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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Sep 21, 2006

You can't hate someone whose story you know.

Dare to know the story of those who are different.

“The tiniest story in your life can deeply touch another.
You cannot know the effect your story might have.”--Sark


Thanks to Heather, who we met in Colorado.  Your tatoo says it all.

If We "ARE" The People, isn't it time we Stand UP and Speak OUT? 

In this newsletter Update:

  1. The future for Gay Into Straight America and Stand UP Speak OUT, Inc.
  2. Thoughts from folks across the country... the end of our year-long journey
  3. Our last "official" speaking engagements from our year-long journey 
  4. Why standing up and speaking out is so important... a true story on how "secrets" keep us from living authentically
  5. Stand UP Speak OUT Declaration... why not add your voice?
  6. Help us get our message out (no pun intended). Ways you can help...
  7. New in the News... AP poll shows that "same-sex' marriage (why we put it in quotes) is not big issue... other news


The future for Gay Into Straight America and Stand UP Speak OUT, Inc.

We are feeling quite nostalgic as we put together our last "official" newsletter of our year-long journey, Gay Into Straight America.  As we said previously, this is truly a life-long journey.  During this next year, we head into a time where Gay Into Straight America will take their message to corporate America. 

Our newsletter will now come out monthly, in addition to emails about podcasts we produce.  If you have not heard our initial one, with transwoman Donna Rose, please click on the link below.

Gay Into Straight America was the intial project of our non-profit, Stand UP Speak OUT, Inc.  We hope that you will choose to stay on board with us!  We also have some other ideas we are implementing, so stay tuned. 


Thoughts from folks as we end our journey

We want to take this opportunity to share some comments we recently received, as well as a picture to remind folks where we met these individuals.

We think about all of the wonderful people we have met across our country.  Be encouraged!!!  If we listen to the minority who do not want equality and justice, it becomes easy for our fears to run wild, and we give away our power to others. Choose a different course.  

STOP... LOOK... LISTEN... & FEEL... and you will change our world! Remember the words of Anais Nin... Life shrinnks or expands in proportion to one's courage.

  • From Dean Genth and Gary Swenson in Mason City, Iowa


(L-R) Roby, Dotti, Gary & Dean

Good Morning Dotti and Roby,
What a landmark day this is for you today.  It is also a landmark day today for those of us you have so deeply touched and empowered with your year long journey of faith, courage and determination to engage hearts and minds everywhere you travel.  Your demeanor, presence and ability to put yourselves "on the line" every moment of every day and allow everyone to see that GLBT folks are not freaks or people outside the mainstream of life, has served as a BEACON OF LIGHT for us to model.
Gary and I continue to adopt your method of "being present" with people and we try to be genuine and honest at every point as to who and what we are.  One of the psychologists in town related to me that a woman on the MacNider Art Museum Film Comm. with me told him that, "Dean, refers to Gary as his HUSBAND."  She told him that she was cool with that, but it was the first time she had ever heard a same-sex couple refer to their partner as husband.  More and more, I do think it is so important for us to live as Mary Albing , lesbian pastor in Minneapolis stated, "show up and just act like you belong."  The more we speak among our community unashamedly in terms that "they all" use, the more other people who meet us will understand that we can and do belong as equal members of this community and society.
So on this anniversary and conclusion of your travels with GISA, Gary and I want to thank you and congratulate you on being great role models for us all and truly making a difference all over this country for helping people to understand the importance of civil rights for the GLBT community.
Our Love, admiration, and appreciation,
Dean Genth and Gary Swenson

We replied to Dean and Gary, "We are so blessed to have touched so many lives....and WE are so blessed to have been touched and transformed by our interactions with so many, like yourselves.  We will NEVER be the same!"

  • From Jeannine in California (While we were recently home for a night in Blaine, we received this note)

    Hi you two!!  Happy Birthday Dotti and welcome home!!  Loved the ring Roby gave you, Dotti.  I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed going along with you on your journey and at the same time looking at the picture of the three of us on my office wall. 

