crisisbookOn Feb. 25, I was honored to participate in a forum with North Carolina businessman and Faith in America founder Mitchell Gold and Faith in America executive director Brent Childers at a small gay bar/lounge here in Charlotte. Usually, politics and religion don’t go well with bars, but it was a great and attentive crowd — we couldn’t have asked for better. We were able discuss issues addressed in Gold’s book, “CRISIS: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay In America,” to which both Brent and I also contributed.

Before that later evening event, Mitchell Gold was a special guest of Campus Pride and local LGBT youth support group Time Out Youth at Myers Park Baptist Church. There, a little more than 100 folks turned out to hear Gold speak about his book, his experience growing up as a gay youth and issues of anti-LGBT, religion-based bigotry and prejudice.

A day before the event, I spoke to Campus Pride executive director Shane Windmeyer and asked if it would be appropriate to invite to the Myers Park lecture the editor of Voice of Revolution, a Charlotte-area online magazine run by anti-LGBT theologian and activist Dr. Michael Brown. (You can read my previous, in-depth Special Report on Brown here.)

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Report from Hickory: CRISIS panel

Last night I had the pleasure of taking the hour and fifteen minute drive up to Hickory. It’s a beautiful little town tucked right into the foothills of North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains.

About 100 people showed up at downtown’s Taste Full Beans coffeehouse and gallery to learn more about LGBT people, religion-based prejudice, anti-gay discrimination and growing up gay in the U.S. The topic of discussion: Mitchell Gold’s “CRISIS: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay In America.”

Gold moderated a panel of three of the book’s contributors, including me, Faith in America Executive Director Brent Childers and Hickory resident Jeff Austin.

Despite the heavy fog returning home — boy, did that make driving difficult for me — the night was a blast. For such a small and humble town, 100 people showing up to a gay-positive event is fabulous. Hickory’s got a lot of good things going for it. I’m glad I could be even a small part of it.

Thanks to the staff of Taste Full Beans for making the night an overwhelming success!

Past post: “Sense of urgency – ‘Crisis’ book panel Thursday”