Welcome Advocate Readers

Came "Out" Ten Months Ago Today ... Glad To Be Free


Woke up this morning to find out I am in The Advocate’s “They Came Out This Year.” Thank you, Advocate! From the article (linkage mine):

Randy Thomas, once an activist with the now-defunct “ex-gay” group Exodus International, came out in a January blog post as “gay with some level of bisexual tendencies.” Thomas has apologized for how the “ex-gay” movement has harmed LGBT people, but he said he knows not all will forgive him.

Gratefully, many have forgiven over the past ten months. I am blessed with current friendships becoming stronger and making many new ones! Many things have changed over a short period. The coming out process wasn’t easy, by any means, but I feel a freedom I haven’t experienced before. A good life where I am truly joyful and content regardless of circumstance. My faith is stronger than before, and I have been blessed with a beautiful relationship with Mr. Boyfriend.

Life still has its challenges, of course. But, embracing the truth that God loves me for all of who I am, including as a gay man, has liberated and transformed me. If you are still in the closet, it is my prayer for you today that you will come out when it is right for you. When you are comfortable in knowing who you are and willing to share the gift of the authentic you to the world. I pray you will not allow shame and condemnation to contextualize your life, and you will find the strength to move forward.You have my love and friendship wherever you are on your journey.



For a variety of reasons, I have turned off the comments section on my blog. I *love* discussion, but I have found that those discussions work best on social networks. So please join me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I would enjoy connecting with you there.

Of Pews & Progressives

My big pro-gay church adventure

They gave me a coffee mug for visiting... they already know my love language!

They gave me a coffee mug for visiting… they already know my love language!

Well, that was tripped out. In a good way.

Today I visited First Congregational Church of Winter Park (FCCWP). They are an open and affirming congregation. I wanted to go to a church where being gay wasn’t the top priority but where being gay was accepted/affirmed on equal footing as everything and everybody else.

I’ve never belonged to a church with liberal theology, or sang out of hymnals the entire worship time, or sat in literal pews. I have never gone to one that is liturgical, baptized infants and sang in Hebrew over the communion elements …and this church had all of that.

AND the communion bread was gluten-free :)

Finding My Way…

I may be slow, but I am getting there...


Today I was driving down a four lane road. It was wide but in a residential area. There were many cross and side streets. I eventually came up behind a very slow moving, beautiful, black Cadillac Escalade.

I am not horrible, but I am kind of terrible when it comes to being an impatient Florida driver. I thought to myself, “Ugh! Nice car, but WHY are they going SO slow?” And, immediately this thought popped into my head, “They are simply trying to find their way. Don’t get frustrated with someone who is just trying to find their way.”

My Guardian Angel deserves a bonus for that reminder. Thanks G-Angel!

This year has been awesome and many outward examples of life changing directions have appeared. The undercurrents had been shifting for a while, but outwardly, it seems like a lot has happened in 2015. This summer though, I have pulled back, put the brakes on, am watching the signs … trying to navigate safely …

In other words, like the beautiful Escalade land-barge this morning, I have slowed down to simply find my way.

Some have asked why I am not speaking more about religious stigmatization of gay people; share my thoughts on  how to embrace or transition into an affirming view that brings congruence to our faith and sexuality. Others have asked if I am going to get involved in cultural and social policy issues from this perspective since those were passions of mine in the past. Surprisingly, I have had a few asking me for relationship advice regarding their partners and family. I am honored and humbled by these heartfelt messages.

I have looked at and brushed up against these topics. But, like that slow moving car trying to find its way to a new destination… I haven’t felt comfortable going a “normal” speed and taking turns without being positive it is the right turn to take. My process has been years in the making but living openly as a gay man really just started anew in January after 23 years in the church closet. At the time of this writing that is one week shy of 9 months ago. That’s not a long time.

Back in my previous job I used to advise/warn people to never talk past what they actually know. To never assume they have wisdom simply because they know the talking points. Knowledge and experience does not equate to wisdom no matter how emotional or declarative you get. Knowledge and experience can be wonderful; but the everyday application of knowledge within our experiences only provides an opportunity for wisdom. Wisdom is never guarenteed or easily grasped.

A rare few listened to me, including me :)

Granted, I am 47 years old. Not everything over the past few decades was rubbish. I have picked up a lot of knowledge and experience over the years. I don’t think it would be right to say I have definitely obtained wisdom, but hopefully I have a little bit. Currently I feel like I still need to simply live in and gain more knowledge/experience regarding open “gay” life and community. I want to spend time in prayer and seeking wise counsel before I would ever try to speak more often or loudly on any particular aspect of what it means to be gay and Christian in today’s world.

I don’t want to talk past what I know. I’m not interested in floating on talking points. I want to swim in authenticity.

