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March newsletter continued
Mar 20, 2007

The adventure continues...
so much happened between our arrest at Focus on the Family on February 19 and our court date on March 14 that our newsletter ran longer; thus, we had to add “Part II.” We also remembered we had been so busy that we had not yet written about our time in New York. Keep reading to discover how we stood in snowy 12 degree weather for a shot at being selected for Oprah's "The Big Give" show, and an exciting story about The Stonewall Inn, site of the infamous Stonewall Riots.  Our experience served as a reminder of why it is important to take action today.

Let's back up a little.  Why and when were we in New York? It was in March, and as we just mentioned, we were there to take our shot at being selected for Oprah's "The Big Give" show since our passion is making a difference in our world. We had two guest pass airline tickets for flying standby and thought, "Why not?" We thought back to the video we shot inside a big 38 foot Motor Coach, where the dealer participated in our plea for Oprah to fund one for our 2005/06 year-long journey, Gay Into Straight America, where our sole intention was to engage hearts and minds, create authentic connections, and transcend differences that separate us.  Ok, we'll have to admit, Oprah didn't bite on that idea, but it was a riot filming the video and sending to her.  We also know that the 13-foot Scotty trailer (pulled by a purple suburban with both gifted to us) was absolutely the perfect vehicle for our year long journey.  If you've never seen the Scotty, check out this picture! 



 Just think how much publicity Oprah could have gotten
from signage on that big motor coach? (:

Though we stood in snowy 12 degree New York weather (unprepared with adequate clothing since we didn't anticipate snow), over 1000 people shivered with us, waiting to get inside the building to talk with Oprah's people screening for "The Big Give." The cold air couldn't dull the electric feeling as we all shared stories about why we were there.  It was an amazing connection to be standing with so many others who truly want to make a difference in our world!  Ironically, the people in front of us and in back of us all turned out to be gay!  So, there we sat with our magic number in the "waiting room" (a large auditorium space) for most of the day once we got inside, saying that we were sitting on "gay row!"


We were encouraged when we finally got our two minutes of time after waiting all day to meet with one of the producers.  We felt it went pretty good, since she asked us if we could be available to do an on-air test the next day.  Though we had planned to fly out later that day, we said "Sure" and decided to change our flight and stay another day.  We had not come 3000 miles from Blaine, WA to get close to this opportunity and turn it down.  The woman said that she would call that evening or the next morning.  We anxiously awaited a call that never came. 

Though we certainly wished that we had been selected, our year long Gay Into Straight America journey motto, as well as life motto, came to our rescue..."Give Without Expectation...Remain Unattached to a Specific Outcome."  We know that fear and disappointment are villains that rear their ugly heads when we become attached to a specific outcome, robbing us of joy that is rightfully ours.  From past experiences, we knew that something great was going to happen, unbeknown to us, if we drank from this well of joy, rather than embranced the despair of fear and disappointment. 

This situation simply made us think, “What unexpected joy is going to happen before we leave New York?”  It didn’t take long to begin the next steps of the journey.  Roby’s 18 years of hiding in the closet make her understanding of gay history a little sketchy.  She had heard of The Stonewall Riots, but really didn’t understand its impact (ok, she's also a little younger than me too!)  We decided it was the perfect opportunity for a hands-on history lesson. Being a kinesthetic learner, Roby wanted to “experience” Stonewall, rather than read about it.  So, we left where we were staying and walked to the Village, in search of the Stonewall Inn. 


