Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Foreword by Jody Huckaby, Executive Director of PFLAG

On Sharing the Foreword by Jody Huckaby.

As I prepare to send this message out, my insides scream out, "Don't toot your own horn!"

"If a good word needs to be said about you, let someone else say it for you." That's my internal conscience.

Stepping out comes with uncertainty and mistakes. Not stepping out means to miss the journey. Jody Huckaby wrote after reading STRAIGHT INTO GAY AMERICA, "Yours is a story that must be told—it’s difficult to express how your manuscript has provided me with a renewed sense of my own purpose, and that of PFLAG."

So, against the screaming insides, I take another step and push forward a bit more with Straight Into Gay America. As good friends keep reminding me, "coming out is a lifelong journey."

To see the foreword:


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Will Anything Come of It All?

"Hi lars, I admire your courage, energy and zeal. I am afraid, though, that nothing will come out of it all. Keep trucking." (note from an elder friend who has known me since I was in diapers.)

"Your work - the living, the writing, and the way in which you and your family share it - helps my wife and me to keep going each day. We are grateful and just a little bit less lonely because of you and we thank you." (A relationship started from a brief encounter two years ago.)

Will Anything Come of our Work to affect the Big Wide World?
No one knows. This process is all about faith, all about finding one's own right place, even when that place is different.

I've thought about my friend's question for years; "Will anything come of it all?" I spent time writing about this in Straight Into Gay America. Here's an excerpt about how e-coli bacteria helped me grow more settled with my place in the word.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Federal Marriage Amendment

So, the wedding was great, (see last post.) But picture this. In one week the Senate votes whether to make it a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay men or lesbian women to ever enjoy the blessing of marriage.

At this one man - one woman wedding the brother of the bride was a gay person. He and his partner stood for family photos. They've been together for seven years. I wonder what it feels like to know that they can't have the same official ceremony in that catholic church, or anywhere else in that state of Pennsylvania?

The flower girl had two moms. I wonder what the mom's were thinking as their 4-year old daughter so carefully placed flowers in the aisleway of this ornate 1850's church?

Have you read the text of the Federal Marriage Amendment. It's short, just a few sentences that would devastate not only millions of individuals, but the character of our national identity. The langua is posted in my last newsletter, plus links to websites that are carrying on both sides of this debate. Valuable reading, but still, as I write this blog, I experience the sinking feeling of discouragement that we're even having this debate, that there's such intense energy for creating new and permanent inclusions in the land of the free. I wrote in the newsletter about my heroes - the people who get up every day, year after year, pointing in the direction of kindness, care, and compassion. They help me get up in the morning. Hope you've got these people, too.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Nathan's and Maura's wedding.

I'm off to Philadelphia tonight for the wedding of friends. Nathan's a long-time friend and he hosted me during my tour last summer. Some of you may remember from my tour postings. At the time he and Maura weren't yet engaged, but prospects looked good!

Here's an another preview from Straight Into Gay America, from my visit with Nathan and Maura. WEDDING WISHES!

“Look at us. We’re the insiders,” says Maura. “Here we sit, holding each other’s hands, and you’re filming us and everything’s fine. Everyone celebrates that Nathan and I found each other. It would be a whole different situation if we were two men or two women who fell in love with each other.”

Nathan adds a story from when he was teaching in Shreveport. “The partner of one of my colleagues died of cancer. My colleague was very devoted to his partner. He stayed at the hospital at his partner’s bedside to care for him. But at the same time he provided for his partner, he had to fight a legal battle in the court to get permission to be with him, and to take care of inheritance, and to secure the right to be his primary caregiver. His partner’s parents wouldn’t accept my colleague’s presence. The conflict became a big legal issue, even though these two men had been together for seventeen years.

“God, it’s hard enough to accompany a person through a hospital stay without fighting a court battle at the same time. Heterosexual couples don’t have to worry about this. It’s tragic we add this kind of suffering to people’s lives when they’re going through life and death crises with their loved ones.”
“And then,” Maura adds, “when death does come to a heterosexual couple, the surviving partner is usually surrounded by the love and care and comfort of family. When a same-sex couple’s partner dies, we mostly don’t even acknowledge it. The surviving partner often bears the loss alone. Life in the closet ends with death in isolation.”

