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Posts Tagged ‘Joe G.’

Joe "not-so" Cool

Zack and Peterson are back together this week! And while Peterson is interested in conducting a sensible interview with our guest, Joe Gee, about being one of the earliest queer podcasters, Joe and Zack are more interested in spending the show busting on Peterson. Still, we manage to discuss Joe’s experiences podcasting, we “bump” a whole bunch of other shows, and Joe also talks about walking away from Quakerism and becoming a non-believer and humanist. Enjoy this raucous half-hour with your favorite queer podcasters back in action with puns and euphemisms galore!

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!

Listen to this week’s episode

// Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» Teresa Ortega’s blog – In Sequence

» Yeast Radio featuring Madge Weinstein

» Queer Podder (now qpodder)

» The Progrum with Wanda Wisdom

» Ragan Fox’s Podcast (Fox and the City) and Blog (America’s Next Top Bottom)

» The Flatus Show with Kentie

» Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters with Ninja

» Zillafag

» Watch the Holy Ghost Enema video on YouTube!!

» Adam Curry (Podshow, by the way, is now Vimeo)

» Music Alley (formerly PodSafe)

» The Dark Forest (not Deep Forest) with Ranger John

» The Lesbian Mafia

» Feast of Fun

» Same Sex Sunday

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I have been a fan of podcasts for the past five or so years. Some of my favorite LGBTQ-themed shows have included The Flatus Show, Feast of Fools (now Feast of Fun), Tranny Wreck Radio, and the delicious work of my friend and on-line nemesis, Joe Gee (He recently ended his podcast Bored Beyond Belief because I guess he was while we his listeners and fans are still interested-hint, hint.)

Perhaps my all time FAVORITE podcast is Trans-Ponder. According to show co-hosts, Jayna and Mila, a legally married female couple–how Un-American!–

Transponder is a show for those considering, beginning, or in the process of gender transition, and for those who wish to learn more about us, or lend support to the community. Our show shares experiences and insights on transition with a positive look at the community.

Their show always contains lots of information, insight, and humor around transition and a variety of transgender issues. It also gets serious, snarky and strong when it comes to injustice towards transgender people and transsexuals. I have learned a great deal from listening to this program, and I routinely prescribe their podcast to non-trans people who say they want to know more. Listen to three or four shows you will laugh, you will cry, you will learn and grow. I especially love the breezy banter between Mila and Jayna when they could talk about pop culture, geeky stuff, important topics or nothing in particular.

Perhaps partly inspired by this delicious breezy style, blogger Zack Ford and I recorded our first episode of Queer and Queerer, in which we “discuss” queer pop crooner Rufus Wainwright and his recent allusion to the gayness of rapper 50 Cent, President Obama’s recent memo about hospital visitations for LGBT couples, and a general introduction to who we are. From the Queer and Queerer web page Zack describes our:

new experiment in activism! Peterson Toscano and I have teamed up to regularly discuss issues related to the queer community, religion, and higher education. Queer and Queerer aims to be both silly and serious, so take a listen and tell us what you think! We are new to podcasting and we welcome your feedback!!

Zack Ford and I are well paired for this jaunty endeavor in large part because of what we share in common as well as significant differences. Zack, age 24, is a recent Grad school graduate looking to work on a campus with LGBTQ students and issues. I am 21 years his senior (although you’d swear we looked more like brothers with my youthful glow 😛 ), and also do lots of work on college campuses around LGBTQ issues. We both have an interest in religion, I am a recovering Fundamentalist Christian who now embraces a post-modern flavored Christianity within a Quaker context. Zack is a non-theist, an atheist and I think he would say an anti-theist. (I MUST introduce Zack to Marvin Bloom!) We both live in rural Central Pennsylvania (or Pennsyltucky as Zack says) and get together once a week when we are both in town to talk about the issues that interest us. Zack suggested we continue to do this but with a microphone stuck in our faces.

Here is the first attempt, without theme show music or fancy editing. But in this 25 minute podcast you get a flavor for our presentation style, our banter, and a sample of how we will talk about the issues both silly and serious (or both at the same time.)

To subscribe to the Queer and Queerer podcast in iTunes, click here.

To see the Queer and Queerer page in the iTunes store, click here.

The Queer and Queerer podcast has its own feed separate from the ZFb feed. It’s found here.

Enjoy! and let us know what you think, suggestions for topics, and of course our offering of praise.

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Job of the Week

Job of the Week

Recently the UK-based website Ideas Tap interviewed me for their on-line magazine featuring me in their Job of the Week section. They were especially interested in potentially controversial aspects of my work as a queer theatrical performance activist.

People often ask me if I run into problems/opposition when I perform my plays. Really I rarely do, and if so it is mostly on-line. Evangelical and Conservative Christians don’t much fuss over what I do (at least not to my face). Usually the fussing comes from fellow gays and from Quakers. (I love me some Quakers, but Friends can be the most difficult audience member when they take things too literally. They can get so caught up in words that they miss the point.)

Do you consider yourself to be controversial?

Let’s see. I recently retired a play called “The Re-Education of George W.Bush–No President Left Behind!” after I got more bookings for it in the UK and Sweden than in the USA. My newest play is about transgender Bible characters (the BBC had me on-air for nearly two hours talking about this topic.) And I once spent nearly 20 years trying to ‘de-gay’ myself (and completely failed) because I believed I could not be gay AND Christian. Controversial stuff.

Perhaps most controversial for lots of people is that I currently identify as Gay AND Christian. People on many sides get upset about this. In fact, I find it harder to come out Christian among queer folks than to come out gay among church folks.

Do you think controversy is useful?

At times controversy is essential. We sometimes need to jar people out of their slumber and their fears. The goal is not simply to BE shocking, but to uncover what already IS shocking and help people see this for themselves.

Towards the end of the interview they wanted me to name five organizations/websites/resources that you find useful which would be beneficial to other people. Included in the five I listed my favorite podcast–Trans-Ponder. (Mila & Jayna you are brilliant!)

I would have mentioned Joe G’s Bored Beyond the Belief (check out his latest podcast–Michael and Me at 50) but I only find it beneficial for killing 11 minutes or so when I am waiting for my jeans to dry. Now if they asked for an entertaining resource, his pod would have been first on the list!

Check out the full interview here. You have to create a free account, but it takes seconds and Ideas Tap has lots of cool stuff on it worth checking out.

In my list of beneficial resources I also included the Religious Society of Friends–Quakers. There is actually controversy among Friends about whether we should or should not share our faith/practice. Wanna see a Quaker get huffy in Meeting for Worship with attention to Business? Say that you want to start an outreach committee to do proselytizing. You will witness the closest thing to a Quaker smack-down. You may even experience the famous Quaker Bitch Slap.

I believe it is vital that I share the Quaker part of me (which influences so much of what I do and how I do it) and choose to live as what some call “a Public Friend,” traveling widely and sharing the Quaker way. Shoot we have good news to share. We can gather in silent worship together (regardless of our faith traditions) and listen deeply to each other and to the leading of the divine (or whatever you call the invisible, mystical teacher).  We welcome so many refugees from other faith traditions who are looking for a faith community for adults where we have to work out our own walk, where we can contribute on a regular basis through messages we share–something usually reserved for the select few in most faith communities.

Just today I received an e-mail from Beth, one of the Quakers on my Support Committee. She wrote to check-in, to let me know she is thinking about me, holding me in the Light. I love that what I do as a solo performance artist, I get to do in community (Quaker and non-Quaker from all over the place) and with a team of people supporting me, challenging me, encouraging me–without whom it would be nearly impossible to do what I do.

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Marvin Bloom, everyone’s favorite Jew for Jesus and former ex-gay (after trying to “de-gay” he has since “re-gayed”) can be heard all over the Internets these days (Check out his YouTube Channel). He most recently took on the Q word (Queer). Like many older gays with limited education and tolerance, he has serious issues with it.

Marvin also appears on various podcasts and has been stirring up a hornets nest of sorts with all types. Over at the excellent Trans-Ponder Podcast, Marvin has had a back and forth spate of spiritual warfare with Elizabeth Jeremiah, (from the Elizabeth Jeremiah Global Worldwide Ministries in Jesus). She recently revealed that Marvin is demon prosessed. Sister Elizabeth also claims that all of Marvin’s pro-gay talk being shoved down her throat set off her gag reflex (episode 108 where she also reveals that her first husband has since transitioned to a woman). Marvin rebukes her in Jesus’ name at one point resulting in Elizabeth issuing a Jihad against him (episode 110). Marvin counters with charges of anti-Semitism (episode 111). He also sets the record straight–“I love Jesus and I love guys.”

Speaking of crazed extremists, Joe Gee, on his most recent Bored Beyond Belief podcast (episode 42) includes two messages from Marvin Bloom. In response to Joe’s Death Watch list (episode 40), Marvin offers up his own thoughts about who will die in 2009 (and proves to be strangely clarvoyant but a little off). He then gets smarmy with Joe resulting in Joe rebuking Marvin in Jesus’ name (which is something coming from Joe, a former Evangelical Fundamentalist and also a former Quaker). Do listen to the end of the episode 42 where you can hear Joe’s new Bashing Segment. A must listen for informed queers and queer allies (sorry Marvin, but I like getting under your skin too).

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Jeremy Marks

Jeremy Marks

William Crawley of BBC Radio Ulster will interview Jeremy Marks on the Sunday Sequence program tomorrow morning (Sunday Feb 22). Jeremy was ex-gay and then the founded an ex-gay program in England. He even trained with Love in Action and ran a residential program for a time in the UK, but then he experienced a different kind of change. Over at his blog William writes,

Jeremy Marks’s story is fascinating because, by the end of the 1990s, he became seriously concerned about the long-term effects of ex-gay ministries. “I came to understand that our approach was sowing isolation, loss of faith, broken marriages, and even attempted suicides. I knew I must change our ministry approach,” he says. In 2000, in spite of opposition from the evangelical community, Marks transformed Courage UK into a gay-affirming evangelical ministry. He has issued a personal apology to “my fellow Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Trans-gendered people … for my part in colluding with the religious right in the Western world.” Today Courage UK serves gay and lesbian Christians “seeking a safe space to reconcile their faith and sexuality”.

Jeremy recently authored a book about his experience, Exchanging the truth of God for a lie. Jeremy will talk about his story and no doubt field some thoughtful, insightful and possibly provocative questions from William Crawley who is a delightful interviewer and a serious debater. Also on the program will be Michael Davidson who recently started an ex-gay program in Northern Ireland.

You can listen to Sunday Sequence live at 8:30-10:15 AM Belfast time or through the archive. The program should be available for a week.

Auntie Doris and I have fond memories of hanging with William at Lambeth this past summer.  Actually some months before that Auntie Doris joined me in the London studios of the BBC when William interviewed me for Sunday Sequence. That day we gave William a little “pre-show” action with our crazy banter.

Speaking of ex-gay survivors in the international media, check out the Dutch TV piece about David Christie and Scott Tucker, two survivors of the Love in Action program. (It’s in English)

And don’t forget to check out my interview with Italy’s Radio Populare tomorrow (Sunday 22 Feb 11:00 Rome time) where I talk about the ex-gay movement, parents and more all in Italian! Wait but I don’t speak Italian. What sort of media voodoo is at work here? Who knows maybe Joe G will sample some of it for one his creepy podcasts (if he is still podcasting??? Joe your public needs you!)

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Owl Resting in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Owl Resting in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

After over three weeks, mostly at home in Hartford, I head out on Thursday to begin my winter/spring tour which semi-officially ends on June 8 with a few days here and there at home in between.

Yesterday at Quaker Meeting one of the Friends marveled at how I travel so much (about 70% of the time) and yet seem to stay connected and grounded. (Of course he doesn’t see me when I feel particularly disconnected and uprooted.) Over the last two years I have been able to develop strong support systems both in Hartford and throughout North America and Europe (and now South Africa).

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

In doing activism (campaigning, ministry, whatever word one wants to use) I have found it essential to be in community, especially because I most often travel alone and do one-person shows. In addition to my local support committee, attending Quaker meeting for worship in places where I visit, and finding and maintaining micro-communities in various parts of the world (England, Northern Sweden, Portland, OR, Vancouver, BC, Tennessee, Central PA and more), I have found great value in social networking through blogging, YouTube, podcasting (Hey Joe G. I’m waiting for an update!), Facebook (thank you Auntie Doris for getting me Facebooked), GCN, Twitter, Skype and instant messaging.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Christine Bakke just attended the Creating Change Conference and went through the leadership development track of workshops where she learned a ton about what it takes to care for oneself while doing the work one does.

This winter/spring tour I will focus primarily on presenting Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible, a play that looks at the stories and lives of gender-variant Bible characters. In many ways the performance is a mediation on body image and how so often the bodies we live in do not adequately reflect the reality we experience on the inside (the complexity of gender, how old or young we feel, etc).

Peterson & Table Mt. in Cape Town

Peterson & Table Mt. in Cape Town

As a non-trans gay man, I have felt drawn to these transgender Bible stories because in looking at them I see a mirror to the diversity of gender in our own modern world and the conflicts and triumphs that exist when one chooses authenticity.

The tour will take me to all sorts of places including Central Pennsylvania, Portland, OR (where I will be for my 44th birthday later this month!), Seattle and Spokane, WA, Chapel Hill, NC, Houston, TX, England (and quite possibly Germany and Sweden) and more. Not all the details are up on the schedule yet, so keep an eye out if I come to a venue near you.

Rare Fern Trees in Kirstenbosch Garden

Rare Fern Trees in Kirstenbosch Garden

Since launching Beyond Ex-Gay with Christine in April 2007 retiring Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House last year, I have moved beyond simply addressing ex-gay issues. Since so many people do it in so many effective ways today, I feel confident that I can place my focus elsewhere. In regards to the Ex-Gay Movement I see my primary role as a support for Ex-Gay Survivors. Much of my activities take place in communicating with survivors through e-mail, on the phone and in person, and in telling parts of my own story to assist in broadening the conversation about why people would choose to “de-gay” themselves, the processes involved and particularly the harm that can come of it.

Grandmother & Child in Kirstenbosch Garden

Grandmother & Child in Kirstenbosch Garden

Knowing that during the Creating Change Conference Christine Bakke and
Daniel Gonzales led a super successful workshop about the Ex-Gay Movement and Survivors, I feel thrilled and comforted. So many ex-gay survivors have stepped up over the past year and a half to tell their stories in many public ways.

In the Greenhouse

In the Greenhouse

I want to give a special thanks to you for the e-mails, comments, Facebook wall scrawls, etc that you send my way with words of encouragement, advice, comfort and even smart ass remarks. It’s great to do the work that I do in community. I could not do it alone.

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Back in 2003 when I first premiered Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House, we had precious little resources about the Ex-Gay Movement. There was a Yahoo group, Ex-Gay Watch and Wayne Besen’s compilation of ex-gay survivor stories for the HRC website (launched in 2000) and of course Wayne’s book Anything But Straight—Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Movement. I’m sure there were other resources, but those are the only ones I found at that time.

There used to be a time when I would monitor every ex-gay related story and feel I needed to prepare some sort of response. In the past half decade we have witnessed and explosion of resources, websites, YouTube videos, MySpace and Facebook groups, films, books and conferences all addressing the potential dangers that comes from Ex-Gay theories and treatments. So many people are doing the work to tell their stories and counter the misinformation spread by groups like Exodus, Focus on the Family, NARTH, Living Waters and so many others that promote and provide ex-gay treatment.

You can do a Google blog search and daily find entries by ex-gay survivors and those concerned about the harm of ex-gay theories and treatments. Here are some recent contributions.

Vince Cervantes (Behind the Duct Tape), quoting Chad from Homo No Mo, he then goes on to write about his own experiences with a “straight mentor,” a regularly treatment

used by many ex-gay programs.

My male mentor’s job was to pretty much be the good Christian example that my father wasn’t. We went out to play catch at the lake, we went to go see action flicks at the cinema, and like every good Christian “dad” he took me to a Promise Keepers convention where I was supposed to learn how to become a “man of integrity.” From my mentor I was supposed to receive constant reaffirmation for the good things I did that were representative of an authentic “man of God.”

However, through my attempts to “reconnect with my masculinity” I ironically began to feel like less of a man through the activities that I was doing. I felt like masculinity was being defined for me.

Rob (Political Spectrum) writes about Truth vs Faith,

Anyways I had mention that I was looking for truth, not doctrine. Well one guy said “well it’s not about truth, it’s about faith, and what you believe”.

This statement really bothered me. Given people have a right to believe a lie or something that is not true, but from where I stand, I want truth. I joined the whole Ex-Gay thing searching for truth. I been to several different Churches looking for truth. I have read several different books on Religion and Religious topics looking for truth. However in my personal quest for truth, I have found allot of lies and false doctrine. The deception of being a Ex-Gay destroyed friendships and wasted a year of my life on lies.

lesbiansaidwhat (The Lesbian Said What??) in a post entitled Reparative Therapy gives a brief history of some the most public failures of the Ex-Gay Movement and provides wry commentary,

Reparative therapy or the ex-gay movement as it’s called gets a lot of attention. I guess it should, it’s every fundamental Christians dry dream.

I’ve heard of some organizations out there that specialize in reparative therapy. All of them Christian based. Why Christian based? Because the APA (American Psychological Association) doesn’t have a problem with homosexuality. Therefore it must fall to the Christians to have the problem with homosexuality and ‘fix’ it.

Some of the organizations are: Focus on the Family (who knew?), Love in action (the first ex-gay group), and Exodus.

The Exodus site has some statements on it, one is Life is bigger than your sexual orientation. Well no shit, except that is what people on that site want to change about me. If life is bigger than my sexual orientation why make such a huge deal out of it? Another one is: God loves you and accepts you the way you are today. What they are leaving out is except for the homosexual thing that you aren’t really bigger than.

Daniel Gonzales (Box Turtle Bulletin), drawing on his own ex-gay past, recently posted a YouTube video responding to Republican Vice Presidential canidate Sarah Palin’s comments that assumed being gay is a choice.

And the list goes on and on and on. In addition to the blogs and videos you can also now attend events that both give witness to the destructive consequences many of us experienced because of ex-gay theories and treatments as well as find ways of recovering.

  • October 22-25, 2008 Our Family Matters, Nashville, TN. Christine Bakke, co-founder of Beyond Ex-Gay and I will join other ex-gay survivors to share our experiences together.
  • November 7-9, 2008, Denver, CO. Local organizers and national groups will offer a public response to the NARTH ex-gay conference. Christine Bakke, Daniel Gonzales and I will all be there to meet with survivors, LGBT-affirming therapists and others. See the bXg events page for details and interest form.

Click here to hear my recent radio interview on The Agenda.

If you are a Chad fan, check out Joe G’s latest episode of Bored Beyond Belief where you will get a sample of Homo No Mo (with Vlad’s assistance) and a full interview with Chad about the ex-gay process, boyfriends, Marvin and more.

Feel free to post other links in the comment section and when you find a good link, please send it my way.

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