Keep informed about our journey, Gay Into Straight America!  Each week, we send out a newsletter.  Below are links to the ones we have sent since the beginning of our year long journey, which began September 11, 2005.  The most current one is at the top.  Note:  The last newsletter for this journey will be the December, 2006 newsletter, since our year long journey will be over; however, Stand UP Speak OUT, Inc. will continue with other projects.  Gay Into Straight America was its initial one.  Click here and sign up to receive our newsletter that will come from Stand UP Speak OUT in 2007.  Those who have already been receiving this newsletter will automatically receive our Stand UP Speak OUT...Live Authentic newsletter.

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Gay Into Straight America Journey has new twists and turns
Oct 31, 2005

Lots has happened in the past couple of weeks, reminding us that the best laid plans don't always happen as we envision.  All to say that we have been delayed from leaving for California for a couple of days.  The best part is that it allows us to practice "how" we are committed to taking this journey.  We have said that we are embarking on this journey without attachment to a specific outcome, knowing this will allow us to proceed without becoming embroiled in fear when plans go awry.   So, we received some good lessons!


Our Scotty Trailer...A Blessing in more ways than one, while also being a part of why we are delayed a couple of days in leaving for California. The blessings are the authentic connections that happen right in front of us in our families!  Click here to read more 

Rylee Joy...We had to take her for a blood test today...another reason for our delay.  She has lost weight (6 pounds), and is eating like a horse and drinking water constantly.  Obviously, these symptoms sound like diabetes, but she has lots of energy, so the doctor is puzzled.  Send positive thoughts for Rylee Joy. Check out her going away poodle party at the bottom of this page!


Speaking Engagements: We were in Oregon and spoke on October 22 to the coalition for Welcoming Congregations. What a wonderful group of committed people led by Tara Wilkens.  Click here for more details and pictures.  The Omni Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology in Fayetteville, Arkansas contacted us, and we are making final arrangements to speak there in December.  Two more PFLAG Chapters, from New Jersey and Houston, also contacted us about speaking.  We continue to have amazing interactions with ordinary, everyday people.


Filming of our Documentary...Nan Macy went with us to Oregon, and filmed interviews with several people, one of which was Rev. Bernie Turner, the Baptist minister who married us in Portland, and one of our spiritual advisors for our journey.  She also interviewed, Simone, our transgender friend whose journey is nothing short of amazing. The transgender community is so important to equality and justice for all of us.   Simone and her partner, Barb, (who has been on the road driving her 18 wheeler), have been great in welcoming us to stay in their home while in Portland.


Lunch with Pastor Jay of First Baptist in Bellingham, WA...

We simply marvel at the depth and breadth of our conversations and sharing when we gather together in the spirit of God.  We met Pastor Jay at a panel discussion on same gender marriage in May of 2004 at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.  He was the rebuttal person on the panel.  We decided that day to plan a lunch, committed to simply getting to know one another without any agenda. After about six months, Pastor Jay said "I can't deny the love I see between the two of you, and that has changed me." Pastor Jay says he now supports holy unions and civil unions for us, but has continued to say he isn't quite there on "marriage."  He admitted at lunch, however, that he is now asking himself, "Why not marriage?" ...and that it has caused him to look more deeply at the meaning of marriage, asking "What does marriage mean?" Great questions, Pastor Jay!  Shouldn't we all be looking more deeply at what it means to have a committed and loving relationship?  Pastor Jay calls himself "wrestling" with his understanding, and this is what caused us to choose that term to use on our journey.   It seems to describe what is going on for many people who have been brought up in churches that have failed to look further into God's grace and acceptance for all people. Stay tuned!


During this last lunch before embarking on Gay Into Straight America, Pastor Jay prayed that our journey would be blessed, that hearts and minds would be opened, and that lives would be changed.  As we held hands together, and then lifted our heads, Nan Macy, our videographer, looked at him in disbelief.  Shaking her head, she asked him, “Pastor Jay, Aren’t you the one that was the rebuttal person on that panel on same gender marriage?  What happened to you?”  He smiled, and said, “I sat down to lunch with them.”


The passing of Rosa Parks:  Dotti: The passing of Rosa Parks, my hero, struck me at my core.  I cut out a picture of her from the USA today, bearing the words "Rosa Parks: The power of one" and placed it on top of a notebook bearing our logo and the words, "Gay Into Straight America...Two Women & a Poodle...10% os us affect 100% of society."  I hope you have noticed the quote by Helen Keller carried on the header of our website.  Look up and see it as you read this.  Indeed, the power of one.  That is what our journey is about as we engage minds, create authentic connections, and dissolve differences that separate us. What I find interesting is that she first "sat down to stand up" in 1943, twelve years before her heroic gesture caused her to be arrested.  She was shouted down by other black passengers on the bus.   Does that sound familiar in any way?  People ask us if we encounter fearful people.  Yes, and they sometimes are in our own community of GLBT people.  It isn't just "them" out there who are "wrestling." It is all of us, and we create discrimination by remaining silent.  Click here to discover how to become a Stand UP Speak OUT Wind Changer.  Hey, Sheryl Swoopes did last can you!


If you decide you want to Stand UP & Speak OUT, check out this link we added to our website:  Talk About It: HRC's Guide for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender issues


Speaking of Rosa Parks...we attended Tara Wilkens' church while in Portland. 

Ainsworth United Church of Christ is one of the most welcoming and affirming places for humans we have ever attended or witnessed. If you can recall the movie Sister Act, then you can imagine the treat we had with the woman who led the choir of this combined church, formed from a white church and a black church.  An elderly African-American woman gave her testimony, sharing what the church had meant to her and her husband, and what everyone had gained from this union of these two churches.  The diversity in this church, with some of the service in Spanish, just ooozed out of its pores, as children danced in the front as the choir sang, and GLBT people were from the pulpit welcomed and included.  Rosa would have been able to freely sit, because she would have had a welcome seat in this church.  Remember the days when it wasn't that way??  And people, without guilt or remorse, used scripture and the "word of God" to deny them.  Sound familiar?

PFLAG National is going to start carrying weekly updates about our journey.  They will be providing a link on their website.  Keep checking their website, as this feature will be coming soon.  We will share about our meetings with the various PFLAG local chapters.


Until next time, the light in us honors the light in each of you,

Dotti, Roby & Rylee Joy



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