Posts Tagged ‘The Re-Education of George W. Bush’

In my spare time I have created a new play that I think you might like 😀

I Can See Sarah Palin from my Window!

Lessons before the 2nd Coming

Peterson Toscano

So that no American gets left behind, comic actor Peterson Toscano presents a zany,thought-provoking and surprising play.

(Think Dreams from my Mother meets Going Maverick with a Russian folk-pop interpretive dance too!)

Everything you need to know before Palin becomes president, Jesus returns or Obama destroys us all!

Some of you may remember my play The Re-Education of George W. Bush–No President Left Behind! Drawing on some that same material and adding new I have developed this new piece.  Do not let the title fool you–it is not a partisan piece or a Palin bashing. No, I take on issues that transcend party politics, issues that really matter.
Figure out how to become the worlds’ Sexist American in five simple steps! Well if sexy means being aware, informed and engaged about sexism, racism, homophobia, immigration, the environmentalism, war and our sordid past.

What I am most excited about is how this piece can play well on college campuses, particularly how it can be used to bring in people who may never have attended an LGBTQ-themed program before. Just like with my Bush play, there is no way of knowing from the outset that it contains lots of messages about LGBTQ issues as you can see from this wonderful poster that Christine Bakke designed (and she is designing the art for the new play too!)

So before it gets too late, consider booking this new show for your campus in the fall or next winter. Booking contact here.

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Warren Wilson pedestrian bridge

I successfully completed my third and final week at Warren Wilson College as their first ever Activist in Residence. (Read about Week One and Week Two.) It served as a week to windup a few things and even included a blowout birthday party for me replete with vegan cookies, cupcakes and a giant vegan chocolate layer cake from Rosetta’s Kitchen in Asheville. YUM! Leah McCullough did an AMAZING job of creating spaces for me to do my work and connect with students. I loved checking in with her daily and spending time with her in her office debriefing. I also enjoyed hanging out at the RISE office getting to know the folks there and the head of the RISE Project, Kelly Kelbel, who gave me a handmade notebook with envelopes. I’m using it as a travel journal for the next year. =)

In addition to gaining some weight from vegan treats during my time at WWC, I also gained some new insights and new ideas. The week began with a follow-up meeting to talk about the intersection and complications of sexuality and spirituality. I met with the Emmaus Christian group the week before where we walked through a few exercises to explore the topic, so we needed to debrief and discuss these further. We did this through a Chalk Talk, a wonderful protocol where we have a prompt on a white board or paper on the wall and everyone has a chance to write a word, phrase or draw an image in response. As people add their thoughts others can respond to these, connect ideas, ask and answer questions. The activity is done without speaking and gives participants a chance to see ideas and have them remain in the room. So often in traditional discussions ideas get lsot as the conversation builds, and often only a few share. We then discussed the Chalk Talk together as a group.

From there I dashed over to another building to prep for my show that evening, Doin’ Time with Peterson Toscano, a variety, cabaret, performance art piece of sorts where I do excerpts from most of my plays along with some stories, poems, and other performances. Since the Wilson students are engaged in politics and environmental issues , I did four scenes from my retired play The Re-Education of George W. Bush–No President Left Behind! a political farce. I forgot how much fun it feels to perform this piece and how biting the satire and commentary can be. Looking at the current political landscape, I have begun to conclude that it is time to rework the play with a new title and some new themes then reissue it (like how Disney releases movies from their vault.) I have been toying with titles. Tell me which you like best (or propose one of your own.) The play operates as a series of lessons mostly aimed at progressive liberals (I’m trying to lure that crowd in with a provocative title where they think they will get something they won’t really get but instead get something more necessary) In a way it is a primer for how to be a good American and world citizen taking issues of sexism, racism, skin privilege, oppression of LGBT folks, environmentalist tied into diet, foreign policy and more. Some possible titles

  • Bridge to No Where & Beyond
  • Everything You Should Know before Jesus Returns (or Palin Becomes President)
  • I Can See Sarah Palin from my Window
  • How to Become the World’s Sexiest American in 5 Easy Steps
  • I Can See Sarah Palin from my Window–What You Should Know before Jesus Returns

You get the idea.

