Bruce Garrett Cartoon
The Cartoon Gallery

A Coming Out Story
A Coming Out Story

My Photo Galleries
New and Improved!

Past Web Logs
The Story So Far archives

My Amazon.Com Wish List

My Myspace Profile

Bruce Garrett's Profile
Bruce Garrett's Facebook profile


Blogs I Read!
Alicublog

Wayne Besen

Box Turtle Bulletin

Daily Kos

Mike Daisy's Blog

The Disney Blog

Disney Gossip

Brad DeLong

Dispatches From The Culture Wars

Epcot Explorer's Encyclopedia

Envisioning The American Dream

Eschaton

Ex-Gay Watch

Hullabaloo

Joe. My. God

Made In Brazil

Peterson Toscano

Progress City USA

Slacktivist

Slacktiverse

SLOG

Fear the wrath of Sparky!

Truth Wins Out Blog

Wil Wheaton



Gone But Not Forgotten

The Rittenhouse Review

Steve Gilliard's News Blog

Steve Gilliard's Blogspot Site



Great Cartoon Sites!

Howard Cruse Central

Tripping Over You
Tripping Over You

XKCD

Commando Cody Monthly

Scandinavia And The World

Dope Rider

The World Of Kirk Anderson

Ann Telnaes' Cartoon Site

Bors Blog

John K

Penny Arcade




Other News & Commentary

Lead Stories

Amtrak In The Heartland

Corridor Capital

Railway Age

Maryland Weather Blog

Foot's Forecast

All Facts & Opinions

Baltimore Crime

Cursor

HinesSight

Page One Q
(GLBT News)


Michelangelo Signorile

The Smirking Chimp

Talking Points Memo

Truth Wins Out

The Raw Story

Slashdot




International News & Views

BBC

NIS News Bulletin (Dutch)

Mexico Daily

The Local (Sweden)




News & Views from Germany

Spiegel Online

The Local

Deutsche Welle

Young Germany




Fun Stuff

It's not news. It's FARK

Plan 59

Pleasant Family Shopping

Discount Stores of the 60s

Retrospace

Photos of the Forgotten

Boom-Pop!

Comics With Problems

HMK Mystery Streams




Mercedes Love!

Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz TV

Mercedes-Benz Owners Club of America

MBCA - Greater Washington Section

BenzInsider

Mercedes-Benz Blog

BenzWorld Forum

August 5th, 2021

Guess Which Headline Is Fox

My morning Google News page. Can you spot the difference between how these various news sources are covering this story?


Posted In: Politics
Tags: , ,

by Bruce | Link | React!
August 4th, 2021

Vanyel’s Promise

Great scary wonderful news! This has been ricocheting around my newsfeeds today…

Fantasy’s First Openly Queer Hero Is Getting the TV Adaptation He Deserves

I have been waiting all my life—or at least since sixth grade—for an adaptation of bestselling author Mercedes Lackey’s wildly popular Valdemar fantasy novels. Now comes the news that Radar Pictures has secured the rights to the Valdemar literary universe, and they are developing an ongoing TV series.

The initial season is set to adapt Lackey’s Lambda Award-winning “Last Herald-Mage” trilogy, which features a young man named Vanyel Ashkevron who eventually becomes one of the most powerful magic-users in history. Radar’s press release describes Van as “the first openly gay heroic protagonist in the fantasy genre.”

I’m probably a bit older than the typical fan of this series…in 1989 I was in my late 30s, but just as hungry as the others for gay positive representation in fiction. Previously there was only Mary Renault’s historical fiction, and a few random one off novels I found at Deacon Maccubbin’s Lambda Rising bookstore. Here was a gay protagonist, center stage, in an already fully developed fantasy universe and I devoured each book as it came out, and then bought signed prints of the Jody Lee cover art.

I think it was around this time I began to insist on finding fiction to read with fully realized gay characters as central to the story, passing over a lot of popular favorites that I felt, just didn’t speak to me, getting irritated, and then vocal, about authors that played gay vague at us, but couldn’t actually make us visible in their works.

I got into an online argument with Richard Pini, co-author of the Elfquest series of comics, about his insistence to the readership that their elves were sexually liberated on the one hand, and on the other that same sex couplings (soulmates/lifemates were the terms used in the stories for the pair bonds) were just not possible. It had to be an opposite sex coupling because only those could produce children. (Where have I heard that before?) A shape-shifting alien “old one” turning into and mating with a wolf in order to insure the viability of her people on the planet they’d crash landed on…yeah that’s do-able. But not same sex pair bonds. Years later when we crossed paths online again he remembered and curtly said he would not discuss it anymore with Me. About then I was noticing that their spin-off series would suddenly find themselves cancelled if they strayed too closely toward affirming same sex relationships. I still check in every now and then and they’re Still doing it.

But let it be said they weren’t/aren’t the only ones. That’s how it went back in those days, and to a large degree that is how it Still Goes in pop culture media, though it is getting better. Slowly. I was tired of being invisible before I picked up books about Vanyel in the late 1980s. Now I knew I didn’t have to accept it.

God almighty I hope they do this right. It’s a good sign they went for a TV series and not a one-off movie where they’d have to compress/delete a lot of the story to make it fit.


Posted In: Life
Tags: ,

by Bruce | Link | React!
July 31st, 2021

Adventures In Old Computer Repair

Old in computer years anyway. Old in Apple computer years specifically. Which is to say only a decade old and still perfectly good. Anyway…

Some years ago I bought a nice second hand Macbook Pro laptop. In 2012 it was the very top of the line for fifteen inch Macbook Pros. It has the 256k SSD, and 16gb core ram, and the new and improved “Retina” video display. It was expensive even for a Macbook Pro. But now it’s “old” and I got it for a much more reasonable price. I fell in love with it instantly. New Macs don’t have all the connection ports this one does. You have to buy their adaptors. This one not only has all the connection ports built right in, it has a built-in Superdrive, and an SD card slot, which makes it a nice travel companion for my DSLRs. And lord have mercy that Retina screen is Very Nice. It was everything I wanted in a Mac laptop, though it was admittedly somewhat heavy. Problem with it was it had a couple intermittent keyboard keys. E and D. They worked, but sometimes I had to press more than once to get their attention.

Eventually that became annoying enough that when I saw a Facebook ad for a place in Severna Park that repaired older Macs I took it to them. It was slickly and professionally laid out, not at all like some computer nerd’s basement. They not only repaired but also sold old Macs, and they claimed to be a fully authorized Apple service shop. I had great expectations.

The plague was in full swing then, and I was told when I dropped it off that it might take a while. I was fine with that. I told them if the keyboard needed replacing I would pay for it. The guy behind the counter, who was a bit stand-offish and rude, said it probably only needed cleaning, which would take less time and cost me a lot less. I was skeptical, but willing to be convinced, and I counted it a plus that they were telling me the repair would probably be cheaper than I expected. I asked if just having the Guest account was okay. I didn’t want to give out my admin password. They said Guest was fine. Several weeks later I got a call to come pick it up, it was fixed.

But it wasn’t. The same keys were still intermittent. So I took it back. I had to show the guy behind the counter that the keys were still intermittent, which wasn’t easy when the problem is…you know…intermittent. But I got it across eventually that the repair, whatever their technician had done, hadn’t worked. Fine says the guy behind the counter, still a little standoffish and rude, if it needs a new keyboard after all we’ll deduct the cost from what you paid previously. A day later I got another call that it was fixed and ready to be picked up.

This time I tested it at the counter. Same problem as before, but worse. The keys weren’t even intermittent anymore, they had simply stopped working. I was directed to another counter off to the side, and showed the guy there the problem. He said it might take weeks to get a new keyboard on it because it was a very labor intensive process to remove all the little screws they needed to remove. He really emphasised that. Very labor intensive. Very Very labor intensive. Probably take weeks. Maybe even months. Okay, fine, says I, but I want this fixed. I really want this laptop working because it is everything I want in a travel laptop. 

Two hours later I get a call saying they’d put in a new keyboard. I drive back and brought it home, not even bothering to test it at the counter because I pretty much figured they had done no such thing and it was either fixed now or I was taking it elsewhere. Ah yes…Now the 3, E, D, and C keys weren’t working…the entire vertical row was inoperative. Later I discovered that now the operating system wasn’t detecting the Superdrive. So I was done with them.

