Randy, Oral Roberts’ Gay Grandson, Says: ‘#ItGetsBetter…and It’s Complicated.’

 

Close-Up – by A. R. Ammons

Are all these stones

yours

I said

and the mountain

pleased

 

but reluctant to

admit my praise could move it much

 

shook a little

and rained a windrow ring of stones

to show

that it was so

 

Stone felled I got

up addled with dust

 

and shook

myself

without much consequence

 

Obviously I said it doesn’t pay

to get too

close up to

greatness

 

and the mountain friendless wept

and said

it couldn’t help

itself

Re-Imagining Religion: “Falling In Love Will Not Send You to Hell.”

                          – Randy Roberts Potts

“All students are required to sign a pledge stating they will live according to the university’s honor code. Prohibited activities include lying, cursing, smoking, drinking, and a range of sexual acts including homosexual behavior and sex outside marriage.”

                                                                   – Excerpt, ORU Student Codes , Oral Roberts University

Wouldn’t you know it: every time the “gay agenda” is reexamined, the “master plan” appears to become more and more normal on the face of it. Because it is.

“The gay agenda” is “the human agenda:” we all want love. Hope. Home. Family. We all desire the same things.

Back in 2010, Oral Roberts’ out, gay grandson Randy Roberts Potts read a letter to his closeted gay Uncle Ronnie (Oral Roberts’ eldest son) and recorded a viral video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYa0wi4XzeI) to honor Ronnie’s life, as unfortunately, his uncle had already passed away when Randy was just a kid (in June of 1982).

Randy’s irrepressible spirit remains to alchemize life’s tests and turn them into life’s testimonies.

In the video, after 2:38 minutes of silence (during which time we see the handwritten letter for his uncle), Potts reads a revelatory poem entitled “Close-Up” written by A. R. Ammons. Then, Randy moves into his own compelling testimony about the strange magic behind growing up with a gay uncle (around whom Randy’s mom was most captivated), and how it affected Potts himself.

We witness Potts as he entreats Ronnie’s spirit (for healing? For explanations?), “When my mother spoke of you, a look of awe lit up her face. You were the one voice in her life that could inhabit multiple worlds at once…. You stood for everything she was afraid I would become: gay, intellectual, and godless. And yet nothing caused my mother’s face to light up like your memory. I was jealous, and I always hoped to be you.”

Randy recounts following in his uncle’s footsteps simply by following his heart, and reminisces about the tragedy of losing a loved one who took his own life because he felt he had no options. No hope. Because he felt that life would not and could not get better.

“I’ve seen pain and loss and sorrow,” Potts continues. “I would have held you in my arms had I been a man at the time…. but there’s no one holding you, because you’re holding on to no one. And now I’m here sharing the same destiny…. your path and mine are crossed. They intersect…in some ridiculous dance.”

With a tonality not unlike Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight,” Potts brings us into present day. Yes, he is angry, but we can somehow see the light at the end of the tunnel, the burning hot flames of passion for living forever aglow in Randy’s heart. We somehow feel his uncle lives in some kind of virtual second life, through Randy.

Another “Gay Agenda,” Another Pleasant Valley Sunday.

Oral Roberts was the first and one of the biggest of the televangelists. He brought the Pentecostal faith to mainstream America, he started a self-named university, and of course lived a rich life through his relentless please for money from his followers. His grandson Randy Roberts Potts grew up with him…steeped in that really sheltered, Far Right Christian world. Now he’s following a calling like his grandfather, but with an unexpected message.”

Reporter Page Hopkins for MSNBC

In sharing his story with MSNBC, Potts did indeed reveal he’d felt suicidal too—coming out was unthinkable to him. Having married a woman and raising three children with her, Potts’ coming out narrative is a common one that always feels mysterious and new during the discovery process. He told Hopkins, “Honestly, I thought I was just a really good christian that I just didn’t sexualize women.”

Though Potts’ closeted gay uncle passed away when Randy was just a boy, as he unfolded the discoveries about Ronnie’s life, they paralleled discoveries of his own.

It is now Randy’s life mission to reach back across the table and minister tolerance and inclusiveness to evangelicals themselves. Potts informed Page Hopkins that he’s doing so non-publicly, holding confidential meetings with religious leaders and consulting with them regarding family cohesion, suicide prevention and myriad other positive effects of practicing religious tolerance.

In one of the most romantic and courageous activism campaigns out there, Potts and his partner are now conducting what they call an ongoing “performance project designed for conservative towns with visuals of domestic gay life.” Potts is setting up storefronts from town to town , choosing to put his normal day-in day-out familial relationships on display, in a performance art piece called—what else…

“…The Gay Agenda.

Facebook.com/thegaygayagenda

Twitter.com/the_gay_agenda

Reach out to Randy @randyrpotts and connect with ORU Out, ORU LGBTQ alumni and ombudsmen) at http://oru-out.tumblr.com.

To watch Potts’ It Gets Better video in its entirety, please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYa0wi4XzeI

Have you got time to sit and pray a while? Check out Randy Roberts Potts – Re-Imagining Religion Series at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uYWf2WfPH8. During his ministerial speech in this video, Potts reveals that his brother is also gay and his family still ostracizes them both.

 

And for more information about suicide prevention and LGBTQIA resources and support, please visit the It Gets Better Project at http://www.itgetsbetter.org.

 

 

 

 

 

LZ Granderson: The Myth of The Gay Agenda

“…I have taught myself to sew, cook, fix plumbing, build furniture – I can even pat myself on the back when necessary…. There’s nothing I need from anyone except for love and respect. And anyone who can’t give me those two things has no place in my life.”

– Arnold from “Torch Song Trilogy.”

Visit Bing or Yahoo. Google or Duck Duck Go.

(Don’t worry, we’ll wait.)