Right now, my “work” energy is in online content and social media management (which I love to do.) My priorities are my faith, my relationship and being in love with a beautiful (in every way) man, my new-ish career, cherishing and nurturing old friendships and developing new life-giving ones.

That’s it, that’s enough. Revolutionizing the church and world will have to wait :::laugh:::

So, for those that think I should be going a particular speed or get to my destinations/turns quicker … please be patient…it’s a freakin’ Escalade yo’! You would go slow in this thing too!


Please be patient with me. I am trying to find my way.

Graphic Credit: it’s actually on the graphic but it came from SweatPantsAndCoffee.com

August 2015 Card Of The Month “Origin”


This card was drawn on my iPad! I had fun creating it, too. I named it “ Origin ” (Pictured above) because of the plant/water colors and its flair for both chaos and order at the same time. Of course, Creation came from perfect order (in my belief) but much of that is a mystery to mere mortals like me and can seem chaotic. Big Bang anyone?

Switching gears slightly, I have changed the contribution minimum to $1 a month instead of $5. Meaning, you can now sign up to be on my Card Of The Month club for any regular monthly contribution. Now, if you want to give more than $5 a month that would be great too! :) That will help with costs. I am doing this only because I love doing this project. It’s fun for me, and I love seeing all the names on the list and sharing my artwork in this way. I don’t like it that the $5 a month was prohibitive for some so … we are going to give this a whirl :). You can set up your automatic monthly contribution by clicking here. It is done safely and securely through PayPal. Again, there is no minimum, not kidding either.

What do you get by being on the Card Of The Month (COTM)? You get a blank card (inside) with my original artwork/design on the outside. You will also get a blank envelope if you would like to send the card along. You could also just keep the card for the artwork if you’d like.

Again, click here to sign up for the COTM by setting up a monthly contribution of any amount. If you cannot make any contribution, but would still like to be on the list, contact me privately through my online form. We will figure something out. For me, it’s about the project, not the money.

It’s been a memorable summer. It isn’t over for those of us in Florida but I am glad to have many positive memories. I am grateful for you and your friendship.

Love and Blessings,


Marriage Equality Arrives In The United States!

Love Wins!

gay pride symbol

Today the Supreme Court of The United States has corrected a grave mistake many states made in purposefully attacking and maligning gay couples and our loving relationships. I am beyond jubilant and filled with joy that the Supreme Court has decided in favor of marriage equality!!!

I wrote about my history of anti-gay lobbying and how I have not only come out in support of gay marriage, but have “come out” again personally. My legalistic religious blinders came off a few years ago and now I long for the day when I will marry the man of my dreams. The nation that I love and call home has finally recognized that it is beyond time that marriage equality is extended to LGBT couples…

::: speechless with emotion ::: had to stop typing for a moment. ::: deep breath :::

Today is historic in a couple of ways I want to highlight; one is that as LGBT people our basic inalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness has been validated and affirmed by granting us our due access to benefits and protections within the bonds of marriage defined by public policy. We are finally being treated equally under the law in this regard. That is huge!!!

Secondly, I think it is also historic that this great country has proven once again, our system of government is amazing. Our government might be ornery, inefficient in some ways, and frustrating. But once again … we have corrected a huge injustice and made ourselves a better country, a better people, as a result.

While having compassion for those that can’t or won’t see the beauty of our relationships, we have other things to do like laugh, serve, enjoy, dance, give, embrace, engage, extend grace, press toward a true common good, be a life-giving community and…

  • Love God for His infinite Love and grace…
  • Love who we are Created to be…
  • Love the community(ies) we are honored to be a part of…
  • Love the nation we call home…
  • Love our friends and family…
  • and Love our spouse (or future spouse) who has captured our heart, Love the one that when we look into their eyes we know we are home, Love the one we say “I do” too.

Love wins; Love won.

The Two Year Anniversary Of Exodus International Closing

One Of The Best Decisions I Have Been A Part Of In My Life...


Two years ago it was the opening night of the last Exodus International Annual conference. It was then that Alan Chambers announced from the stage that Exodus International was shutting down.

This is me speaking at the last Exodus International Annual Conference - I was miserable.

This is me speaking at the last Exodus International Annual Conference – I was miserable.

It was one of the best decisions I have been a part of in my life. Being in the position I was in as the Executive Vice President, I helped evaluate/determine that it was the only decision we could make on a number of levels. Under Alan’s brave leadership and the Board’s unanimous agreement, we shut it down.

No regrets.

The night of Alan’s announcement, the emotions were running strong and I honestly don’t know how we survived the onslaught of media attention and criticism coming from *everywhere* in religious and legalistic circles from around the world.

Wait, I do know how we survived. We survived because we knew it was the right thing to do, and that God had led us to that moment all along.

Oh and adrenaline helped. Lots and lots of adrenaline. Yay Jesus for adrenaline! And Yay Jesus for coffee! Lots and lots of coffee. But the most energizing force complementing the conviction of following God’s direction was the love and support of good and true friends.