I looked around Google some more, and found a place in Parkville that did work on older Macs. It was a much smaller place than the one in Severna Park; basically a basement shop in what used to be a house on the main drag. I explained the problems to the lady behind the counter who, let it be said, was Much nicer to her customers than the guy in Severna Park. I asked again asked if Guest was okay. I couldn’t imagine why it wouldn’t be since all that was needed was to check that the keyboard and Superdrive were working. She said it was fine.

Two days later I get a call from some older man there telling me he couldn’t do the work without my admin password. Oh really? I told him I would take back the laptop instead.

So for nearly a year now the laptop has just sat idle. I could use it with a USB keyboard, but the firmware wouldn’t allow me to plug in another Superdrive. But this was a top of the line Mac not that long ago, and everything I want in a travel laptop. I just loved that big sharp 15 inch screen. A little on the heavy side maybe, but worth carrying it around for that screen, the big fast solid state drive and every port and connector I could ever need right on it. So a couple weeks ago I tried Googling for Mac repair near me, and discovered a new place had opened up in the Rotunda, which is walking distance to my house.

It’s part of a chain called “Juvix The Tech Guy”. They’d just opened shop at the Rotunda. I brought the laptop there and explained the problem. They asked Me right away if I had Guest enabled and I said it was. I told them about the trouble I’d had in Severna Park and the lady behind the counter grinned like she’d heard it before from her other customers. I wondered if it was that specific place or just all of them nearby that people were venting to her about.

First email I got from them a few days later said the Superdrive was working again and all it needed was to be plugged back in. Also that a new keyboard was on order. Apparently the Enter key and one of the shift keys weren’t working now either. A week later I got an email saying they were still waiting for the keyboard to arrive. A couple days later I get another email saying the new keyboard had arrived, and a few hours later another saying it had been installed and everything tested and my laptop was ready for pickup. Total bill was $141.

I bring it home. So nice to live where everything is in walking distance. I get it running and…wow…Everything Works. Just like that. My ideal Mac laptop is ideal again.

Sweet. I can’t speak to all the shops in the chain, but the Juvix The Tech Guy at the Rotunda here is a first rate operation with a good crew and not atrociously expensive. Email me if you need to know who the crappy repair places were.


Posted In: Life
Tags: ,

by Bruce | Link | React!
July 25th, 2021

Death To Adobe…(continued)

One more thing…

That professional cartoonist I mentioned above. He was a Hugo Award winner, with a presence in both fan art, and in commercial and underground comics. When he discovered Adobe had turned off the licensing servers for his version of Photoshop, he spent the last days of his life looking for a good replacement for it, and trying out new tools, because the tool he had used for many years and was familiar with suddenly stopped working thanks to Adobe. He did that instead of creating art.

I know how it is to suddenly have to struggle learning a new set of software tools because Adobe pulled the rug out from under you. It is very time consuming and frustrating. And of course Adobe thinks you just give them more money for new software you don’t necessarily need, or just submit to paying them rent every month whether or not the software gets better in any way shape or form…and everything is fine. But even successful cartoonists are living on the edge these days, and this one simply didn’t have the money to spare.

And so all the art he could have made, instead of struggling to find some new tools that would work for him, is lost. Gone. Never to become. And not just lost to him, but to all of us.

There’s how Adobe supports the “creative class”.


Posted In: Art Life Thumping My Pulpit
Tags:

by Bruce | Link | React!

Death To Adobe!

My new Canon 6D mkII will produce CR2 camera raw files like the 7D and the 7D mkII, but for Some Reason (to force users into their rental software model) Lightroom 6 won’t read them. Which is interesting since the old version of MacOS I’m running does.

This was a problem I ran into with the Canon R, which wrote to CR3 files. I expected that, since it’s the latest and greatest iteration of the Canon raw format. But I expected CR2 files to be the same as always and…apparently…they’re not. Either that, or Lightroom maintains a built-in file format reference and it is checked the camera version not the file extension.

The last buy it once use it always version of Lightroom…version 6…was released April 2015. The 7d mkII was released September 2014. The 6d mkII was released June 2017. Even if the file formats are the same, and I strongly suspect they are because of all the new and old software I have that reads the 6DII raw files, if Lightroom is going by the camera version then my Lightroom six won’t know about the 6DII, but does know about the 7DII.

So I just throws up it’s hands and gives up on the 6DII CR2 files, even though they’re the exact same file format.
I don’t know this for a fact…it’s just a hunch…but it’s an informed hunch based on Adobe’s predatory corporate behavior. Yes citizen…you must pay our software rent from now on.

But…no. I left Photoshop when GIMP finally evolved enough that I could use if for everything I used to use Photoshop for. My problem moving away from Lightroom is it was a comprehensive photographer’s workflow system: it does both image cataloging and editing and exporting to web gallery pages I could upload to my website. Apple Aperture used to be that, but it never worked very well, so I moved to Lightroom, blithely thinking that I could trust Adobe with my creative work. Hahahahahahaha…

Okay. Fine. Here’s what I have so far. Affinity Photo actually seems to handle camera raw edits Much better than Lightroom. So there’s my image editor, but I need to try it with my film scanner TIFFs to be sure it’s going to work for me as a Lightroom replacement. Digikam is a good cataloging application, with the extra advantage that it is open source, and runs on Linux as well as MacOS and Windows. Awkwardly, it won’t let me use Affinity as an external editor; I have to open an image file in Finder and then tell Finder to open it in Affinity. But at least that’s do-able. jAlbum looks like an excellent replacement for Lightroom’s export to web function. Affinity and jAlbum come in buy it once use it always licenses. Digikam is open source and would like your contributions very much. Once I’ve become comfortable that it’s my new photo catalogue, I will.

Adobe makes a big deal out of making tools for the “creative class”. But they actually don’t give a good goddamn about individual artists, cartoonists, photographers, creators, who are, if they can even manage to make a living at their art, usually living hand to mouth. They argue that the rental scheme allows artists to use high quality software tools for just a little money every month, but that cost, like everything rented, is at the discretion of the landlord and I’ve never in my life seen rents go down. What Adobe cares about are its big institutional customers. And Wall Street. For instance:

I knew a professional cartoonist who remained on Photoshop CS2 because that version worked fine for them and they were content. Now you can argue that this means they’re not supporting maintenance, but if a user does not need the later versions they’re not costing the company one thin dime? You want more money out of me, give me something I need in a new version. Then one day Adobe shut down the licensing server for Photoshop CS2… And It All Just Stopped Working. And they were fucked. How about instead of giving you something more that you might want to pay for, we just turn your software off.

Now, instead of paying for maintenance, you are paying to simply keep the software running. Every month. Or Else.

When you buy software that requires permission to run from the corporate licensing servers every time you run it you have bought nothing. And that perpetual license you bought from Adobe means whatever Adobe says it means at any given time.

I will not rent my creative software tools for the same reason I don’t rent my pens and brushes. I’ll buy a license. I’ll pay for the updates…if the updates have anything in them I need. That includes support for the current operating systems, and security bug fixes. I’ll pay for those. If and only if what I get for my money is software that runs without needing to check a corporate sever for my license Every Time It Runs. Because buried deep inside Every software license agreement is the clause that allows the vendor to unilaterally change the terms of the license out from under you whenever they want, whenever their business model changes.

I have a Nikon film scanner…the best one they ever made…it scans both 35mm and 120 roll film. But they stopped updating the scanner software for it sometime back in 2005. It does not run on any current version of MacOS or Windows. So I bought one of those half a beach ball iMacs that run Tiger…the last version of MacOS that the Nikon software ran on…at a computer flea market, and I installed the scanner software on it. Then I connected the Mac to my network. And I still have a film scanner that works.
I would pay for a software update but Nikon won’t bother with it anymore…the brave new world is Digital, sorry. I don’t think they even make a film camera anymore. But…okay…the software will run without having to get permission from a corporate licensing server. Suppose it wouldn’t. I’d have a very expensive doorstop now and no film scanner.

When you buy software that requires permission to run from the corporate licensing servers every time you run it you have bought nothing. You have made a bet.


