|What inspired our journey?
On September 11, 2005, we embarked on our year long journey Gay Into Straight America. There were several catalysts that propelled us. The defining moment, however, inspired us to take action. It happened when we read the blog of Lars Clausen, a Lutheran minister about to embark on his own journey, Straight Into Gay America. We turned to one with tears in our eyes. Time stood still. We knew a profound shift had taken place in both of us, and we were almost afraid to have our eyes meet. But meet they did, and by the next day, we had secured the domain name, Gay Into Straight America, reversed the name of Lars' journey. It would be a paralle journey about creating authentic connections, but from the oppositive angle.
What we know is that "Every journey begins with a bold move, and every bold move is a journey."
Before that moment, however, several life experiences caused us to say, "Our country is better than this." Like Helen Keller implored us to do, we make a comimtment that we would not refuse to do the 'something' we can do." Our intention was to bridge the divide of polarization in our country regarding people's understanding of people with variant sexual orientation and gender.
The WHAT and HOW of that "something" was not clear to us in that defining moment. But the
commitment to creating authentic connections with people who are wrestling with their understanding of (GLBT) gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. GLBTA people (yes, allies too) are sometimes part of this group. Through everyday interactions, sharing meals and staying in people's homes, we are open to engaging hearts and minds. Being inclusive, we also avail ourselves to those who hold firm beliefs about us. Additionally, we reach out to our own community of gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, questioning and ally persons, who, like some heterosexual persons, often don't have a foundation for understanding transgender and intersex persons.
Wrestling means there is movement. In movement, there is an opportunity for a shift, leading to a potential change when people embark on their own journey. This movable middle holds the key, serving as a bridge for healing the polarization and transforming our society.
As part of this journey, we are speaking to groups and organizations, such as churches, PFLAG chapters, high schools, Gay/Straight Alliances, and colleges/universities.
Our commitment to take this yearlong journey, Gay Into Straight America, brewed for a long time. It first began with our involvement with Soulforce. (Thank you Mel White and Gary Nixon, for your vision of utilizing the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance to help free oppressed sexual and gender minorities from religious and political oppression).
Another seed was planted with the simple vow of intention that we spoke at our spiritual wedding ceremony on July 31, 2004. (Civil marriage was in Portland, March 7, 2004)
We vow to change the world through the expression of our love.
On March 9, 2005, we were reading "The Advocate Magazine", and saw the article about the journey of Lars Clausen, the Lutheran minister whose journey StraightIntoGayAmerica.com was to begin on June 14, 2005 (and can now be followed). Reading his blog inspired us to “Just do It!,” setting the date, September 11, 2005, for our journey to begin!
We were ecstatic about meeting with Lars face-to-face on Memorial Day, 2005, reveling in our parallel journeys. Frankly, we were smitten with one another from the moment we met! We all agree that the bigger picture is about moving beyond political and religious polarization. Our opportunity encompasses relinquishing myths, untruths and caricatures we have painted of one another, bridging the divide that is paralyzing us.
Lars has already done all the unicycling. That journey is over and the book is now written. Our job is easy. Sign up for A-Page-A-Day. Tell others. Help spread this Equal Rights message.
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When I was a stranger, you invited me in….
Gay Into Straight America
“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one
of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Matthew 25: 35-40
The light in us honors the light in you!
Rylee Joy, Robynne Sapp, and Dotti Berry