Now: search for the words “Gay Agenda.”

(We’ll be right here, so be sure to come back. Better yet, open up another window or tab. There you go.)

Here’s what you’ll find: you’ll discover and learn more about us here at GayAgenda.com (please do that!).

You’ll also see many, many other “interesting” finds. Most notably, you’ll encounter a lot of people who have coined the hateful term and idea of the “gay agenda,” words we happily reclaim.

Among the search results you’ll find will be CNN reporter-journalist LZ Granderson’s world renowned, fact-filled, heartwarming and humorous TED Talk, “The Myth of the Gay Agenda.”

Remember that “Gay Agenda” search engine quest from before? LZ really, really went there too—in fact, he went into some extended search action…!

The results he found included a wealth of hate-monger speech and ignorance-laden articles and updates about the “dangerous gay lifestyle,” and the “dangerous gay agenda.”

On thumbing through result after result of anti-gay propaganda, Granderson reflects: “If I’m gay and I’m doing something that’s going to destroy civilization, I need to figure out what this stuff is. And, I need to stop doing it right now!” [The audience laughs.]

“I took a look at my life—a hard look at my life,” he goes on, “And I saw some things very disturbing. And I want to begin sharing these ‘evil’ things that I’ve been doing with you, starting with my mornings.

[The audience continues laughing along with LZ.] He continues the in-joke: “I drink coffee. Not only do I drink coffee. I know other people who drink coffee.”

Granderson directs us to the first slide of a PowerPoint presentation with the laughable title, “The Super Duper Evil Gay Lifestyle,” emblazoned with the rainbow flag.

He walks us through his happily partnered life and the daily goings on of being a busy parent. He then goes on to masterfully, ironically illustrate his points. “Run for your heterosexual lives, people!” Granderson humorously “threatens” during the conference, dismantling the hateful rhetoric that anti-gay bigots just so happen to throw around.

At the end of the day, LZ Granderson’s presentation fights for, in his own words, “Love and respect….trying to find your place in the world.” It seems so simple—the real “agenda” has to do with those who seek to complicate it. To destroy rights that have already been granted, and to prevent acquisition of others.

Finding and enjoying “love and respect:” in essence, this is everyone’s “agenda.” Granderson brilliantly brings these and other heartening ideas to the fore.

When he talks about love, his family, adoption and marriage equality, your eyes will get misty, your lips will quiver, you’ll be reminded of your own humanity. His talk is quite lovely and forever relevant.

LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. He spoke at TEDx Grand Rapids in May 2012. TED is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “Ideas worth spreading” which it makes available through talks posted on its website. (http://www.tedxhappyvalley.com/lz-granderson-the-myth-of-the-gay-agenda/)

You can tweet your reactions and support to LZ  @Locs_n_Laughs.

Click here to watch the video—with choreographed light saber moves and all the belly laughs you can stand included. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CstD6O95L-o)

So what did you think of LZ Granderson’s TED Talk ?

Fearless Firsts: Australian “No to Homophobia” Campaign Aims to Change The Workplace

The ALSO Foundation, a Victoria, Australia-based LGBTQ rights and visibility activism organization, launched its high-profile anti-homophobia campaign last year, meeting with continued acclaim and supportive media coverage.

Entitled “No to Homophobia,” the campaign raises consciousness and encourages role models to liaise with the community to teach acceptance and inclusiveness to the community at large.

Jason Ball, a prominent out gay Aussie footballer, is one of the foundation’s many in-community campaign leaders who’s teaching AFL players to stand in their truth, and requesting that the AFL ALSO’s  anti-homophobia ads during footy (their first campaign was successful and the advertising  aired on national television during the AFL preliminary finals).

According to the ALSO Twitter page, The ALSO Foundation is “Australia’s first public campaign targeting #homophobia, #biphobia, #transphobia and LGBTIQ harassment.” In its video and television ads (http://www.youtube.com/user/NoToHomophobia), the foundation illustrates common scenarios where social and workplace harassment might go unreported.

Former ALSO CEO Crusader Hills told the Australian press, “There’s never been a television commercial about homophobia, let along around transphobia and biphobia.”

The short, impactful ad spots deal with thoughtless—and illegal—comments made in workplace or intersocial environments, spotlighting bullying or ignorant remarks and gestures. (For example: male workers say something to a lesbian about her personal life after she asks them a simple work-related question).

Victoria, Australia’s anti-bullying legislation does provide certain protections, and the public relations and community outreach teams for The ALSO Foundation aim to ensure  the public is made fully aware of their rights under the law.

Topics covered in the PSA series include homophobic/trans-phobic/bi-phobic harassment in sports and at work, sexually-based harassment, and gender-based harassment, as well as the legal steps to take, such as  filing reports with local authorities.

Anna Brown from the No to Homophobia campaign told The Age Online:

“This is a community-driven grassroots campaign that really aims to raise awareness of the harm caused by homophobic harassment, and the fact that it’s directly linked to anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide. The consequences of this harassment can last a lifetime. We’re really encouraging the community to understand that we all have a responsibility to stand up to homophobic harassment wherever it occurs, and even if we’re not the targets ourselves. So if you witness harassment and do nothing, you’re condoning it or letting it continue unchallenged.”

The commercials ask viewers to take action “No matter how subtle” the harassment may be.

Anna Brown continued, “We have a comprehensive online resource…it provides people with the resources they need to get informed, find support, and take action to put a stop to homophobia. We’d encourage everyone to go there and find out more about what they can do to respond to homophobia personally. But also to spread the word amongst their friends, colleague, neighbors and people to really raise awareness and tackle homophobia as a community.”

For more information, please visit http://www.notohomophobia.com.au.

If you witness or experience harassment or bullying in the workplace, do you know what your options are or what the next steps to take might be?