Focus on the Facts: April 28, 2007

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On April 28, 2007, Soulforce conducted a vigil during which participants silently prayed for Dr. Dobson’s wholeness and then read aloud numerous inflammatory and dehumanizing statements that Dr. Dobson and his associates have published over the years regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their families. Afterwards Christopher Hubble and Leign Lyon of Denver, Colorado walked onto the campus of Focus on the Family and refused to leave until the organization’s founder, Dr. Dobson, takes a step toward reconciliation with LGBT communities by ceasing his misleading statements about research on lesbian and gay parents. The two were charged with trespassing, processed at a nearby facility, and released.

The "Focus on the Facts" campaign is coordinated by Soulforce, a national LGBT social justice organization founded on principles of nonviolence. For more than a decade, members and allies of Soulforce have confronted Focus on the Family’s anti-gay rhetoric and publicized its harmful impact on the lives of individuals, parents, and children.

"Focus on the Facts" video produced by Kate Burns.

Focus on the Facts Returns to Dobson’s Headquarters

Two Arrested Holding Dobson Accountable for Anti-gay Statements

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: April 28, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Paige Schilt, Media Director
Cell: 512-659-1771
paige@soulforce.org
Local Soulforce Contact: Christopher Hubble, Soulforce Colorado State Organizer
Cell: 720-226-8291
cahubble05@yahoo.com
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(Colorado Springs, CO) — At approximately 10:30 a.m. on April 28, 2007, Christopher Hubble and Leigh Lyon of Denver, Colo., were arrested and removed from Dr. James Dobson’s ministry headquarters in police custody. The couple entered the campus after an earlier vigil during which participants silently prayed for Dr. Dobson’s wholeness and then read aloud numerous inflammatory and dehumanizing statements that Dr. Dobson and his associates have published over the years regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their families. After entering the campus, and being confronted by ministry officials, Hubble and Lyon refused to leave until the organization’s founder, Dr. Dobson, takes a step toward reconciliation with LGBT communities by ceasing his misleading statements about research on lesbian and gay parents.

The two were charged with trespassing, processed at a nearby facility, and released.

"The goal of this direct action campaign of civil disobedience is not to embarrass or shame Dr. Dobson–but to open his heart," said Hubble. "I sincerely hope that this ‘nonviolent conversation’ will persuade him and his associates to finally end their partisan campaign of untruthful rhetoric which causes so much suffering for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people."

On February 19, during the first Focus on the Facts action, Soulforce was challenged to document Dr. Dobson’s and his colleagues’ negative bias toward LGBT people. More recently, in a Reuters article, Dr. Dobson claimed that he has never made a hateful statement about lesbians and gays, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary.

Hubble and Lyon attempted to present Dr. Dobson with two dozen yellow roses and evidence of his anti-LGBT statements. The Soulforce booklet "A False Focus on My Family" and open DVD letter "Dear Dr. Dobson" comprise exhaustive documentation of Dr. Dobson’s and his associates’ hurtful and misleading statements about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.

"As a mother, I am here to stand against the condemnation that Dr. Dobson and his colleagues heap on gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people and the parents that raise them–because it results in suicides and alienation from God. I want to see this end and I am here to say NO MORE! God loves us all," said Lyon.

Dr. Dobson and associates frequently attempt to discredit LGBT parenting with references to "more than 10,000 studies that have showed that children do best when they have a mom and a dad." According to the American Psychological Association (APA), such claims rely on "studies that simply do not address gay and lesbian parents and their children."Moreover, "no credible evidence shows that children raised by lesbian or gay parents differ in any important respects from those raised by heterosexual parents." In recent months, several social scientists — including Dr. Carol Gilligan of New York University and Dr. Kyle Pruett of Yale — have publicly rebuked him for mischaracterizing their research conclusions.

Focus on the Facts is an ongoing campaign of civil disobedience modeled on Gandhi’s Satyagraha campaigns in South Africa and India. In the words of Nelson Mandela, Gandhi "believed in the efficacy of pitting the soul force of the Satyagraha against the brute force of the oppressor and in effect converting the oppressor to the right and moral point."