Posted In: Art Life Photography Thumping My Pulpit
Tags:

by Bruce | Link | React!
July 21st, 2021

Brood X, 2021…Not Entirely Done…

Brood X is but a memory now…but its mark can still be seen if you know where to look and what it is you are seeing. Here’s a couple iPhone photos I took today at work. I’ve lowered the image size for the page here, but you can see them full size if you click on them.

 

 

That first photo is of trees behind the Institute today, at the edge of Wyman Park. Those reddish branch tips are dead leaves where the females laid their eggs. Those branch tips have died off which is why the leaves are dead. Why did they die?

The second photo is of a branch end I picked up while walking across campus to get lunch (a thing I haven’t done in 18 months but was able to finally do today). It had fallen from a campus tree. Lots of those have the same dead branch tips. Some of them are going to start falling off shortly. Maybe the wind blows them off. Maybe they just drop. Look carefully and you can see where a female made slits in the branch to lay her eggs in. What I learned this year was she also deposits some sort of egg nutrient that also prevents the tree branch from healing over, and locking the eggs inside. And so the tips of those branches die off and you start seeing the dead branch tips everywhere, on certain favored trees, sometime after the last cicada finished the last song of their emergence.

See all those dead branch tips in the first photo? This is why you cover small saplings with a net the years brood X is out and about. They can’t handle it. The trees in that photo will just grow out new branch tips. I like to think they remember them fondly. Oh…I knew your great great great great great great great….etc times a zillion…grandmother cicada. I was just a young tree then and she needed a home for her children… Much of planet Earth’s life cycles are vastly longer than our little three score and ten.

I’ve no idea whether the eggs had hatched or not so I tossed the branch over onto a grassy spot. Eventually the eggs hatch and the tiny little cicada nymphs drop to the ground and dig in, attach to a root somewhere, and their unique cycle of life continues. At least we get to know our parents, and maybe even our grandparents.


Posted In: Life
Tags: , ,

by Bruce | Link | React!
July 20th, 2021

Solidarity

I had a full day today in the JWST Mission Operations Center, working on an automated performance testing program (‘program’, not as in software but as in “a set of related measures or activities with a particular long-term aim.” It’s very tedious because it’s running through the same set of operations over and over and over and over and…so on… But this is necessary to insure the MOC systems can handle the stress of launch and commissioning, and also to make sure that the small fixes and updates to the systems haven’t broken anything that Was working previously.

As I said…tedious. And I have other things on my plate at work that I need to attend to. But for various reasons I won’t go into here, these tests needed to be done this week. It is Important to do these tests at this time. So I stay on it. Everything we do now is critical to moving us toward launch, and after that, commissioning. Then we have a space telescope that will show us amazing things about the early universe, and maybe even find life on nearby planets. I was in on Monday…I’ll be working this through Thursday at least. I want to see this thing through to launch (still scheduled for the end of October), but I am counting down the weeks until I retire. I have other things I want to do with my life, before I run out of life.

I come home, tired…very tired. I’m feeling my age more now. There’s a Hemingway quote about going broke that maps very well to getting old: gradually, and then suddenly. Yeah. That. I make some dinner…a frozen package thing from the chest freezer because I am too tired even to think now. I just want to sleep. It’s the routine repetitive work that drags me down.

I turn on the TV. Smithsonian channel is running stuff about the Apollo moon landing. Oh yeah…that was today. 52 years ago. I remember watching it raptly on the black and white vacuum tube TV in our 1969 garden apartment living room. I even took a few snapshots of the TV screen while it was happening. There were no home video recorders in 1969.

I remember how it felt, I remember how amazing it all was. There really was a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day back then. Everything was possible. I watched them put human footprints on the moon.

And then I realize I spent the day today working in the JWST MOC and I hadn’t even remembered today was the anniversary the entire time I was in there. I was busy. I had a job to do. Solidarity reaches across the decades and taps me on the shoulder. I’m really here now. I’m really part of all this. It’s about time I started believing it. I don’t think 15 year old me would have figured there was where I would be in 52 years. Certainly certain maternal family members would never have believed it. I should really stop carrying that weight around with me. I did my job, and I’ll get back to it tomorrow.

And I will feel a little less old and tired…


Posted In: Life
Tags: ,

by Bruce | Link | React!
July 18th, 2021

It’s A Right-Handed World…A Heterosexual World…And You Know What Else…?

This challenge came across my Facebook stream this morning, because a friend replied to it jokingly. Oh…there is lots of joke material in this one…

You walk into your house & all your ex’s are there. Reply w/ just 3 words.

Alone again, naturally.

I don’t have ex’s…just a lot of near misses and strike-outs. And soon I’ll be 68.

This world I’ve come to learn, is equipped to handle lovers, ex-lovers, couples and the tragically dumped to the curb. It can handle the married…happily or otherwise…and the divorced. It has room for them all. What it can’t seem to wrap itself around are the one’s like me who never got the chance, who went from one end of a human life to another without knowing what it was like to be in a lover’s embrace. Ever.

So when one of us enters the room, the world looks the other way…and doesn’t see us at all…


Posted In: Life
Tags:

by Bruce | Link | React!
July 17th, 2021

However, Some Things Are Hard To Parody

Some years ago I had a dream one morning just before waking. I was watching some sort of music video channel and it was broadcasting a collection of videos themed as “The Descendants Of PDQ Bach.” So you had PDQ Moby, and PDQ Mantovani, and PDQ Yanni, and PDQ Vangelis and PDQ Horner, and so on and it was hilarious.

Somehow my dreaming brain was able to construct believable parodies of all their musical tropes and it was so funny I woke up laughing. Of course now I couldn’t remember any of the actual tunes, but I still vaguely remember PDQ Mantovani’s easy listening rendering of a Celine Dion song that was itself a parody of something Dion might have sung that cracked me up.

Someone should do this.


Posted In: Life
Tags:

by Bruce | Link | React!

The Lens I Have To Have

The one thing that might have made me change my mind about keeping the Canon R is being able to get a fast 24mm prime for it. They don’t make those in R series lenses, but the camera came with an R to EF lens adapter and I spotted a 24mm EF L f1.4 at Service and gave it a try after picking up the camera from a detector cleaning. It works.

My FD 24mm f1.4 is about all I ever put on my Canon Fs anymore. For my art photography that’s just about the only lens I need. I quickly gravitated to that focal length back when I was a teenager and nearly everything I’ve ever done, apart from my photojournalism work, is in that field of view. It just works for me. So much that now when I’m out and about and looking with my eyes I am judging what I see against what I know from long experience what that lens will see.

I couldn’t use any of the lenses I have for the 7D because those are all optimized for the APS-C detector, which is smaller than the so called full frame detectors. I had ideas of buying a full frame 5D, but that would come with the additional expense of a set of all new lenses and it just wasn’t in the budget. And anyway the 7D is a Nice camera and I have no issues at all with it’s image quality. I eventually found all the wide angle lenses I needed for it, but they’re all zooms, and some of them are very slow. I wanted another fast 24mm like that FD lens I have for the film Canons.

Well…I have one now. It could work on the 7D but on that camera it amounts to roughly a 38mm equivalent. Which I might someday need but it’s far from the angle of view I want for art photography. But it works just fine as the primary lens on that R. So I reckon now I’m keeping the R.

I have two 7Ds now…the one I’ve used for a decade for photojournalism and art, and the 7D mk II I recently bought because it has a built-in GPS. So I’ll probably sell the older one and some of its lenses. Won’t get much for it, but I don’t need three DSLRs. I’m still primarily a black and white film photographer.

I hate selling equipment that’s been good to me over the years…it feels like separating from an old friend. But sitting in a camera cabinet doing nothing is not a dignified end for a good camera. It needs another artist to love, or a photojournalist. There should be camera adoption agencies so I can approve the buyer before I let a camera go.


Posted In: Photography
Tags:

by Bruce | Link | React!
June 25th, 2021

The Love In Action (Refuge) Rulebook

Earlier this week I shared a post from Wayne Besen, which was a link to a YouTube interview with a survivor of ex-gay therapy. Titled ‘Ex-gay’ Conversion Therapy is even More Bizarre than you Imagine, it’s well worth a watch. Wayne has been fighting this battle for years, I’ve only been in it since a day in 2005, when I learned that gay teens were being dragged against their will into one of these places. A place in Memphis Tennessee called Love In Action. up until that moment, I was one of those who had heard of ex-gay therapy but only had a vague idea of what it involved. I had this simplistic and completely wrong notion that it was something like Sunday school where people sat around and talked about the bible and prayed. One of kids that was dragged into it did something brilliant…he posted the Love In Action Refuge (their teen program) rulebook for the whole world to see. And it shocked everyone. That was how I got involved.

