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What a week

Yea, so I am a liar. I say I am back in action, but than I am not. Oops. Perhaps some day I can redeem my honor and keep my word.

For some more ex-g

ay news. Ex-gay watch reports:

Remember Tyler Chase Harper and anti-gay T-Shirts? Harper is the blond teen ADF model/activist-in-training who sued the Poway School District because they wouldn’t let him wear an anti-gay T-shirt to school two days in a row. We’ve told you about him and his crusade before.

Harper has now graduated and has passed his “shameful” torch to his sister, Kelsie who – one supposes – also

wants to wear a shirt condemning her fellow students.

Well, this time was no different than the last. The judge, again, said that giving students the ability to attend class without condemnation is within the rights of a school. And so poor Kelsie will also be disallowed from being able to amend the Day of Silence’s message of “We support all students” to include “except for the homos”.

Of course it isn’t over. Because with each legal appeal comes a press release. And a chance for the ADF to make a financial appeal to protect our good Christian students from the homossseeeexxxxual agenda.

I am going to bank on posting daily now. My busyness is subsiding as my graduate school applications are done! I finished up Yale and Duke’s divinity school applications today. I just need to wait now. And blog in the meantime.

Editor’s Note: Format & layout edited; Click here to see past InterstateQ.com posts regarding Tyler Chase Harper and the “Day of Truth.”

From the Cornerstone University Herald:

CU community prepares for Soulforce
Luke Stier 30.JAN.07

Following the peaceful example set by Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi, Soulforce will visit Cornerstone in late April to spread their message of freedom for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people.

Thirty-four different institutions will be visited this year on Soulforce’s “Equality Ride 2007.” At each stop, the group hopes to get out and interact with students. Last year, the first year of the ride, the group stopped at 19 Christian colleges and universities.

There are two different buses involved in the ride. One bus will visit 17 institutions in the western United States; the other bus will visit 17 institutions in the east. Cornerstone will be a part of the east bus ride. The Equality Riders will begin their tour when they leave Minneapolis, Minn. on March 7.

Jarrett Lucas, co-director of the east bus ride, said, “Our goal is to engage students at all of our stops.” He explained that there will be 26 people from all over the country on the bus that visits Cornerstone University. Included in the number are two Michigan residents.

Two stops will be made in the state of Michigan, one at Cornerstone and the other just down the East Beltline at Calvin College. Lucas explained that all of the stops seem to have some sort of personal value to the group. For instance, there is a straight male Princeton graduate on the ride that comes from a home where both parents went to Calvin. Lucas also said there is a rider who is close friends with a Cornerstone student.

Soulforce first indicated a desire to come to Cornerstone through a letter sent to University President Rex M. Rogers on Oct. 31, 2006. After Rogers deliberated with several members from the Cornerstone community for nearly six weeks, he responded to Soulforce in writing on Dec. 18, 2006, saying that “it was not best that we invite them onto our campus.” Later in December, the University received a phone call from Soulforce stating their intentions to come anyway. On Jan. 12, Rogers received a formal letter that confirmed the group was planning to come to Cornerstone on April 23, 2007.
“We hope that between now and [April 23] that Cornerstone will decide to welcome us. Whether or not we are welcomed though, we’ll still come,” Lucas said. “Last year we visited 19 institutions, 14 of them welcomed us in. The majority welcome us.”

Read the full article

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The Winston-Salem, NC, chapter of PFLAG is offering “kudos” to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem for offering an in-depth LGBT-focused workshop series to its parishioners.

The group’s “kudos” was featured on the front page of their website, www.pflagwinstonsalem.org, where they also provided a link to the parish’s website section on the LGT workshop.

St. Paul’s, traditionally more of a moderate-to-conservative leaning congregation (from my experience), offered “Finally, Let’s Talk about It: Homosexuality and the Church,” from September 2006 through October 2006. According to the parish, the workshop had three goals, first to “create a forum in which real sharing might occur about a subject that tends to inspire much diatribe but very little dialog,” second to, “provide some introductory level teaching by clergy and other professionals on topics such as ‘The Bible and Homosexuality’ and ‘Homosexuality: A Psychologist’s View,'” and third to, “allow members of St. Paul’s who themselves are homosexual, or who have friends or family members who are homosexual, to offer publicly their stories of joy, pain, acceptance, hostility, faith, fear, laughter and tears within the Christian church.”

The parish offers transcripts of the workshop sessions on its site.