Soulforce is a national civil rights and social justice organization. Our vision is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance. For more information, go to www.soulforce.org.

For more information about Dr. Dobson’s misrepresentation of social science research and other Soulforce resources, visit:

CO-SPONSORS INCLUDE:

LGBT Caucus of the Douglas County Democrats: supports the DC Dems and their candidates, and advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) issues in Douglas County, Colorado; provides a forum in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens and supporters may gather and discuss issues and advise the county Party on matters of interest to the LGBT community; promotes activities in support of the LGBT community in Douglas County and Colorado.

Pikes Peak Gay & Lesbian Community Center: Proudly serving the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Pikes Peak region since 1978. (www.ppglcc.org/)

Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church in Colorado Springs: fully supports and sponsors Soulforce in its endeavors to fight for social justice and against all forms of oppression towards the LGBT community.

Just Spirit: A Center for People of all Faiths to Work for Justice…
Founded in 2006 and based in the conservative Christian stronghold of Colorado Springs, CO, Just Spirit is dedicated to fighting the overwhelming influence of the Religious Right and the onslaught of its ultraconservative agenda for the lives of all Americans.
(www.justspirit.org)

Dobson’s and Associates’ Quotes Read During April 28 Vigil

"The homosexual agenda is a beast…It wants our kids…" Focus on the Family Citizen Magazine, January 2003.

"Communities do not let prostitutes, pedophiles, voyeurs, adulterers, and those who sexually prefer animals to publicly celebrate their lifestyles, so why should homosexuals get such privileges?" James Dobson’s War On America, Gil Alexander-Moegerle, Prometheus Books, 1997.

"The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality, it’s holiness." Love Won Out Director, Mike Haley, in an interview for The Jesus Machine: How James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and Evangelical America Are Winning the Culture War, Dan Gilgoff.

"Saying there’s a constitutional guarantee for two homosexuals to marry is just a few steps away from saying there’s a constitutional guarantee to marry more than one person, or for relatives to marry, or even for people to marry their pets," Dr. James Dobson, Cybercast News Service, May 18, 2004.

"Solid, irrefutable evidence proves that there are lethal consequences to engaging in the defining features of male homosexuality — that is, promiscuity." Straight Answers, Exposing the Myths and Facts About Homosexuality, Focus on the Family’s "Love Won Out" series, p. 12.

"Lesbian relationships are equally unhealthy and just as life-threatening as gay male relationships." Straight Answers, Exposing the Myths and Facts About Homosexuality, Focus on the Family’s "Love Won Out" series, p. 21.

"Moms and dads, are you listening? This movement is the greatest threat to your children. It is a particular danger to your wide-eyed boys, who have no idea what demoralization is planned for them." Dr. James Dobson, Bringing Up Boys, "The Origins of Homosexuality," p.125.

"Just as the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 by the empire of Japan served to energize and mobilize the armed forces of the United States, it would appear that the vicious assault on marriage and the church in recent months has begun to reinvigorate people of faith. I see indications that the church is marshalling its forces and preparing to meet the challenge. Evil has a way of overreaching, and that appears to have happened regarding the blatant lawless attack on marriage and biblical morality," Marriage Under Fire: The State of our Union, Focus on the Family’s website.

"Any incident that happens to place a particular strain on the relationship between a child and parent of the same sex is potentially causative," The Truth Comes Out: The Roots and Causes of Male Homosexuality, Focus on the Family’s "Love Won Out Series," P. 10.

"They don’t just want marriage. They want to destroy marriage and the family as we know it." Focus on the Family, CitizenLink Q&A: The Homosexual Agenda, July 25, 2003.

"Traditional marriage between one man and one woman can not co-exist with homosexual marriage. It will destroy the family." The Battle for Marriage, television simulcast to over 700 churches, May 23, 2004.

"What do we know about this disorder? Well first, it is a disorder, despite the denials of the American Psychiatric Association." Dr. James Dobson, Bringing Up Boys, "The Origins of Homosexuality," P. 115.


Soulforce is a national civil rights and social justice organization. Our vision is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance. For more information go to www.soulforce.org.

