Queer Performance Activist and Ex-Gay Survivor Peterson Toscano announces new direction to promote Queer Climate Change Action
Through his performance work, media appearances, activism, and Biblical scholarship, Peterson Toscano has worked to expose the harm that comes from gay conversion therapy, the injustice within the LGBTQ community, and in faith communities towards transgender people. As part of his on-going engagement in human rights work, Peterson has relaunched his website at www.petersontoscano.com, and announces that he will make Climate Change Action his primary focus, with special emphasis on a queer response.
Peterson is known for his comic, one-person shows that take on deadly serious issues. His autobiographical comedy, Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo’ Halfway House – How I Survived The Ex-Gay Movement (http://petersontoscano.com/portfolio/homo-no-mo-halfway-house/), which premiered in 2003, reveals the ridiculous and dangerous lengths he went to de-gay himself. He spent 17 years and over $30,000 on three continents receiving ex-gay treatments. In 2007, along with fellow ex-gay survivor Christine Bakke, he launched the Ex-Gay Survivor Movement (www.beyondexgay.com), and has been instrumental in shaping the public message about the harm that comes from gay conversion therapy. In 2008 he premiered Transfigurations – Transgressing Gender in the Bible, a play about gender non-conforming sexual minorities in Hebrew, Christian, and Muslim stories. In addition to promoting transgender rights, he has provided sane, humorous, and insightful queer interpretations of the Bible, presenting his Bible scholarship at seminaries, theaters, conferences, places of worship, universities, and drag bars.
For the past 18 months Peterson has been researching the science behind climate change, particularly the possible human rights issues connected with Global Warming and its affects on civilization. Alarmed by what he learned, he joined the Citizens Climate Lobby (http://citizensclimatelobby.org/), and began collaborating with his husband, author Glen Retief (www.glenretief.com), about how they can respond as artists to the growing crisis. The result for Peterson is a new play, Does This Apocalypse Make Me Look Fat? A Comedy about Broken Bodies, Large and Small and a new lively lecture, A Queer Response to Climate Change. Coming this fall he will also produce a new podcast, Climate Stew, which will look at the latest news about Climate Change as well as the social and emotional aspects of Global Warming. In all of his new work Peterson is looking at the intersections of Climate Action and Justice with queer issues, human rights, immigration, faith, history, and pop culture. He seeks to do this with humor, storytelling, and a message that is infused with hope.
“I believe that LGBTQ people are especially vital to climate action and developing creative responses to global warming,” says Peterson. “We come to the table with valuable experiences from our history of AIDS activism, from standing up to experts who cherry picked data to deny our humanity, from coming out, transitioning, living communally, and the varied alternate views of life and culture that daily challenge norms. We have gifts to share with a frightened world looking for direction.”
Peterson will premiere his new play in October at Susquehanna University, and will then embark on a cross-country tour presenting his new work as well as favorites including, Transfigurations, Jesus Had Two Daddies, Waking Up from a Biblically Induced Coma, and Peterson Unplugged—a show that provides audiences excerpts from the range of Peterson’s work. This summer he will film Transfigurations and will make it available for purchase by Christmas. Peterson will no longer blog at www.petersontoscano.wordpress.com but instead will resume blogging at http://petersontoscano.com/blog/. His writings will continue to be about LGBTQ issues, but will also take on to climate change action. He has also increased his social media presence at Twitter (www.twitter.com/p2son), Tumblr (http://petersontoscano.tumblr.com/), Pinterest (check out What Would Jesus Pin? http://www.pinterest.com/p2saki/), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peterson-Toscano/111797695547075
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peterson-Toscano/111797695547075), and will soon start producing new YouTube videos (www.youtube.com/p2son).