Friday, May 2, 2014

Ex-Gay Activist Peterson Toscano Launches New Blog: Combining Climate Change Activism with Queer Activism

I'd like to recommend a blog to all of you today — a blog that's not new, but a newly launched version of a blog that has always been in my list of recommended blog sites here at Bilgimage, Peterson Toscano's A-Musing site. Peterson has now relaunched that site as the Peterson Toscano blog.

Peterson came on my radar screen just before I myself began blogging. Back in 2005, when young Zach Stark of Memphis was sent by his parents to the ex-gay Love in Action residential program (aka boot camp), and when he posted online messages calling for support and sparked a national controversy about ex-gay therapy and the treatment of gay teens by their families, I followed that controversy with a lot of interest. As I did so, I kept bumping into Peterson Toscano's name, since Peterson, too, was a veteran of the Love in Action program, as well as a number of other Christian ex-gay programs.

And as an out gay man who was willing to blow the whistle on sham reparative therapy programs and "Christian" programs designed to pray the gay out of gay folks, Peterson has had a great deal to say that I've long found helpful. His work with Christine Bakke at the Beyond Ex-Gay site is very important work for those seeking alternatives to ex-gay programs like Love in Action — for those who feel called to live religious and/or spiritual lives as openly gay people, but who do not want (as part of the price of their admission ticket to a faith community) the damage that many religious communities think that they are obliged to inflict on those who are gay, unless gay members are willing to deny their natures and apologize for who God made them to be.

I have also found Peterson's multi-faceted religious history — a Catholic upbringing, a conversion to conservative evangelicalism when he was a teen, followed by a choice to become a Quaker when he came to terms with his sexual orientation — fascinating. As I do his queer performance art, quite a bit of which is available for your viewing at his YouTube channel, as well as at his new site (for purchase) linked above . . . . 

As you'll discover if you visit Peterson's new site, his new passion is climate change. Peterson has spent the last year and a half studying climate change, and, with his husband Glen Retief, has collaborated on a new play entitled "Does This Apocalypse Make Me Look Fat? A Comedy about Broken Bodies, Large and Small." His new (or, more correctly, newly relaunched) blogging venture will combine his new interest in climate change activism with the issues in which he has long been interested as a queer Christian activist challenging the false claims of ex-gay therapy and building foundations for authentic spiritual and religious life for openly gay folks.

I'd like to recommend the Peterson Toscano blog to you. I certainly plan to be visiting it, now that he's launched this new site.

The clip: Peterson Toscano performing his "Identity Monologue" at Portland, Oregon's, Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center in December 2007.

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