Closing down Exodus has been great for my health! I used to have migraines every 4 to six weeks. In the first picture in this post, I had already had two migraines during that conference. I was actually on Imitrex (migraine medication) while speaking when that photo was taken. I have now lost a net of 70 lbs. I work out 5 times a week and have had maybe two serious migraines in the past year.

Work-wise, I was self-employed until November of last year when I started working for a local PR company as an Online Content & Social Media Manager for our clients. I love what I do. Its not the easiest thing starting a new career at mid-life but… I have and it is good.

In the past two years I have apologized to the gay community twice :) (here and here.) Came out in support of marriage equality last fall, and “came out” personally on January 12th of this year. I have done some work with the SPLC and interviews to end conversion therapy. I also have made some personal amends with regard to past activism by participating in the NO H8 campaign.

During my time at Exodus, I did develop a strong relationship with God. Jesus loves me as much today as He ever has, with an infinite love. I believe He rejoices with me, over me, that I have left the church closet and am finally living in the full freedom of who He created me to be. I am at rest, at peace, in Him and in the finished work of His Atonement. He was with me at *every* point of my life and now I believe He has shown me that the ex-gay ideology I had bought into was an oppressive addition to His gospel. An unnecessary burden that He never intended for me; that He never intended for anyone. During my time at Exodus, He did make me a better and more whole person. He did all this because He, Jesus, is good. He is merciful, loving, kind and gracious.

All the good that I experienced during my time at Exodus was not because of Exodus as an organization “overcoming homosexuality” and “standing up for ‘truth in love'”. In fact, the good I experienced was in spite of the underlying negative and hurtful messaging of Exodus. The good that I received were lessons and blessings I should have gotten directly from the church, the church that should embrace its LGBT siblings instead of disenfranchising and scapegoating us.

Gay people should be given access to all the same life-giving resources and opportunities in the church as anyone else.  Minister to us as peers not with the constant undercurrent of objectified “issues” you can’t relate to. Let us minister to and serve *you* as the opportunity arises. Embrace us with true unconditional love that is not disclaimed by hurtful “you are broken” messaging and being relationally relegated to being “other than” for the rest of our natural lives. Let me be fully honest standing in worship, or sitting in the pew next to you, instead of being told I could only be fully “honest” on a Thursday night at 7pm at an Exodus affiliated support group.

This pic was taken by Mr. Boyfriend last Saturday at the Kennedy Space Center. I sure do love Mr. Boyfriend :)

Mr. Boyfriend took this pic last Saturday at the Kennedy Space Center. I sure do love Mr. Boyfriend :)

Jesus is life-giving in a myriad of ways that have transformed me as a person. Even so, He did not change my sexuality. He didn’t change my desire to be in love with and devoted to another man. I now believe He didn’t change that because it doesn’t need to be changed. I am gay; He knows this and I believe He has guided me to where I am to finally embrace and be at peace with myself and His blessing of who I truly Am. Our Heavenly Father embraces me and everything He has put within me to live out.

I am His; nothing and no one can change that.

Because of God’s love and direction, today I’ve never been more transparent (didn’t say perfect; just transparent). I have never been more free.

Since embracing the truth that I am gay, and Christian and everything else that I am… I have started dating. In fact, today, I happen to be in love with a beautiful (in every way) man I have been referring to lately (online) as Mr. Boyfriend. In fact, he is texting me while I type this and my heart is truly full of joy. I am sure that I have the best boyfriend ever. :)

With tears in my eyes I remember how in pain I was two years ago in contrast to how fulfilled I feel today. Thank God for his loving grace and direction.

Exodus closing is and continues to be a good thing. While I terribly miss some of my friends who can’t seem to walk with me any longer, I don’t miss Exodus as an organization … at all.

I am here. I am in Christ. I am in our church … let me love and serve you.

Quoted In The Atlantic Magazine Concerning JONAH Gay Conversion Trial

Can Sexuality Be Changed?

whitewash gay

I recently had the honor of speaking with The Atlantic staff writer Olga Khazan about the trial against gay conversion group JONAH that started this week. She quoted me to close her article:

Randy Thomas, a former executive vice president with the ex-gay Christian network Exodus International, now says he wished he had never tried to change his sexual orientation. Exodus disbanded in 2013 amid growing skepticism among its own leaders that sexuality conversion is possible.

After coming out as gay at 19, and converting to Christianity five years later, Thomas spent many years working for Exodus as a self-described “poster boy” for the idea that gay people can become straight. This past January, he came out as gay once again. (“I still love Jesus, and he still loves me,” he told me recently.)

To gay people who are considering conversion therapy, Thomas now says, “spare yourself the shame, pain, and condemnation. If you’re LGBTQ, never buy into the lie that God is angry with you. God is there for you; he loves you. You are beloved by him, and anyone who can’t see the inherent worth of who you are, just walk away.”