The next evening I got to take part in the Queer Circle (a project of the EMPOWER Crew) and led an activity that allowed us to explore and express our multiple identities. Each person got a bunch of post-it notes. On each one they wrote one of their identities (gay, son, vegan, Quaker, New Yorker, etc) They then put the post-its on the wall grouping as they went next to other post-its that they felt where similar to their own (Quaker, Catholic, Wiccan, Jewish.) We carry so many identities that often get lost in LGBTQ circles or church circles or family circles. Later in the week I did this same activity with a Sociology class. The fancy name for the activist is Affinity Protocol.

The next day I joined in for a class that looked at the impact of society on the family. I spoke about homophobia, heterosexism and the Ex-Gay Movement and how all if these affect the family in huge ways. Some of the material I drew from my articles

The negative effects of homophobia and heterosexism on the family are tremendous and tragic. If we want stronger families in our communities, we need to have full liberation and acceptance of LGBTQ people. This way parents do not have to keep secrets, grow distant or worse yet coerce loved ones into dangerous treatments.

I was supposed to leave on the Thursday, but they presented the Vagina Monologues that night and so many people I had gotten to know were it in, I just had to stay an extra day. Have you seen the Vagina Monologues yet? What an amazing and insightful show. I think every guy in America (and beyond) should see it. As a male-bodied, male-identified person, I miss so much of what happens in the lives of women. This play gives a few short sketches of the challenges, the humor, the dangers that come from being women in a world that perpetuates so much violence and oppression against women.

Before the Vagina Monologues though I got to hear Clarissa Sligh speak and share some slides of her amazing work as a photographer and visual artist. Her latest book is entitled Wrongly Bodied: Documenting Transition from Female to Male. As a female-bodied, female-identified person, the lives of transgender and transsexual individuals was foreign to Sligh. I love how she modeled the journey to become an informed ally of trans people.

That same day (full day I know) I led a group of students on a field trip to area Christian bookstores. I think there were five members of the Peace and Justice and the Religious Life crews who joined me as we browsed Christian bookstores first to simply see what they offered. For progressive liberals the Evangelical conservative person becomes objectified and dehumanized in our Tweets and comedy and rants. I thought it would be helpful to explore the bookstores and get a sense of what sort of books and topics are represented. They also had an assignment. When a staff members asks, Can I help you find something? the student replies, Yes, what sort of resources do you have for gay Christians? (or lesbian or transgender or bisexual.)

As I expected nothing outrageous occurred during this exchange. Also as I expected the stores had no LGBTQ-affirming resources. What I did not expect was that they also did not have any overtly anti-gay or ex-gay literature either. This is the FIRST time that has happened. Hmmm, perhaps change is coming. Both of the stores are major national franchises. Some of the students had never been in a Christian bookstore before and were surprised at the affinity they had with some of the topics and merchandise. I nearly bought The Little Princess Devotional Bible (with a genuine plastic pear necklace for a handle!) I did buy a DVD of Veggie Tales: Esther, The Girl Who Became Queen, which I found disappointing and below the standard of most of the Veggie Tales. No surprise but the eunuchs (the hero/sheros of the story) get practically erased and show up in the form of some peas. I couldn’t finish it and left it behind in a hotel room in Chattanooga the next week.

I left campus on the Friday after leading the Affinity Protocol activity on identity for Sociology 101 and headed with my host Roger to Asheville to perform at Jubilee Community, a funky congregation in downtown Asheville. Roger was a wonderful host (we went hiking along the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway the next day and ate sinfully delicious vegan chocolates) and did a great deal to get the word out about the play, but sadly the turnout was poor and nearly no one from Jubilee attended. I didn’t feel personally hurt by this but offended that this progressive community did not turn out for a transgender-themed event. I attended the early service on Sunday (they have two) and saw well over 250 people there and lots of lesbian couples and some gay men. Someone told me that he heard a few people say they didn’t think they needed to come because the church is so welcoming. Ah, welcoming is not the the same as informed and affirming. I venture to guess that most of the congregants know very little about the lives of transgender people. I realize this issue is not on the radar of most LGB people and LGB-affirming people, but unlike most other issues, it needs to be, especially if we tag on a “T” to the LGB. This is a matter of integrity and justice. That and the non-trans LGB people and LGBT-affirming institutions impoverish themselves by remaining ignorant and unengaged regarding transgender issues and lives. I especially felt for Roger, a non-trans gay man in the congregation who put his heart and soul into putting together an event for his community but did not get proper community support in the end. He got the building, he got permission, he got two or three helpers, but no community. We need to change that.

