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

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Right to Marry comes to a close

The New York Right to Marry campaign is coming to a close. The Northern Route said goodbye to Utica, New York this morning and arrived in New York City not too long ago. Tomorrow brings a day of tying up lose ends, following up with the folks we met along the way, debriefing our experiences, and planning for the future. I'm excited to meet up with the 24 other young adults if only for a day.

As my van traveled through the North Country, we documented our progress and the stories of some of those we met along the way. Some of the Right to Marry participants already shared their thoughts on why marriage is important (here and here) and soon we'll have the stories of New York citizens and couples to share with you too.

For now, here's a look at our time up north:

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Starting to walk

Letters from the "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" campaign to NY Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno:

Dear Senator Bruno,
I enjoy getting your newsletter and want to thank you for all you do to support New Yorkers, especially those in the Capital Region.

It has come to my attention, via the young adults of SoulforceQ, that you are unwilling to bring the marriage equality bill to the floor. May I ask why?

Expect a pair of my shoes for you to walk a mile in.

Kathleen Michaels
Troy, NY

Be sure to send your own pair of shoes to Senator Joseph Bruno to remind him that the marriage equality bill deserves to be heard on the senate floor.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Video: Right to Marry kicks off in New York

By now we are a few days into the New York Right to Marry campaign. With grassroots activism comes limited resources and internet isn't a top priority. Luckily we've been blessed with houses and churches who have internet to share and here in Plattsburg, we found a great coffee shop--Koffee Kat--to sit in and work while talking with locals and of course, drinking some coffee!

I sat down with a few RtM participants before we departed Albany to talk about why marriage matters. Here's what they have to say:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Equality Ride flashback in Albany, NY

After an exciting, albeit wet, day at the Saratoga County Fair, the western van joined up with Albany’s MCC church for an evening forum featuring a documentary screening, discussion of our work ahead, and sharing of stories. I for one was very encouraged to meet the locals of Albany and hear their stories. As our evening was winding down, four young adults made their way into Emmanuel Baptist Church. The conversation quickly moved from marriage equality to Biblical morality as we cleared out of the church.

Read more over at the Soulforce blog.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Walk a mile in my shoes

Senate Majority Leader Bruno refused requests to meet with our van though we have been trying to schedule a meeting for a long time now. Instead we were able to meet with a staff member who graciously listened, nodded, and suggested we keep the conversation going across the state. We will certainly be doing that in the next few weeks. At the same time, I am dismayed. As a future New Yorker, I look to my leaders to do what is right, even when that is unpopular. I appreciate our representative democracy which was designed to protect the rights of the minority from the whims of the majority.

My civil rights are not subject to debate and popular vote.

I look forward to a time when the leaders of our country will protect all of this nation's citizens. I am hopeful that Senator Bruno will be one of those leaders or at least allow the marriage equality bill to be heard on the senate floor.

In the meantime, I ask Senator Bruno to walk a mile in my shoes and to imagine what life would be like were he unable to wed. In doing so, I am confident that he, other senators, and all Americans will understand the importance of extending marriage rights to all individuals.

As my friends, acquaintances, or Internet readers, I urge you to ask Senator Bruno the same thing. Please find a pair of worn-out shoes you may have, write on a postcard why marriage equality is important to you—that you want to marry your girlfriend, that your parents aren't protected under the law, that your gay brother needs to live in a world where he can dare to dream of falling in love and marrying—and send that along with your shoes to Senator Bruno:

Senator Joseph L. Bruno
Legislative Office Building, Rm: 909
Albany, NY 12247

Please, walk a mile in my shoes.

If you send a pair of shoes, take a picture of your shoes and forward them to me so that we can keep track!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Video: Survivors Share

The Ex-Gay Survivors Conference is officially over but the effects it created continue to reverberate. The Survivor's Initiative has already visited NARTH headquarters and the New Life Church to present their stories of ex-gay therapies. Peterson and Christine continue to blog new insights in the wake of the conference and other ex-gay survivors such as Shawn and Dan Gonzalez join in with their own personal stories.

I'm also pleased to say that while I was in Irvine for the conference I was able to sit down and speak with some truly amazing individuals and capture their stories. I'm putting together a short video which will explore the conference as a whole, but in the meantime I hope to bring you a few standalone shorts: the often unheard stories of the ex-gay movement.

Claire Willett and
Daniel Stoltenberg speak out and share their experiences of navigating faith, identity, anti-gay messaging, and ultimately reconciliation.

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.

A Call For Change

Former ex-gay ministry leaders Michael Busse, Darlene Bogle, and Jeremy Marks issued a public apology for their part in harmful "therapy" programs. Here is coverage of their remarks.

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