These quotes are verbatim and I am passionate about *every* word. It’s been difficult for me to get to this place because I truly believed and bought into the lie that sexuality could change for a very long time. Years ago, I was even friends with the leaders of JONAH at one point. But, today I know the liberating and healing truth that I as a gay man, and those who are LGBTQ, are truly loved by God for who we are. Please do not go to conversion therapy groups. Whether it is professional or peer based support groups, avoid them. Go to a reputable licensed counselor, or pastoral care, that acknowledges and embraces God’s gay children. Yes, we may need some help but it’s not our sexuality that is broken. That significant part of our core sense of self is an integral part of the foundation from which we grow.

Stay strong, no need to argue with anyone pressuring you with stigmatized cultural expectations. Simply walk away and know that there are many resources that will truly positively impact your life, not force you into a different “closet” of shame and condemnation.

Please, I highly recommend reading Olga’s entire article. It’s a heart breaking and eye-opening look into the JONAH trial

Graphic Credit: The Atlantic

Celebr8ing The NOH8 Campaign

The Journey From Anti-Gay Activism To Being Healed Of An Estranged Heart


On May 9th, I got up early and went to Target to find a plain white t-shirt. As boring as shopping for a plain white t-shirt sounds, I was nervous browsing through the various displays. My mind was full of thoughts about going to get my photo taken at NOH8 campaign’s Orlando photo shoot. This would be a symbolic culmination of ending years of estrangement; estrangement from myself, my heart, and a community I truly love.

Ben and his husband TJ.

Ben and his husband TJ.

The Importance Of People Like Ben

My friend Ben Patrick Johnson and I started following each other online somewhere in the midst of the ongoing Prop8 battle. I am sure I caught wind of who he is (a respected activist within the LGBT community) and just started following him online. One friend said, “You only follow that Ben guy because he’s always naked and HOT!” Well, to be clear, Ben is only sometimes naked, but most of the time only halfway naked. And well, even clothed he … maybe I should stop there. In response to this friend, at the time, I said “OH Noooo… he’s just an interesting person who does the gay activist thing in a different way; a way that will actually work to their benefit.”

The very first time I messaged Ben, it was some weird little greeting. I loved his response. It’s still my favorite response from a gay activist ever. With a very gracious intro he went on to say something along the lines of, “I have nothing but antipathy for what you are doing at Exodus and what Exodus stands for.” He then of course, being him, ended the message graciously.

Being a word person, I can’t tell you how happy I was because he used the word antipathy to begin with, and ecstatic he used it correctly! Wasn’t so fun to be a part of the receiving end of Ben’s “antipathy” but this is indicative of why I am drawn to follow his life online. He is fair, purposeful, eloquent, and thoughtful. He contributes to the overall discussion instead of consuming and regurgitating it as infotainment activism.

Plus, you get all that AND he is allergic to wearing shirts. He also has a handsome husband, TJ, that just adds to the mix another level of approachability. I like these guys a lot.

Last year, I interviewed Ben for a book I was working on (shelved until after my memoir book proposal is done). It will be included in a compilation of stories about love, relationships, life….that kind of stuff. During that time, we talked a lot about Prop 8. After hearing his heart my own was stirred up with deep emotion as years of questioning turned into my change of heart about marriage equality and being open to that possibility for myself.

Happy Mother’s Day!

To My Mom, Cynthia, and Amira!

This is me with my Mom and brother. I am the older kid with the dirty blond hair. That adorable kid with the dark brown hair is my brother Jimmy. And, of course that is my beautiful Mom, Pat.

This is me with my Mom and brother. I am the older kid with the dirty blond hair. That adorable kid with the dark brown hair is my brother Jimmy. And, of course that is my beautiful Mom, Pat.

Just a quick shout out to all the Mom’s, Happy Mother’s day! Thank you very much for who you are and all the love, sacrifice, security, selflessness, protection and wisdom you lovingly bless your children with.

I want to especially recognize my soul sister Amira, who is fantastic. The joy I feel when you share about your three little Lagerstrom’s… SO happy for you. You are an amazing Mother. To Cynthia, so happy and grateful for you and the *wonderful* job you have done with Alexa, Isa, and Sophia. You are a hero in my book.

And of course there is my Mom who is so amazing. She went through so much in this life and there simply aren’t enough words to describe my love and respect for her. Plus, any ounce of smarts, gorgeousness, common sense, and all things wonderful that I might have (emphasis on “might” ;))…had to have come from her. Love you Mom!

“Fighting Hate, Teaching Tolerance, Seeking Justice” – Visiting With The SPLC

SPLC group shot

This trip happened a few weeks ago. I had written about this on my Facebook page but wanted to embed it here on the blog too. Memorable, inspiring.