I’ve just finished reading back through this blog and pondering all your entries from three years ago. Personal stories, essays, articles…reflections in real time as you each attempted to navigate the choppy waters of accepting yourselves and coming to realize how others would perceive your voyage.
And I want to say a few things.
Alan, starting this blog was an inspired idea, and I hope you always look back at it with pride. Your kindness and your gracious tone in your posts and especially in your dialogue with commenters amazes me. I remember reading your bio, years ago now, and being startled at your adamant affirmation that it was indeed possible to be both gay and a Christian. Your story helped me reevaluate the mission of groups like SoulForce and prepared me to fight to keep my faith even as I struggled under the weight of condemnation from other Christians. You showed me I had just as much right to believe in Jesus as anyone else, no matter how isolated and unsupported I might feel.
Jack…your openness and willingness to dialogue with anyone and everyone is so disarming. When first I stumbled across QPHC, I was so closeted and shut down that I was extremely wary of anything even remotely resembling an alternative view of sexuality. You made me feel comfortable, and that was invaluable. Reading your posts, even as a still very conservative fundamentalist, I couldn’t believe the lie that all LGBTQ+ persons were close-minded and unwilling to listen to different opinions.
And finally, Kate. I remember reading your posts while hunched over my desk in my office, a worn and weary PHC graduate, conflicted and confused by alternating feelings of fascination and repulsion. Like many PHCers, I began exploring QueerPHC out of morbid curiosity, but found myself pinned to my chair by the longing I felt to understand you. Still in denial about my own repressed sexuality, I alternated between reading your stories with the detached, clinical interest of a researcher and the strange obsession of an explorer mapping an uncharted land. I fought the urge to run away. Uncharted territory has the reputation for being dangerous, after all.
It wasn’t until much later that I began to understand why your voice resonated with me, after we met-through a sort of happy accident-in a bar one night. I spent a couple of hours with you, clinking glasses and exchanging stories, and something just clicked in my head. We’ve been friends ever since, and I can’t thank you enough for that.
The last few years have been a lengthy process for me, detoxing from unhealthy beliefs and deconstructing cherished ideologies. Three or four years ago, if someone had told me I would be taking on a project like this, I wouldn’t have believed them. Not at all. But here I am. And here we are. Relaunching.
And I couldn’t be more honored.
Thanks for handing over the torch, guys. We’ll try not to drop it.