The Rest of the Story

This is a more in-depth account of how we decided to "take this journey" of Gay Into Straight America!  It was written on May 10, 2005, and sent to our friends.


Roby:  We went to Stefani’s (at the beach near our home) to split a hamburger and watch the sunset on Monday, May 9.   A couple of weeks prior, Dottiread an article that she discovered in The Advocate about a guy name Lars Clausen, and she shared it with me.  On Monday night, May 9,  I was reading it again in The Advocate and it just "hit me."  I went to Lars' webblog and printed it out ...we were mesmerized with his story as we read it over dinner.  We knew we had to get in touch with him and arrange a meeting. 


Lars Clausen is famous for setting a world record by riding his unicycle through all 50 states three years ago and for raising awareness about the lives of Native Americans, and others, with a book titled “One Wheel – Many Spokes."  Now the 43-year-old married Lutheran pastor and father of two from Holden Village, in Washington State, is hoping to raise awareness about gay people.  Beginning June 14 he will cross the country again.  He plans to stay in the homes of gay Americans and write a book about their lives, titled Straight Into Gay America, due out next spring.  “I’m trying to put a human face on this story,” he said.  “It’s what I can do.”


Lars’ blog is if you want to read more.

Dotti:  Our dream for the last year has been to do something similar to what Lars is doing, but from a different angle (an inverse journey), as we would meet, have dinner with, and stay in the homes of people "wrestling" with their understanding about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons, as well as queer, questioning and intersex people.  Yet, it would be a parallel journey since both Lars' journey and ours are about creating authentic connections with people, and crossing the abyss into a new understanding.


In other words, our situation will be a little bit different in that we will be attempting to get those who might not understand and are afraid to "welcome us" to do just that ... welcome us into their homes.

As we say...Gay Into Straight America...Love Welcomes ALL!


We are on a mission, and the following describes what we are going to do.  We have been "talking" about doing this during the last year, and have felt that we cannot simply "preach to the choir" but we must meet with people who think differently than we do, and we have decided to move forward.   


To facilitate this, we are changing the name of the non-profit Dotti had originally set up to StandUp...SpeakOUT  (which has been the name change of the book she has been working on for some time).  That website www.StandUPSpeakOUT. will go online at the end of June, 2005.


We are going to re-finance our home in June to make it possible to eliminate debt and move on this vision.  Then we are going to rent our home for a year.


We are simply putting this out to the Universe and want you, our dearest friends, to be some of the first to know about  our "mission and vision," so that you can support us with your energy and thoughts.


Dotti:  Roby and I both feel energized and empowered about doing this ... and yes, fears have come up and are being dealt with!  We don't mind mentioning fears and talking about them, but we are not going to allow them to be barriers to this happening!  We are moving through them and seeking all possibilities for allowing this to happen. 


If you know people around the country who are "wrestling" with a greater understanding about GLBT persons, please let us know who they are so that we might contact them ... perhaps you could facilitate a "email introduction" and invite them to "invite us in" to their home for a couple of days.


You can click on this link and go to our blog, StandUPSpeakOUT and read my intial message. 


Following is our original message to Lars…


From: Roby Sapp []
Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2005 7:33 AM
Cc: Dotti Berry
Subject: Advocate Article


Dear Lars -


We understand that you must be inundated with emails resulting from the recent article about you in The Advocate.  Nevertheless, we feel compelled to write. 


Let us introduce ourselves... we are Robynne Sapp & Dotti Berry.  We live in Blaine, WA.  We were legally married in Oregon on March 7, 2004 (see attached articles) and then had our marriage voided by the state of Oregon (see attached articles).  Our spiritual ceremony, however, was already planned for July 31, 2004, and we followed through with that (account called Serendipitous attached)  I believe that you might know my cousin, Harper Tasche, who used to live in Holden Village.  He is a harpist and he played at our wedding.  At our July wedding, we had two officiating ministers:  Rev. Dr. Lisa Davison, a professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at Lexington Theological Seminary and Rev. Dr. Bill Stayton (an ordained American Baptist minister, as well as the department chair for Human Sexuality at Widener University, where Dotti is working on her doctorate).  I am attaching what Lisa Davison wrote on "What the Bible Says/Doesn't Say about Homosexuality" as part of a program that Dotti put together in school for churches called "Steps to a Greater Understanding ...  About the Impact of our Religious Institutions on Mixed Orientation Families."