Soulforce Announces Line-up for Ex-Gay Survivor Conference

Participants Include Rev. Dr. Mel White, Peterson Toscano, Christine Bakke, Rev. Nancy Wilson, Jason Cianciotto, and Rev. Phil Lawson

June 29-July 1, at University of California-Irvine

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: April 27, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Paige Schilt, Media Director
Cell: 512-659-1771
paige@soulforce.org
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(Irvine, CA) — This summer, on June 29-July 1, former "ex-gays" and their allies will have an unprecedented opportunity to meet, share resources, and add their voices to a growing social movement. The Ex-gay Survivors’ Conference, which will take place on the University of California’s Irvine campus, is co-sponsored by Soulforce, beyondexgay.com, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center at the University of California, Irvine. A complete conference schedule is now available at www.soulforce.org/article/1252.

Recent events have brought national attention to the existence of programs intended to modify same-sex desires, which continue to multiply in spite of the consensus of the major medical and mental health organizations that sexual orientation is not a disorder and is, therefore, not in need of a cure. The Ex-gay Survivors’ Conference will focus on the personal stories of "survivors" — people who feel they have experienced more harm than benefits from ex-gay programs.

"We feel that the voices and experiences of survivors are the most powerful answer to the Exodus conference, which will be happening in Irvine at the same time," says Paige Schilt, Soulforce Media Director. Exodus International bills itself as the largest network of ex-gay ministries.

Facilitators at the Ex-gay Survivors’ Conference, which will feature interactive workshops, include Soulforce co-founder Rev. Dr. Mel White, former Exodus leader Darlene Bogle, and beyondexgay.com co-founder, Christine Bakke, who recently shared her story on Good Morning America and is featured in this month’s Glamour magazine.

Performance activist Peterson Toscano, who has recently appeared on the Tyra Banks and Montel Williams shows, will open the conference with his one man show, Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House on Friday evening, June 29 in the Crystal Cove Auditorium. On Saturday, Toscano and Bakke will co-facilitate a workshop titled From the Chat Room to the Talk Show: Processing and Sharing Our Stories.

"The ex-gay experience is unique in many ways. Creating a communal space for ex-gay survivors to tell their stories allows us to share what led us into an ex-gay lifestyle and ways we have been able to recover from it," says Bakke.

Soulforce Executive Director Jeff Lutes, a licensed psychotherapist, will co-facilitate a Saturday session titled Building Healthy Relationships After an Ex-gay Experience. The American Psychological Association identifies "depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior" among the possible risks associated with ex-gay therapies.

For those who have not had an ex-gay experience but would like to stand in solidarity to confront ex-gay ministries and reparative therapies, the conference will also feature an ally track, with workshops such as Ex-gay 101 and Becoming a Powerful Ally. The latter will be facilitated by Rev. Phil Lawson, a civil rights leader and affordable housing activist.

Saturday’s events will culminate in a concert and film forum in the Crystal Cove Auditorium. The evening will feature singer/songwriters Jason and DeMarco, as well as excerpts from the documentary God and Gays and works in progress by filmmakers Lisa Darden and Morgan Fox.

Friday and Saturday evening events are free and open to the public.

Registration for the conference is available online at www.soulforce.org. The conference registration fee is $40, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.


Soulforce is a national civil rights and social justice organization. Our vision is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance. For more information go to www.soulforce.org.

Ten Equality Riders Arrested at Bethany Lutheran College

National Tour of Gay and Straight Youth to End Religion-Based Discrimination on Christian Campuses

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: April 26, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Brandon Kneefel, West Bus Media Director
Cell: 612-715-6138, brandon@equalityride.com
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(Mankato, Minnesota) — Fifty-two Equality Riders, representing diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and faith backgrounds, were met by campus security and Mankato police when they walked onto Bethany Lutheran College campus seeking dialogue with students, faculty, and administrators to address the school’s anti-gay policy. Over twenty supportive community members, including students from Minnesota State University, Mankato, joined the Riders in this peaceful action. Crowds of students gathered to watch as ten Equality Riders were arrested, while the remaining Riders, community members, and MSU students lined the curb and quietly sang a benediction: "Go now in peace; may the love of God surround you everywhere you go."