We talk until late. I’m hoping Maura and Nathan are the forerunners of our society a generation from now, a land where this kind of inclusivity and compassion is commonplace. When we’re finished, I get a good night’s sleep on Nathan’s basement futon. Tan takes the upstairs couch. In the morning we wake early, heading back to Lancaster for a morning of church shopping.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Last night I sent word of Straight Into Gay America to a dozen blogs.

Jeremy from wrote back. "As someone who gets sent any and everything under the gay-related sun, I can honestly say this is something I would actually read, write about, and take seriously. "

I've posted my announcement on our website. VIEW IT. Send it to a blog or a friend just by clicking SEND TO A FRIEND at the bottom of the message.

Defeating the Federal Marriage Amendment is rightfully top priority. It's good to see this work. What a sad day for our country if we started using Amendments to discrminate instead of to ensure our rights and inclusion.

Blogs visited yesterday. Many more to come.;;;;;;

Thanks to blogger friend Chris Savage who did legwork on finding these, "I'm Just Sayin'" is his blog. . Thanks for his Straight Into Gay America post last week.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Soulscaper Logo

People have been asking about our Soulscaper logo ever since Anne first created the guy in 2002. He was two-feet high in vinyl, on the side of Harvey the RV as I pedaled through the 50 states. He's on the cover of One Wheel - Many Spokes, and he's still with us for Straight Into Gay America. (See him on our homepage)

Anne's work in feminist spirituality and her love for art inspired dozens and dozens of these characters she calls Soulscapers (landscaping the soul)

Last week as we talked about typesetting for Straight Into Gay America, Anne got inspired to paint another three dozen Soulscapers. Kent took a look and said they'd be a great addition to the layout of the book. Here are two preview paintings.

Thank you, Anne. It's nice to have an artist in the family. If you'd like to see Anne's paintings you can visit her website at If you like the soulscapers, there's a contact form on the website where you can drop her a note.

Monday, May 22, 2006

"Yours is a story that must be told—it’s difficult to express how your manuscript has provided me with a renewed sense of my own purpose, and that of PFLAG...a truly remarkable and critically important story."

Jody Huckaby (Executive Director for PFLAG) sent the foreword today that will appear in Straight Into Gay America. After I read it, I sat for a long time, soaking it in, knowing that I'd just received a real gift for my soul.

In the polarizations that swirl through the journey toward equal rights, words of encouragement and support are priceless. Isolation creates so much fear and doubt.

I look forward to when I can share Jody Huckaby's foreword with you. It's the last piece of putting Straight Into Gay America -- a strong connection to the broader community. It will serve as a personal strength for me in those times of doubt, and in those times of answering why I choose to be an LGBT ally.

Thanks to everyone who shares encouragement with others. What a gift to hold and to be held in a caring community.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

4 Strategies to overcome anti-gay election-season politics.

BTW: Yesterday's Unicycle Jamboree
in Sultan, Washington was as big a highlight
as ever. (And it didnt' rain).

Politics: I felt bad when I read yesterday's newspaper article about the ballot initiative effort to repeal Washington State's gay rights bill.

Straight Into Gay America is at the typesetter, ready for production, and I haven't even weighed in against Tim Eyman approaching 5,400 Washington churches today on what he's calling, "Referendum Sunday."

The article says Tim is "using a page torn from Karl Rove's playbook," inflaming anti-gay feelings in advance of the November election. Many predicted the return to an anti-gay strategy during this election season. Few are suprised.

The time is here: Now I have to figure out in what manner to be part of this fray. These four strategies seem possible.

  • Share Facts
  • Offer Arguments
  • Organize Actions
  • Tell Stories

I support all the arguments, actions, and fact-sharing work that helps LGBT equal rights. (See some of the major LGBT justice organizations and their work:,,,,, etc).

But on this Sunday morning when much of our nation will sit in churches and hear stories from that master-storyteller Jesus, I think about how stories change our lives; the Prodigal Son, the woman at the well, Jesus on the cross. I think Jesus had a good idea. Tell stories. Share experiences. Overcome fear by honoring one another.