Scene from Transfigurations

After a weekend in Asheville, I headed with a friend to Cookeville where I spent time with some of the coolest people on the earth at the Hidden Springs Farm and Nursery. Oh the popcorn they serve! From there I went to Chattanooga and did a performance of Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible for the Spectrum group and folks from the area. The room was a big challenge–a large old lecture hall that was climatically challenged (This room is too hot. Now it’s too cold. Funny it is never just right,) but it revealed to me once again that theater can and should happened anywhere. The audience grew so still and hushed by the last quarter of the play. It felt sacred.

My last stop was Baltimore where I did a day-long training for the Soulforce Equality Rides. This is a group of college-age folks who are going to Christian colleges to engage in thoughtful discussion around queer, transgender, bisexual, lesbian, gay issues. I spoke about the Ex-Gay Movement and helped them try to unearth the many reasons someone might opt for this choice. So many of the reasons have nothing to do with Jesus or faith. Mixed in with noble intentions can be lots of ignoble things like fear, the desire to fit in and be “normal” and well cowardice. It’s odd because I think it takes someone who is both courageous and a coward to be ex-gay along with a willingness to question reality and attempt to create a new reality. I admire many ex-gays, having been one myself, for the determination to change while also recognizing the complexity that desperation so often brings to the process. I also led a workshop called Slow Dancing with the Enemy–Effective Strategies for Engaging you Opponent. Very much inspired by the groundbreaking work and philosophy of Bonnie Tinker, a lesbian Quaker anti-war, marriage equality activist from Portland (sadly she died this past summer, and I miss her very much.)

Bonnie Tinker

I also performed Transfigurations for the Equality Riders. This group practices radical inclusion in a way that many LGBTQ groups do not. Of the 20+ riders, at least four are trans identified, and they have a nice mix of ethnicity, orientation, background. They serve as a helpful model for other groups that struggle to be diverse in more than name.

Now I am home at last in Central PA with my partner Glen and our two cats Wally and Emma (named after the famous  anarchist Emma Goldman whose important essay on anarchism I got in zine form at Warren Wilson College from a deliciously gender-queer boi bear wonder.) Glen and I just celebrated our 85 birthday (he turns 40 on March 8th and I turned 45 on Feb 17) with friends at a nearby Japanese restaurant. Ah, how rich we are with friends here! What a diverse and eclectic group too! Poet Karla Kelsey was there and religion scholar Carol White and radical rabbi Nina Mandel along with our travel partner to South Africa Jenna Fredricks and her soon to be husband Dave Antoniewicz and other dear folks who celebrated us with kind words and lovely gifts (although we insisted no gifts but hey gifts are fun and Nina’s vegan chocolate was AMAZING–the third vegan cake in this year’s Birthday season.)

Glen and I head out on Friday to present at Homo og trans–Meningsløse kategorier? a conference in Oslo (and where I will do some performances) but first we have a 2.5 day layover in Paris meaning Glen will be in Paris AND Oslo on the same day for his birthday! Hm, I wonder if I can brush up on my French AND learn Norwegian by the weekend 😛

Lots of venues coming up in March and April in Hartford, Providence, Boston, Tacoma and beyond. You can see the full schedule here.

I so valued my time at Warren Wilson but especially time with students, so many who mean a great deal to me–Erin and Zoe and Jamila and Morgan and Renee and Liz and Rey and Leah and Hannan and Michael and Lacey and Ilinca and Sabrina and Laura and Meghen and Robin and Katherine and Brandon and Hillary and Shane and well MANY.