Prior to arrest, the Equality Riders spent two-and-a-half hours in silent vigil outside the campus gates. Bethany Lutheran students stopped by to shake hands, thank the Riders for being there, and ask questions. "I support what you are doing 100%," said one Bethany Lutheran senior. An MSU student reiterated that support and added that, coming from a school that welcomed him as a gay man, he felt that it was especially important to stand in solidarity with those who were not welcomed in the same way.

Following the arrest, as many as fifty Bethany Lutheran students joined the Riders for conversations lasting up to two hours.

The Equality Ride visit to Bethany Lutheran College marks the end of a two-month journey across the United States. The eastbound and westbound buses came together for the first and only time to pose the question to Bethany Lutheran: "Will you choose hospitality or rejection?" Riders held photographs from schools that they had visited across the United States, depicting welcoming receptions in which Riders and students worked toward reconciliation, and unwelcoming receptions, many of them ending in arrest.

Despite months spent reaching out to Bethany Lutheran College and the evident interest of students, campus administrators chose the path of rejection in an effort to silence the conversation about faith and identity. The necessity of this conversation was apparent as Bethany Lutheran students flocked to the outskirts of campus to meet with Equality Riders, and later joined Riders and community members for presentations and dialogue at MSU and First Congregational Church UCC, where pastors representing five different denominations voiced their support for the 2007 Soulforce Equality Ride.


Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. For more information go to www.soulforce.org or www.equalityride.com.

Young Adults Discuss Christian Faith and LGBT Equality on Northwestern Campus

National Tour to End Religion-Based Discrimination Targeting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: April 25, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Brandon Kneefel, West Bus Media Director
Cell: 612-715-6138, brandon@equalityride.com
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(St. Paul, Minnesota) — Twenty-five lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight young adults joined Northwestern College students, faculty, and administrators to open a campus dialogue about faith and identity. As the shortest stop for the 2007 Equality Ride westbound bus, Northwestern College granted the Riders only four hours, to be shared with the school and with an outside group invited by the school to hold presentations in lieu of extended time for dialogue with students.

In the limited time allotted, Equality Riders offered presentations on progressive theology, gender and the Genesis narrative, and an international perspective on faith and sexual identity. In addition, Riders responded to presentations made by an alumnus of the school and two guest speakers who used the Equality Ride visit to share their experiences as ex-gays. In small roundtable discussions, Riders encouraged Northwestern students to think about the opposition of scientific and professional organizations — including the American Psychological Association, the American School Health Association, the Interfaith Alliance Foundation, and the National Association of School Psychologists — to the ex-gay movement, and to consider the alternative initiative www.beyondexgay.com.

"We are disheartened that even within the restricted time frame of our visit, the school insisted upon reiterating its own position and thus limiting the educational opportunity for its students," says stop coordinator Alexey Bulokhov. Because Soulforce Q is based in the twin cities, Alexey noted that he looks forward to continuing to work with the Northwestern College community and developing further programming to counter the miseducation that is taking place on campus.

Many Northwestern students thanked the Equality Riders for speaking, and some apologized for the school’s discriminatory policy and rhetoric. Additional students reached out to Riders via email and written notes to share the challenges of living truth to their identities as LGBT people and to ask the Equality Riders to pray for closeted students on campus.


Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. For more information go to www.soulforce.org or www.equalityride.com.

Equality Ride Moves Students at Cedarville University

Members of Nationwide Journey of Gay and Straight Young Adult Leaders Dialogue about Anti-gay Policy

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: April 22, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Brandy Daniels, East Bus Media Director
Cell: 612-715-6284, brandy@equalityride.com
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(Cedarville, Ohio) — The Soulforce Equality Ride visited Cedarville University on Thursday, April 19th to discuss its discriminatory policy towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students, the doctrine that sustains it, and the environment it creates. Cedarville University administration agreed to allow the Equality Riders on to campus for a day of dialogue and presentations. Riders gave a presentation on the effects of spiritual violence on LGBT people and participated in panel discussions on faith, gender, and sexuality with Cedarville professors.

A Cedarville student who wished to remain anonymous, said about the visit, "I have really been learning that the Christianity we see in America doesn’t even scratch the surface of what the message of Jesus is really about."

