Updates From The Road: April 2011
What a week it has been! I am in the middle of a two week road trip speaking at colleges and attending screenings of Equality U. My trip began in Philadelphia where I live. From Philadelphia I attended some meetings in DC and then took a long drive down to Morehead Kentucky where I presented the key note address at the Come Together Kentucky (CTK) conference presented by the Kentucky ALLYance of Morehead State University.
The theme of this year’s CTK conference was Acceptance. I grew up in a rural community much like the community surrounding Morehead State University. I have always wished that I had been in contact with affirming voices, and people who could have appropriately counseled me with the struggles typical to young queer people. It was so refreshing to see a rural community with such a vibrant group of beautiful young adults. The organizers and participants from CTK were some of the most exceptional people I have ever had the pleasure to work with.
My remarks also focused on the themes of acceptance. I spoke about my own process of self-acceptance, and discussed how the things we view as absolute truths can greatly affect our ability to accept ourselves. My own absolute truths have changed over the years, and I encouraged the participants at CTK to consider the things they held dear, and to always value the intrinsic parts of their identities.
After CTK I journeyed on to West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, WV. There I worked with former Equality Rider Isaiah Zahn to do a screening of Equality U, the documentary detailing the first Equality Ride in 2006. It was a wonderful experience and we have already received an application for the Equality Ride from someone who was in the audience.
I left West Virginia to head to Harrisonburg, VA for another screening of Equality U at Eastern Mennonite University, this time working with Cole Parke, also an alumnus of the Equality Ride. We had a great turn out and a wonderful Q&A after the film.
Next I found myself attending the Soulforce Symposium at James Madison University. The lecture, entitled: The Politics of the Ex-Gay Movement by Dr. Christine Robinson was fantastic and I am very excited about the conversations being sparked by our ground breaking panel on Intersectional Justice. The theater performance by Peterson Toscano was excellent! We reached hundreds of students, and had a truly successful event at JMU! Look for an additional blog post or two from participants!
After JMU I will be headed back to West Virginia for two additional screenings of Equality U, and then down to Roanoke, VA to speak about a Soulforce art exhibit being housed at the Metropolitan Community Church.
This journey has been exhaustive, but so rewarding! I am so blessed to have a job that I love, and one that really benefits people! At Soulforce we are committed to spreading the message of equality and acceptance to all parts of the world. It has been amazing bringing our message to at least one small corner of the world!