Friday, June 30, 2006

Equality on Main Street (Wall Street)

Wall Street:This afternoon PFLAG rings the closing bell at Wall Street -- THE CLOSING BELL ON HOMOPHOBIA. More and more businesses are recognizing the value of the LGBT market, and they're realizing the importance of LGBT equality.

Arkansas Supreme Court:The Arkansas supreme court says gays and lesbians cannot be barred from the foster care system.

Straight Into Gay America:
The Advocate Magazine has a Straight Into Gay America article on their website this week, including a front-page picture for a few days. The article is posted here.

A lot like gambling:Publishing a book feels a lot like rolling dice.
  • You never know the payoff. Today the Advocate article feels like high doubles.
  • It's a lot like an addiction. I'm getting up with the early rising of the summer sun to work three hours on getting word out about the book each morning before going to my regular work.
  • You're just one of a roomful of players: Thank goodness there are judges in Arkansas and traders in Wall Street who care about Equality.

I'm thankful for this season I get to spend with Straight Into Gay America. People who are reading A-Page-A-Day are writing back. This is the encouraging part, making connections with more people, and with more stories. You never know when or where they'll happen. Below are a few excerpts.

Blessings, Lars

I read your article in the Advocate.
I want to thank you, as someone who's been struggling with being queer in the Midwest. I think it's very remarkable what you have done. I get very angry when I see people trying to dehumanize others just for the way they love. Love is just that, no amount of laws or naysayers can change that. I wish more people were fighting for human/civil rights because even though we love differently we are all human and we deserve to feel safe and protected and when our government tells us otherwise it makes it hard to live and that's never okay.

A-Page-A-Day Reader Commnets:
"Thank God for your kindness and being so helpful. I am a PFLAG Mom. I have a wonderful gay son. May God richly bless and keep you..."

"Just read "dad's reservations" I'm sure you realize how lucky you are. I "used" to have that kind of relationship with my mom. Until I became true to myself and was no longer part of her "mainstream" Good Luck and God Bless You..."

"Thank you for working for my equality. As a 76 year old gay male widower, having lost my "spouse" of 34 years, 7 years ago, I know that homosexuality is normal and natural and found in every species on this planet..."

"What an amazing "work" you are doing. Just this evening (in Sydney) I received an e-mail about your book and have started reading the blog pages. It is amazing to me that there are good people like yourself who are willing to confront the hatred and ignorance out there on our behalf..."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Overloaded on Straight Into Gay America. Every day for weeks I've come in to my office between 4 and 5 a.m. to spend two or three hours on preparing for publication.

This morning I woke up and realized I've gone blurry with Straight Into Gay America. I emailed my essay into the Advocate Magazine and now I need a break. Sabbath day. A rest day. I had one of those on my tour last summer, unicycling through Connecticut. I remember a great nap on a warm day, under a church porch near the Connecticut River. After the rest I felt refreshed.

Back tomorrow to continue spreading word. A-Page-A-Day is fast approaching 500 subscribers.

All best,

Monday, June 26, 2006

Seattle Pride Parade

I could use a Pride Parade about once a month. And I'd love to do that parade with my kids unicycling alongside of me and Anne carrying our Straight Into Gay America banner, as we did yesterday in Seattle. What a day.

Young people and old people. Straight people and gay people. Faith groups by the dozen. Businesses such as Alaska Airlines and Wells Fargo. Longtime advocacy groups like the Human Rights Campaign. And PFLAG. We were further back in the parade, so we saw the result of their work, people wearing a sea of hot pink circles reading, "I'm loved by PFLAG."

Just one protestor with a megaphone. Next to him stood a man with a sense of humor and a t-shirt reading, "I'm not with stupid."

If you've not yet been to a Pride parade, and if you get a chance to participate, take the opportunity. You'll enjoy the edges of flamboyence. But more remarkably, you'll see how exceedingly regular a gay pride parade feels. Celebration. Energy. Hope. I need a parade like this as often as I can.

Thank you SEATTLE!


Friday, June 23, 2006

Blog Refuge

I need a journaling moment. I got to my computer okay for my normal 4:30 a.m. start, then got a little overwhelmed.

