Questions for Reflection
In each episode, we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. Our supporters over at Buy Me a Coffee now have exclusive access to the PDF versions of all our Questions for Reflection. Join us today!
Beth Demme (00:03):
Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars Podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:06):
Where we share our personal experiences so we can learn from each other. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:09):
And I'm Beth.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:10):
I've been in recovery for 15 years and am the author of Discovering My Scars, my memoir about how what's done in the darkness eventually comes to light.
Beth Demme (00:17):
I'm a lawyer turned pastor who's all about self-awareness and emotional health, because I know what it's like to have neither of those things.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:23):
Beth and I've been friends for years, have gone through a recovery program together. And when I wanted to start a podcast, she was the only name that came to mind as cohost.
Beth Demme (00:30):
I didn't hesitate to say yes, because I've learned a lot from sharing personal experiences with Steph over the years.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:35):
We value honest conversations and we hope you do, too.
Beth Demme (00:37):
On today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled, "Having PRIDE in My Changed Views."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:43):
Then we'll share a slice of life and the show will close with Questions for Reflection where we will invite you to reflect on the conversation in your own life.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:50):
Happy Pride Month.
Beth Demme (00:51):
Happy Pride Month.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:53):
It is June, we are recording this mid June and Happy Pride Month.
Beth Demme (01:00):
Yeah, Happy Pride Month.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:02):
And what does that mean?
Beth Demme (01:03):
I always thought that pride was like an acronym that it stood for something because I always see it in all caps but it's not.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:09):
No, I think it's just like we're saying it loud and proud and excited, pride! PRIDE!
Beth Demme (01:13):
Yeah. So it actually dates back to 1969 when there were some police officers who had been harassing gay and lesbian folks, and it kind of came to a head in June of 1969 at a gay bar in New York city called Stonewall. And people decided that they were fed up with the harassment by the police. And so it ended up being several nights of riots and we understand that that marked the beginning of the movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against LGBTQ Americans.
Beth Demme (01:50):
So the Stonewall Riots happened in 1969, but it was in June of 1978 that the rainbow flag was first flown during a gay pride parade and that's when it really became like the symbol for LGBTQ rights. And we have some rainbow stuff around [inaudible 00:02:10]; I have on my rainbow converse, my [inaudible 00:02:12] converse and you have a new rainbow edition. You wanna tell us about it?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:15):
Beth Demme (02:16):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:17):
I will tell you all about it, Beth, since this is an audio podcast, I will give a great detailed description of it.
Beth Demme (02:23):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:24):
So Beth, I have a LEGO set, actually LEGO made a pride set this year called Everyone is Awesome. And it has all the colors of the rainbows and it has monochrome, little mini figures with all different hairstyles. And it's super cute. We've already decided what our favorites are, I have a favorite color, but then I have a favorite hairstyle.
Beth Demme (02:45):
Same for me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:46):
So I like it all and I kind of want to change them all up and change the hairs and the colors and everything, [crosstalk 00:02:52]-
Beth Demme (02:54):
But then it won't have its nice monochrome look.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:56):
Yeah. That's the whole point I think, is that we're not just a group of monochrome people. We're all different colors and shades and different styles, I think-
Beth Demme (03:06):
And everyone is awesome.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:07):
Beth Demme (03:08):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:09):
And I think the manual also showed them mixed up because you can do whatever you want; it's your LEGO set.
Beth Demme (03:14):
Oh, well, if it says it in the manual then, okay.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:16):
Well, [inaudible 00:03:17] then say it's just pictures. I'll have to-
Beth Demme (03:19):
If it says it with pictures then it's okay. So anyways we are representing with some rainbow stuff. So basically the Stonewall Riots is kind of what started Pride Month. And then from there, the next year is when they started celebrating. Well, I think what happened is that the next year there were pockets of folks who wanted to remember that it had happened. But that's why [crosstalk 00:03:45]-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:45):
So it's kind of grown over time.
Beth Demme (03:46):
Yeah, that's right.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:47):
Okay. Because I feel like it's become more of a thing every year. Like every year it's become bigger and bigger and more fanfare around it, I guess.