This is a Very Strange world. But an insular one, which tends to keep it out of the media spotlight. None of it has any basis in science, although it often likes to dress itself up in the terms and accouterments of science. But pull back the curtain even slightly and you fall down a rabbit hole of crazy dangerous nonsense aimed at breaking down a person. It’s a form of sexual abuse, and its victims often show the same signs of guilt and shame. A few years after the Love In Action protests I was privileged to attend a meeting in Memphis of survivors of ex-gay therapy, held in conjunction with a protest and one of Exodus’ Love (sic) Won Out conferences. If the faces of teenagers being driven into the conference didn’t radicalize me about this, the writings on the wall in one of the rooms at the survivors’ meeting would surely have. Ex-gay therapy is a form of sexual abuse.

In June of 2007 Love In Action closed down its Refuge program. In March 2012, Love In Action changed its name to Restoration Path. As of 2019 its website and Facebook page were offline, and according to the California Secretary of State, the organization has been dissolved. Its director while it was taking in gay teenagers, John Smid, left LIA in 2008, and later renounced ex-gay therapy altogether. He is now happily married to another man. In 2016, Garrard Conley recounted his time in Love In Action in his memoir Boy Erased, which was later made into a movie.

In 2012 Alan Chambers, then President of Exodus International, renounced conversion therapy. A year later he closed the organization. 

I mentioned above how that one kid posted the Refuge Program rulebook for the world to see. Of course I kept a copy. After reading it I could not sleep for days with worry about the kid. I wasn’t alone. Here it is:

———-

Refuge Program Rules
Exceptions to program rules will be granted by C.O.C. (Chain of Command) only.

Sobriety

One of the core functions of the Refuge is the common pursuit of corporate sobriety from sin. The program strives to perpetuate a safe environment that is ripe for growth and for hearing from God. The sobriety of each individual is a key focus.

Galatians 5:19 – 21: 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21 envying, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:12-15: 12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are expedient. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be brought under the power of anything. 13 “Foods for the belly, and the belly for foods,” but God will bring to nothing both it and them. But the body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. 14 Now God raised up the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Don’t you know that your bodies are members of Christ? Will I then take away the members of Christ, and make them members of a prostitute? Certainly not!

1 Corinthians 6:18: 18 Flee sexual immorality. “Every sin that a man does is outside the body,” but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

1 Thessalonians 4:2-5: 2 For you know what charge we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God: your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality, 4 that each one of you know how to possess himself of his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust…

1. No smoking, alcohol, drugs, or inappropriate use of over-the-counter medications. All prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications must be left in the care of a parent or guardian, who will administer them when necessary. Refuge clients may not have prescription or over-the-counter drugs in their possession at any time, exceptions by C.O.C. approval only.

2. No sexual/emotional misconduct. Any temptations, fantasies, or dreams are to be presented to one’s staff worker only. Sexual misconduct includes viewing pornography, visiting an adult bookstore, emotional dependency, voyeurism, stalking, masturbation, mutual masturbation, or any form of genital or sexual contact with another person. Sexual temptation, as well as the above, is not to be discussed between clients. This includes MI’s (Moral Inventories) written on current sexual struggles or temptations).

3. No hugging or physical touch between clients. Brief handshakes or a brief affirmative hand on a shoulder is allowed (exception is when observed by therapeutic accountability).

4. Clients are to remain within the safe zone while in the program. This “zone” is illustrated on a map of the Memphis area in the office. An exception is for clients who reside or are staying outside the safe zone, and commuting to the Love in Action campus.

Hygiene

Small unhealthy habits can either reflect or lead to dysfunctional, life-controlling habits. Attention to the details of daily lifestyle is a pivotal aspect of residential recovery.

Luke 10:27: 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

Luke 16:10: 10 He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. He who is unrighteous in a very little is also unrighteous in much.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20: 19 Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Psalm 139:13-14: 13 For you formed my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to you, For I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. My soul knows that very well.

1. All clients must maintain appropriate hygiene, including daily showering, use of deodorant, and brushing teeth twice daily.

Men: Men must remove all facial hair seven days weekly, and sideburns must not fall below the top of the ear (the top of the ear is defined as where the ear meets the face below the temple). Clean business-like haircuts must be worn at all times. Hair must be long enough to be pinched between two fingers.

Women: Women must shave legs and underarms at least twice weekly.

All: Only natural hair color is allowed. Hair that is colored, highlighted or streaked, mut be dyed back to its original color, or the color must be cut out before entrance into the Refuge program.

2. Attire: General

Modesty is expected. No tight, provocative, or suggestive clothing or spandex may be worn. No provocative or suggestive mannerisms are permitted. Fresh undergarments are to be worn at all times. Boxer shorts of any kind are considered underwear and are not to be worn as outer clothing. All clients must be dressed appropriately in clean, unwrinkled clothes when leaving the house for the day. Men may not wear any jewelry (other than a watch and a wedding band) unless approved through a C.O.C. In addition to a watch and wedding band, women may also wear a pair of simple earrings (one earring per ear.) The clients may not wear Abercrombie and Fitch or Calvin Klein brand clothing, undergarments, or accessories.

Men: Shirts are to be worn at all times, even while sleeping. T-shirts without sleeves are not permitted at any time, whether worn as an outer garment or an undergarment. This includes ≥muscle shirts≤ or other tank-tops. Bikini-style underwear is prohibited.

Women: Bras must be worn at all times, except while sleeping. Thong-style underwear is prohibited.

Attire: LIA Campus

In addition to the General Attire above, the following items apply. No torn, ragged, or stained clothing is to be worn at any time while on campus. Monday through Thursday, clients must wear pants, a clean shirt, and shoes or sandals with socks. Jeans and a nice t-shirt are acceptable. On Friday, clients may wear clean, knee-length khaki or denim-style shorts. No athletic or excessively baggy shorts may be worn on campus at any time. No hats, jackets, or overcoats are to be worn on campus

Women: In addition to these guidelines, women may also wear skirts which fall at or below the knee. Women may wear tank-tops only if they are worn with an over-blouse. Women may wear open-toed shoes or women’s dress sandals without socks. Bras must be worn at all times, except while sleeping. Sports bras may only be worn while working out. No sleeveless blouses may be worn. All blouses and t-shirts must fit modestly (not extremely tight).

3. No cologne, perfume, or use of other highly scented hygiene products.

Therapeutic & Staff Issues

A goal of the Source is to be purposeful and strategic in order to help clients pursue growth and transformation. The principles below are common elements of this plan.

Romans 13:1-5: 1 Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who be are ordained by God. 2 Therefore he who resists the authority, withstands theordinance of God; and those who withstand will receive to themselves judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same, 4 for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn’t bear the sword in vain; for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil. 5 Therefore you need to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience’s sake.

Hebrews 13:17: 17 Obey those who have the rule over you, and submit to them, for they watch on behalf of your souls, as those who will give account, that they may do this with joy, and not with groaning, for that would be unprofitable for you.

1. HONESTY AT ALL TIMES.

2. IF IN DOUBT, DON’T. ASK FIRST.

3. All clients are expected to memorize the Program Expectations as they summarize the spirit and heart of the rules of Love in Action.

4. All Refuge program members must complete four MI’s (Moral Inventories) per week unless otherwise instructed. Detailed instruction on writing MI’s will be provided within the first few days of beginning the program.

5. Refuge clients will be prepared to give an Introduction (≥Intro≤) at every Intro Rap. Detailed instruction on giving an intro will be provided within the first few days of the program.

6. To make special requests of the staff or inform the staff of something (e.g. asking permission to leave the safe zone for some reason, informing the staff of a breach in program rules, etc.), Refuge clients must communicate appropriately. This means filling out a Chain of Command (C.O.C.) form. All C.O.C.’s must be signed by the Refuge client’s parent or guardian before being submitted to a staff member, or the C.O.C. will be returned with no answer. All C.O.C.’s must be concise and not ≥story tell≤ or ≥whine.≤ Such will be returned with no reply.