St. Paul’s claims that the workshops were not intended to change any person’s points of view on matters regarding homosexuality or faith, but rather to “do what our diocesan bishop, the Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ have consistently asked us to do; namely, ‘reconcile all people to God and each other.'”

The parish also added that the aim of the workshops were “to ‘speak the truth in love,’ trusting that, with God’s help, our parish would be strong enough, mature enough and faithful enough to hear things that might be saddening, maddening, challenging, inspiring, confusing, troubling and sometimes even offensive.”

You can check out St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and the transcripts of their workshop sessions at: www.stpauls-ws.org/Ministries/ChristianEducation/Transcripts/Transcripts.htm

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From the Equality MySpace Blog w/ Matt Hill Comer
January 31, 2007
See Post

Harry Potter… All grown up!

According to an article from London’s The Daily Mail, Daniel Radcliffe, the 17 year old British actor made most famous by his character Harry Potter, is scheduled to appear in the play Equus on a West End stage in London.

The move by Radcliffe has parents of some fans upset. Why, you ask? In the play Radcliffe will appear nude in an extended sex scene (with a woman… darn it, lol).

Radcliffe has been beefing it up, though. According to the news article, he’s been pumping some iron in the gym. The photo below gives you just a hint (anyone traveling to London now?).

For more on the controversy, Radcliffe and the play… see the news article.

Hat tip to Sue

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Democrat Dan Besse (pictured right), the Winston-Salem City Council member who represent’s Winston’s Southwest Ward (my City district) announced Tuesday his 2008 bid for the Lt. Governor’s seat of the State of North Carolina (h/t BlueNC.com).

Besse has long been a progressive, Democratic voice in the politics of Winston-Salem, Northwest North Carolina and the state as a whole. Besse has a strong and proven record of leadership on conservation and energy issues as well as a record indicating a commitment to equality among all citizens.

Besse’s campaign website has a great deal of detailed information about him, why he is running and some issues on which he is standing. Check it out at www.danbesse2008.org.

I’ll definitely be supporting Dan Besse’s bid for the Lt. Governor’s seat. As a constituent of his in Winston-Salem’s Southwest Ward, I’ve kept track of his performance and I know he is committed to doing the work of the People. I believe that Besse is a great candidate for the job, that he’ll bring many good qualities and qualifications to Raleigh and the North Carolina Senate and that he will stand upon his already proven records of protecting the unique, natural and rich environment of our state and the dignity and equality of all North Carolinians.

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Judy Shepard – ‘A S.I.C. World’

Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, the victim of a horrendous anti-gay hate crime in October 1998, spoke Tuesday evening to a group of hundreds of students and community members from across the state at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Her main message of the night: “Tell your stories and just be who you are.” Mrs. Shepard proclaimed that a “Catch-22” certainly exists. The only way things will change for the LGBT community is if people start to tell their stories. Many LGBT people, however, are afraid to “come out” with their stories due to the discrimination and prejudice which still exists. She said that despite the fear, we all must be willing to take the giant leap of faith trusting that we are on the right side and the right will win.

She challenged the audience, asking, “What has happened to our world?” She spoke to her upbringing and how she was taught the “Golden Rule.” She spoke of the dreams her and people her age had during the 1960s. She pondered as to what happened to those dreams. Why are we ignoring all of these issues today?

Mrs. Shepard said that we live in a S.I.C. world – a world of “silence, indifference and complacency.” She said that people are too silent and that people are not sharing their stories or speaking out on behalf of others. She said that many people have become indifferent and do not get involved in “things which don’t directly affect them.” She said that we have all become complacent, assuming someone else will carry the torch and march forward for equality. Ending silence, indifference and complacency is the way to change.

Of course, Mrs. Shepard spoke of her own personal story. She spoke not only of her eldest son’s horrific death and the issues surrounding it, but also on the personal journey she made as a parent and a mother to an openly gay child. She related to the audience how Matthew first came out to her (in the middle of the night, via telephone, as he was in the U.S. and she was with her husband in Saudi Arabia). She noted, an interesting fact, that Matthew attended one year of college in North Carolina – at Salisbury’s Catawba College – before he went to Laramie and the University of Wyoming.

Mrs. Shepard’s story is a strong one… an emotional one… one I’m glad I heard. If ever you get the chance to hear Mrs. Shepard speak… DO IT! She doesn’t sound like a professional speaker or a politician, but rather a parent – a loving, accepting, gracious parent. Her message is one our entire world needs to hear. I wish the entire world could hear it and, if they did, I wish they’d heed the lessons.