Equality Rider Amy Scott echoed her sentiments, saying, "My hosts were incredibly open to dialogue and we found many questions that we were able to mutually ask of our faith and where it needs to be challenged."

Cedarville University still stands by their policy, which allows for the dismissal of any student, gay or straight, who disagrees with their Biblical view on homosexuality.

Cedarville University is one of 32 Christian colleges and universities that Soulforce will visit as part of its second annual Soulforce Equality Ride. The 2007 Equality Ride is a 2 month journey by bus that is taking 50 young adults on 2 distinct routes to schools that actively discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.


Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. For more information go to www.soulforce.org or www.equalityride.com.

Schedule

The Survivor's Conference: Beyond Ex-Gay

Press conference on Wednesday, June 27th or Thursday, June 28th (date, time, and location to be announced). The following schedule of events is subject to change:

Friday, June 29th

4:00pm

Pre-Conference Book-Signing

  • Wayne Besen, author of Anything But Straight
  • Darlene Bogle, author of A Christian Lesbian Journey: A Continuation of Long Road to Love
  • Mel White, author of Religion Gone Bad and Stranger at the Gate
6:00pm Early Registration & Check-In (Crystal Cove Auditorium)
7:00pm Doing time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House: How I survived the Ex-gay Movement
- By Peterson Toscano (Crystal Cove Auditorium – Free & Open to the Public)
www.homonomo.com

Saturday, June 30th

8:00am Registration & Check-in
9:00am Welcome – Pat Walsh, Director, LGBT Resource Center, UC Irvine & Jeff Lutes, MS, LPC, Executive Director, Soulforce
9:15 – 10:30am Chalk Talk: Reflections on the Ex-Gay Experience
Peterson Toscano & Jallen Rix, Ph.D.
10:30 – 10:45am Break
10:45am – 12:00pm

Morning Concurrent Workshops

Workshop 1:
From the Chat Room to the Talk Show: Processing and Sharing Our Stories
Peterson Toscano & Christine Bakke

Workshop 2:
What the Bible Says & Doesn’t Say About Homosexuality
Rev. Nancy Wilson & Rev. Dr. Mel White

Workshop 3:
Ex-Gay 101
Exodus? NARTH? Courage ? Dos Equis? This workshop will look at the history, ideology and evolution of the Ex-gay Movement.
Presenter: Jim Burroway, the creator of Box Turtle Bulletin, writes extensively about the Ex-gay Movement including his multiple-part series on the Love Won Out Conference sponsored by Focus on the Family in Phoenix earlier this year.

12:00 – 2:00pm Lunch & Community Building (Art Room and Exhibition Hall open, a reading by Regan DuCass from her play "Shepard/Till-The American Verses" is also available as an optional activity)
2:00 – 3:10pm

Afternoon Concurrent Workshops

Workshop 1:
Impacting the Media: Successful Strategies for Sharing Your Story with Confidence
Paige Schilt, Ph.D. & Jason Cianciotto

Workshop 2:
Building Healty Relationships after an Ex-Gay Experience
Jeff Lutes, MS, LPC & Darlene Bogle

Workshop 3:
Becoming a Powerful Ally
Rev. Phil Lawson & Alyssa Harrad, Ph.D.

3:15 – 3:30pm Break
3:30 – 4:45pm Telling Our Stories Creatively: Writing, Blogging, Video, etc.
4:45 – 5:00pm Wrap Up: Set Your Intentions & Commit to Action
5:00 – 7:00pm Dinner & Community Building
7:00pm

Conference Gala & Closing Festivities!
Featuring music by Jason & deMarco and a film forum by directors, including:

Sunday, July 1st

Morning

Optional worship at a welcoming and affirming church of your choice.