I truly think your journey has been blessed by God because it was a safe and successfl trip and so much good has been accomplished along the way.  You have succeeded in opening closed minds and educating those who were borderline.  I feel honored to have met you and will always consider you my good friend.

Love to you both, "J" Jeannine, Lake Forest at Cocoas


(L-R) Jeannine, Dotti & Roby
This is the picture Jeannine hangs on her wall.
"J" had pulled up beside us in a parking lot, asking about our Soctty Trailer. 
Roby asked her if she would like to see it and she said, "YES!"
That began our friendship and connecting with one another.

Dotti wrote back to Jeannine, asking if she had seen the article we put in a previous newsletter about the divergent viewpoints (regarding GLBT persons) of Pastor Chuck Smith, the founder of the Jesus People and the Calvary Chapel movement, and his son, Chuck Smith, Jr.  The significance to Jeannine is that this denomination is her church home.  Dotti also asked Jeannine if we could use her words in our newsletter. She replied:

Hi Dotti,
Great to hear from you!!  I sure did read that article and "good" for Smith, Jr.!!  The younger generation is much more open minded and it's much easier for them to accept and understand the things of this life.  Every single thing of this life is of God.  It's like the "old" adage that men should not cry.  If God did not want men to cry, he would not have given them tears.  I don't think God would have given His same sex children the ability or desire to love if it had been against His will.  The Bible teaches love and that's what GLBT are all about.  How can fault be found in that?
You are most welcome to use anything I write and the picture.  It's exciting for me to be involved because I really believe in your work. 
Safe and blessed travels to you, Roby and Rylee Joy.
Love, "J"

  • From Dorothy Angell, mother of our dear friend, Cathy Angell.  Dorothy started PFLAG in Columbia, Missouri at the age of 79.  Cathy was instrumental in the beginning stages of our journey, taking the time to individually email a press release to each PFLAG chapter around the country, inviting them to have us speak to their local chapter.

    Dear Dotti and Roby,

Congratulations on the completion of an historic journey! I've followed your adventures with amazement as you zigzagged your way back and forth across the United States. Lesser women would have faltered the first month what with car trouble and other discouraging signs. You said you wanted to make a difference, and it is obvious that you have. Both by educatimg and enlightening individuals and groups, as well as empowering them to be more open and honest about sexual orientation, you have made a difference.

Thank you for coming to Columbia and making a difference here. I certainly loved having you here in my home, and invite you back any time you can come. Thank you again for the book "What God Has Joined Together." It is brief, but gives a good deal of scientific evidence to support the arguments.

It is certainly fitting that you end your journey with Lars Clausen.

Let me know if I can be of any help to you in what I predict  will be a bright future.

Love and best wishes,
Dorothy Angell


(L-R) Dotti, Dorothy, &  Roby

From Kathy Kiefer who came and filmed our last speaking engagement (you will read more about her later in this newsletter and see her picture)

Dear Dotti and Roby:

I just want you to know that I love you both from the bottom of my heart and so believe in the work you are doing. I simply cannot do enough to help you.

Your work continues to make a difference. Your energy and goodwill and the way you present yourselves to the world illuminates in so many ways. Yours is a peace-loving/giving beacon that shines invisible ripples through the ethereal spheres which part only to excellent vibration, ecstatic music and truth. You are torch-bearers for the yet unborn, and for those who slowly wake and ponder new meaning. You are the gift that has brought so much to my life. The tears of salt sweet that run down my cheeks as I write these words are released from a place of gratitude, a place of appreciation and thanksgiving to a higher power that has divined your path and allowed it to cross mine.

You have made a difference in my life. I am forever grateful.

Love, Kathy


Our last "official" speaking engagements for our year-long journey...

