Friday, July 01, 2011

In Praise of PFLAG.

I don't think I've mentioned, lately,  how much I love PFLAG.

During the Pioneer Days of the Internet, it was the first real life example of how families could talk to each other about what it means to have a gay kid. 

The email list PFLAG-Talk wasn't officially "of" the central office. It was just a bunch of folks from various towns, both large and small, talking together, worrying for their children and helping, especially, "new" parents who had just been delivered the news. 

Sometimes it's a mom just trying to understand, saddled with a husband who is about to blow through the roof, trying to figure out how to keep her 17 year old -- who is now dressing like a Goth -- from sneaking out at night.

As culture warriors continue to dominate the religious debate over homosexuality, parents and their kids, and their extended family, are all caught in the crossfire because war is easy. It's the first thing you learn in improv, violence is easy. 

But when that parent is told by his kid, when that parent's world suddenly turns upside down, who do you call?

Conservative Christian parents, especially. Who do you call? 

I remember confronting the protester in Kentucky. I asked him point blank, "Now that you've told me I'm going to hell, what do I do? Do I come to your church? Do you have a program for homosexuals who want to not be gay anymore?"

The look on his puzzled face. He snapped, "No!"

Who does anyone call? Or better, who can you call who doesn't have a religious or political agenda to shove down your throat?

PFLAG does advocate, naturally, for gay people. But, on this list, people of all stripes exist. The rule is No Religion, unless you're asking an informational question about a certain group's beliefs. 

By keeping to the personal, each parent can get necessary information and emotional "been there, done that, here's what might happen net" comfort and advice.

I've sung for many PFLAGs and was even honored, twice, with the Oscar Wilde Award by the PFLAG in Los Angeles.

But, Olympia is a particularly personal destination because of Gabi and Alec Clayton, who live there. If I'm not mistaken, the very first song I wrote after The Last Session was "Gabi's Song." 

In fact, the first concert I sang after 9/11 was Olympia. It was that first weekend of flights. We considered canceling. But no way. And we had a most miraculous night. More like church, really.

So, it's good to be coming back. And how great that we'll be presenting New World Waking, which was born, as an idea, there in Olympia. Only this time, we bring in all the local college kids and make a musical together! And what's the first song of New World Waking?

Of course. Gabi's Song. "Will it always be like this?"

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