Yesterday I signed up to be in the Seattle Pride Parade. The kids and I will be unicycling and Anne will carry our Straight Into Gay American banner with the Religious Coalition for Equality.

And yesterday PFLAG made a powerful announcement about Straight Into Gay America, including encouragement to start getting the book for free. Here's the PFLA article And Gay Into Straight America did a piece, too, click to read. Because of them passing word about A-Page-A-Day, 92 new people signed up to get the book free yesterday. Over 400 people are now reading A-Page-A-Day.

And some are writing back. Brian from New Zealand! Betty about her gay son with thanks for my journey. Greg, Denise, Marie, and more.

And then the Advocate wrote and asked if I'll write an essay for the magazine. By early next week.

And then I thought how all of this is a dream come true, so enjoy it, take a minute to do what I love to do, write words, savor the connections, these amazing stories that are beginning to gather from writing Straight Into Gay America.

And then, back to giving my book away, back to being a little overwhelmed, and hugely grateful. Thanks all,

Blessings for the day,

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Fellowship of the Word

You've been reading about the woman who wants me to keep attending church. I write back about finding my place at the edge. Unicycling builds bridges. Writing creates connections.

Here's a person I've never met before, but her words arrived this morning as a new friend. She emailed after reading a free page from A-Page-A-Day. If you want your free pages, SIGN UP HERE

...This sounds awfully familiar. Our stories are so different, and yet so the same. I am a lesbian. I'm not sure anymore if I can call myself a christian. A couple of weeks ago I went to an [LGBT retreat]. I led the worship and music. It was the first time since I have come out, that I felt completely at home, welcomed, loved, affirmed. It's made things worse in some ways...why can't the playing field be level? Why am I always running uphill? Why is the church such a destructive place for people...and not just people like me. Why can't life be more like that weekend? Where my voice is heard and respected too?

I'm pretty weary. I feel as though I'm losing my faith completely.

Thanks for your honesty. Your book is wonderful. I'll have to order a copy for my partner...

Yes. This is why I ride and write and hope. Seeking the shared space of honesty. Walking the uncertain roads and finding the unexpected companions along the way. Gifts I treasure.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Back and Forth

She wrote back, the woman who thinks its terrible that I'm not going to church with my kids. This time she told of 55 years ago, how she and two other women in college were not able to go to seminary to become pastors, as they dreamed of. Two of the women married pastors, and "they were both smarter than their husbands."

"So," she asked, "if we didn't leave the church then, why are you leaving it now?"

Good question:

First, I'm thankful for all the people who stay in church and work for its bettering. The best example this week is the election of the new Episcopal Bishop of the USA, for the first time ever a woman -- a scientist, a great theologian, a straight talker. I'm overjoyed at this news of her election.

Second, I have learned that I am more angry in church than out of it. I have a difficult time reconciling the churches appeasement of insiders with our core message of Jesus' attention to the need of outsiders. When I'm in church I'm struggling to make insiders include outsiders, instead of working with outsiders. Riding Straight Into Gay America I spend my time with outsiders, wrote for outsiders first, and then make my story available to everyone. At least for this point in my life, the outside makes more sense to me.

Clearly, this will offend our insider sensibilities. That's why I'm on the outside.

Third, church has a great tradition to support the outsider way. There was this guy Jesus. He lasted three years, and then the insiders got him, but along the way to his crucifixion, I think he found a lot of meaning and satisfaction.

More about this in the book.

I'm thankful that the opening pages of A-Page-A-Day are already engendering these good conversations. If you're not yet getting A-Page-A-Day, start receiving the book for free at


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Let the Education Begin

Two older women have written these past days.

One tells me to get back to attending church with my children. "Quit pouting and get back to church and work for change." She feels terrible that Anne and the kids are walking to church on Sunday morning and I'm not there these days for the kids.

The other older woman writes me, "So, you've become a humanist," and sends me references to check out for a place that she has occupied silently for many years, all the while going to church with her questions.

The letters are starting to come in faster now. My rate of education is picking up as people share stories and emotions brought up by Straight Into Gay America. The flip side of authoring a book, is receiving new stories. I feel grateful.

Publishing a book has similarities to opening a closet door. As I open my door to folks, others open their doors to me. I appreciate the gift of these connections. I'll share what I learn,


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Help Lars help Soulforce at Focus On The Family

Hundreds of Soulforce organizers are preparing to go to Colorado Springs and challenge Focus on the Family.

