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