We have been planning to do a year long trip, similar to yours but from the opposite angle!  A parallel journey in some ways!  It will be us, as gay people, going into the homes of heterosexual people who are wanting to come to a greater understanding about who we are and who feel bound by the myths and untruths they might have been taught., but unable to work through them.  We have been told over and over as we meet with ministers and others "We have simply never met people like you."  We explain that there are plenty like us; we just represent them.   


In addition, we will approach James Dobson, Fred Hutcherson (in Washington ... I know you have read about the Microsoft situation), Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and others like him,  We will be inclusive with our initiation.  We have been proponents of our community understanding that our freedom lies within our own hands and hearts; therefore, we cannot "preach to the choir."  We must expand and go beyond the barriers and reach out to those who do not know us.


We just returned from Colorado Springs, where we stood vigil with Soulforce and then stayed over a day to personally tour Focus on the Family, after they closed down Focus on both Saturday and Monday.  (read articles at We will email you our account of touring Focus on the Family when we have it completed next week.     Peggy Campolo, wife of Tony Campolo, was one of the ones who always stands with in at Soulforce actions.As well, you might be interested in what our youth group in Soulforce is doing.  Check out  Dotti is doing all the promotional products for it (as she does for Soulforce). 


We feel we could be a big help to you in hooking you up with GLBT persons throughout the country since Dotti has been with Soulforce since they first went to Lynchburg in 1999 to confront Rev. Jerry Falwell about his spiritual rhetoric and violence. 


Likewise, we feel that you could put us in touch with the heterosexual people we are looking to invite us into their homes, so that we can hear their stories and they can hear our stories.  We are not going with the intention to change them ... we are going to transform ourselves.  It is in that process that others might shift and the world change.


Our non-profit foundation is called StandUP..SpeakOut  . As well, we are already in the process of developing   In addition, after reading your article in the Advocate    we secured, even though Lisa Davison convinced Dotti a long time ago not to use the word "straight" as she feels it infers that "straight" is often taken as  the "right way" whereas the opposite of that word  is "crooked" and thus somehow makes it seem "less than" or " flawed." when can present a dangerous scenario for this hot button issue.   For these purposes, however, we are going to use it and then explain that distinction.  Dotti usually does that during the workshops she presents and in her one-on-one coaching.


We feel that there could be some great opportunities to cross promote which would bring media attention to what we are both going to be doing.  For instance, this might provide the opportunity to do a joint show with Oprah, to bring attention to this issue that actually affects all of us.  Phil and Jim Lawson, who are retired United Methodist ministers and who taught non-violent process for Dr. King, always say to me at the Soulforce vigils, "Dotti, none of us are free until all of us are free.  Don't you ever forget that because it is why I am here to stand with you."


We are searching for a Travel Motor Home; we put that request into the info we are sending into Oprah for "Oprah's Wildest Dreams" ... hey, it's worth a shot!  Plan B is that we will  sell both our cars and drive a Honda Element and have our blow up mattress in the back on nights there is no place  to stay.  We plan to take our dog, Rylee Joy, a 44 pound Standard Poodle with us.  Animals seems to "bridge the divide" between individuals all the time. She is a true healer and understands her life mission.  We  are setting up a blog for her as well!  Our blog is  and will have information on it beginning May 23, 2005.  Rylee's is  and will soon have info on it too about our trip.   


A  design, with a person standing on top of a rainbow, will be on the front of our T-shirts with the last sentence of the verse below on the back of the shirts (you can see design by going to into of


Matthew 25: 35-40

"When I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, 'When?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."


Lars, we would love to meet you before you leave on your journey in June.  Would you be open to this, and have time for this?  Tell us when and where, and we'll be there.



(the Light in us honors the Light in you)


Roby Sapp & Dotti Berry (coming at the end of May) (coming at the end of June)


Update to the above:

Lars wrote us back after that, and we arranged our first meeting for Memorial Day, 2005, and then met again for breakfast the next morning.   We decided then that we would return and go to Holden Village (we intially met in Chelan, WA), and meet Lars' wife, Anne, and their two children.  We would also get to celebrate Lars' 44th birthday on June 12, as well as have a "send-off" for his journey StraightIntoGayAmerica which begins June 14, 2005.