7. No continuing education while in the program. Home-school Refuge clients may be allowed to continue their studies during the program, pending approval by LIA staff.

6. Refuge clients and their parents/guardians are required to attend Love in Action’s host church, Germantown Baptist Church, on Sunday mornings. More information about GBC can be found online at www.gbconline.net.

7. Parents and guardians are expected to attend the Friends and Family support group on Thursday nights from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., held at the Love in Action campus. Refuge clients will be supervised during this time by a Love in Action staff member.

8. Refuge clients and their parents/guardians are expected to attend Love in Action’s Open Meetings whenever they occur, held on the first Tuesday of every month at Kirby Woods Baptist Church at 7:30 p.m.

9. Refuge clients are expected to maintain a committed pursuit of a positive and thankful attitude.

10. Absolutely no journaling or keeping a diary outside of the MI process unless directed or approved by staff.

11. Absolutely no calling staff outside business hours unless it is an emotional, therapeutic, or physical emergency, or unless prior permission from staff has been obtained.

12. Additional (i.e. beyond one per week) one-on-one counseling sessions will be granted by C.O.C. appointment only.

False Image (FI) Concerns

Through the Source, God renews clients’ minds and lives, helping them to put off the old self and put on the new. False images are items or behaviors that are of the old self.

Proverbs 8:6-8: 6 Hear, for I will speak excellent things. The opening of my lips is for right things. 7 For my mouth speaks truth. Wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness. There is nothing crooked or perverse in them.

Ephesians 4:17-25: 17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their hearts; 19 who having become callous gave themselves up to lust, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ that way; 21 if indeed you heard him, and were taught in him, even as truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put away, as concerning your former way of life, the old man, that grows corrupt after the lusts of deceit; 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new man, that like God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth. 25 Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak truth each one with his neighbor. For we are members one of another.

1. LIA wants to encourage each client, male and female, by affirming his/her gender identity. LIA also wants each client to pursue integrity in all of his/her actions and appearances. Therefore, any belongings, appearances, clothing, actions, or humor that might connect a client to an inappropriate past are excluded from the program. These hindrances are called False Images (FI’s). FI behavior may include hyper-masculinity, seductive clothing, mannish/boyish attire (on women), excessive jewelry (on men), mascoting, and “campy” or gay/lesbian behavior and talk.

2. As non-residential clients, Refuge participants must submit to an F.I. search every morning. With the exception of the very first program day, when they may arrive no later than 9:00 a.m., Refuge clients will arrive daily at the Love in Action campus no later than 8:50 a.m., waiting in a designated area until a staff member meets them to perform the F.I. search and check them in. Refuge clients may not enter any of the client spaces on campus before submitting to an F.I. search. All belongings brought to campus will be searched, including book bags, notebooks, wallets, handbags, purses, etc. Items that violate the F.I. policy or the dress code will be held for the client, to be returned no later than the client’s last day in program. Clients may request to have their F.I. items returned by filling out a C.O.C.

3. All photographs will be taken for the purpose of sobering re-evaluation. Clients may request to have pictures returned to them via C.O.C.

4. Refuge clients will not be allowed to use personally owned computers during the program, whether on campus or at home/in temporary lodging. Computer stations are normally available on campus when clients need to type something.

5. Clients should report all FI’s (with discretion), whether their own or another’s, to staff.

Campus Rules

LIA honors clients’ confidentiality and time. A campus structure has been established that will ensure a fair and balanced approach to every client.

1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

1. No visiting or entering staff offices unless prior permission is given.

2. While on the LIA campus, Refuge clients must be in phase at all times, whether indoors or out of doors. A client is ≥in phase≤ when he or she is with two or more other clients (whether Refuge or residential,) one of whom must have been in the program for at least eight weeks. Exceptions to phase rules will be granted by C.O.C. request only.

3. Further campus rules which are still being developed and revised will be communicated to Refuge clients on their arrival.

Relationship Issues

Emotional dependency and inappropriate sexual behaviors have their roots in unresolved relationship issues as well as poor personal or relational boundaries. As a key part to his/her recovery, each client’s program will focus significant attention on resolving relationship concerns and cultivating healthy relationships, both within and outside of the program.

Psalm 133:1-3: 1 See how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to live together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil on the head, That ran down on the beard, Even Aaron’s beard; That came down on the edge of his robes; 3 Like the dew of Hermon, That comes down on the hills of Zion: For there Yahweh gives the blessing, Even life forevermore.

Romans 15:5-6: 5 Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of the same mind one with another according to Christ Jesus, 6 that with one accord you may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

John 17:22 The glory which you have given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, even as we are one.

Ephesians 4:1-3: 1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and humility, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love; 3 being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

1. No physical violence or physically threatening dialogue. Violation of this rule warrants immediate dismissal from the program.

2. No breaching another person’s confidentiality to anyone outside the program.

3. No talking behind another person’s back (TBB).

4. The 24-hour rule is to be used after challenging another client who is in breach of the program rules. If one notices that another client’s inappropriate behavior continues, the client should be challenged to report to staff. If in 24 hours he/she has not done so, one is required to report the breach to staff via C.O.C. or verbal communication.

5. Due to the nature of many gender identity struggles, issues of enmeshment and emotional dependency can develop not only with same sex, but sometimes even more easily with the opposite sex. Because healthy and appropriate same and opposite-sex relationships are encouraged, dating and exclusive relationships of any kind are prohibited while in the program.

6. Clients may have no contact with anyone who has left the program prior to graduating without the blessing of the staff to do so. Clients may address off-limit persons they inadvertently encounter with a polite “hello” only.

7. While in the program, clients may have no contact with anyone involved in unrepentant emotional dependencies, inappropriate sexual behaviors, or chemical dependencies. This includes any contact with friends struggling with dependency issues or inappropriate sexual behavior that was known about prior to entering the program. If such a person is encountered, the client must make his/her staff worker aware of this.

8. Refuge clients and their parents/guardians will be participating in off-campus events and meetings where non-program strugglers are in attendance. To encourage the safety of all involved, clients are required to be in phase when communicating with non-program strugglers at these meetings, and will be prohibited from establishing contact with them outside of the these meetings.

Safekeeping Rules

1. All new Refuge clients will be placed into Safekeeping for the initial two to three days of their program. A client on safekeeping may not communicate verbally, or by using hand gestures or eye contact, with any other clients, staff members, or his/her parents or guardians. In case of a practical need, Safekeeping clients may write down their question or request and show it to another client, staff member, or their parent or guardian. Writing may only be used when absolutely necessary. Parents and guardians must enforce their child’s safekeeping status at home or in their temporary lodging.

2. Refuge clients may C.O.C. to be removed from Safekeeping status. Safekeeping clients will be removed from Safekeeping at their staffworker’s discretion.

3. Any client may be placed into Safekeeping at any time, at a staffworker’s discretion.

4. Safekeeping clients are permitted to say ≥hello≤ and to communicate enough information to be courteous in public interaction (mostly in the clients’ church setting).

5. Safekeeping clients are required to spend a minimum of two hours (in one sitting) a day alone in their room (note: by ≥alone≤ it is understood that parents or guardians can be in the room but are not to interact or disrupt the alone time of the safekeeping client). During the alone time Safekeeping clients may work on their treatment plans, read program materials or the Bible, pray, or work on other assignments from their staffworkers.

6. In the evenings, all Refuge Safekeeping clients must remain at home or at their temporary lodging with their parent or guardian (i.e. no going out to eat, to the store, etc. during Safekeeping.)

7. Non-Safekeeping clients are responsible to protect and uphold the Safekeeping parameters of the Safekeeping clients.

Rules for the Home/Temporary Lodging

Hebrews 6:11-12: 11 We desire that each one of you may show the same diligence to the fullness of hope even to the end, 12 that you won’t be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherited the promises.

Ephesians 4:22-24: 22 that you put away, as concerning your former way of life, the old man, that grows corrupt after the lusts of deceit; 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new man, that like God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.