  • Spokane, WA

    To people in the western part of the state of Washington, there has existed a myth about eastern Washington, especially Spokane.  The myth has been that the area is a less progressive, less open-minded part of Washington State.  We're here to set the record straight...we mean, "correct," and report that, like many other stereotypes and caricatures that we paint about other people, we found that NOT to be true.  We were overwhelmingly impressed with the folks we met in Spokane, and equally impressed with the work they are doing to promote equality, justice, freedom and celebration of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning people! 
    As we mentioned in our last newsletter, our Suburban, after approximately 50,000 faithful miles became "ill" again.  We limped home last week from Seattle, reaching hair-blowing speeds of 40 mph on Intersate 5!   Due to the illness of the Purple, we were forced to pull out our Volvo for the trip to Spokane.  Roby had to jump start the car (it was dead after sitting), reactivate insurance, and construct a temporary window, since the driver's side electric window had broken in the down position!  The plastic window kept the rain out, but was anything but comfortable. 
    After the LOUD 6-hour drive (We resorted to donning noise-cancelling headphones, as we both listened to the Audible book by John Gottman & Julie Schwartz Gottman of Seattle, Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage.  Yes, every day we are intent on transforming ourselves.  That is the nature of our life-long journey.)  Anyway, we were VERY happy to arrive in Spokane!  We were honored with a delightful reception and dinner at St. Mark's Lutheran Church. 


St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Spokane, WA

After the dinner, we spoke for about ten minutes, giving the group a little taste of what we would be speaking about the next day at The Universalist Unitarian Church, where PFLAG was sponsoring our speaking engagement. We are happy to report that we were able to get the window fixed in Spokane, so now we can converse, as we listen to our Audible book.  We can also listen to music on the road again, as well as Focus on the Family.  Those might seem "divergent," but as we listen to the untruths from Dr. Dobson about who we are, and feel the sting of the words, knowing that they are not true about us, the process helps us continue to learn not to be triggered by untruths that others speak about us! We encourage you to engage in this non-violent process.


Naomi, daughter of Pastor Eric at St. Mark's Lutheran, & Rylee Joy


At the Sunday evening dinner, the cake had our logo... a first!

We were delighted to pay a visit to The Odessy Youth Center (OYC) in Spokane.  With the dedicated work of Bonnie, Willow, Ramon Alvarez, and many others, OYC has grown and blossomed into a thriving safe place for GLBTQ youth to hang out and have fun.  Not only are the youth being encouraged to live authentically, and celebrate the gift they are, but the leaders have begun emphasizing activism among LGBTQ youth in Eastern Washington, and participate in the annual Lobby Day at the State Capitol in Olympia.  Frontline spent 9 months filming about them.  This show will aire in November.  Bonnie has promised to let us know when that is on TV, and we will share that info with you.  Email Bonnie if you want to better understand how to impact youth in your community! 


They call themselves "The Giant Ass Drum Corps."  They "drummed in" folks as they entered the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane on Monday evening, where PFLAG sponsored our talk.


The Giant Ass Drum Corps played a special piece they wrote
to celebrate the transgender community.


Though blind, this wonderful lady, Andrea Goddard, amazed us with her piano playing and singing.  Her music has soul and passion,
and inspired us before we spoke. 
Her song afterwards was the perfect ending to the evening.


Attendees on Monday included PFLAG folks as well as others.

Our hosts for our Spokane stay were PFLAG Co-Presidents Wanda Daelin, and Tina Buckaloo.   They, along with their husbands, Steve and Neal, welcomed us into their homes to stay.  The second night of our stay with Wanda and Steve, they got the call they had been waiting for... their daughter in Missoula, Montana was finally in labor!  At midnight, they hurriedly packed their bags and hit the road east to be there for the birth.  Wanda called us the next day to report that they had arrived in Missoula in the wee hours of the morning, about an hour before little Elizabeth entered the world. 


Wanda receives a call from her daughter that her contractions are five minutes apart!  She and Steve are out the door in less than 30 minutes.


Steve grins as, while getting ready to leave, he poses for a photo.
Elisabeth Anne was born only a few hours later.


Haakan... another one of Rylee Joy's newest friends... she is from Norway, and lives with Wanda & Steve

From Spokane, we drove to Soap Lake, WA to meet our dear friend, Kathy Kiefer.   Having met only a year ago, Kathy has been one of the most instrumental, supportive, and encouraging people to us on this journey. 


 Dotti & Kathy

Not only has Kathy been there to encourage us, but she has given generously of her time, talents, and gifts.  Kathy is the talented filmmaker, who created the video of us at the PFLAG NW Conference in Portland.  Since she helped organize it, Kathy accompanied us, along with her friend (and now ours, too) Sylvia, to the Wenatchee PFLAG meeting at Trinity United Methodist Church, where we gave our second-to-last GISA presentation.  It is apropos that we should speak at the end of our journey in Wenatchee, because that is where we began, over one year ago, at Trinity United Methodist Church! 

  • Wenatchee, WA

    Just like one year ago, we were hosted by Joanne and John Charap.  We origially met Joanne, her daughter Lorrie and her son, Bryan and his family at the Tsillan Cellars Winery, in June 2005, before embarking on our GISA Journey.  Following is what we wrote in our "Stories of Connecting Threads" segment on our website over one year ago:

    A wonderful family from Wenatchee, WA.  There were four of them:  a mother (JoAnn Charap), her daughter (Lorrie Charap), her son and his wife and baby (Bryan & Melissa Charap; the son had come in to visit from California).  We first chatted with them at the Vin du Lac Winery. and then saw them again at Tsillan Cellars winery.  Mrs. Charap invited us to visit their town on our journey, and attend their church, Trinity United Methodist Church.  She said they are both welcoming and affirming.  Each person said they knew a GLBT person, and celebrated the diversity of their lives. 




Rylee Joy's newest friend, Charlie.  
Yes, there was a new member in the Charap household...
Charlie, a 10-month old Daschshund.  After some getting used to each other,
Charlie and Rylee had a lot of fun running and playing around the house! 

The evening with the PFLAG folks at Trinity United Methodist Church was delightful.  We assured those who attended our talk one year ago, that we were, indeed, the same people, even though we look different after having gained weight (the Suburban Spread) on this year-long journey!  Rylee Joy enjoyed being back at PFLAG Wenatchee, too.  She felt right at home and invited tummy rubs from the people in attendance. 


Roby kept them laughing with stories from the road at the PFLAG meeting at Trinity United Methodist Church in Wenatchee, WA


PFLAG Wenatchee at Trinity United Methodist Church


We were asking people, as we always do, "How many of you want to change the world? How many of you want to travel around the U.S. for a year? And last, "How many of you want to do all of that in a purple suburban, pulling a 13 ft. Scotty trailer?"  By the end of the questioning, we usually have one or maybe two people still "with us!" :)  Rylee Joy is taking care of a 3 month old baby.


Rylee enjoying PFLAG meeting in Wenatchee

Now retired Rev. Bob Jackson, a PLFAG member, offered us a unique story.  We first met him when he attended our talk last year at Trinity United Methodist Church.  Bob is an ordained Presbyterian minister, who later also became ordained and pastored a United Church of Christ church.  This time, Bob made us aware of the symbols on his fingers.  On his right hand, he wore his wedding ring, and on his left, he wore a red, elastic band, twisted into an interesting knot.  He explained that it's a great conversation piece.  People often notice the "knot" on his left hand, and ask about it's significance, at which time, Bob explains that he has the RIGHT to be married to the person he loves, but many of his GLBT friends do not.  Because of this, he has decided to wear his wedding band on his RIGHT hand.   He goes on to say that his GLBT friends have been LEFT out, and are denied marriage equality, therefore, he wears the knot on his LEFT hand, to symbolize those people he loves and honors.  Bob exclaims that he will not take the knot off his left hand, nor the wedding band off of his right hand, until marriage equality is granted.  Thank you, Bob, for Standing UP and Speaking OUT!  Your statement for equality and justice is significant, and is changing lives! 



  • Chelan, WA...our last stop on our year long journey...

    Before we spoke at Riverwalk Bookstore, we had a radio interview with KOZI.


We had a great interview on KOZI in Chelan, WA with Bill Davie, who also attended our talk at Riverwalk Bookstore.