Keep informed about our journey, Gay Into Straight America!  Each week, we send out a newsletter.  Below are links to the ones we have sent since the beginning of our year long journey, which began September 11, 2005.  The most current one is at the top.  Note:  The last newsletter for this journey will be the December, 2006 newsletter, since our year long journey will be over; however, Stand UP Speak OUT, Inc. will continue with other projects.  Gay Into Straight America was its initial one.  Click here and sign up to receive our newsletter that will come from Stand UP Speak OUT in 2007.  Those who have already been receiving this newsletter will automatically receive our Stand UP Speak OUT...Live Authentic newsletter.

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GISA Podcast with Lars Clausen
Oct 11, 2006

You can't hate someone whose story you know.

Dare to know the story of those who are different.

“The tiniest story in your life can deeply touch another.
You cannot know the effect your story might have.”--Sark

In this newsletter update:

  1. National Coming Out Day...let's celebrate!
  2. Podcasts from Stand UP Speak OUT/Great American Roadcast series 
  3. Great stories continue..."after" the official end of our journey
  4. Rylee Joy tangles with a skunk! 
  5. Roby's cell phone found by police... man on bridge ready to commit suicide
  6. Wayne Kelly: "I was an opininated (S.O.B)" his views changed
  7. Help us get  out (no pun intended) our universal message. 
  8. Our welcome home pics and messages from friends and neighbors


Let's celebrate National Coming Out Day!

If you do nothing else today, accept and celebrate that you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning or ally!  In your authentic living today, this is also an opportunity for you to share the gift that you are with others.  Click here for ten empowering principles for daily living!

HRC and PFLAG joined together to issue the first ever resource specifically for friends and family – “A Straight Guide to GLBT Americans.”  The guide is a resource that helps map some of the emotions straight people feel when someone first comes out to them, walks people through myths and facts about GLBT Americans, and outlines ways straight people can demonstrate their support.  Download your copy today to share with your friends and family.

Great support from PFLAG happens 24 hours a day, 365 days a year...
While October 11th is the “official” coming out day, PFLAGers provide support for the coming out process to both GLBT people and their allies throughout the year. More than
500 chapters across the U.S. work to offer support while PFLAG National provides resources through staff, the PFLAG website, and guides for the coming out process.

Whether you’re looking for support for your own coming out process or searching for ways to encourage others, PFLAG can connect you with what you need.

>> Get answers to frequently asked questions about GLBT people.

>> Visit PFLAG’s Transgender Network (TNET) site to get support for trans people and their families.

>> Learn more about support for straight spouses from the Straight Spouse Network.


Podcasts from Stand UP Speak OUT/Great American Roadcast

As promised, we are sending updates about our podcasts.  There couldn't be a better day to send this podcast and newsletter than October 11, National Coming Out Day. This week, we have a dynamic new podcast from the road to share with you. Just click on the link.

Stand UP Speak OUT/Great American Roadcast – Episode 2

This interview is with Lars Clausen, the Lutheran minister whose journey, Straight Into Gay America, was a catalyst for the year-long journey, Gay Into Straight America, of Two Women and a Poodle.  His book, Straight Into Gay America…My Unicycle Journey for Equal Rights, was recently published.  After the last “official” speaking engagement for their journey, we had the opportunity to interview Lars.  Lars was also the inspiration for our Stand UP Speak OUT Wind Changer Awards.

Our next podcast will be with Rev. Dr. Mel White. We will interview him about his dynamic new book, Religion Gone Bad: Hidden Dangers from the Christian Right. On September 5, 2006, he began a month long, nationwide tour introducing Religion Gone Bad to the general public. He said, "I hope and pray that this sequel to Stranger at the Gate will sound a clear warning (just before the November elections) that the rise of fundamentalist Christianity is a threat not just to LGBT people but to all Americans."

Check out his website and purchase this eye-opening book.  And get ready for a great podcast!

Upcoming podcasts...

  • Peggy Campolo, wife of author and speaker, Tony Campolo.  Peggy is an awesome and supportive ally to our community.  Dotti and Peggy met when they attended the first Soulforce event in Lyncburg, VA in 1999 to meet with Rev. Jerry Falwell.

  • Brian McNaught, considered the "Godfather of Gay Sensitivity Training." Check out his website.

  • Rev. Dr. Lisa Davison, who officiated at our wedding and who will soon be in Washington. The Religious Coalition for Equality is organizing marriage equality colloquies around the state in late October and early November titled “Scripture and Marriage Equality: An in depth look at how we interpret Jewish and Christian Scripture in the context of same-sex marriage.”   Lisa will be speaking at those.

  • Rev. Dr. Bill Stayton, who officiated at our wedding.  He is both an ordained American Baptist minister and recently retired Department Chair for Human Sexuality at Widener University.  We will be talking about "What is a man? What is a woman?"  Dr. Stayton's expertise will help us take a look at some of the gender myths in our society.