As we approached the area, a woman practically grabbed us off the sidewalk.  She encouraged (or begged) us to participate in making up a Pringles jingle and being videotaped for potentially being in a commercial. You’re probably thinking, “What?” That’s exactly what we thought.  They were filming in a park like area directly across from The Stonewall Inn, but we were on a mission.  We politely declined the lady's opportunity.  Roby had her camera in hand as we approached, only to discover it was closed for rennovations. could this be?  Ok, ok, "Remain unattached to a specific outcome," we kept telling ourselves.  This was difficult.  Roby was clearly disappointed and rightfully so.  We decided to head down to the Duplex, a piano bar on the corner. Nothing can soothe the soul like sipping on a nice glass of wine!  Unfortunately, no one was currently singing at the piano bar.  That took place in the evenings. As we sat and enjoyed the Duplex, we knew some unexpected joy was not only a possibility, but a probability.


We finished our wine and began the trek back toward Andrew's place in the east side of Greenwich Village, where we were graciously being given a place to stay for two nights after being in a hotel for two days.  Thanks Andrew!  More in line with our budget! 

Suddenly, the woman who originally spotted us on the sidewalk approached us again, pleading for us to come up with a Pringle Jingle.  I don't know what she was paid, but whatever it was, it wasn't enough.  This woman had determination! She could tell our resolve was weaking.
Anyway, you know us.  Carpe Diem…another adventure added. Ok, we know you can't wait to hear our Pringle Jingle.  



 Get ready...imagine Two Women (without their poodle) rapping to these words:

          No matter how you like it,

Plain or with dip,

When you got a Pringle,

You got the best chip...

Let's spoon! (as we dipped and I turned inside Roby)

Yes, after all, the Pringle chips spoon in the round carton, allowing them to stack more chips in the package.  Again, who says justice work can't be fun!

After filming, we continued our trek back to Andrew's place.  Since we were flying standby and flights were booked, we stayed one more night in New York.  What a fantastic place to celebrate our third wedding anniversary (one of our three weddings to one another)!  We decided to return that evening to the piano bar, and sadly glanced over at the closed Stonewall Inn next door as we entered the Duplex. 

What a great evening we had!  They celebrated us to the hilt!  As we left to return to Andrew's, we stepped outside and saw a gentleman who sang several times during the evening.  I (Dotti) stopped and introduced myself, telling him how much we enjoyed his singing. We chatted for a few minutes, sharing how we discovered The Duplex when we were taking pictures of the Stonewall that afternoon.  Turns out the man we were talking to is Bill Morgan. Bill looked at us and said, "Do you want to see it?" We said "What?" He said, "Yes, me and a couple of people purchased it and are re-opening the Stonewall."

He went back inside The Duplex, got the key, unlocked it and took us in where about five guys were working.

(L-R) Back: Domick, Chris Fitzgerald (investor) & Roby
Front: Kurt Kelly (one of the owners), Bill Morgan (one of the owners), Dotti

Bill told us, "I am excited about owning The Stonewall because the gay and lesbian community has given to me and my wife for 14 years.  We want to give back."  He continued, "And guess who the biggest financial investor in the Stonewall is?" We said, "who?" He said , "My Republican father."  So, he says, "we are making progress."

(L-R) Tree (one of the bartenders during the Stonewall Riots), Chris,
Larry, Dominick, & Dotti

Before leaving New York, we had brunch with Dan G. Karslake, whose movie For the Bible Tells Me was one of only 16 documentaries to make it into the Sundance Film Festival this year.  It is currently being sought by three different distributors. 

(L-R) Roby, Dan & Dotti

5.Telling your story... 

Friend Diana Cambell sent a link to a great article on Valentine's Day.  Unfortunately, we had just sent out our newsletter, and then came the "arrest" newsletter.  But this is worth sharing for the importance of telling your story.  Click here to read.

Dotti: It asks folks to do something similar to what I request in my diversity training workshops.  I ask people who are in mixed gender relationships to not mention their husband/wife and/or children for 24 hours.  They usually call within several hours, saying "I am going crazy.  What do I talk about? I never realized how often I revealed my "heterosexuality!" (:  The writer in this article gives it a slightly different twist on Valentine's Day.  It is a good exercise, regardless of the day, for people inclined to attraction toward the opposite gender, either currently in or out of a mixed gender relationship, to better understand why we also need to honor our love relationships by speaking about them.