2:30 – 3:30pm

Optional Workshops

Workshop 1
Courting Justice: Ex-Gays and the Law
Wayne Besen

Workshop 2
Mental Health Professionals Round Table: Best Practices from the Ex-gay Survivor’s Conference

 

The Ex-Gay Survivor’s Conference

Speaker Bios

The Survivor's Conference: Beyond Ex-Gay

Peterson Toscano

Peterson ToscanoAs a gay man, Peterson Toscano’s journey out of the closet had been long and complicated. After 15 years of submitting to reparative therapy through counseling, ex-gay support groups, and even three exorcisms, Peterson enrolled in the ex-gay residential program, Love in Action. He graduated successfully from the program nearly two years later, but in January of 1999 he finally came to his senses and accepted himself as a gay man.

In 2000 he interviewed scores of LGBT folks in Memphis, TN in order to write and direct a performance poem for Judy Sheppard during her historic visit . Drawing on his experience in the ex-gay movement and as a result of interviews with others including his parents, in 2003 Peterson wrote and premiered his one-person comedy, Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House — How I Survived the Ex-Gay Movement! (www.homonomo.com) and has since presented it widely throughout North America and Europe.

In 2005 he was featured in the film Fish Can’t Fly — Conversations about God and Struggling to be Gay. His other works include Queer 101 — Now I Know My gAy,B,C’s, How the Indians Discovered Columbus and The Re-Education of George W. Bush. He is currently working on his latest play, Transfigurations, which explores the stories and lives of transgender people in the Bible and in the world today.

He has served on the board of True Colors, which annually organizes the nation’s largest GLBT youth issues conference. Peterson currently lives in Hartford, CT where he worked as an infusion teacher at the Watkinson School (2001-2004). He is currently on an official leave of absence so he can perform and write.

Peterson, a Christian, is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) in West Hartford, CT.

His web site is www.petersontoscano.com


Christine Bakke

Christine BakkeChristine Bakke is an ex-gay survivor who spent over 4 years trying to change her orientation. She moved to Denver in 1998 to become ex-gay and participated in an Exodus program, the Living Waters program, the "casting out of demons", and private reparative therapy. In 2003 she realized that while she had changed in many areas, her sexual orientation remained the same. She started the process of re-coming out in 2004 and found that telling her story and connecting with other ex-gay survivors to be cathartic, freeing, and healing. After she told her story publicly for the first time on Coming Out day in 2005, she was contacted and asked to tell her story for Glamour magazine, which will appear in the May issue. She also volunteers with a GLBT speaker’s bureau at colleges in the Denver area and enjoys being able to share her story and talk to students of all backgrounds about what it is like to grow up in a fundamentalist, evangelical Christian home, come out, become ex-gay, and come out again. Along with Peterson Toscano, she founded Beyond Ex-Gay, a website for other former ex-gays to connect and share their stories, and is excited about journeying with other ex-gay survivors to find healing and true wholeness.

Glamor (May 2007 issue): "They tried to cure me of being gay"


Jason and deMarco

Jason and deMarcoJason and deMarco are living proof that art imitates life, and that music can also be inspired by the best that life has to offer on its many levels, sometimes mystical and at times, even euphoric. Their passionate and hopeful lyrics exemplify a spirit that is reflected in both their lives and music, attracting audiences everywhere, and creating instant fans wherever they go. States deMarco, "We want to create music that is very inclusive." With such an attitude, it is not surprising that the duo’s music and performances have been received with critical acclaim and that this represents just the beginning of what is sure to be a long and prosperous career.

Jason Warner is the oldest son in an entertainment family. He grew up traveling with his mother in music ministry, and eventually joined her. Jason toured with the professional contemporary recording group, Truth, in 1996, and then with the group, The Sound, in 1997 and 1998. He gained valuable experience traveling with the groups and learned about management, directing, production and booking, getting hands-on experience in The Sound’s office and studio based in Houston, TX. Jason graduated from Lee University in Cleveland, TN in 1997 with a BA degree in Music and Sociology. He decided to go solo in 1998 to form his own independent recording label, RJN MUSIC!, a sole proprietorship of Jason Warner, originally based in Nashville, TN.

deMarco DeCiccio , a native of Canada, discovered his love for music and theater at an early age studying at the Etobicoke School for the Performing Arts, later graduating with a B.A. degree in Music and Languages from York University in Canada in 1999. deMarco’s debut album was a series of love songs, sung in Italian, called "Melodie." Since relocating to the West Coast from Canada in 1999, deMarco has performed in concerts and at festivals and clubs throughout Los Angeles and across the country. deMarco has been in several theatrical productions, and his face has also been seen on several National commercials. Before launching their duo act, deMarco was the lead in a musical entitled "California Dream Men", touring Italy.

