A Brief Introduction

Endeavoring to define myself outside of a "job title." I'm a nomad of sorts who fell in love with technology, activism, and helping others. I run a web & media consulting firm, have a blog specifically for activists & non-profits, and travel often. I love talking about theology, politics, and social change. I love doing something about it even more. I also like to be a well-rounded and fully present person. That's why I write here. Connect with me on twitter

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Time For Healing

I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Ex-Gay Survivor's Conference in Irvine, CA this past weekend, hosted by Soulforce and Beyond Ex-Gay. I went to document the event (a role I seem to have fallen into during Equality Ride) but I could not help but be affected myself.

What I saw were the unseen survivors, what I heard were the untold stories. Many things in life are up for debate, the lives and experiences of these individuals are not.

Peterson Toscano opened the weekend with a pre-registration performance of his one-man show "Doing Time In the Homo No-Mo Halfway House" to a packed house in the Crystal Cove Auditorium at UC-Irvine. Judging from the audience's reaction, I knew it would be quite the weekend. Saturday morning opened with a Chalk Talk ... a silent way for a large group of people to be in conversation together. They write their thoughts, feelings, and experiences on a large piece of paper, taking time to read each other's, comment, and make connections. The energy in the air was palpable. TV crews were kept at bay and cameras were turned off. This weekend is not about PR, it's about real people healing real wounds.

Therapists, Christian leaders, and every day survivors led workshops ranging from "Sharing Your Story" to "Building Healthy Relationships" to "Being a Powerful Ally." I was able to see change happening in the lives of those in attendance. God is moving among us.

The Ex-Gay Survivor's Conference brought people together from around the world to celebrate God and to celebrate God's creation. To recognize the pain wrought unnecessarily in the name of the Lord. To move forward together, healing and helping others to heal. To put forth a message that may not be popular but is of dire importance: God loves and affirms God's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender children. Misguided attempts to force or shame individuals into so-called reparative therapy are ultimately ineffective and unfortunately have the potential to inflict emotional, spiritual, and physical harm.

God bless the survivors. And my prayers go out to those who are still struggling to accept themselves, who are suffering from depression, who have thoughts of suicide, and to the families of those that have lost loved ones because they were thought to be broken.

I was blessed with the opportunity to hear many of the survivor's share their stories, I will be posting some of those later as I can get them all together. I wish there was a better way to encapsulate the day for those who couldn't attend.

Community. Sharing. Learning. Healing. Faith. Love. Uplifting. Praying. Laughing. Power. Crying. Memories. Wounds. Loving. Strength. Beauty. Praising. Relationships. God.

1 comment:

Peterson Toscano said...

BRIAN! So glad you were there. Your quiet presence brought so much to the gathering and I appreciate how thoughtful and sensitive you were to the survivors who gathered.

Thank you for the ride to the airport! I arrived safe and sound and now in WI working with teens for the week.

Can't wait to see the video you shot!

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