Here's a story: Two men met in Central Park 50 years ago. They've lived together all those years. I met them at the New York City Pride Parade last summer while I was unicycling. The two men were celebrating 50 years together, and 1 year of marriage. Massachusetts law had finally allowed them to make a public declaration of their lifetime of commitment to one another. Read this Straight Into Gay America excerpt.

I'm going to look for Tim Eyman's address and share this story with him. I'm going to see what difference a story may make.

What are your strategies?

Blessings, Lars

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Straight Into Gay America: Latest News

Hello dear friends,

On Asking For Help
May 19, 2006
Kai's friend stood outside the door,waiting, hoping to get noticed so Kai would bike with him. I was that shy kid when I grew up. But now, if I don't push myself, I'll just wait for people to notice Straight Into Gay America. I'm knocking.
Click here for the complete story.

Thanks for supporting the STRAIGHT INTO GAY AMERICA journey. We're currently in the book production phase. Pub-date is scheduled for July 20, the one-year anniversary of finishing the tour. We'll keep you posted. Lars


Unicycle Jamboree

"Are you sure you want to go to the unicycle jamboree? It's raining." And, I thought to myself, "It's a three-hour drive."

"I want to go," said KariAnna last night.

It's still raining this morning, but the thrill of spending a day with 100 other grade-school unicyclers should brighten our day. Our family is headed to the 4th annual Sultan Elementary School unicycle jamboree. These are the folks who had a parade for me as I was riding across the United States. These are the folks who hosted my publication date party for One Wheel - Many Spokes.

Every time we go to Sultan I get inspired by the kids. The ones who are just learning inspire me with persistence. The tricksters who ride one-footed, or backwards, or on 6-foot unicycles show me passion. And the two teachers, Dee and Rob, they teach me about love. Week after week, year after year, they keep showing up for the kids, encouraging, leading, and offering support. I'm looking forward to soaking up this energy today, even if we're soaking up Seattle rain at the same time.

All best wishes for a wonderful weekend,

Friday, May 19, 2006

Poet Cynthia Gustavson finds Straight Into Gay America "vulnerable."

Finishing writing a book feels like coming out of a solitary cave. The two hours I spent each morning, all winter, all alone, writing Straight Into Gay America are transforming into a flurry of production and 'get-the-word-out' activity. Progress is happening.

Cynthia Gustavson called me yesterday, "The proofreading is finished."

"It's a vulnerable book." she told me. Cynthia attended the national assembly of the Lutheran Church last summer, the one where the assembly addressed the question of ordination for gay and lesbian partnered couples. "You've addressed all the faith questions that I've thought of but haven't dared to ask in public. At times," she said, "when I put the book down after finishing a section, I found it hard to return to my regular routine of the day."

Cynthia was looking for errors in my book. I'm thankful she found more, especially because Cynthia is a well-known poet-therapist. Check out her website, Lots of poems. Lots of free ebooks. Books for sale. I didn't discover Cynthia's website until after she'd read my book. After learning more about Cynthia, I feel even more deeply grateful that she provided the final grammatical blessing to this book.

Publishing a book changes a person's life. From proofreading to giving a bookstore reading, it's all about the stories we share. Thanks for sharing the journey.

Remember: Straight Into Gay America is a word-of-mouth book. That's your mouth we're depending on.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Remembering the sons.

My friend's son died two days ago. The dad is in his 70's, and he and I used to bicycle a lot together. The son was in his 40's. An agressive brain cancer finally overcame him.

I wish I could be with my friend today, but he lives many states distant from my home in Washington State.

In the memorial letter that the dad sent out he talked of his son as a fan of organic food and a champion of progressive causes. He hoped that others would carry the son's energy forward.

Reading the letter of this proud dad made me remember a very different funeral I attended in Nome, Alaska, at the Catholic Church. The funeral was for the middle aged son of a Nome family. This son was gay and had lived and died in San Francisco, far from home. After the service a friend of mine was sobbing (one of the only openly gay men in Nome at that time) I thought his tears were grief. Instead they were anger and frustration and all the emotion of being denied his own life. "They said he died of cancer. How could they say that? He died of AIDS. They never mentioned his partner's name once...I'm sorry," he apologized for his sobs, "but how can they do this to the memory of his life?"

Prayers today for my friend, and the family of my friend, and all who loved the son who has passed. During these crazy days of producing and publishing Straight Into Gay America, I sometimes feel more like a student of marketing than a student of justice. As I remember my friend and the death of his son, I remember again the gift of life and the ongoing tensions of how to be honest with our lives and with the memories that we create each day. I would like to be one who carries the energy of the son forward.

Blessings for the gift and the challenge, Lars

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Equal Rights and Vulnerability

When you read Straight Into Gay America you'll discover how my dad and I disagree about equal rights. I included this part of my life in the book, because it's a part of life that many of us deal with -- Parents wondering about their kids -- Kids wondering about their parents. I included this part because I can still thankfully say that I enjoy the unconditional love of my parents, brother, spouse, and kids. What a gift.

Equal Rights or Special Rights? According to my dad, Equal Rights are not possible. Instead we should be going for Peace and Justice and Freedom, those higher things. I agree about Peace and Justice and Freedom, and still I think that Equal Rights are part of the picture toward living with compassion for one another.

Jody Huckaby, executive director of PFLAG is working on writing the foreword to Straight Into Gay America. He told of a recent experience of a kid in a religious school who was harassed by the leadership until he left for another school where, finally, he is thriving. (Purposely vague on details)

Nobody wants harassment. Equal Rights is part of stopping these tragedies, part of the journey toward our living well together.

Even though I believe these things about Equal Rights, I still feel vulnerable saying them. The journey toward Peace, Justice, Freedom, and those highest things feels exposed and risky.

This summer, and up until the election, I'll be using the term Equal Rights a lot. I'm looking forward to getting more comfortable with the risk and the exposure. I'm looking forward to learning how to build better bridges between my viewpoints and the worldviews of others.

Much to learn.

I'll try to get back here tomorrow. I know how important it is to write, to share, and to listen. Thanks for your comments.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Straight Into Gay America: Latest News

Hello dear friends,

Straight Into Gay America: Preview Three Chapters Today!
May 16, 2006
Today! 3 CHAPTERS F.R.E.E. Straight Into Gay America is moving from my private writing to the public square. Click. Read. Pass it on. We're depending on word-of-mouth.
Click here for the complete story.

Thanks for supporting the STRAIGHT INTO GAY AMERICA journey. We're currently in the book production phase. Pub-date is scheduled for July 20, the one-year anniversary of finishing the tour. We'll keep you posted. Lars


Blog Beginnings

With publication of Straight Into Gay America just two months away, I'm turning away from the introverted work of writing to the public work of letting folks now that a book is coming soon.

Mostly I'm exhilirated at fitting together the pieces of the production puzzle. Some overwhelming moments come, too. Produce. Print. Market. Ship. "If I build a party, will they come?" "What I am I missing?"

Up to this point, the blog has been merely a post for my newsletter articles. From now on I'm going to try to check onto this blog and share a bit more of what the journey feels like. Timing-wise, as I move into production, Gracie the unicyclist is currently somewhere on the East Coast, pedaling barefoot, working her way West, trying to cross the country on her Coker unicycle. Just knowing she's out there pedaling makes me want to ride another tour. You can easily Google for Gracie Sorbello if you want to learn more.

All best wishes for the day, Lars

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Straight Into Gay America: Latest News

Hello dear friends,

And the Cover Is...
May 12, 2006
Another step in the Straight Into Gay America Journey. Here's the new cover for the book and how your input helped us to make this decision.
Click here for the complete story.

Thanks for supporting the STRAIGHT INTO GAY AMERICA journey. We're currently in the book production phase. Pub-date is scheduled for July 20, the one-year anniversary of finishing the tour. We'll keep you posted. Lars


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Straight Into Gay America: Latest News

Hello dear friends,

Closing in on Publication
May 8, 2006
Closer and closer to publication. Another cover to view. Free 3-Chapter ebook ready next week. Senate will soon vote on Federal Marriage Amendment. Now is a good time to stand up for Equal Rights
Click here for the complete story.

Thanks for continuing to follow STRAIGHT INTO GAY AMERICA. Writing the text is coming along well. We'll keep you posted. Lars