The Ex-Gay Survivor’s Conference

President of Yellowstone Baptist College Rejects Visitors to Campus; Equality Riders Pursue Dialogue on Faith and Sexuality

Riders Return to Campus on Friday

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: April 19, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Brandon Kneefel, West Bus Media Director
Cell: 612-715-6138, brandon@equalityride.com
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(Billings, Montana) — On Thursday, April 19th, a youth-led nationwide conversation, known as the Equality Ride, about faith and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identity (LGBT) came to Billings, Montana.

Negotiations with Dr. Bill Philips at Yellowstone Baptist College began last November, but unlike many of the 32 schools on this second annual, nationwide tour, YBC rejected the idea of an open forum with the Equality Riders in an academic setting. Despite the school’s refusal the bus of 25 young adults came to YBC campus prepared to have conversation. The day began with President Bill Philips meeting the Riders at the gate reiterating the school’s unwelcoming stance.

A day of freezing rain showers did not stop the Equality Riders from holding vigil into the afternoon outside the University entrance. Bearing lilies, Riders were distributing them as an offering of peace. Lilies were placed at the base of a cross on campus as well as the doors to the chapel. Riders also held signs with affirming scriptural verse.

"The motto of Yellowstone Bible College is ‘Christian leadership excellence,’ one cannot be a Christian leader today in America without serious commitment to conversation about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender inclusion in the Church. It’s disheartening that President Bill Philips’ chose to deny his students this opportunity," said Alexey Bulokhov, Soulforce Equality Ride Co-Director.

The Equality Riders will return Friday for a silent vigil on behalf of students silenced by policies like Yellowstone Baptist Colleges.

The Soulforce Equality Ride, in its second annual year, is made up of 50 young adults, two buses, and two routes, one eastbound and one westbound.

The westbound and eastbound will reunite next week in Mankato, MN, and will stand in solidarity outside Bethany Lutheran College in hopes of welcoming dialog. The next stop on the Equality Ride is Trinity Bible College — Ellendale, ND, where Equality Riders will bring a hope for dialogue regarding the school’s discriminatory policies against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.


Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. For more information go to www.soulforce.org or www.equalityride.com.

Equality Ride Visits Gordon College; Members of Nationwide Journey of Gay and Straight Young Adult Leaders Dialogue about Anti-gay Policy

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: April 18, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Brandy Daniels, East Bus Media Director
Cell: 612-715-6284, brandy@equalityride.com
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(Wenham, Massachusetts) — The Soulforce Equality Ride spent several days holding presentations and dialogue at Gordon College about its discriminatory policy towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and the doctrine that sustains it. The Gordon College administration fully welcomed the Equality Ride as they sought to bring a more inclusive conversation about sexuality and gender to an environment that has tended to show only one side.

The administration of Gordon College welcomed this academic opportunity for their students, and gave space for two Equality Ride presentations, as well as allowing time for open dialogue and interaction within classes. The students attended the events in large numbers and had many educational interactions with members of the Equality Ride.

"A lot of students have taken for granted some of the things that they have grown up believing," said Gordon College Student Government Association President John Stoeckle, 22. "These things they believe are abstract ideas that are not grounded in life. Soulforce’s visit has brought a face to the issue, has helped students realize the reality behind the abstract principles."

Local community members also appreciated the Equality Ride’s visit. Gordon alumna Jewel Jones, in commenting about the Equality Ride visit to Gordon College, has said that the effect has been "tremendous" and that "it is through groups like Soulforce that change at schools like Gordon is going to occur. The Equality Ride has definitely opened doors."

Gordon College is one of 32 Christian colleges and universities that Soulforce will visit as part of its second annual Soulforce Equality Ride. The 2007 Equality Ride is a 2 month journey by bus that is taking 50 young adults on 2 distinct routes to schools that actively discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.


Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. For more information go to www.soulforce.org or www.equalityride.com.