I'll be there on my unicycle as part of my July 18th official publication date for the paperback version of Straight Into Gay America.

1. Can you come and join me as I join Soulforce for this event? Beautiful Colorado Springs. Marching from the Denver Capitol to Focus on The Family headquarters in Colorado Springs. Each person gets a 3 to 4 mile section. Vigil and Concert on July 22 to conclude the week.

2. Can you dig deep and come up with a big (or a small) contribution to sponsor me for this event. All the money goes to Soulforce. This is going to be a serious and somber time, but also lots of fun. Gathering with advocates is always energizing. all the information Make a Straight Into Gay America gift to support THE 1000 WATT MARCH

Click here for the complete story at the Straight Into Gay America website.

Publication Update
STRAIGHT INTO GAY AMERICA is at the printers. Proofs are approved. Plates are being prepared for printing. We're on schedule for books in hand by mid-July! We'll keep you posted.

Friday, June 16, 2006

To an anonymous helper: Thank You

I am testing the adage, "It is better to give than to receive." And I am having a lot of fun! After the long solitary winter of writing, I'm now giving away Straight Into Gay America to anyone who will have it. Just sign up at and the pages start coming, A-Page-A-Day, delivered to your email.

In the first week of the giveaway 208 people signed up. Yesterday, one of those pages must have struck a chord with one of those readers. She or he forwarded must have forwarded that page to over 500 people. I know because my website got an extra 450 visits yesterday. And A-Page-A-Day subscriptions increased by 44 yesterday.

In one day, my readership jumped by 20%. All because of one single person who said, yes, I'll share this page, this story, this hope.

If you're reading this, I hope you'll visit and join the fun on the journey to LGBT equal rights. Sign up for the giveaway. Then start giving it away.

To whoever this one person is. I thank you very much. If you're reading this, please drop me a note and tell me what you did.

Kind regards,
Lars Clausen

Thursday, June 15, 2006


The proof came back from the printer. I found a few errors and had to decide whether to take the extra week to get new files sent in, or to go with the minor imperfections. Given our rush to get this book out, I decided to accept the small mistakes. Most people won't see these little flaws, but I know they're there.

Which brings me to realizing how much I want perfection, and how easy it would be to choose inaction as I wait for perfection to arrive. I feel the tension of moving ahead without having every single bit of the journey mapped out.

Perfection paralysis. Tempting. I'd better keep coming out and facing my instincts, which are always somewhere out ahead of administration, in that enticing land of imperfection.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Blog Interview by Jeshua

Jeshua asked some good questions, and posted this on his blog. Check out this singing, song-writing, activist, man of hope,

Thought you'd enjoy the interview:

“Straight into Gay America”
June 9, 2006 on 11:26 am

Recently I interviewed my friend, Lars Clausen, about his new book, “Straight into Gay America.” Clausen, who holds the Guiness Book World Record for the longest unicycle tour (9136 miles), is no stranger to defying the odds. An ordained ELCA minister, he’s dared to pursue a remarkable ministry of advocacy for LGBT folks. As soon as I heard Lars was done with his book, I pre-ordered it. I’m excited for it to arrive soon! Thanks, Lars, for taking the time to answer a few of my questions about your ministry and your new book!

What is it about the theme of your latest book, “Straight into Gay America,” that appeals to you the most?

When PFLAG director Jody Huckaby wrote the foreword to “Straight Into Gay America,” he called this book a bridge across the divide between straight and gay. That’s the most satisfyind description of my project that I’ve yet heard. I headed Straight Into Gay America last summer because equal rights for LGBT people is one of the most polarizing issues in our religious and political communities. I chose to tour by unicycle because almost everyone loves a unicycle and find me non-threatening. People opened up and told me stories all during the 1,000 miles of my tour. Hearing those stories last summer and now sharing them with this book is the reason for the ride. I’m hopeful that these voices will be a useful part of the journey toward equal rights.

What advantages/disadvantages do you think a straight person has as he or she seeks to add his or her voice to this movement?

