An e-Conversation about Gay Marriage

Last night, after our SFGMC concert in Santa Cruz, I got home, logged on to Facebook, and saw that a friend from high school posted a video about how Rick Warren supports Prop 8–with the following comment attached: “Another awesome video w/Rick Warren!

Disgusted, shocked, and fatigued from the concert,  I commented “This hate speech makes me sick.” This set off a flurry of comments from three other folks including, “D,” the one who originally posted the video. And after the jump, you’ll find the conversation.

But above and beyond that, no matter your religious background, your stance on gay marriage, or your stance on the definition of marriage, we cannot continue living in a society where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people–real people–are living in fear for their lives because messages of intolerance, which are masked by religion, continue being passed around. These messages get misconstrued and promote hate.

So I get it. Protect the word “marriage.” Let’s say you can have it. Now what? What are we doing as a state, as a society, as humans, as a nation to make sure that we are all being protected? That we all get the same rights, feel the same value, and get the same chance at love, family, and peace that is afforded to heterosexual people.

Well, I’ll tell you what’s been done: a whole lotta yelling, blaming, finger-pointing, and arguing. But at the end of the day, it’s people making one-on-one connections with each other that will be the difference. As Karla reminded me tonight (as she usually does when she brings me back to the ground), that was the failure of the No on 8 campaign. We invested a lot of our money on flashy ad campaigns, while the Yes on 8 folks took it to the streets, for real (as evidenced by my 30-minute argument on the streets of Hacienda Heights with a family of Yes on 8ers).

Let’s take it to the streets then. Like how SFGMC went to Modesto and is going to the Central Valley and Sacramento to promote peace and tolerance. You don’t have to be gay or agree with gay marriage to promote peace and tolerance.

I’ll end my diatribe with a snippet of how I ended my conversation with “D”:

“We are now on the brink of a huge social change movement, the likes of which our generation has never seen. Whether or not you agree with gay marriage, are your everyday actions furthering a nation and society that you aspire to have? Or are you just sticking with the way it’s been (and the “definition”) because that’s what you know and have known?

This is a challenge, not just for you, but for our entire generation.”

Hit the jump for the entire e-conversation.

Continue reading An e-Conversation about Gay Marriage

Join me on World AIDS Day for SFGMC’s 30th Anniversary Concert

Dear Friends,
I invite you to join me next Monday, Dec 1, as my chorus takes center-stage at Davies Symphony Hall in celebration of our thirtieth anniversary and to mark World AIDS Day.

San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, the first of its kind, is setting a high-water mark for the gay choral movement, with award-winning Broadway composer, Steve Schalchlin‘s new work: New World Waking! Songs on the road to peace. In  addition to New World Waking, our second half will feature a tribute to those lost to the AIDS pandemic and will conclude with an upbeat selection of holiday music.

Here are sneak previews of the concert:

Our special guests for the momentous occasion include:

I cannot tell you how much heart and soul that we have poured into this event, and you really have to be there to experience the emotions from the sounds, music and words. When I first heard and sang some of the songs we will be performing, I literally cried, not out of sadness, but out of sheer joy and touching emotion. The works are beautiful, fun, emotive, and life-changing.

I honestly, hope you can join me on Dec 1 for this unique event. With all of the hatred in our world these days, especially against homosexuals as we saw with the passage of Prop 8, this concert is a spiritual reminder for our community that we can and will rise up. I guarantee you will be moved.

With love and light,

How to buy tickets
Tickets for the 30th Anniversary Concert start at $20 and are available from the community box office at the LGBT Community Center (1800 Market), by phone at (415) 865-2787, or online at A portion of all proceeds will assist HIV/AIDS charities Under One Roof, Meals of Marin, and the Positive ResourceCenter.

What if I can’t make it to this concert?
Let’s be real. What else are you doing on a random Monday night? Look at your schedule again… OK so you really can’t make it? Well luckily, we will still have our traditional holiday concerts on Dec 24. This concert will be shorter, and we will play only selections from New World Waking! and lots of holiday music.

We’ve also got three away shows that you can probably go to: Dec 6 in Modesto, Dec 13 in Santa Rosa, and Dec 20 in Santa Cruz. All of the away shows benefit local AIDS organizations.

Didn’t you audition for a solo?
I did, and try-outs were a really good experience. I was chosen to be the understudy for a phenomenal song called “Gabi’s Song (Will it Always be like this)” and might get the opportunity to sing it at one of the away shows. Obviously, I’ll keep you abreast in the event that I do get to sing it at some point.

About New World Waking
In thirteen emotional, genre-transcending songs, New World Waking! explores violence in our community and in the world and celebrates the individuals who stand up to it and change the world in the process. New World Waking! Two songs tell the true stories of ordinary mothers who fought against the homophobia their gay sons faced and both women will be in attendance on December 1st. McGuire explains: “The chorus was so moved by the stories that they clubbed together and have donated their own money and air miles to make this happen. This spiritual connection to the incredible music and the stories is something we invite you to share with us. New World Waking! tells us that, in the face of hatred and adversity, one person truly can make a difference.�

Back from a Cathartic Journey

I knew my month-long trip was going to be awesome, but I didn’t really expect it to be as life-changing as it was. I just got home today, and I’ve got a lot more processing to do on the entire trip from LA to North Carolina to New York and then Miami, but let’s just say it was a cathartic and freeing adventure.

I’ll write more about it later, once I get some proper sleep in my own bed (instead of 4 hours a night on a mushy hotel pillow).

For now I’ll leave you with this short review from Steve on our GALA performance of USS Metaphor in Miami: GALA and the Fabulous USS Metaphor.

All I can say is the house was rockin’! It’s an sharply satirical look at the military’s insidiously ridiculous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and it’s available on DVD. I really recommend it for anyone who enjoys a great show, enjoys Gilbert & Sullivan and who understands how stupid the whole policy is.

Our Rising Up

Yes, I am a chorus widow

Here’s a letter I wrote to some friends who attended our SFGMC concert last Friday, May 16, 2008.

Hey all,
I just wanted to send thanks and love for attending my concert and supporting my little hobby. It really made a difference to know that you all were sitting in the audience, and I felt like I was singing for you (even though I couldn’t see you… wasn’t wearing my glasses!).

I hope you left the concert inspired and moved. I know after singing the entire concert, some of the words of the music really started to sink in to me (“The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.”). And with the recent ruling regarding same-sex marriage in CA, I feel like there was even more relevance to the concert, and I was so
happy to be able to share it with you all.

Thanks again for joining me last evening, and I hope you’ll continue to join me in this movement!

With love and respect,

PS – Here is a great blog entry from an award-winning songwriter about Safeer El-Layl, one of our songs from last night (it certainly moved him, me, and I’m sure many others!):

Thanks Coy for the awesome picture of us at the concert above. And as a bonus, songwriter Steve Schalchlin, snuck a camera into our rehearsal on Friday, and recorded us singing “My Rising Up,” which is a song he wrote. I’m in there somewhere, wearing the red shirt.

An Invitation to Two Spring Events!

Dear Friends,
Hi, how are you? Oh, you’re doing well? That’s great. 😉 Me? Oh, busy as usual. You know, work, singing, traveling, eating, etc. Thanks for asking. Oh, you haven’t seen me in a while? Yea, I know. Apologies! May’s going to be a really event-packed month for me, too, so we’ll just have to play it by ear. I want to see you though!

On that note, I wanted to invite you to 2 of my bigger events this month:

Continue reading An Invitation to Two Spring Events!