Great stories continue..."after" the official end of our journey

When we visited Kathy Kiefer going through Soap Lake, WA, I pointed to her "Ancora Imparo" plaque hanging on her wall, exclaiming, "Where can I get one?"  If you recall, Kathy is the person who ended one of her emails to us with that saying.  I felt like I was in Japan, where the Japanese people are SO generous and will give you something that you compliment.  Kathy pulled it off her wall, and gave it to us.  All we can say is, "What a gift!  We are blessed."  In that newsletter where we mentioned it, Dean wrote back and said, "Is it Italian?"  Although we shared some info in the following newsletter, here's more from the back of the plaque:

Even in his 87th year, the great Italian renaissance artist Michelangelo, creator of such masterpieces as the Sistine Chapel and the sculpture of David, is quoted as saying, 'Ancora Impara' ('I am still learning'). Given the scope of his achievement in painting, sculpture, poetry and architecture, this humility is striking and strongly reminiscent of the Greek philosopher Socrates:

'The wise man knows that he knows nothing.'



Through "knowing that we don't know," we became wiser during this last year on our journey, Gay Into Straight America, as our experience taught us and transformed us.

John Steinbeck in Travels with Charley offers insight for anyone considering a journey...

"A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognised can the blown-in-the-glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away.  In this, a journey is like a marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it. I feel better now, having said this, although only those who have experienced it will understand it."

We can identify with a journey being like a marriage.  We continue to know and understand that neither can be controlled, only experienced.  As an anonymous person said, "Most good judgment comes from experience.  Most experience comes from bad judgment."  Again, "Ancora Imparo."  We're still learning!

Our world recently lost a great icon, a person who inspired many of us to live more authentically. Ann Richards was convinced that the key to progress was to “look ahead” and make change happen, saying, “I feel very strongly that change is good because it stirs up the system.”

Stirring up the system is the impetus behind our Become a Wind Changer.  Be the wind and stir up change.


Rylee Joy tangled with a skunk! 

After our last "official" speaking engagement in Chelan, we returned to Spokane (For a little dental work for Dotti -- When we previously stayed with Wanda (co-president of PFLAG Spokane) and Steve Daehlin, we discovered that Steve is a dentist!  Hey, timing is everything!).  Rylee Joy,  the ultimate connector and wind changer, certainly "stirred up" change with this recent encounter in Spokane.  Sorry Wanda and Steve!  Though we wouldn't recommend this type of encounter, it causes us to think about how stirring up change can sometimes cause a stink!  It was VERY frightening, as she was sprayed directly in the face (eyes, nose, mouth & ears), and was foaming with her mouth clamped shut when she reached us.  We've all three been dealing with some post-traumatic stress from the episode, but we're recovering well.  It has been an unbelievable time getting the smell out of her, as well as us.  We had to shave her hair in order to remove the smell which lingers in longer dog hair.  We suddenly had a creative idea...


Everyone knows that Rylee Joy is the ultimate Stand UP Speak OUT Wind Changer. 
Will the "real" Rylee Joy please stand UP?


We were hosted one night by Neal and Tiina Buckaloo
(she just completed being  co-president of PFLAG with Wanda)
(L-R) Neal (holding Bandit), Tina, Dotti & Roby


You may recall that one of our goals for next summer is to participate (notice we didn't say "compete") in the Danskin Women's Triatholon in Seattle (a sprint tri - good for first-timers).  Well, while in Spokane, Roby decided to start her training program!




Roby's cell phone found by police

Remember in our last newsletter when we mentioned Roby's phone was stolen in Chelan, WA?  The Wenatchee (WA) police called Roby's mom and said they found it.  So, we called the police and they said they found it on a man who was trying to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge.  Isn't that horrible?  The good news is that they saved his life.  We are going to call the police officer and see if we can find out more info.  There is something in our gut that tells us this might have been a gay man.  A person who intends to commit suicide does not steal a cell phone.  A person who does not really want to commit suicide, but feels there is no other way, might steal a phone, intending to call someone.  
Ahhh...the journey continues even after it has "officially" ended! (: 

Before we left Spokane, we went to a restaurant on the river for lunch. While there, we discovered that our waiter's sister is lesbian and lives in Portland, and that they grew up Mormon!  We gave him a rainbow wristband to check out our website and tell his sister.  Then Brad (our waiter) came back to the table, and said that Michael, the (gay) bartender, wanted a wristband, too.  Then, we went in to talk to him, and Frankie, the manager came up and she got one.  A little later, Kathy who is lesbian and works there, came up and talked with us, asking if she could get 10 rainbow wristbands for her group of women friends. 


(L-R) Michael, Kathy & Dotti


If we had been in Europe, Rylee Joy could have joined us on the patio overlooking the river.
But, we weren't.  So we parked where she could see us, but she kept trying to escape the car to be with us.  
The skunk incident was traumatic for all of us!  After that she got an infection in her foot, and has been on antibiotics.

After we left the restaurant, we took Rylee for a walk by Spokane Falls.  When we returned, we put her in the car, and went back in the restaurant to use the ladies room.  When we were walking out, a lady at the hostess stand yelled out, "Hey, thanks for all the bands!"  (: 


Sweethearts at Spokane Falls

Life is good, huh?  And you can't believe the other conversations we had at a winery in Chelan.  We caught those on a professional MP3/WAV recorder we are now carrying, making it easier to bring "real and authentic" conversations from the road. (Thank you, Kathy Kiefer, for your wonderful donation!) Those recordings will be made into a "Conversations from the Road" with our commentary for a podcast.