One of the people I met, Sara, used to be married to a man. Now she’s married to a woman. She’s always spoken out for LGBT equal rights, but now that she’s married to a woman she feels silenced. People accuse her of selfish interest.

People look at me and ask why I care about LGBT rights. This isn’t about special rights. This is an issue of human rights.

The advantage of being straight is that no one accuses me of being selfish as I speak out for equal rights. I’d highly recommend becoming a straight ally. The sense of gratititude I’ve received from LGBT individuals and organizations is extremely encouraging.

My only caution in being a straight ally is to listen well and follow the lead of LGBT people. It’s easy to assume that I understand more than I really do, but I’ll never have the direct experience of being LGBT. One of the lines I treasure from last summer’s tour is, “allies listen, and they believe what they hear.”

Have you had a chance to have meaningful discussions with people who completely disagree with what you’re trying to do, or who firmly believe that you’re advocating a sinful ‘lifestyle’? If yes, what was the outcome of one of those discussions?

Yes. My dad disagrees with me, and for three separate reasons, I wrote our disagreements throughout the book.

First, we live in a polarized country these days. Talking about contended issues is hard, and I’m not perfect at having these conversations. Writing about my dad and me is part of what makes this story very personal for me.

Two. My dad and I are still talking. For too many LGBT people, conversations with family have ceased. I included my dad stories because I think we all long for ways to stay connected to our families. I wish my dad and I agreed. But I’m thankful that we’re still talking.

Three. It’s tempting for all of us to avoid the hard conversations, and to either pretend everything is fine or to avoid our conflicts by climbing into a closet (closets are for straight people as much as for queer people). I wrote Straight Into Gay America because I believe that stories are part of the way forward. Somehow, I believe, we need to keep finding courage to keep speaking up for our stories and our experiences.

4) How has unicycling helped you to draw attention to this issue?

As I wrote at the beginning of my book:
During 5 weeks and 1,000 miles of unicycling for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) equal rights:
No one cited Biblical injunctions against me unicycling on the road.
No one studied the constitution to see what to do with my one wheel preference.
No one said to me. “We have our place. You have your place.”
No one forced me to ride in a closet.
What if we celebrated LGBT identity as easily as the difference between bicycling and unicycling, as a gift to be thankful for among all the standard wheel arrangements?

There’s something in a unicycle that makes people smile. The unicycle allowed me to enter conversations about one of our most contended political and religious issues. My own vulnerability on the unicycle invited genuine conversations from those I met.

As for drawing attention, a unicycle is a natural for grabbing attention, both from individuals, as well as from the media and from organizations. I’m thankful I have this tool to help me speak for justice.

What would you like tell people who are deeply concerned about homosexuality being, for them, in direct opposition to God’s will?

In Virginia, during my tour, I stayed overnight with a transgender woman. Her eighty-year-old Christian mother came over to visit and when I interviewed her she told of a what a shock it was when her son Steve told her he was going to become Sarah. Then she told me the line I wish that all of us had on our lips. “All I knew was that whatever happened, I didn’t want to lose my child.”

I think this is what God must say of each of us. “No matter what, I don’t want to lose you.”

Mom says she has developed a better relationship with her new daughter than ever before. “We’re more honest. And I have such respect for Sarah. It took a lot of courage to make this transition.”

Only because mom listened to her daughter could she come to accept and respect when her child changed sex from male to female.

What do I want to tell religious people as we consider the acceptance of homosexuality. Let’s follow Jesus example of less judgment and more love, less damnation and more compassion, less condemnation and more honest listening. These are Christian priniciples, which, if we follow them, will lead us toward full political equality and religious affirmation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

Thought you'd enjoy this interview. As you might guess, I'm open to telling my story to other bloggers or folks who can spread word about my ride and my story. All best,

Monday, June 12, 2006

Straight Into Gay America - First Anniversary

E-Publication in two days.

It's my birthday today. A year ago I was celebrating the day at Holden Village, knowing I'd be leaving the next day to start uniycling Straight Into Gay America.

When I look back, I realize the strange proportions of last year:
  1. Out of 52 weeks, I unicycled for 5 and spent the rest of the time writing - a 10 to 1 ratio in favor of words.
  2. Compared to pedaling 1,000 miles, I've written more words than I'll ever count--but I kept almost 100,000 of those words for the Straight Into Gay America manuscript -- a ratio of 100 to 1 in favor of words.

