Gratitude & Hope: The TEDx Talk - Pride Month Ramblings #3

Last summer, about two weeks after I came out of the closet and resigned from my worship pastor job, I went to a mixer put on by the Letter People. I was lonely and anxious to find some kind of community, but this LGBTQ world was brand new to me. People would ask me about my life, where I worked and so on, and I would just tell them the truth… I was still reeling from the big truth bomb I had so recently dropped on everyone, and I didn’t know what *else* to talk about!

I was chatting with Samantha and Michelle, and they were particularly interested in the way Luanne and I were approaching this whole thing. How she was choosing to partner with me instead of fighting against me. How we were dedicated to making this a loving divorce and preserving our beautiful family as best we could. How supportive our kids were being. They just so happened to be on the TEDx Sonoma County board, and they encouraged me to apply so we could share our story with a wider audience.

Luanne graciously agreed, and so we applied to be speakers. We met with Shannon Ledger and Vincent Rago, and we all agreed to move forward. Shannon provided excellent coaching, and Luanne and I got to work on the most effective way to tell our story.

Finally, on November 5, 2016, we took the stage at Sonoma Country Day School’s Jackson Theater and told the story as best we could. It was raw and recent and painful and powerful, but I’m so proud of the way it turned out.

Since the video was uploaded to YouTube, I’ve been contacted many times by gay men in mixed-orientation marriages who saw the video and felt a little less alone. While no two stories are exactly the same, I love that we have been able to give hope to people who felt like they had no hope. I’m so grateful for the opportunity, and I pray all the time that God would use it to help people…

  • To help LGBTQ people live honest, healthy lives.

  • To help those who find themselves in mixed-orientation marriages know that they are not alone, and that they have options.

  • To help people better understand the unique perspective, pain and opportunities of the straight spouse in a mixed-orientation marriage.

  • To help Christian LGBTQ people know that they are not alone and that there is a rapidly-growing number of Christians who are opening their hearts and minds to the reality of God’s loving welcome to ALL of us. Yes, you can be gay AND Christian, and no, that does not require mandatory celibacy.

  • To help LGBTQ kids come out of the closet NOW and not try to “fake it” for years, doing inestimable harm to themselves and others.

  • To help friends and family of LGBTQ people better understand what it’s like for us.

  • To help non-affirming Christians better understand how Christians like Luanne and me can change our minds about LGBTQ inclusion. #FaithfullyLGBT

  • To help expose the harmful myth of “ex-gay” or “conversion” therapy. It is pseudo-science. It DOES NOT work. It has been roundly condemned and discredited by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades.

Many of my friends have already seen this, but if you haven’t, it serves as an excellent introduction to our story.