Wayne Kelly:  "I was an opinionated (S.O.B)" his views changed

Remember us telling you about taking a course with Wayne Kelly?(www.OnAirPublicity) Wayne, a radio show host and coach, wrote me after our first homework assignment, saying...

I was an opinionated (S.O.B) who was very sheltered by the church when I grew up.  I had no idea or understanding about gay and lesbian.  To me it was wrong and I wasn’t moving from that stance.  After college, I lost contact with my roommate for a couple years.  Finally, we reconnected on the phone, and he said he was scared to call me.  I was shocked that my good friend would be scared to contact me.  We talked and he announced that he was gay.  I never batted an eye, and said he will always be my very good friend…and nothing changed because of it.   IT was freeing to loose my fear and old brain washings from the church and see people as people no matter what there favorite meal was…or is. 

I love what you 2 are saying about you can’t hate someone once you know their story.

I thought I’d share my story with you.                 --Wayne Kelly

Folks, the official year-long journey may have ended, but the stories and convesations NEVER have to end.  It is authentically sharing our stories and lives that can transform, not only us, but our world.  It works both ways.  You can't hate someone whose story you know.  Dare to know the story of those who are different.  Others' stories transform us as well.  We continue to have people order our rainbow wristbands.  Throughout this last year, everytime a person has purchased a rainbow wristband, or we have given one away, we say to them...

When you wear this rainbow wristband, you are making the commitment to do Whatever It Takes to create authentic connections, and have deeper conversations in your life, however that works for YOU!



Help get our message OUT (no pun intended)

In our last "official" newsletter of our year-long journey, we said that we want to share what we have learned about people in America, bringing news about the "pulse of America," and the climate in our country regarding equality and justice for all people, to a wider audience.

We listed a way you could help (contacting Oprah).  Well, we have now added how you can contact Ellen.  Do one or both, but "do something!" as Helen Keller would say.  We are excited about having just received a call from Curve Magazine, informing us that they will be doing an article about our journey in the near future! 

  • CONTACT Oprah! 

    Oprah says, "We want your show ideas! "

    Do you have a creative idea for a show? Do you have a personal story you think would be part of an interesting topic? Please email us your idea!

    Click here for the link to do this for the Oprah show! 
  • CONTACT Ellen!

    Ellen says, "Do you know someone with an amazing or inspiring story?"

    If so, we want to hear about them and what makes them special.

Click here for the link to do this for the Ellen show! 
(Note: Ellen lets you upload a pic.  Why not use the one at the end of our newsletter?  Just save it as a jpeg to your desktop, and then upload).

**When you write Oprah or Ellen, let them know the following...**

Two Women and a Poodle just completed a one-year mission, Gay Into Straight America, with a commitment to transform themselves and our world Their intention?  Engaging hearts and minds, creating authentic connections and dissolving differences that separate us, building a bridge with people who are "wrestling" with their understanding of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning persons. Check out their website

Oprah/Ellen, this is why we believe your listeners would enjoy hearing about the year long, inspiring journey of Dotti Berry, Robynne Sapp and Rylee Joy (and then simply tell her why you believe this would be good!)

Oprah/Ellen, please also invite Lars Clausen, who inspired their journey, through his own journey.



We were welcomed home by chalk messages on the sidewalk, balloons from friends Cathy and Ronna, and flowers from neighbors Lynn and John. We also received a box of special cookies from Teresa and Mary, who own Angel Whispers Cookies.  They are helping sponsor our upcoming talk in Cincinnati put together and promoed by Janet Hill of Women Out FrontIf you have friends in the Cincinnati area, click here for more info to send them...we speak there on Friday, October 20. 


Our neighbor, Michele, and her children, Ryan and Mikaila welcomed us home!
Our neighbors are the best!  When we arrived on September 25, it was 11 pm and we didn't see the message until the next morning!


Cookies from Teresa and Mary, who own Angel Whispers Cookies


Flowers from Lynn & John


Ruff and Rylee Joy.  Ruff's owners are neighbors Lynn and John.  They liked Rylee so much they got Ruff from the same breeder.  In fact, Ruff is Rylee's half brother.  Rylee, almost 5, was blacker when she was a puppy, but not as black as Ruff, who is 14 months old.  Rylee's encounter with the skunk, with the peroxide/baking soda bath, created  her reddish-brown color.

Our next newsletter and podcasts will come out on November 2, after being on the east coast for three weeks.  On October 12, we will first fly into Boston, and head to  Provincetown, MA for the last two days of Women's Week.  We will remain there for Fantasia Fair, where Dotti will keynote a talk and present groups for SO's (significant others) and transgender couples, before we head to Cincinnati to speak.

From the real and true adventures of Two Women & A Poodle,
on our LIFE-LONG JOURNEY to transform ourselves and the world,
one person at a time!
Life is an adventure…enjoy the ride!

The light in us honors the light in you... Dotti, Roby & Rylee Joy 



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