave the conference right after lunch to head two hours north to Blaine, Washington near the Canadian border where I will perform at a music festival (well with some comedy thrown in).

With Tropical Storm Gustav threatening to slam into the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, I may have to change my travel plans to New Orleans. Portland anyone???

Okay, off to bed with me with visions of trans men dancing in my head…

Read Full Post »

On Monday I begin a three city tour of my new play, a one-person, multi-character, multi-gender play, Transfigurations — Transgressing Gender in the Bible, which explores the lives of transgender Bible characters.

On Tuesday August 26, 2008 I will present the play at the headquarters of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) 1640 Rhode Island Ave, Washington, DC. An hors d’oeuvres reception begins at 5:30 PM with the performance starting at 6:00 pm.

On Wednesday I fly to Seattle, Washington for the Gender Odyssey Conference where I will mostly soak in the many amazing workshops, but I will also offer Transfigurations as a workshop on Sunday afternoon.

Then I fly to New Orleans to take part in the Many Stories One Voice Conference. In addition to performing Transfigurations, I will also attend and present at For Such a Time as This: A Transgender Pre-Event.

The last time I presented the play was earlier in the summer in Malta. The response there surprised me with many people telling me how deeply moved they were by both the material and the way I presented it. I feel so fortunate to have this play to perform. Please tell your friends in DC, Seattle and New Orleans about it!

For my full performance schedule, click here.

Read Full Post »

Hanging in Hatfield

Ah, I had a stellar week in/on Guernsey. I felt kissed by the warm sun everyday (and smacked in the butt by the icy waters). Perfect weather and a true break. I got to meet many family members of Auntie Doris. She originally hails from Guernsey and her extended family have overrun the island. One could not keep a secret in this place with a cousin, aunt or sibling popping up everywhere one goes.

I learned so much about the WWII Nazi Occupation of the island. I learned much from our visit to the Occupation Museum, but I found that the letters and artifacts from the occupation that Auntie Doris’ grandmother saved made the whole era come alive. So hard to imagine how this quiet tidy island filled up with Nazi troops, with homes and cars commandeered, signs in German everywhere and very little food or other rations.

Auntie Doris introduced me to several family members at their homes over meals and at the beach. Each one belongs to one of the island’s many churches (52 according to Auntie Doris) and many of them serve as leaders of their evangelical/charismatic churches (I really don’t know how to class them as I did not attend but went to the Quakers instead. Some are Elim Churches and others are New Frontiers with probably some independent ones as well.)

During these encounters we spent a great deal of time talking about the scriptures and of course sexuality. I especially appreciated praying with Auntie Doris’ cousin Becky and her husband Pierre. Dinner with her sister Louise and brother-in-law Phillip also served as a highlight with thoughtful and thought provoking discussion.

Now I have returned to London for the evening. Tomorrow I head to Canterbury/Kent for Lambeth. I will stay right there on the campus and will have a pass to go into many of the sessions. Goodness, what shall I wear? All these bishops have these lovely frocks. I can’t compete!

I feel honored to be part of the historic Lambeth Conference, and I look forward to seeing things firsthand. I hope to do some blogging from there, but we shall see what sort of time (and wifi) I have.

Do remember to ask me about the loaves and the fishes. This miracle has seriously challenged me ever since I stayed in Malta and began thinking and meditating on greed (not that the Matlese were greedy mind you. I just read a lot about the current housing loan crisis juxtaposed with the Hebrew prophets.)

Oh, and I just got word from my local public radio station that a program we did last year wow a PRNDI award. Catie Talarski, the segment producer, felt strong that she wanted to include the transgender perspective to the discussion, so invited local trans activist JeriMarie Liesegang to be part of the show. As a result, it came out quite well.

Where We Live has been honored with a first place award from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI), a national organization dedicated to the professional development of public radio journalists.

The national award, announced at PRNDI’s annual awards banquet in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, July 19, 2008, was presented for a show produced in 2007 about the issues of gender identity.

The program explored some of the realities of sexual identity and gender identity at the root of this issue. We talked with a performance artist who tells the story of an attempt to “cure” his homosexuality – and with someone who changed gender, and we discussed health impacts for the very diverse gay and transgendered community.

Read Full Post »

Doin’ Time in Guernsey

From the island paradise of Malta (ah those pea pastries, yummy beaches and beautiful new friends) I have jetted to the another island paradise, Guernsey, one of the Channel Island. I’m with Auntie Doris, who will have photos up today I believe. We stay in her grandmother’s home overlooking the English Channel. Most people I’ve met say it has the best views of any place in the island. I totally agree. Gorgeous.

Today we took a ferry to the smaller island of Herm for time on the beach and a swim in the soul-freezing water. Even though it was so cold, I still managed to swim for about 20minutes and get some laps in. I also nearly completed the book, Notes From an Exhibition by Patrick Gale. The writing and the story holds me transfixed, but I also appreciate the inclusion of contempory Quaker characters. Gale even includes descriptions of Meeting for Worship, Quaker weddings, funerals and more.

This weeks serves as a proper holiday for me (quite rare actually) but also a time to prepare for the Lambeth Conference where I will offer talks/performances as part of the “official fringe” events. Most likely I will not be on-line much until Monday night, so if you e-mailed me, I am not ignoring you, just resting and praying and sunning and reading and eating and singing ABBA tunes and not near a computer or wifi.

