True Stories

October 2001
Jason’s Journey

My name is Jason Sizemore and I am a 25 year old gay Christian. I’d like to share my journey with you. I grew up in a loving Christian family with a caring and loving father and mother, not a distant father and overbearing mother, that so many "professionals" would assume I’d been raised by. My first memory of being "different" is church camp in the 3rd grade where I was "in love" with my teenage male counselor while all of my friends were chasing the girls. A few years later, the sexual urges that began to grow in my changing body, found a place to "play" in my Boy Scout Troop. I wasn’t aware of the fact that sharing myself was considered wrong. I thought it was fun. I thought it was normal.
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August 2001
Now You Be Woman

It seemed only a brief moment after I told the anesthesiologist I was ready that gradually I perceived a crowd around me, each voice telling me what to do. "Squeeze my hand," "can you lift your leg?", "open your eyes," "breathe deeply," insisted voices from the crowd. A Thai woman leaned over. I recognized her kind eyes. "Now you be woman," she whispered to me. My eyes fluttered through the crowd until they found Dotti’s. She squeezed my hand and I squeezed back. I was complete at last. Dotti shared her joy and tears with mine.
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March 2001
A Note From Clayton Gibson-Faith

Dear friends,
Please let me take a moment to share my experience vigiling with the Phelps’ this weekend. Those of you who don’t know me may have noticed me in my Soulforce t-shirt shivering between the Phelps’ and the kiss-in at the U of M Diag yesterday. I was doing a "transforming hate into love vigil," breathing in my and others’ negative reactions to the anti-gay protest and exhaling peace and spaciousness and love. I did this meditation for the Phelps group as well, acknowledging with my meditation and prayers that they are equally victims of the misinformation and hatred that, now, they return to the world.
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February 2001
WHY THE HATRED?
Being ‘gay’ is not a choice

I’m not unlike most college seniors. With almost four years of higher education behind me, I’ve often wondered how what I’ve learned would prepare me for the real world. Around this same time last semester, I began to find out. A documentary film class – not exactly something I was interested in – was offered as part of my creative writing degree, so I took it. Hey, three hours of watching films? Could be worse. All I wanted was an A, not a life-changing experience.

I was sailing through the semester when one of the series, "Eyes on the Prize," was screened. Suddenly – and unwillingly – I was transported from a comfortable UNC-Wilmington classroom to the teeming streets of Selma. I sat transfixed as white police officers brutally beat silent, black protesters because they had the audacity to want to vote. The violence was ugly enough, but when a white police officer spit in the face of a young black man, I couldn’t hold back the tears. Spit in his face. Embarrassed, I put my hand to my own face. I didn’t want the class to see my reaction.
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June 2000
BLESS THE LORD, O MY SOUL

Let me add a few personal thoughts to my participation in the Soulforce counter-worship service at the General Assembly. I had and have read criticism of Soulforce’s civil disobedience tactics from friends as well as from The Christian Century magazine. It was described there as cheap "street theater." One gifted clergy remarked "what a joke" such tactics are in the name of King and Gandhi. Another wonderful friend thought we ought to read King’s "Letter From the Birmingham Jail," to show how pitiful Soulforce’s actions are in comparison. And there were many such comments which gave us all pause.
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6/25/2000
THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH

As I sit at home reflecting on today’s action at the Presbyterian Convention, I am reminded of the joy and laughter that we shared today. That laughter was shared not only with my Squad members, and friends, but with others on the "bleachers" that I had never met before, by the sly smile of the arresting officer who teased me softly, almost winking as he asked me if I was "absolutely sure that I didn’t want to leave the street". It was the laughter that we shared with the gentle police officer who stood in the back of our bus and shared with us that in his spare time he was a Pastry Chef, and that he loved to visit San Francisco for his vacations. It was the laughter that I shared with my ‘booking officer’ as I teased him about getting ‘double pay’ for sitting in the shade and writing out paperwork with a bunch of Christians on his day off.
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5/22/2000
SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER IN CLEVELAND
My Soulforce Experience at the United Methodist General Conference

"You’re under arrest!" This phrase echoed in my mind as I rode silently in a taxicab from the Police Station to Soulforce Headquarters 20 blocks away. I was not one of the 191 arrested the morning of May 10 outside the United Methodist General Conference in Cleveland, but I wanted to be. I felt on the "outside" of the action. However, my job was to be on the outside, to act as the media liaison, to answer questions the press had about what was going on and what was going to happen in the next few days.

I felt utterly alone in that taxicab, as people such as Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandis Gandhi, Bishop Joseph Sprague, Rev. James Lawson, friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Mel White, co-founder of Soulforce, Rev. Jimmy Creech, the minister who was defrocked by the United Methodist Church for performing a holy union for two men, and other ministers, members and friends of the United Methodist Church sat in jail cells for taking part in a peaceful act of non-violent civil disobedience to protest exclusionary church policies.
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May 2000
NO MORE STRANGERS AT THE GATE

On May 10, 2000, I was arrested in Cleveland because of my sexual orientation. My heart’s desire is to be with someone I love deeply, who supports and loves me unconditionally, and with whom I choose to grow, create, and contribute to the uses and purposes of life in true partnership.

By God’s good grace I am blessed with such a partner. Our partnership is embraced by our families, our marriage is celebrated by our church, and our commitments to the world are held legal under the structures that govern our lives. Until all God’s children can grow, create, and contribute under these same conditions, I cannot rest.
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