After all the reflection/writing of this past winter, my birthday brings the promise of renewed action.

E-book Publication Date in TWO DAYS:
June 14 is the anniversary of the first pedals of Straight Into Gay America. To celebrate this day we're officially releasing the Straight Into Gay America E-Book.

You can already get the first three chapters of Straight Into Gay America free from On June 14th, for the first time, the entire book will be available to the public.

The price is $11.95 and the book can be instantly downloaded from The e-book will be available in two versions. The flash file is suitable for those with hi-speed internet connections who want to read the book on their computer monitor. The pdf version is best suited for those with dial-up connections or those wanting to read the book using an electronic reader.

Birthdays. Anniversarys. I look backwards with amazement at the journey that our family has travelled these past years. I look ahead with high levels of uncertainty and delight for what the road ahead will bring. Yesterday Anne and the kids held a suprise birthday party for me with the new friends we've made since moving here to Chelan. Surprise seemed an appropriate metaphor for our expectations of the near future.

Thanks for sharing the journey,



Saturday, June 10, 2006


Alternative Title: "Why I'm Giving Straight Into Gay America Away."

Saturday morning - another 5 a.m. start with the book. Wouldn't it be nice to be a Steven King, writing full time and having someone else sell books... Still I treasure these two or three hours every morning to work on Straight Into Gay America.

With the book now at the printers, I'm turning my attention to the website, to answering emails, and to making contact with places and people who will be interested in Straight Into Gay America. A publishing expert once told me that writing a book is 20% of the work. Selling it is 80%.

Giving it away:
If you go to and enter your email address you'll receive the whole book free, one page each day delivered to your email box. Won't you visit right now and start receiving the book? In the three days since A-Page-A-Day began almost 200 have signed up. Signing up will introduce you to Straight Into Gay America, give you great emails to forward to equal rights advocates, and provide you with daily encouragement.

The Math:
200 recipients will receive the 352 pages of Straight Into Gay America. How many emails is this over the coming year?


Somehow, I've got to believe that some of these pages will a strike a chord with some of these readers, and make a difference for our days. Hope you'll sign up and help grow our nation's words for Equal Rights.


Sign-up on the home page at Let others know about THE DEAL.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Good News.

Just back from 4 days at Holden ( where we used to live) and then a couple days of catching up. So much for the daily routine of writing on this blog.

Good news to report: Some Washington State citizens had an effort going to try and repeal the Equal Rights just established for LGBT people in this state. They didn't get enough votes to get the referendum on the ballot, despite mass appeals to churches all across the state.

More good news: Washington D.C. Senate defeated the the Federal Marriage Amendment that would ban gay marriage. As the long blog comment on the last message rightly said: "it's a disgrace and an affront that bills like this even get considered."

More good news: Soulforce has invited me to come and unicycle as part of their action to make the Colorado Legislature and Focus On the Family cease their spiritual violence against LGBT people. More on that soon when arrangements are finalized. Check out the event at I'm looking forward to good company when I ride on July 18th.

Amidst the big swirling issues, today my sixth grade daughter graduated from elementary school. What a day.

Friday, June 02, 2006

At the printer's.

Straight Into Gay America is at the printers!

My typesetter and I finished in a flurry, and then there was silence. An entire winter of writing is finished - all the five a.m. mornings spent bringing life to words, looking for just the right way to convey the 1,000 miles of unicycling, the people from the journey. and the feelings from my heart.

Looks like copies will be available on July 15, according to schedule. If you haven't pre-ordered, you can still save 10% if you order before the Federal Marriage Amendment vote in the Senate, scheduled for June 6.

Even President Bush wants in on the Federal Marriage Amendment discussion. According to a CNN article the measure stands little chance of passing, but Bush will be speaking to appease his conservative base. Must be tough to be a politician, regardless of party, always calculating the costs and benefits of each action to each consitituency.

Part of writing Straight Into Gay America is to free myself from all the calculations that go into making popular statements. That's what makes Striaght Into Gay America a coming out story for me, doing the work of coming a little closer to my own voice. It's scary stuff at times, pulling down the veneer. If you've tried it, you know. More later.