If you want to check out what is happening in and around Lambeth, check out Ruth Gledhill’s daily input for the Times of London or Bishop Gene Robinson’s (aka “the gay Gene”) Canterbury Tales from the Fringe (hat tip to Liz Op)

Read Full Post »

Photos from Malta

My dear friend and host in Malta, Diane took some photos of my visit and my performances that I thought I would share with you. I head out today for the UK where I will be with Auntie Doris for one week in Guernsey then off to Lambeth.

Here you see me with Diane


Performing in the Re-Education of George W. Bush


Lunch at the Open Centre with Mario who is saying some things that literally blows my mind.


Kissing Fudge the dog.

As Deborah in Transfigurations
At the beach with Marjon, Fredrick and the dogs, Fudge and Milly

Read Full Post »

My trip to Malta quickly comes to a close when I fly back to London on Monday. Last night I performed The Re-Education of George W. Bush–No President Left Behind! to a lively (and sweaty) audience in a super cool performance space called Warehouse No. 8. It literally had been a warehouse and still retains some of its rustic and industrial charm. It reminds me of some of the loft theater spaces in NYC during the 1980’s–the kind of space that inspires progressive theater.

Earlier this year I have performed the Bush play in Sweden, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each time I wonder, Will it work here? I do not presume that my performances will translate into other cultural and political-social settings. So far the piece has worked out in these non-US venues. Of course all these places have nearly constant exposure to US media, so many of the references and in-jokes do not seem all that foreign. Also the play pokes fun at George Bush in part and the USA and its citizens to a greater extent. This gives the European audiences a chance to hear me talk about “the other” without feeling defensive. Almost always after each European performance one or more audience member tells me “you know we have many of these same problems in our country.” (these problems=sexism, white privilege, inhospitality towards asylum seekers, etc)

Last night at Warehouse No. 8 I felt uncertain if the Bush show would work, especially in the summer heat (no air conditioning in this cutting edge space) and with the explosions from nearby festivals to the saints (they have loud saints here). But it worked. They laughed less than most audiences but afterwards many came to me effusive about how they enjoyed the show and how surprised they felt that I said something serious and thoughtful.

During the Q&A session I received two questions that stand out for me this morning.

1. Did you choose to go into ex-gay therapy/treatment or did someone force you?

Hmmm, good question. I have to say it was a little of both. I mean, yeah, sure, I constantly elected to go into a program, speak to a minister or a counselor. I willingly spent my own money on trying to de-gay myself. So yeah, I chose to live that way. But I also felt deeply coerced by society. Everywhere I went I heard how bad it was to be gay–on the playground, from the pulpit, through politicians and in the press. I swallowed those lies and believed them as if they were the gospel truth. I then went to war against myself thinking I was doing something holy that benefited me and society.

You can say I was weak. Instead of standing up to all that pressure, renouncing it and boldly stating, “I am what I am, and if you have a problem with it, too bad!” I bowed to the pressure. I was programmed to hate myself, and I went along with the program. It makes me wonder today about other ways I have been similarly programmed and have not yet liberated myself.

2. How has coming to Malta helped you in your own “re-education” process?

Excellent question. I had two significant and possibly life-changing
encounters this week. One was lunch with a Dominican priest who worked for many
years in Brazil. He was a personal friend of Poulo Frere. You can say this
priest ascribes to what has been called liberation theology. He looks at the
scripture with class lenses to see the plight of the poor and the oppressed. He
wanted to meet with me because he cannot come to my Transfigurations performance tonight. He felt curious about these transgender Bible characters I unearth.

I see the character of Joseph in Genesis as a very positive and powerful person because of his gender differences. This priest had not seen that before. He sees Joseph as someone who consolidated all of the land from the people so that the leader, Pharaoh, could have complete control and power. We came to a
place where we agreed that both of these readings can live side by side. Someone can do great things as a great person and also abuse power in ways that harm others while benefiting those who already have power and privilege.

That night I read through the both the major and minor prophets in the Hebrew scripture and discovered that they cried out about the same two things over and over. 1. The need for the people to return to a more pure form of worship stripped of idolatry and 2. The need for the people to no longer oppress the poor for their own gain and along with the need to stop injustice in the land.

These prophets never talked about sex, well, except for a few heterosexuals misbehaving. They talked about devotion to God and a quest to return justice to the land.

Yesterday I had another significant lunch at The Open Centre, a halfway house complex of sorts for men from Africa who arrived on Malta as asylum seekers and have since been released from detention but don’t yet have the legal or financial means to enter fully in the mainstream of society. I learned that for everyone of them who arrives safely on little boats and rafts, four of them die on the journey. The stories of violence, extreme poverty and trauma that they left behind in search of a better life for themselves and their families shocked me in large part because I never read these stories in the newspapers I get back home. I met a psychologist from Eritrea and many men of deep faith both Muslim and Christian. The needs they have can easily overwhelm a visitor. How they live with them I cannot imagine.

I began to wonder, do we have such centers in the US? What happens to the many many detainees in my country, similar men from Latin America and Africa and other places who come to the US looking for the opportunity and freedom we constantly advertise in our movies and such? I do not know. I realize I need and want to educate myself. I now want to contact my cousin Peter who works with asylum seekers in Connecticut.

Yes, Malta has challenged me to re-educate myself

Today I meet with perhaps the only two Quakers on the island. They want to start a meeting for worship here. I think of the small group of Quakers I met earlier this year in Northern Sweden who just started their own official meeting. I feel grateful to have these connections with Friends with familiar practices as well as new kinds of friends I meet who challenge the ways I think. I am a very very fortunate man.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »