Join

Integrity USA

Walking with Integrity
Email List

Enter your e-mail address to receive blog posts by e-mail!

Click here to unsubscribe from the e-mail list, change your e-mail address, or modify your subscription options.

Walking with Integrity

"Walking With Integrity" is the official blog of Integrity USA. We regularly offer news and insights into issues related to our mission and organization.

  • Update from Texas and the Transgender "Bathroom Bill"

    August 11, 2017 - 11:14 am

    Update from Texas and the Transgender "Bathroom Bill" As the special session of the Texas Legislature winds down, I would like to make a few observations on the life lessons I have learned as a Loud Mouthed Transgender Texan of Faith.

    With only a week to go (as of this writing) the chance of a “bathroom bill” getting passed by the Texas House of Representatives is getting smaller and smaller. We must stay vigilant during the remaining days of the special session and also be alert to the Governor’s next political move.

    First of all, I would like to say thanks to everyone who stood with and by me in so many ways that I can never fully express the love that I felt. Standing with so many other transgender/non-binary folks and our allies gave me a glimpse of what solidarity must look like. Testifying, lobbying, and sometimes even having to justify my right to exist was both daunting and lonely. For those who bought gas, put me up for the night, supplied coffee, shared a smile, sent me an encouraging Facebook post, and most especially those who reached out and gave me a hug when I was ready to give up on the world, I say "Thanks." I may have often gotten lonely but I knew that I was never truly alone. Most of you know that I can be very high strung and emotional but one of the things that always kept me grounded was the fact that on every trip to Austin, I was able to spot out fellow Episcopalians in the crowd.

    One of the sadder aspects of this battle has been both the loss of support and the lack of support that
    resulted from me making a public stand. Friends and family have either strengthened their connections or have further distanced themselves from me. I mourn for the losses. For me to be a Christ-like role model, I must be honest about myself and be very public about my support for the rights of the transgender community. God in all of Her glory will not let me rest until I have stood up for every young person who has not yet found their own identity and voice. Nor will I be able to rest until I have spoken out for every trans elder in our community who is just beginning to find their voice. I will raise my voice until we can all stand together with one voice.

    I have been disappointed in leaders, most especially certain religious leaders, who seem to lack the
    courage to publicly stand up for all of God’s children. Showing your support silently or in ways that are so safe that it renders your support to be invisible has been the toughest realization to bear. I and others like me will carry on with or without you. In the end, you are accountable to God for your own lack of courage. I have greater respect for folks who have the courage to voice opinions that are
    different than mine than I have in folks who hide in the shade and make no stand at all.

    While this battle may be winding down (at least temporarily) in my part of the world, the real battle is
    just beginning on two important fronts. First of all, we must reach out to those who have been damaged by the open hostility shown to so many trans folks of all ages. We must show love and real support to those who have lost faith in the decency of humankind. Secondly, we must find a way to educate those who did not stand with us and somehow find a way to work and walk together. After all, there will be further battles to fight. To make an ally out of a foe may be God’s toughest assignment yet, but imagine the things that we could accomplish together.

    There are so many folks that are fighting for social justice in our country at this time. I know that you are often weary and tired, but always keep in mind that YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE.
    Lastly, I ask that you pray that my own wounds will heal so that I may better see Christ in others.

    S Wayne Mathis
    Vice-President for Local Affairs, IntegrityUSA

    Read more...
  • Transgender Discrimination at the Highest Levels of Government

    July 27, 2017 - 12:40 pm

    Transgender Discrimination at the Highest Levels of Government

    I find myself baffled at the just plain old meanness and nastiness of the Trump Administration. Trump himself seems to delight in being mean to others. He has clearly shown himself to be what he has been all along: a bully, an insecure man who demands loyalty and cannot cope with those who do not hand over their loyalty to him. Perhaps someone should remind him that loyalty per his own oath of office and that of every federal employee is to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. It is not to pledge loyalty to any single individual or group….just to the Constitution.

    His stance against transgender men and women serving in the United States military is not justifiable by any logical measure. But then again, we are not dealing with logic here. Any person who wants to serve or is serving in the military should be judged by only one standard: Does she or he meet the mental and physical requirements to serve. Those are essentially the same for cisgender men and women. Why should there be a different standard for transgender men and women? There should not be. Anything else is purely and blatantly discrimination based on gender expression and gender identity. Such discrimination is wrong and unjustifiable.

    Trump’s position, regardless of what his military “experts” tell him is at odds with the policies of our major allies. Canada, Australia and Israel, to name only three, all allow transgender women and men to serve in their military units. Are we really so arrogant that we think they are wrong and we are right here?

    Integrity USA stands in support of transgender women and men serving in our military.

    We do so with the full backing of The Episcopal Church. Canon law in The Episcopal Church prohibits discrimination against transgender women and men (as well as a host of other variations in the human expression of sexuality, ability, etc.). “The law,” so to speak is on the books and has been for several years now.

    I urge everyone who reads this to do exactly what I have been imploring all to do for months now: call, email, write, visit your elected representatives in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. Make your opinions known. Cite the canon law that governs our church. Cite basic human dignity and decency. Cite the decisions rendered by a number of courts that prohibits such discrimination.

    It is time to raise some hell, my kindred in Christ. It’s time we flipped the tables of the money changers in the Temple. Our transgender kinfolk need us now more than ever.

    Remember that when the civil and human rights of any begin to be chipped away by prejudice, bigotry, meanness and nastiness, there is nothing to prevent those same bigots from going after the other civil and human rights we have. Speak out. Silence will still equal death.

    Bruce Garner
    President, Integrity USA

    Read more...
  • June 30 Friday Flash (reposted again)

    July 4, 2017 - 2:54 pm

    Tuesday, July 4, 2017 Friday Flash June 30 (Reposting second attempt)


    This is the URL to what appears below. I'm experimenting to see if what ultimately gets posted is the same as what appears on Walking With Integrity. Being mostly a luddite with this stuff, please bear with me as I learn the processes. Thanks, Bruce


    http://cts.vresp.com/c/?IntegrityUSA/ab432d90a6/0f53c7189f/2fea4c2c1d


    Today is the last day of June. This brings what is traditionally known as “Gay Pride Month” to a close. The “title” has been changed through the years so that it is actually “LGBTQ+ Pride Month now to reflect our intentional recognition that it includes others than those who identify as lesbian or gay. Celebrations, parades, demonstrations have been happening all around the country with most last weekend, the traditional anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that began the civil rights movement aimed at LGBTQ+ people.


    Do we have a reason to celebrate? To be proud of who we are as LGBTQ+ people, and in our case LGBTQ+ people of faith?


    The answer is complex and can be answered as yes and no. Yes, because we should be justifiably proud of the enormous accomplishments that have been made in the 48 years since Stonewall. Some would say that our movement has been on the “fast track” for what has been accomplished.


    No because there remains much TO accomplish for us and for women, people of color, people of differing ethnicities, different faith expressions, and basically anyone who does not identify as essentially straight white and male in this country. The political climate right now and the continued actions of both Congress and the current administration are glowing illustrations of what is still to be done….for so many.


    On a positive note, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NLGTF) announced yesterday that pressure on the Administration for Community Living (an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services) had worked and they were restoring the questions directly related to LGBTQ senior citizens that they had planned to eliminate. See, calling, writing, contacting does work!


    To reverse-paraphrase an Easter hymn: The strife is NOT over, the battles are NOT won, victory is not yet in hand.


    On a more somber note, the Anglican Communion News Service reported that the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, resigned from his last formal church role for his part in ignoring reports of sexual abuse by now disgraced and former bishop Peter Ball. It was, once again, a problem many knew about but did not address.


    Peter Ball had a history of engaging in sexual abuse. Reports were ignored. While I certainly have no credentials related to psychotherapy, it has long been my personal contention that when we force someone into a box they were not intended to fit, there will eventually be an “explosion” and inappropriate actions and behavior will result.


    How long have we, as a church and a society, forced women and men into the large box called the closet because of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression? Did no one ever contemplate the consequences of forcing people to appear and act differently than their authentic selves? Did no one ever consider that the pressure of the box, the closet, would eventually result in an explosion?


    Human beings are human beings. We can only cope with so much pressure for so long. Hopefully we are beginning to see less and less sexual abuse as we are being allowed to be our authentic selves. The remaining question is whether we will actually be our authentic selves. As you have read and heard from me countless times now, who have you written, called, texted, emailed, or contacted to express your views? If the answer is “none” then look at yourself and ask why you are so complacent. Ask why the work and sacrifices of so many to create a Pride Month has not moved you to act. At a recent exhibit and conversation about HIV/AIDS I was once again reminded that our silence really could mean our death.


    Bruce Garner, President
    Integrity USA


    ________________________________________ Celebrating Pride? If your organization is celebrating pride this month or this summer, post it on our Facebook Group page or share it with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


    ________________________________________ Once in a Lifetime Conference A first-ever major conference on LGBTQ Christian history is happening on October 31-November 2 in St. Louis. Rolling the Stone Away will bring together dozens of elders, saints and prophets of the past five decades to honor their deep impact on U.S. social and religious institutions and to reflect on how this history informs our movements for justice today. "This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience to interact in-person with most of the movers and shakers of LGBT Christian movements," notes Conference Coordinator Mark Bowman. "This is the kind of unique gathering that you will want to be able to say 'I was there!'" Click here to see the amazing diversity of early activists that you will see there. Watch the website for updates. Reserve your place there by registering now. Integrity USA has been on the planning team for this event and look forward to being with as many of you as possible who can join this gathering. We are considering a small “reunion” during the time of the conference for our family and friends.


    ________________________________________ We Are Orlando ________________________________________

    Read more...
  • Friday Flash June 30

    July 4, 2017 - 7:38 am

    This is the URL to what appears below. I'm experimenting to see if what ultimately gets posted is the same as what appears on Walking With Integrity. Being mostly a luddite with this stuff, please bear with me as I learn the processes. Thanks, Bruce http://cts.vresp.com/c/?IntegrityUSA/ab432d90a6/0f53c7189f/2fea4c2c1d Today is the last day of June. This brings what is traditionally known as “Gay Pride Month” to a close. The “title” has been changed through the years so that it is actually “LGBTQ+ Pride Month now to reflect our intentional recognition that it includes others than those who identify as lesbian or gay. Celebrations, parades, demonstrations have been happening all around the country with most last weekend, the traditional anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that began the civil rights movement aimed at LGBTQ+ people. Do we have a reason to celebrate? To be proud of who we are as LGBTQ+ people, and in our case LGBTQ+ people of faith? The answer is complex and can be answered as yes and no. Yes, because we should be justifiably proud of the enormous accomplishments that have been made in the 48 years since Stonewall. Some would say that our movement has been on the “fast track” for what has been accomplished. No because there remains much TO accomplish for us and for women, people of color, people of differing ethnicities, different faith expressions, and basically anyone who does not identify as essentially straight white and male in this country. The political climate right now and the continued actions of both Congress and the current administration are glowing illustrations of what is still to be done….for so many. On a positive note, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NLGTF) announced yesterday that pressure on the Administration for Community Living (an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services) had worked and they were restoring the questions directly related to LGBTQ senior citizens that they had planned to eliminate. See, calling, writing, contacting does work! To reverse-paraphrase an Easter hymn: The strife is NOT over, the battles are NOT won, victory is not yet in hand. On a more somber note, the Anglican Communion News Service reported that the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, resigned from his last formal church role for his part in ignoring reports of sexual abuse by now disgraced and former bishop Peter Ball. It was, once again, a problem many knew about but did not address. Peter Ball had a history of engaging in sexual abuse. Reports were ignored. While I certainly have no credentials related to psychotherapy, it has long been my personal contention that when we force someone into a box they were not intended to fit, there will eventually be an “explosion” and inappropriate actions and behavior will result. How long have we, as a church and a society, forced women and men into the large box called the closet because of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression? Did no one ever contemplate the consequences of forcing people to appear and act differently than their authentic selves? Did no one ever consider that the pressure of the box, the closet, would eventually result in an explosion? Human beings are human beings. We can only cope with so much pressure for so long. Hopefully we are beginning to see less and less sexual abuse as we are being allowed to be our authentic selves. The remaining question is whether we will actually be our authentic selves. As you have read and heard from me countless times now, who have you written, called, texted, emailed, or contacted to express your views? If the answer is “none” then look at yourself and ask why you are so complacent. Ask why the work and sacrifices of so many to create a Pride Month has not moved you to act. At a recent exhibit and conversation about HIV/AIDS I was once again reminded that our silence really could mean our death. Bruce Garner, President Integrity USA ________________________________________ Celebrating Pride? If your organization is celebrating pride this month or this summer, post it on our Facebook Group page or share it with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . ________________________________________ Once in a Lifetime Conference A first-ever major conference on LGBTQ Christian history is happening on October 31-November 2 in St. Louis. Rolling the Stone Away will bring together dozens of elders, saints and prophets of the past five decades to honor their deep impact on U.S. social and religious institutions and to reflect on how this history informs our movements for justice today. "This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience to interact in-person with most of the movers and shakers of LGBT Christian movements," notes Conference Coordinator Mark Bowman. "This is the kind of unique gathering that you will want to be able to say 'I was there!'" Click here to see the amazing diversity of early activists that you will see there. Watch the website for updates. Reserve your place there by registering now. Integrity USA has been on the planning team for this event and look forward to being with as many of you as possible who can join this gathering. We are considering a small “reunion” during the time of the conference for our family and friends. ________________________________________ We Are Orlando ________________________________________