Speaking about the power of sharing your story, this is one you don't want to miss. Jamie said,

"Dotti and Roby have been such an amazing influence in our lives, and we want to share with anyone who will listen, the experiences we've had as a result of these two beautiful women coming into our lives. Deb LeMay asked me to write an article for the local PFLAG newsletter about a recent experience.  I thought I'd share it....this is all related to what we learned from Dotti and Roby!" 

Being real...daring to live authentic...won him and his partner, Jeremy, a trip to Mexico! So, why are we here in Blaine and they are going to Mexico? (:

Click here for Jamie's Story --find out what he and Jeremy did to win that trip! 

(L-R) Rylee Joy, Dotti, Deb, Bill, Jeremy, Jamie & Roby

6. In the news...Soulforce Equality Riders & Rev. Al Mohler
As significant as the Stonewall Riots were in 1969, so is the Equality Ride today as it creates its place in history.  This is the youth group of Soulforce, making their mark similar to the youth involved in the Freedom Rides of the Civil Rights era. Two weeks ago, 50 young men and women boarded two buses and set out on a remarkable journey. Their mission: to initiate conversations about faith and sexuality at 32 Christian colleges with policies that silence or exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students. This week, the Riders face their toughest challenges yet as the westbound bus travels to Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah and the eastbound bus travels to Mississippi College in Mississippi.

Thus far, the Riders have shared moments of reconciliation, prayer, and connection with conservative Christian students at colleges on two separate routes across the nation, but they have also faced harassment and intimidation. Their bus was defaced with anti-gay slurs in Sioux Center, Iowa and they were met by armed police on the rooftops at Central Bible College in Missouri.

Currently, 5 Equality Riders and 1 Baylor University student are being held in the McClennan County Jail in Waco, Texas. The Riders were arrested Tuesday on criminal trespassing charges after they wrote messages affirming LGBT students in chalk on Baylor sidewalks. The Riders' bail has been set at $2,000 each, which is equivalent to the maximum fine under Texas law.

Riders are also facing organized, official resistance as they prepare to visit BYU, where Mormon Riders have been banned from their own church, and Clinton, Miss., where police officials attempted to abridge the Riders' constitutional rights. Jeff Lutes, Executive Director of Soulforce, wrote us today and said,

"Now the bus is headed to Clinton, Mississippi where the school administrator has publicly referred to the riders as “beasts” and says he will deal with the Equality Riders “the same way Americans dealt with the terrorists of 9/11.”

I am in Provo, Utah today…six hour “Walls of Jericho” march planned around BYU tomorrow." 


If you haven't caught the firestorm caused by comments from Rev. Al Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., click here and read the details in our blog posting.
The titles of his recent blog articles, Is Your Baby Gay? What If You Could Know? What If You Could Do Something About It? and his follow-up Was it Something I Said? Continuing to Think About Homosexuality, might give you an indication regarding some of the uproar.  Give him the benefit of the doubt and at least read the article ... stay informed!  An Associated Press article,  Furor Over Baptist's Gay-Baby Article, provided the catylyst for the first blog article getting nation-wise attention, which led to Mohler's second blog article as a response.

Gay Parents Exist, Legal Rights or Not - Read how one lawyer has helped same gender parents in Colorado use a loophole in a law.
Many thanks to Kate Burns, and her partner, Sheila for putting together the video of what happened on February 19 at Focus on the Family.  If you missed that video, click here for our last newsletter and catch up! They also interviewed us for their movie, Sole Journey

(L-R) Sheila & Kate

Live Authentic...Whatever It Takes!

Every journey begins with a bold move, and every bold move is a journey. 
As we continue to make changes in our lives and grow toward our highest selves,
we are transforming the world.  
     --Two Women & a Poodle, Dotti  Berry, Robynne Sapp & Rylee Joy



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