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I write this from over 10,000 feet as I travel to Phoenix for TransForm Arizona, an event that will unite the LGB with the T 😀

My friend Zeke, a cool Quaker in Boston, has spent a lot of time thinking about gender. Perhaps Zeke will share some of the journey at some point, but recently Zeke posted something on Facebook that I asked if I could share here at the blog. It is a Cisgender Privilege Checklist.

I heard the term Cisgender for awhile and had no idea what it meant other than non-transgender. According to Wikipedia,

Cis-” as a prefix of Latin origin, meaning “on the same side [as]” or “on this side [of]”, with several derived usages:

* In chemistry, cis- refers to cis-trans isomerism
* In molecular biology, cis- refers to cis-acting
* In gender studies, cis- refers to cisgender

The funny thing about privilege is that typically the privileged are mostly unaware of their privileges (it’s part of the privilege). The way the world treats them just seems normal until they get to hear other people’s experiences.

No President Left Behind

No President Left Behind

When I wrote my play The Re-Education of George W. Bush–No President Left Behind!, I interviewed about 20 African-American women in Hartford, CT where I live (well where I keep my stuff). I asked them, “As a white guy, if I woke up as a Black woman tomorrow, how would my life be different?” It served as an excellent way to discover some of the privilege I have as a male who is also white. I then wove the content of their interviews into a monologue by Tex, a white guy from Texas who has to live as a Black woman for a week.

Absurd perhaps but almost always the most well received part of the play as Tex recounts his discoveries of the privileges he has because of his skin color and gender. He realizes that he lives with a curtain shielding his view from many of the inequities in the world around him, and the privileges he enjoys that many of his neighbors do not, and only when something terrible happens, like Hurricane Katrina, does he see firsthand the injustice that some people experience because of their race and class. But as soon as he does, “It’s like a voice comes out of I don’t know where saying, ‘Shh, shh! It’s just a nightmare; go back to sleep.'” Tex decides he is not going back to sleep anymore. Of course it will require him to reeducate himself continually.

Check out Zeke’s list below. For those of us who are not transgender, it can serve as a primer of sorts to some of the many complex and challenging issues transgender people face today. Seeing our privilege can be a stark and painful experience. Sometimes we react with defensiveness or criticism. Proceed with an open mind and a tender heart.

A Cisgender Privilege Checklist

This checklist was developed as resource in relation to Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” Much of the source matter comes from: Cisgender Privilege.

Casual Offenses

  1. Strangers don’t assume they can ask me what my genitals look like and how I have sex.
  2. My validity as a man/woman/human is not based upon how much surgery I’ve had or how accurately other people view my gender.
  3. Strangers do not ask me what my “real name” is and then assume that they have a right to call me by that name.
  4. People do not disrespect me by purposefully using incorrect pronouns even after they’ve been corrected.
  5. If I tell people about my gender, I don’t have to hear “so have you had THE surgery?” or “oh, so you’re REALLY a [incorrect sex or gender]?”
  6. I am not expected to explain to friends, family, or strangers what it means to be my gender, how I knew what my gender was, or whether my gender is just a “phase.”

Medical issues

  1. I expect that I will be able to access necessary medical care without lying.
  2. If I need hormone injections due to an inability to produce them on my own, it will be considered an “obvious” need.
  3. If I have them, my desires for various cosmetic surgeries are considered normal.
  4. I don’t need to prove how long I have identified as my gender in order to have my health needs taken seriously.
  5. I cannot be denied health insurance on the basis of my gender; my health insurance does not specifically exclude me from receiving benefits or treatments available to others because of my gender.
  6. The medical establishment does not serve as a “gatekeeper” denying my self-determination of what happens to my body, nor requiring me to undergo extensive psychological evaluation in order to receive basic medical care.
  7. I expect that if I am treated inappropriately by a doctor, my concerns will be taken seriously, and I will be able to find another doctor who will treat me appropriately.
  8. Treatments which are medically necessary for me are generally covered by insurance.
  9. People of my gender are not considered inherently “sneaky” by health/helping professions.
  10. I expect that medical professionals competent to treat my conditions exist outside of major cities, and in proportion to the demand for them. I expect no undue delay in access to routine medical services, and for such services to be available throughout the work day/week.
  11. I will not be required to have a “gender appropriate” sexual orientation in order to be treated by doctors and mental health providers.
  12. I expect that medical care will be crafted to suit my own particular needs. I expect to be able to access treatment A without accessing treatment B, if treatment B will do nothing to advance my particular needs.
  13. I do not have to worry that life-saving treatment will be withheld from me due to my gender, nor will all of my medical issues be seen as a product of my gender.

Other’s Perceptions

  1. If someone inaccurately genders me, I do not need to be afraid; I can assume it reflects more on them than on me, I can be amused or angry without calling into question what my “true” gender is.
  2. I do not have to worry whether my gender will be questioned by others seeing/hearing: pictures from my childhood, my identification or official documents, others’ language used to refer to me, my speaking and singing voice, or any of my body parts.
  3. I can expect to be appropriately gendered by others without having to worry about: my clothing, whether I like certain colors or styles, whether I am passive or aggressive, wearing specially designed clothing, or if I’m willing to lose sensation in my genitals and/or chest.
  4. I have never had someone tell me what my gender is, regardless of what I say my gender is.  If someone mistakes my gender it will rarely continue to the point of an argument, a simple assertion of my gender will generally be enough to convince the other person.
  5. When initiating sex with someone, I do not have to worry that they won’t be able to deal with my parts or that having sex with me will cause my partner to question zir own sexual orientation.
  6. Bodies like mine are represented in the media and the arts. It is easily possible for representations of my naked body to pass obscenity restrictions.
  7. Others’ appropriate understanding of my gender is not dependent on how rich I am.
  8. My gender is acknowledged universally, immediately, and without hesitation.


  1. If I am attacked by a lover, no one will excuse my attacker because ze was “deceived” by my gender.
  2. I do not have to worry about whether I will be able to find a bathroom to use or whether I will be safe changing in a locker room.  I can use public showers without fear of being attacked for my genitalia.
  3. When engaging in political action, I do not have to worry about the gendered repercussions of being arrested.
  4. If I am unable to find clothing that fits me well, I will still feel safe, and recognizable as my gender.
  5. I don’t need to be constantly aware of how others perceive my gender.

Government/Bureaucratic issues

  1. When there are boxes to check on various forms, my gender will definitely be included.– I do not even need to acknowledge that there are other genders than those listed.
  2. I can expect my government-issued identification to accurately represent who I am. – If my identification does not, I expect to be able to remedy this quickly and easily, without added expense, undue delay, arbitrary criteria, or a necessity to present evidence or medical documents.
  3. My gender is not dragged into everything that happens to me.  If I am involved in a lawsuit or attempt to access government-services that are not related to my gender, I can assume my gender will not be brought up, if it is, it will generally not be a hindrance.
  4. My gender will not make me immediately suspect to those with government sanctioned power (lawyers, judges, police, bureaucrats, etc.).
  5. My gender does not make me necessarily unfit to be a parent in the eyes of the law, regardless of what state I’m in.
  6. I expect my gender to not unduly affect my ability to travel internationally.
  7. I expect access to, and fair treatment within sex segregated facilities such as: homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, drug rehab programs, prisons, hostels, and dorms.
  8. I never have to wonder what to put down on legal or official forms when they ask for “sex” or “gender”.
  9. In no country in the world is it illegal to be my gender.

Emotional issues

  1. When I express my internal identities in my daily life, I am not considered “mentally ill” by the medical establishment.
  2. My experience of gender (or gendered spaces) is not viewed as “baggage” by others of the gender in which I live.
  3. I do not have to choose between either invisibility (“passing”) or being consistently “othered” and/or tokenised based on my gender.
  4. I am not told that my sexual orientation and gender identity are mutually exclusive.
  5. I can attend “women-only” or “male-only” events or groups (if I identify as the gender listed) without fear of being seen as an interloper.
  6. I was never forced to wear gender inappropriate clothing in order to “fix” my gender, nor was I refused permission to engage in hobbies or behaviors I was interested in because others did not approve of my gender.
  7. Those who wrong me are expected to know that it is hurtful, and are considered blameworthy whether or not they intended to wrong me.
  8. I was trained into whatever gender was appropriate for me, and so I am prepared to live in my current gender, without having to go back and learn vital skills I was not taught when I was young.
  9. Commonly used terminology that differentiates my gender from other genders/sexes implies that I am normal, and that I have unquestionable right to the gender/sex I identify with.
  10. Those who tell jokes about my gender are assumed to be sexist.
  11. The sex/gender dichotomy does not have consequences in my life.

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Still buzzing from the amazing Gender Odyssey conference, today I fly from Seattle to Miami to be part of a Spanish language talk show (I feel so elated by the conference, I doubt I’ll need the plane.) No time to blog about what happened right now, but I will have something up in a few days, but work to do first.

After Miami I head back to Hartford, CT (aka home) to perform my play about transgender Bible characters at the Charter Oak Cultural Center. I recently sat down with Meghan and Kevin from the RadioActive program. We covered a broad range of topics including ex-gay experiences, addressing homophobia in schools, transgender Bible characters and veganism. 😀

Find out about “no homo” and so much more!

Have a listen here.

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I got word today that Ray Boltz, a singer from the Christian Contemporary Music world who recently made waves when he came out gay, has a new song out that is available for free download on-line. Have a listen to Don’t Tell Me Who To Love.

Over at his blog Ray posts the lyrics, shares the process he took in writing the song,  and talks about the first time he sang the song in a very public way about a week ago.

On Saturday, November 15th, 2008 I sang this song before a thousand people who had joined together to protest the recent passage of Prop 2 in Florida. As I sang the words, “now there always will be hatred and voices that condemn, but I believe that true love is going to make it in the end,” I remembered a statement made by a beautiful black pastor at a conference I recently attended. She said that people of color did not receive equality because white people suddenly decided they were worthy of equality but rather when people of color decided they were worthy of equality. I hope this song encourages us all to say “I know what’s in my heart and that should be enough…don’t tell me who to love.”

Have a listen here. Hat tip to Carol Boltz.

Recently I had an interview with Nina over at Queer ¢ents, a site that declares, We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re not going shopping without coupons. Nina asked me 10 Money Questions including

  • 6. What are the financial benefits of living without a car and television?
  • 9. Have you ever made any money by writing poetry?
  • 5. How does the typical Quaker spend money?

and the number one question

  • 1. What will an ex-gay program such as Love In Action cost you?

She also asked me about Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House, my play about my de-gaying experience, and how folks can get it on DVD. (I love that question!) Those of you who have seen this play know that it features Vlad, a saucy guy from Russia. Well you have more Vlad coming your way soon! He also appears in The Re-Education of George W. Bush–No President Left Behind! I am pleased to announce that an audio version of that play will be available in hopefully less than three weeks and sold through Quaker Books (just in time for Christmas!) A CD is so much cheaper than a DVD, and you can imagine what Vlad is wearing (or not!)

Below is a clip from one of the last performances of Homo No Mo which I presented at James Madison University in the spring. In this scene Chad assisted by Vlad go through the rules of the program.

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No President Left Behind

No President Left Behind

Yes in one week President George W. Bush will be voted out of office, and tonight I performed what will most likely be my last performance of my play The Re-Education of George W. Bush—No President Left Behind! I can’t imagine anyone wanting to  book it after the election even though the play ultimately is not about George W. and much more about us.

I performed the play tonight in Cookeville, TN at Tennessee Tech’s Backdoor Playhouse. I feel bitter sweet about laying this one down. It is one of my most ambition plays, much more complex than Homo No Mo even though it contains many of the same characters (Marvin, Chad, Tex, Rev. Meadows and Vlad). In this play I appear as myself three different times speaking about my mother,  her life, her death and her values.

In the play I also get to break out from simply gay issues and provide a series of lessons for the president about skin privilege, male privilege, the environment (and the impact our diets have on it), foreign policy, institutionalized homophobia, and change–the sort of change that needs to happen for those of us raised in a world where we have been programmed to be racist, sexist, homophobic, wasteful and violent.

Marvin Bloom, who now has branched off into his own stuff with YouTube videos and features on podcasts, serves as the host of the play. (Oh and don’t forget to vote for Trans-Ponder podcast at the Podcast Awards.)  In the Bush play Marvin is still ex-gay and a strong Bush supporter. Even so he gets to share some of the most important material including the fact that after the American and British allied forces liberated the concentration camps in Nazi Germany, they free all the prisoners EXCEPT the homosexuals. These we sent back to prison to finish their sentence. This deeply moves Marvin who finally squeaks out the statement, “But we’re the good guys.”

Vlad gives a foreign policy lesson letting the audience know where Osama Bin Laden came from, who trained him and brought him to Afghanistan. (That would be U.S.) He then does a Russian Folk Pop Interpretive Dance for Condoleezza Rice.

I will get to use some of the segments elsewhere. Just this weekend at the Our Family Matters conference in Nashville, I perform the scene where Rev. Dr. Meadows speaks about the sin of Sodom. He reminds the audience that the mob of Sodomites wanting to have sex with Lot’s two visitors has “nothing to do with what happens in the happy homes of lesbian and gay couples and much more to do with what happened at say Abu Ghraib prison.”

Tex shares with the audience just how different his life was when he lived for one week as a Black woman. This monologue is based on interviews I conducted with Black women living in the Hartford, CT area. I recently performed this scene as part of a diversity training for a school in Connecticut.

But as a whole play, I think it is over 😦 I may have an audio of it from when I performed it this summer at the Friends General Conference. I doubt I will produce a video of it, although I may publish the script some time.

Through my art I process so much of my life and pain. I worked on the Bush play as my mother slowly died of cancer. After she passed away, I was finally able to finish and only then realized that I needed to include her in the play. The performances served as a means for me to mourn her loss and share her wisdom and light with others. I feel as if I carried her through this play this past 18 months since I premiered The Re-Education of George W. Bush in Portland, OR.

Since then I have performed it in Hartford, CT, Sarasota, FL, Narrowsburg, NY (near where I grew up), Washington, DC,  Johnston, PA, Memphis, TN, Providence, RI, Vancouver, BC, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Malta, and Sweden.

My only regret is that I did not get to perform it more in the USA. Sadly many event organizers felts frightened that the play was too political and that they would get into some sort of trouble. To me that indicates that we are ALREADY in trouble, trouble that will take more than one new president to resolve.

I feel bitter sweet. I know I still carry my mother with me. Since her death I have felt a fearlessness that I never knew before. I feel grateful that we will move on from what has been eight years of a descent into political darkness perpetuated by the most corrupt government in my lifetime and perhaps in our entire history. We have deepened  our bloody history and have done dreadful things in Afghanistan and Iraq, and today are far less secure in the world than before we launched our wars of revenge.

I’m ready for a new day and to work towards a better future. John McCain says that Senator Obama is not ready to lead, that he is not tested. McCain has already been tested and has failed that test. He knows war. We need something different. We need to emerge from an old America of racism and violence and sexism and waste and homophobia. One man will not lead us out of that mess. We each have a part.

The Re-Education of George W. Bush was never about the president. It is about each one of us who have a George Bush inside of us needing to be educated. He may be out of office soon, but the work remains. In fact, our work only just begins.

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A quick post with a few unrelated things.

  • Marvin Bloom strikes again with his Moment with Marvin on Jayna and Mila’s Transponder Podcast #84. Marvin promises that for the next segment he “will do a lesbian.” (His words exactly).  In addition, we hear from Elizabeth Jeremiah who warns the ladies about Marvin and his gay ways on Transponder Podcast #85. Fun for the whole family values crowd!
  • In celebration of the CT Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage for same-sex couples, I encourage you to join me in making a contribution to Vote NO on Prop 8, a measure designed to overturn marriage equality in California. Millions of dollars have been pumped into an aggressive media campaign to try to sway Californians to vote for discrimination against lesbian and gay couples (the biggest source coming from the New Haven, CT Knights of Columbus). And for every dollar you give between now and Sunday night, a donor will match it! Californians need our support (as do the folks in Arizona who have to vote no AGAIN on Prop 102).
  • Obama! Please America, let’s vote this man into office. It will not solve all our problems, but it will get us on an important track to recover from years of insanity.
  • Tomorrow I will have lunch in NYC with fellow ex-gay survivor and former Love in Action participant, David Christie. Check out David’s collage and narrative over at Beyond Ex-Gay.

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Earlier this week I visited the Human Rights Campaign to sit down for an interview for their weekly radio program, The Agenda. In this interview I speak about my ex-gay experiences and how the de-gaying experience helped make me a better actor.

Earlier in September HRC had me as their guest to present Transfigurations, my play about transgender Bible characters. The purpose for having me was primarily for the HRC staff as part of the effort to open up the discussion about transgender issues and rights. Lots of people showed up for that performance, including folks from the community, and from what I have heard the play struck a chord. Producer Michael Cole asked me about Transfigurations and why I think it has been so successful.

I also discuss The Re-Education of George W. Bush (and my hope that I DO NOT have to write a new play McCain/Palin—Bridge to Nowhere and Beyond!) and a dietary step we can each take to help save the planet.

Michael then asks me about Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House and some of the reasons why I retired it. We wrap up by talking about my process in engaging with the audience in order to shape the performance work I do.

The whole interview is about five minutes. You can listen here.

You can hear other excerpts from the program and earlier episodes here.

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No President Left Behind

Um, that’s my play, The Re-Education of George W. Bush—No President Left Behind! I get to perform it at the US capitol at the William Penn House tomorrow night. Yummy. After 36 hours home, I leave early tomorrow morning to take the Amtrak train down to DC.

I will be in the capitol all week until Friday when I head to Baltimore to meet up with the Soulforce Equality Riders. Okay these folks are so much my s/heroes! On their site they write:

Every day, thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people suffer harassment, violence, and discrimination at the hands of those who do not understand them. This oppression usually hides in plain sight, masquerading as rigid doctrine or timeless tradition. Consequently, it often goes unchallenged and unchanged. Guided by principles of nonviolence, we at Soulforce Q approach these controversial issues with a readiness to meet people where they are. It is our belief that open and honest discussion begets understanding and healing, and that philosophy is at the heart of our work.

The Equality Ride is a traveling forum that gives young adults the chance to deconstruct injustice and the rhetoric that sustains it. It allows emerging young leaders to unite in the struggle for common equality. The idea is this. We get on a bus and journey to various institutions of higher learning. Through informal conversation and educational programming we explore concepts of diversity, comparing the effects of inclusive and exclusive viewpoints. More practically, we share and gain insights about how our beliefs influence policy and culture, thereby impacting society. Our goal is to carefully and collectively examine the intersection wherein faith meets gender and sexuality. Such discourse, especially when it affirms the beauty of our differences, plays an essential role in creating a safe learning and living environment for everyone.

Cool, right? I will take part in their training with an aim to discuss the Ex-Gay Movement with them. Seems this topic comes up a lot as they travel to Christian schools. I will also lead a session about how to engage in non-violent communciation. Finally, I get to perform Transfigurations—Transgressing Gender in the Bible. I remember the last group of Equality Riders and how some identified as trans in some way. They will get to lead workshops with students from some of the Christian schools they will visit. Perhaps they will offer a lesson about gender variant people in the Bible.

Like the 2007 crew, this year’s riders look amazing! Check out them out here, and please consider sponsoring a rider. Even a little bit will help.

While in the DC/Baltimore area, I will get to do presentations for other groups including the Baltimore Yearly Meeting Young Friends’ Conference where I will present my Bush play and more. Also, I just confirmed a performance at Friends Meeting in Adelphia, MD. After having me at the Baltimore Yearly Meeting gathering this suummer then seeing my performance at the HRC earlier this mont in DC, they want me to perform Transfigurations for them. (I wonder if they will clap when I exit???)

Next Tuesday a dream of mine will be fulfilled as I fly to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I’ve wanted to go to this city for years, and I get a whole week there and the surrounding areas doing shows and workshops for the Church of Canada. It’s all so yummy!

Okay, must go to bed. I think I will have my favorite dish for breakfast before I hit the road. Must remeber to set the timer on the rice cooker.

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