Saturday, January 31, 2009

Integrity at Creating Change, January 31
Story telling time

by Jan Adams, Claiming the Blessing Field Organizer 415-378-2050

At the opening plenary here at the NGLTF's Creating Change conference, there was a free hardcover book waiting on every seat. I can't say everyone was looking for weighty reading material, but I picked it up and have been browsing through to it each day when I needed to get away from the crowds.

Furniture entrepreneur Mitchell Gold, along with co-editor Mindy Drucker, has collected 40 stories revealing the personal, social and religious trauma of growing up gay in America. In Crisis. Gold asked his interviewees questions like: "What is it like to grow in fear that you'll lose your family's love? What is it like to lie to everyone about who you love? What is it like to be called an abomination by your religious leaders?"

That last question evoked answers that chill the soul.
"Put all the the queers on a ship, cut a hole in the side and send it out to sea," my pastor said with a half smile and eerily happy eyes.

Q Notes editor Matt Comer

"I ain't raising no goddamn bulldagger up in my house. Before I do that I'll send your ass right back to that damn agency where I got you." Whenever my behavior revealed the slightest hint of masculinity, my foster mother always used those words to threaten me with expulsion from her house.

Theologian Irene Monroe

Michell Gold writes that "as a closeted young gay man, I experienced the effects of prejudice and ignorance. And now I see how bigotry disguised as religious truth has affected people like my friend Jeff and the men and women who share their stories [here]. Making sure their stories get told so that the millions of others who come after them do not have to repeat their experiences was the inspiration for this book."

Integrity members might be particularly interested in boyhood narratives from Dan Karslake who made the film For the Bible Tells Me So, the Rev. Mel White, founder of Soulforce, and our own Bishop Gene Robinson.

The lesson that the LGBT movement in all its facets is taking to heart at the present time it is that we move our neighbors toward equality when we lovingly tell our personal stories. Crisis is full of examples of story telling that remind those who will listen of the dignity that a loving God means for us all to share.

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