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Judy Shepard tonight!

So… I’m off… Judy Shepard tonight at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Great Hall in the Frank Porter Graham Student Union, 7pm.

More info: www.unc.edu/glbtsa

Expect photos in the InterstateQ.com Photo Gallery.

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The Nation: ‘Solid South’ fantasy

I received an email earlier today from Nick Jahr, a blog reader and staffer at The Nation. He points me to their most recent cover story:

In the article, Bob Moser, one of our contributing writers, makes a really compelling argument that the ‘solid South’ is a Republican myth that the Dems need to see through. Among other highlights, Moser has a vicious dissection of Democratic presidential politics in the South. And in one of the piece’s sharper observations, he writes:

“The parity between the parties, unprecedented in the South’s history, was neatly symbolized by the total tally of state legislative seats in the old Confederate states after the 2004 elections: 891 Democrats, 891 Republicans.”

Jahr also states: “We’re hoping that this piece will be just part of a broader conversation” including blogs and their readers.

Here in North Carolina, our state’s political history since Reconstruction has pretty much continued to be dominated by one party: the Democrats. While it is true that Republicans have become more competitive, the Democrats have remained the controlling party of the North Carolina State Legislature for… well… over a hundred years (give or take a few sessions here and there).

This was pretty much the basis of our study in my Southern and North Carolina Politics course during the fall 2006 semester: Surveying the change of Southern politics before and after the Civil War and continuing into the 20th and 21st centuries. The South is a unique place, for sure, and we definitely have some unique politics.

I haven’t had the chance to read the piece yet (read it at The Nation, ya’ll), but I’ll certainly get to it when I can. Ya’ll have any thoughts? Is the “Solid South” a Republican myth? Can the Democrats succeed on a national level in the South? We already see the Dems are doing good jobs on the state level. Will the Democrats continue to be as powerful on the state level here in North Carolina or other Southern states as they have been in the past?

P.S. – Interesting fact: Bob Moser is a native of Winston-Salem, NC, and columnist for the mostly gay male-oriented OUT Magazine. Back in June 2006, Moser wrote a piece on PFLAG Winston-Salem and LGBT youth.

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New Photo Gallery changes & new album links

I’ve spent this morning installing the new gallery on this new domain and transferring just some of the old albums into the new one.

The new InterstateQ.com Photo Gallery web address: http://photos.interstateq.com

The old gallery is still up but will be taken down part by part as I need to.

Here are the links to the new albums in the Gallery:

Photos of Me

Equality Ride 2007 Photos

Soulforce Right to Serve Campaign in Greensboro

Pride Charlotte 2006

Comer Mountain

DC/Capital Pride trip 2006

I do not believe all be transferring all the old albums. In fact, I think I’m pretty much done. There will be PLENTY of chances to take photos of other UNCG PRIDE!, Guilford Green Foundation and other organizations’ events and activities.

Wow… I guess this is when the media circus begins.

I’ve posted news pieces on my fellow Southern boys, Georgian Joey Heath and Arkansas kids Adam Britt and Jeremy Gabbard. Entering stage right… Greg Johnson, from Oklahoma State University:

The ride will have an Oklahoma representative onboard with Oklahoma State University student Greg Johnson.

“I became interested in the ride when I saw what they were doing and what they were able to accomplish last year,” Johnson said. “I believe that religious equality and understanding is key in the struggle for societal equality, because I think a lot of the injustices in our society are based on beliefs that are either directly or indirectly sanctioned by churches.”

Johnson, a senior philosophy major, is active in OSU’s LGBT campus group, Sexual Orientation Diversity Association, and said his religious upbringing was an obstacle to his coming-out process.

“I accepted the conservative Christian view and a literal translation of the Bible, so I pretty much accepted that homosexuality was a sin, and I was trying to suppress my desires for the same sex,” said Johnson. “The internalization of that oppression and what it did to my personal life is what pushed me into activism. The religious focus of Soulforce appeals to me greatly because I belive so many people are being misled by their denominations, preachers and spiritual leaders to think that they are doing something good by speaking out against homosexuality. They accept that position without knowing it produces harmful effects.”

Ride organizers agree.

“Again, we are trying to start and continue a conversation about faith and homosexuality. We want to let young adults be the leaders in creating that conversation in a new way that is not divisive,” said Haven Herrin, co-director of the ride. “It is very important to have that conversation in places where institutional policies are involved in LGBT oppression.”

Read the full article at HNOKC.com.