Monday, March 10, 2008

Walkin' in Memphis...again

So, for the first time in over two years, I stepped foot on Memphis soil. The reason for going this time was QUITE different than the first time. Instead of a quest for the Holy Grail that is straightness...this time my trek was about letting my side of the story be told....about sharing truth with others, with hopes of them finding some peace about their sexuality and faith.
The weekend was amazing. Ryan went with me...and was excited and anxious about it. It was hard to be so vulnerable in front of strangers and cameras but even more so in front of someone you love so much. It was hard but so great, too. Partners, spouses, and lovers of ex-gay survivors are to be commended. All too often, I find myself focusing on my past, my healing process, etc...all the while, forgetting that someone else...this great man trying to be in EVERY part of my going through a lot trying to understand. He was blessed to have an affirming church at home and some great friends to help him grow, so he was not even familiar with the ex-gay movement before he met me. I commend him for being so great and amazing...and owe a lot to him.
Anywho...not what this blog post was intended for.
The gathering in Memphis was powerful. From meeting other survivors, seeing old friends, and being a powerful witness to so many by standing in front of Central Church holding affirming signs, letting people know that, "You can't change a Zebra's Stripes." (Thank you Peterson's dad for such a simple and profound quote!)
I was able to share my story in a press conference and with some newly found friends. As I said in the conference, I didn't go to Memphis to have my 15 minutes of fame...I went to share my story and to help educate others. After all...Someone once told me that, "Knowledge is Power."

Thank you Peterson, Christine, the folks at the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center, and everyone else who made the Gathering so awesome. BTW...The art, Peterson's new play alone were totally worth the drive!!!


Peterson Toscano said...

Jacob! Thank you so much for making the trek to Memphis. You and Ryan contributed so deeply and it was GREAT to see you.

Queers United said...

its horrible that you were threatened and effectively forced into "love in action"

Benjamin said...

God bless you Jacob! Thank you for having so much courage. Your courage gives many others the courage to stand up and be strong and speak out against the injustices done in the name of religion. My uncle told me many years ago "Benjamin religion can be a very dangerous thing..." He continued to explain how keeping your eyes and mind fixed on Christ and on the basic principles He taught (i.e. unconditional love, kindness, healing, and all of the things that are the make up of an authentic Christian) he gave me a great blessing of understanding. I later began to separate the voices of my Church leaders, family and other friends from the voice of God then I began to truly walk with confidence and inner strength. I am so amazingly inspired by Christians like yourself and Brother Peterson Toscano whom I see as an authentic disciple of Christ.

I'm a Mormon who has been through quite a tough time over the years yet I have been inspired by people like yourself and my GLBT Latter-day Saint brothers and sisters. One day the Christian world will see the tapestry of our stories and see us for who we truly are as a unique and beautiful part of the great fabric of the Christian story. Thank you again for all you do.

Your friend in Christ,

Benjamin Scott Clark

Anonymous said...

I just found your page and watched your video. Really, the thing that I want to say is it's not just young people. I am 47 years old and have bought into the ex-gay stuff for years and years and years. I am just now coming to terms with my sexuality. I am just now trying to reconcile the two. I am having a very difficult time of this and am not sure I can do it. I am so ingrained with self-hatred because I am gay that I don't know if I can ever shake these chains. I have attempted suicide many times over the years. Unfortunately, the doctors always seem to interfer with my decision. Anyway, I'm glad that you share this on the web. And I'm glad I found your blog. I wish you the best. I probably will be back to finish reading all what you've written. Just try to keep in mind, it isn't just young people. It's us old folks too.