Refuge encourages all clients to first focus internally. Why is the client here? What is broken? What is the core motivation of the client’s unhealthy behavior? Staff members will work with clients as they learn what is wrong and as they take the steps to articulate it. Second, staff emphasize the need for each client to seek the truth of God. What does He have to say about each client and his/her pain? The rules that follow are designed to both protect the client and facilitate his/her wrestling with God.

Colossians 3:9-10: 9 Don’t lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his doings, 10 and have put on the new man, that is being renewed in knowledge after the image of his Creator…

1 Kings 9:4: 4 As for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep my statutes and my ordinances…

Psalm 7:8-9: 8 Yahweh administers judgment to the peoples. Judge me, Yahweh, according to my righteousness, And to my integrity that is in me.9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, But establish the righteous; Their minds and hearts are searched by the righteous God.

Proverbs 10:9: 9 He who walks blamelessly walks surely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out.

Proverbs 11:2-3: 2 When pride comes, then comes shame, But with humility comes wisdom. 3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them, But the perverseness of the treacherous shall destroy them.

Proverbs 13:13: 13 Whoever despises instruction will pay for it, But he who respects a command will be rewarded.

Proverbs 20:7: 7 A righteous man who walks in his integrity, Blessed are his children after him.

Genesis 32:24-28: 24 Jacob was left alone, and wrestled with a man there until the breaking of the day. 25 When he saw that he didn’t prevail against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was strained, as he wrestled. 26 The man said, “Let me go, for the day breaks.” Jacob said, “I won’t let you go, unless you bless me.” 27 He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” 28 He said, “Your name will no longer be called ‘Jacob,’ but, ‘Israel,’ for you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

1 Chronicles 29:18: 18 Yahweh, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of your people, and prepare their heart to you…

Isaiah 49:13-15: 13 Sing, heavens; and be joyful, earth; and break forth into singing, mountains: for Yahweh has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his afflicted. 14 But Zion said, Yahweh has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me. 15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, these may forget, yet I will not forget you.

Matthew 9:36: 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, as sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 14:14: 14 Jesus went out, and he saw a great multitude. He had compassion on them, and healed their sick.

Matthew 20:34: 34 Jesus, being moved with compassion, touched their eyes; and immediately their eyes received their sight, and they followed him.

Luke 10:40-42: 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she came up to him, and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister left me to serve alone? Ask her therefore to help me.” 41 Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:29-30: 29 Jesus said, “Most assuredly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and for the gospel’s sake, 30 but he will receive one hundred times now in this time, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life.

Exodus 20:12: 12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.

Malachi 4:6: 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

1. No discussing therapeutic issues at home. Keep conversations positive.

2. Clients must gain permission through C.O.C. to make or receive phone calls from friends and family members outside the program.

3. No cell phones, beepers, computers, or e-mail/internet access at. Exceptions by C.O.C. approval only.

4. No visitors from out of town without permission via C.O.C.

5. Refuge clients may only read materials approved by staff.

6. No television viewing, going to movies, or reading/watching/listening to secular media of any kind, anywhere within the client’s and the parent’s/guardian’s control. This includes listening to classical or instrumental music that is not expressly Christian (Beethoven, Bach, etc. are not considered Christian). The only exception to the media policy is the weekly movie.

7. Refuge clients may watch one video/DVD per week that has been approved by staff via C.O.C. Movies submitted for approval must be rated G or PG. The parents/guardians are responsible for securing the video/DVD.

8. Weekend curfew (Friday and Saturday) is 10:00pm. Weekday curfew (Sunday through Thursday) is 9:30pm.

9. Refuge clients must be with at least one parent or guardian at all times when off-campus.

10. On certain occasions Refuge clients have the opportunity, with the C.O.C. approval and their parent/guardian’s permission, to visit the residential houses of the Source program clients. On these occasions Refuge clients must be in phase at all times, and must abide by all the house rules and follow instructions given by Source program house managers. House rules will be communicated to Refuge clients as the need arises. Refuge clients are encouraged to ask for clarification if they are unsure about a particular house rule.

11. Refuge clients may not enter any restuarants with bars, even when accompanied by a parent or guardian.

12. Refuge clients must be accompanied by a parent during any trip to a public restroom.

13. No access to malls of any kind.

14. Clients are not allowed to visit any video, music or media stores that are not expressly Christian, even if accompanied by a parent or guardian. Clients may visit LifeWay Christian stores with a parent or guardian.

15. Refuge clients must report off-casmpus emergencies, illnesses, or injuries to their parents/guardians as soon as possible. Parents/guardians are required to inform LIA staff members of such situations by phone as soon as possible.

16. Total silence time at home begins at 9:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Refuge clients may use this time for resting, but are encouraged to make a habit of using it for a nightly quiet time with God.

17. Lights-out time will begin each night at 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.

18. Refuge clients are allowed a one-time 15-minute maximum closed bathroom door time for shower/grooming purposes. The only other closed-door alone time allowed is for using the restroom.

19. Refuge clients must keep their bedroom doors open at all times, day or night.

20. Proper bedclothes must be worn during nighttime sleeping hours. Appropriate bedclothes include full pajamas (tops and bottoms) or a pair of non-underwear-type shorts and a T-shirt. Nightgowns are not allowed.

21. Refuge clients are expected to eat dinner with their parents/guardians/other family members (if any) at least four times per week.

22. Refuge clients are expected to cook dinner one time per week.

On-Level Rules

“On-Level” is a protective and therapeutic measure that is sometimes implemented between clients who are having relational difficulties.

1. On-level clients may not speak to each other unless there is a potentially life-threatening emergency.

2. On-level clients are to spend no time alone with each other.

3. On-level clients are not allowed to ride in the same car unless C.O.C. permission has been granted, in which case, one must sit in the front of the car, and one must sit in the back of the car.

4. On-level clients, whenever in the same room, must always have exactly one person between them, whether sitting or standing. Planned activities such as church, Open Meetings, and socials are no exception.

5. On-level status can be initiated by any staff member or house manager.

6. On-level status can be removed only by Executive Staff.

Group Norms

1. Be honest, authentic, and real.

2. Active participation is expected. This includes body language and eye contact. No slouching in chairs, sitting back on chairs hind legs, sitting with arms crossed, rolling eyes, or making disgusting faces.

3. No attacking or demeaning another person’s character.

4. Raise hand to speak. Speak one at a time as called on by the facilitator.

5. Maintain strict confidentiality of everything discussed in group. “What is seen here, what is heard here, remains here!”

6. Clients are to sit in such a way as to not cause another to stumble.

7. No food or drink during rap. This includes chewing gum and toothpicks.

8. Appropriate attire is required. No hats, athletic or baggy shorts (for men), or extremely short skirts (for women) are allowed. 9. Say “I love you _____” after each person is finished relating.

10. Be on time!

11. Do not talk at, preach to, or teach one another. Each person should keep the focus on him/herself and how he/she feels.

12. Do not be defensive. While being spoken to, one may not respond to defend him/herself or return confrontation to the person speaking.

13. If one needs to leave the group for any reason, he/she must ask permission from the staff in charge of the group session.

14. Stand when speaking, relating, or being related to. During general raps, one must stand while relating. One must also stand when someone is being given feedback or being related to. Standing is not necessary during teaching raps.

Men/Women Dynamics

The following common courtesies apply to relational dynamics between men and women. While these are not rules and may initially feel a little awkward, they are strongly encouraged as practical guidelines to promote mutual respect and honor. It is LIA’s hope that these suggestions will become common practices and help to nurture a value of self and an appreciation for others.

Places of Honor for Women:
Respect for women may be shown by offering them first priority in a number of ways:

1. Please invite women (not just LIA clients) to be the first in line to eat.

2. Encourage women to accept the more comfortable seats in a room. Men should consider offering a woman their chair when there are none left in the room.

3. Men should think about opening doors for women, both when entering a building and when entering a car. This simply adds a level of respect, consideration, and value.

Honoring Both Genders:
Be mindful of the types of humor and communication used around one another. Jesting about bodily functions, discussing gender-specific issues when not in rap sessions (at the LIA office), and other conversation which could potentially be inappropriate to the opposite sex should be avoided.

Program Expectations

Therapeutic & Interpersonal Expectations

1. Clients are expected to affirm one another and edify their personal and corporate pursuit of growth and transformation. This includes a commitment to courageous honesty with respect, a commitment to sobriety in all manners of talk, action, and dress, the exercise of prudence, and honoring confidentiality and accountability.