    Read more...
  • Friday Flash June 23

    June 23, 2017 - 3:57 pm

    June 23, 2017 Friday Flash ________________________________________ Support our Mission This week brought us the US Senate’s version of the revised health care plan that is supposed to replace the the Affordable Healthcare Act with something “better.” I’ve come to the conclusion that “better” actually means more beneficial to the profits of the health insurance industry. I see nothing in the Senate proposal that is helpful to those most in need of healthcare insurance: The poor and marginalized, including LGBTQ+ citizens of this nation. The group that will benefit most from the Senate proposal is the so-called “1 percent” of our population. Why would I bring this up here? Well so many members of Congress are very clear and concerned that people see them as having solid Judeo-Christian values. It baffles me how they could support either the House or Senate version of healthcare reform bills. Both versions are about as far from Judeo-Christian values as one could get. This is where I urge you to write to your elected representatives and express your opinion on this matter as the Senate prepares to vote next week. I wrote to both Senators from Georgia, even with the full realization that neither really cares. Both are rich and have little contact with any constituents who live at or below the poverty line. If you want to see what I said to them, please go to my Face Book page…..I posted the body of the letter there. The question continues to come up about whether or not the work and ministry of Integrity is still needed. The above is one example. Politicians need to hear something other than the religious right on issues of substance that reflect how we treat members of our society. Another reason for the ongoing need for Integrity is in the article below repeated from last week. Who would have thought that a conference on so-called “conversion therapy” would be taking place in California….in the Diocese of San Diego. The voice of Integrity needs to be heard in both faith and secular settings to debunk the myth that someone can change their sexual orientation and provide pastoral care to those who have been victimized by the practitioners of this obscene process According to a report noted in an article below, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a ruling that it is permissible for people in Mississippi to discriminate against others because of their religious beliefs. People who profess to be Christian can refuse services to LGBTQ+ folks, Muslims, people of color….essentially anyone at odds with the narrow beliefs of the service provider. The voice of Integrity is still needed in Mississippi. Presuming this case gets appealed to a higher court, the justices need to hear a voice other than the religious right. In Province IV at least two dioceses continue to refuse to marry same sex couple and will not allow LGBTQ+ members of our church to hold some positions of leadership...in violation of several articles of canon law. Even in the state of New York there is a diocese that will not marry same-sex couples and has refused to allow legally married same sex clergy to carry out their ministries in that diocese. Is there a doubt that the voice of Integrity and the voices of LGBTQ+ Episcopalians needs to be heard in the church and in secular society? Are you a member of Integrity? If so, make your voice heard and contribute to our operations. If you are not a member, we invite you to join….regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. No matter your relationship to Integrity and/or the church, the voice of more moderate people of faith needs to be heard in the deliberative processes at the national and local level in our nation. Our silence really could mean our death. So, who have you written, called, texted, emailed, or contacted to express your views? If the answer is “none” then look at yourself and ask why you are so complacent. Bruce Garner, President Integrity USA ________________________________________ Integrity Houston Pride Parade Integrity Houston is hosting a Pride Street Eucharist and Pride Parade, Saturday June 24th from 6 pm- Midnight. Click here to see the Facebook event for more details. ________________________________________ Integrity San Diego Protests Conversion Therapy Conference Integrity San Diego was present to protest the Restored Hope Network national conference. There was a vigil on June 15 at 5:30pm. Demonstrations of love and acceptance organized by a group of San Diego LGBTQ organizations will follow on June 16 and 17 at the sites of the hotel and conference. All are welcome to join! You are also invited to participate with St. Paul’s at San Diego Pride on July 15. And read the Integrity blog post regarding this protest, written by The Rev. Jeff Martinhauk . ________________________________________ Appeals Court Upholds MS Religious Freedom Law A federal appeals court says Mississippi can start enforcing a law that protects merchants and government employees from being forced to participate in activities that run contrary to their religious beliefs about sexuality. ________________________________________ 12 Year Old Girl Comes Out to Her Mormon Congregation Savannah, 12, made a decision this January; she was going to come out as lesbian at her Mormon Church. Nothing was going to stop her….Official church policy welcomes members of the Mormon faith that have same-sex attractions. Church teaching, however, mandates that members with same-sex attractions cannot act on those feelings. They must remain celibate and they cannot get married to members of the same sex. ________________________________________ Celebrating Pride? If your organization is celebrating pride this month or this summer, post it on our Facebook Group page or share it with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . ________________________________________ Once in a Lifetime Conference Prophets young and old will tell the stories of our history and explore our future at Rolling The Stone Away conference, this October 31-November 2, 2017 in St. Louis. Rolling The Stone Away will honor elders, saints and prophets from all generations, from many Christian denominations, and mark the ground-breaking achievements, relentless commitments, and often painful sacrifices these leaders have made in religious organizations over the past five decades. Moreover, the next generation will be in the house and will shine a light on what comes next. Integrity USA has been on the planning team for this event and look forward to being with as many of you as possible who can join this gathering. We are considering a small “reunion” during the time of the conference for our family and friends. ________________________________________ We Are Orlando ________________________________________ 800-462-9498 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. www.integrityusa.org

    Read more...

Older posts from Walking with Integrity can be found at http://walkingwithintegrity.blogspot.com