2. Clients are expected to take responsibility for their environment and to inform appropriate authorities of program breaches. This is to be done using the 24-hour rule.

3. Clients are expected to give back. This includes watching out for one’s brothers and sisters. It also includes the initiative of upper-phasers to provide accountability for lower-phasers.

4. Clients are expected to maintain a committed pursuit of a positive and thankful attitude.

5. Clients are expected to avoid peer-to-peer physical touch. Brief handshakes or a brief affirmative hand on a shoulder is allowed.

6. Clients are expected to actively identify and subsequently remove all personal and corporate FI’s.

7. Clients are expected to avoid therapeutic topics of discussion with House Managers.

8. Clients are expected to make their homework a priority. Phase 1 clients must complete four MI’s per week unless otherwise instructed. Phase 2 & Training clients must complete two MI’s per week unless otherwise instructed. Phase 1 clients will be prepared to do an Introduction at every Introduction Rap. All clients will be assigned a personalized treatment plan.

9. Clients are expected to plan ahead and communicate appropriately, following Chain of Command (C.O.C.) for any information or communication with staff.

Practical Expectations

1. All clients must maintain integrity in their personal presentation. This includes daily grooming and hygiene maintenance, bed-making, as well as regular bedroom and bathroom cleaning and maintenance.

2. Clients are expected to work either therapeutically or professionally Monday through Friday unless prior permission is granted through C.O.C. Clients who are not working are expected to be in the office.

3. Clients are expected to actively re-evaluate the influences of secular media. Phase 1 clients are restricted from television-viewing, internet access, secular media, or reading of any kind without specific permission. Clients may not enter any non-Christian bookstores. Phase 2 clients may use email and the internet at work for work purposes. Training program clients may listen to secular music. However, they may not listen to secular radio for the first 30 days. No secular music is allowed in residences or when around Phase 1 clients.

4. Clients are expected to honor their home environment by being on-time with cooking responsibilities, attending all weekly house meetings, dinner attendance, curfew, total silence, lights out, and by working cooperatively to complete all stewardships with a positive attitude.

5. Clients are expected to remain accountable with all relationships. No cell phones, phone calls, or contact with anyone outside the program without prior permission. Phase 2 and Training Program clients may make approved relational phone calls.

Refuge Program ≠Parental Rules (not to be given to client)

1. No discussing therapeutic issues at home. Keep conversations positive.

2. Clients are to be picked up from the LIA office no later than 5:00pm each weekday.

3. Respect all Love In Action and Refuge rules. If you do not understand them, support the program in front of client at all times and gain clarification from LIA staff. Do not sabotage or defocus your client.

4. Don’t allow client to split your family. Unite to present stability and unity.

5. Your client is not allowed to talk to anyone outside of your home including friends or family. Do not tell client who has called for them or who is asking about them. Keep the thoughts of the client focused on his/her treatment.

6. The family needs interactive time together. It is very important that togetherness is the priority during this time. The client does not need extended time alone or with only one family member. The only exception is for Refuge clients who are from out-of-town and staying with a significant guardian while here.

7. Family dinner is encouraged to occur at least four times weekly.

8. The client is expected to cook dinner at least one time weekly.

9. The client is expected to complete a weekly cleaning regimen to your satisfaction.

10. Parents/guardians are asked to make themselves available for any special meetings deemed necessary for the successful treatment of their loved ones.

11. If there is an “Open Meeting” during Refuge Program, parents/guardians are asked to attend to enhance their involvement with Refuge. Open meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30pm at Kirby Woods Baptist Church (on the corner of Poplar Ave. and Massey; entrance is located at the ground floor on the east side of building entrance).

Consequences for Rule Violation:

1. Constructive criticism from the group.

2. Ten to thirty-page written paper on rule violation.

3. Program dismissal. This does not need to be addressed with the client (The client may sabotage his/her own program due to purposeful dismissal consequences).

4. Isolation from the group.


Posted In: Life

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Love In Action (Refuge) Rulebook
June 23rd, 2021

Gay Vague = Silence =

Earlier this month, in the run up to the release of Pixar’s newest, Luca, the chatter that it was a coded gay teen flick was hitting my social media pages fast and furious. This from Collider was typical

‘Luca’ Review: Pixar’s Lovely Italian Getaway Gets Its Spark from Its Homosexual Romance Subtext

While one could argue that ‘Luca’ is simply a story about accepting outsiders, there’s more happening with this movie.

If you just read between the lines…. Yes. Quite. I’m sixty-seven years old, I came out to myself in December of 1971, having awakened to my first…er…Homosexual Romance Subtext…and I went cross-eyed long ago from having to read between the lines.

Well…it didn’t last very long.

Luca Director Says Film Is About the ‘Pre-Romance’ Time in Boys’ Lives

It never does. Nothing is more short lived than the Homosexual Romance Subtext. Sooner or later, usually sooner, homophobia demands an explanation, and the Homosexual Romance Subtext promptly skitters back into the closet. Vito Russo nailed it decades ago:

American society has willfully deleted the fact of homosexual behavior from its mind, laundering things as they come along, in order to maintain a more comfortable illusion. The censors removed it; the critics said, “Well, look! It isn’t there”; and anyone who still saw it was labeled a pervert.

How I wish he was still with us. Back in 2014 I wrote here about how his book, The Celluloid Closet, was probably the thing that radicalized me more than any one other thing. I bought a copy of the first edition when it came out in 1981, at Lambda Rising, the Washington DC gay bookstore I was lucky enough to live close to, because you just didn’t walk into your local Crown Books in 1981 and expect to find anything relating to the love that dare not speak its name. It was nearly ten years since I’d had my first Homosexual Romance Subtext, but this was what Hollywood was still telling everyone about people like me… 

Back in the 1970s, that homosexual characters were occasionally included in movies, either for laughs if they were flaming sissies or as the embodiment of unnatural evil, was something probably everyone knew. Russo was the first person to actually gather all the pieces together, all the little walk on toss off parts along with the major roles, all the sissies, all the evil psychos, all the tragically damned, and look at all critically. And the book he produced hit gay people everywhere who read it like a ton of bricks, because you knew the scapegoating and stereotyping weren’t just how your heterosexual neighbors were taught to look at you, but also how you were taught to see yourself. Heterosexuals could dream of the happily ever after, could see that dream on the silver screen, could picture themselves there, having that life, or something like it. Hollywood flushed our dreams into the sewer from the moment we first walked into a movie house. We weren’t lovers, we were sissies, we were dangerous sexual psychopaths, we were the butt of dirty jokes, we were the personification of unnatural evil, we were pathetic, we were terrifying, we were not human. But you really didn’t see it all that clearly because the one thing we were most of all was something not to be discussed in public among decent normal people.

Then Vito Russo gathered it all together and put it in front of us. And it just took your breath away…to see it all there, laid out in front of you.

And it made you angry…

…the one thing we were most of all was something not to be discussed in public among decent normal people. So let’s talk about “pre-romance” shall we? What would that even be? Too young to have a crush on someone? Too young for puppy love? I had crushes back in elementary school. Of course they were platonic…I was a child. But I wasn’t dead inside either. The fact is crushes can and do happen early in life. And gay adults will tell you, assuming you are willing to hear it, that we knew even then that we were different in some fundamental way from the other kids in the way our crushes were aimed. We knew, even then. And the boys in Luca are 13…

Though the argument can be made that more movies need to show platonic male friendships (that’s definitely a good thing), after seeing the way Luca looks at Alberto whenever he introduces him to something new for the first time (like a Vespa) or the way Alberto gets jealous whenever someone else is getting Luca’s attention (especially form their new human friend Giulia, played by Emma Berman), they have a fondness for each other that queer viewers can easily recognize and read as something more than just friendship: a young, budding, queer romance.

But was that intentional? Well, according to the film’s director Enrico Casarosa, not quite. In fact, he even said that Luca is actually more about friendships, if anything, and that he created the film to be about a time in kids’ lives before romance was even a thing on their radar.

Speaking as someone who was a teenage boy once, let me assure you that when a boy is old enough to desire motorcycles, he’s old enough to have crushes on other boys. Okay…a scooter. But they’re still young.

So what is “pre-romance” let me hazard a guess: What he means, is pre-sexual. Which is nonsense when applied to teenagers, even as young as thirteen. Oh for sure you don’t understand it like a fully mature adult does, it can be confusing, mysterious, even frightening, but your hormones are already having their way with you. So really, even “pre-sexual” doesn’t quite get it. 

How about “pre-gay visibility”. A time when movies could stray into close friendship territory, without having to address the question of is this or isn’t it a romance. Especially to a mob of angry vein throbbing homophobic social media commenters. Maybe Casarosa never actually intended his movie about two boys who become very fond of each other but have to hide their true selves from the townspeople, to be yet another gay vague have it both ways for box office movie. He just wanted to go back to a simpler time when Teh Gay was invisible on the silver screen. Except when they’re monsters. Lots of people long for those days still.

There actually was a sweet little film four years ago about that first teenage crush between two boys. In A Heartbeat. It was a short computer animated film made by two students. It got a lot of positive reviews and won some awards. Mainstream Hollywood completely ignored it, being shortlisted for an Oscar in the best animated short category but not even getting a nomination, and it got a torrent of abuse from the usual suspects about why are you pushing sex onto our kids. Of course there was no sex anywhere in the film, just a sweet story about a boy’s crush on another boy. But the homophobe reliably jumps to complaining about sex when confronted with any hint of gay love and romance. There is no such thing as “pre-romance” when it comes to gay kids, because homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex.

Vito Russo nailed that one too:

It is an old stereotype, that homosexuality has to do only with sex while heterosexuality is multifaceted and embraces love and romance.

Back in 2002 I wrote here asking where our Casablanca was, where was our To Have And Have Not. We’ve gained a lot of visibility in Hollywood, but if you subtract all the gay vague and the blink and you’ve missed them gay moments it isn’t nearly as much as so many often seem to think. And what is left of our lives is shunted off to a corner somewhere that corporate can keep safely at arm’s length. So Disney+ can have Star Girl but not Love Victor.

After Brokeback Mountain lost to John Wayne at the Oscars, I did a Mark and Josh cartoon about it, where Mark says that all Hollywood ever does for us is laugh at us and spit in our faces. That’s not quite the case anymore. Now it gives us rainbows and bumper stickers about inclusion. But our lives and our stories are still radioactive to the studio boardrooms and I am deathly tired of having to read between the lines to see a love story that might actually speak to me, and to the teenager I once was, and to the teenagers that experience that first crush every day all alone. They’re still dragging kids into ex-gay therapy camps in parts of this country, and in some parts of the world they’re killing them.

 


Posted In: Life

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Gay Vague = Silence =
June 19th, 2021

When Which Day Of The Week It Is Stops Mattering

Since I was a schoolboy the days of the week always meant something. There is as significance in the name of the day. Monday-Friday are work days. Monday is the dreary start of the work week. Friday is the end of it. Then comes the weekend. Woo Hoo! Friday happy hour!!! What happens when none of it matters for anything in particular? There is no work week. Every day is the weekend. How does that even work?

Could be nice to find out. But I have a hunch it’ll take years before I get comfortable with it. I’ll be going to meetings in my dreams, and missing deadlines for the rest of my life. Some nights I’m still in my awful junior high school. I haven’t studied for the test and I forgot to put my clothes on. Retirement is going to be like that isn’t it.

I’m retiring at the end of this year. It’s a big step but I am really beginning to feel my age now. There’s a Hemingway quote about going broke that maps pretty well to how it is to get old: gradually, and then suddenly. I can feel it now. The heart attack happened a couple years ago, and a year after that I had another heart “event” but that’s not it. It’s the fatigue I’m feeling now practically all the time. Don Juan was absolutely right about the forth foe. So I decided to take the next step and sometime before years end apply for my social security benefit, and then take leave of the Institute after 23 years working there. The plan is to spend the last years of my life working more on my artwork and photography, maybe finish a couple stories I’ve worked on. Maybe even get some of it published.

I hope not to get dragged back into computer work…I actually enjoy programming but it’s not as close to my heart and soul as the artwork. I’m going to get shed of a ton of computer books when I retire. I kept so many books because it’s a resource I might need and because it was my profession for the last 35 years. I won’t need my computers for work anymore, but I use them heavily for my artwork these days so there is no getting rid of those. The money software engineering made me is why I can retire pretty comfortably now, if not fabulously. But it’s time to move on. For a variety of reasons I never pursued my artistic interests professionally, and so I never had enough time to spend on it.  It’s going to feel wonderful to finally have all the time I want.

And…yeah…I’ll probably still have to keep paying attention to which day of the week it is, because that’s how the world works. I need to go to the store…is today a rush hour day…maybe I should wait a while…


Posted In: Life
Tags: , ,

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on When Which Day Of The Week It Is Stops Mattering
June 18th, 2021

Cycles Of Life
 
It’s almost over for this emergence. I don’t hear that distinctive whirring song anymore, just some random buzzing. There’s still a bunch of them out and about, but it isn’t the torrent it was only a few days ago. We won’t be seeing them for another 17 years, and I’m not all that confident I’ll be around then. I’ll be 84. Possible, but given my family history and the fact that I’ve already had one heart attack and one heart “event”, not very likely I think. So I’m finding time on my walks to pick a few up off the street, let them climb around my hand for a bit while I’m taking them over to a nearby tree…from which they’ll probably fly off again and back into the street.
 
I’m seeing a lot of carnage on the pavement around here. Wings, half eaten carcasses. The birds are feasting. I approached one on the sidewalk and it immediately flew off and into a tree. Fine, thinks I, you’re safer there than on the street. Then a bird jumped off another branch and pounced on the branch the cicada landed on and flew off with it. Oh well…bon appétit
 
Their batteries are running out. So I’m told they really can’t eat, or is it drink, sap or nectar or whatever it is they live on, once the transformation happens. All they have is the energy they emerged from the ground with, and I expect a lot of that was used up in the transformation. They’ve only got enough built-in energy to fly, sing, and reproduce. Then it’s over.
 
But really…that’s only how it appears to us above grounders. The next emergence actually starts before summer’s end, when the eggs hatch and the next round of nymphs falls to the ground, and digs in. We’ll start seeing a bunch of branch tips with dead leaves…that’s where the eggs were laid. I’m pretty sure by the time we notice that, the next generation will have already hit the ground and started digging. There’s an entire world below the surface we hardly ever notice. That is their world, except at the end, when they become sky creatures, if goofy ones, with a very loud song.
 
This was my third time around with them. After awhile you find yourself marking the ages of your life by some particular cycles of nature in your neighborhood. This plague year it was especially nice to have the Cicadas, since I never really got to see the Institute swallows return, which is how I know summer’s begun, and probably won’t get to see them take their leave, which is how I know summer is over. Somehow I reckon, when the song is over and the trees are quiet, it’ll seem like summer ended early. At this stage of my life, that’s to be expected, but that’s always how it feels. Summer is always over too soon.


Posted In: Life
Tags: ,

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Cycles Of Life
June 17th, 2021

The Awkward Holidays Of My Old Age

Mother’s Day: Mom’s gone. If I see One More ad for Mother’s Day flowers…

Father’s Day: Dad…well…

Gay Pride: One year older, still single, and even less datable.

 

Less Awkward

Thanksgiving: Woo-Hoo…Four Day Weekend!

New Year’s Eve: Today I’m not the only one getting drunk while remembering the past.

Christmas: If I go on a road trip I won’t have to put up a tree.

 

Resigned To It

My Birthday: Looks like I’ll be buying my own cake again this year too.


Posted In: Life

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Awkward Holidays Of My Old Age
Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com


What I'm Currently Reading...




What I'm Currently Watching...




What I'm Currently Listening To...




Comic Book I've Read Recently...



web
stats

This page and all original content copyright © 2015 by Bruce Garrett. All rights reserved. Send questions, comments and hysterical outbursts to: bruce@brucegarrett.com

This blog is powered by WordPress and is hosted at MomoWeb. Some custom design was done by Winters Web Works. Some embedded content was created with the help of Adobe Photoshop for MacOS and/or The Gimp. I proof with Firefox on either Windows, Linux or MacOS depending on which machine I happen to be running at the time.