Beth Demme (03:58):
And more people seem to participate every year.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:00):
Yeah. But as we've been saying like, I feel like every year it gets bigger and bigger pride [crosstalk 00:04:06]. And so with that, with it becoming more in like the consciousness of everybody and everyone's celebrating, more merchandise from brands want a little piece of that.
Beth Demme (04:14):
Right. That's the thing, the piece of it part is like, well our brands just making a buck off of this movement without really supporting it or without are they making a buck off of LGBTQ folks and their need for anti-discrimination laws rather than actually supporting the movement. But what you told me about your new LEGO set is that the designer of it is a person who identifies as LGBTQ.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:41):
Beth Demme (04:41):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:42):
So yeah, I appreciate that it was somebody that is kind of in the community created it. I think that's very cool. Yeah. It's interesting because there's so much rainbow stuff. And I do think that I have seen some stuff it's like, okay, you're not even trying, you just think if you put a rainbow on something you're good to go. So I do feel like the brands... There are brands that some of the proceeds go to LGBTQ plus organizations and things like that. I think that is great; like those are ones I can really get behind. I think it's great to have the merchandise, but I also wouldn't just go buy everything I see. I'd kind of want to know, what's the origin of this? Who designed it? I do want to know a little bit more about it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:32):
And what's interesting though, is there any thought in your head when you buy rainbow things that people will think that you are in the community?
Beth Demme (05:44):
I have thought that actually.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:45):
Beth Demme (05:45):
Yeah. Especially... Well like with these shoes, it's like, "Well, if I go to Publix and somebody sees me in these shoes and they don't know me, they might think that I am a lesbian." And then I was like, "I'm totally fine with that. They could think that I'm LGBTQ." Yeah, that is a okay.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:02):
Yeah. Well, and it's interesting because I have thought about that. Long time ago, I didn't think I was going to tell this story, but it just popped in my head. When I was in college, I had a psychologist that... So there's this flag that's blue with two yellow stripes. It's a gay [inaudible 00:06:20] flag.
Beth Demme (06:22):
I've seen that flag and there's way the strikes are, they sort of look like an equal sign. And so I always thought that it was for equality, I didn't realize it had anything to do with...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:32):
I think it's specifically... We should have looked this up.
Beth Demme (06:36):
So I think it means human rights, but of course gay marriage is a human right. And so it would fall under that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:42):
Yeah. I remember it was big, that kind of makes sense to me because I remember seeing it pop up probably around before gay marriage was legal and around that time. So that makes sense to me. But anyways, I had a psychologist in... Oh, I was forced to see this person, actually, it was not a choice, so long story, but I was seeing this school counselor, I don't think [inaudible 00:07:07] psychologist, but he was a school counselor and he had like this little sticker that was that flag in his office. And I only saw him maybe a couple of times, but I remember that flag. I remember thinking that he was gay because he had that flag because I didn't know really what the flag was about or much about it. And for some reason this was very stuck in my head that he was a gay man, which was actually not a problem. But based on things we're talking about, I guess it colored my thought of what we were talking about, I guess.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:43):
It was a crazy time for me back in college, it's in my book. So I don't know why that was a sticking point for me, but I was... Well, anytime you're forced to see a counselor, that's never going to be a good thing. So let's just put that out there. And-
Beth Demme (08:00):
You might've been trying to understand more about who he was and like-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:03):
I think so, and like where he's coming from with certain analogies and things like that. And not that it was... I don't remember. I was not a big fan of him and it had nothing to do with the fact that I thought he was gay, but anyways, one day I just kind of blurted out like, "Well, you're gay. So you think that way or something?" And he said, "What?" And he was like, "Oh, could you not see this picture of my wife here?"
Beth Demme (08:27):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:28):
And I was like, "But you have the flag." And he's like, "Oh, well I'm an ally." And I was like, "Oh, okay, that changes a lot of things I was thinking." So overall from that moment, essentially that I thought like, "Wow, people might mistakenly think I'm gay if I have these kinds of things." And I have thought that about having like that flag or anything rainbow like, "Oh my gosh." But I had the same realization with, like you said, Beth is like, why does it matter? First of all, why does somebody what they think about me matter? I know who I am and if someone thought I was gay, why would that matter? And by having it and supporting it, you are an ally. And that's how I see me wearing the rainbow would be showing that I'm an ally and opening up the conversation if someone wants to have a conversation about something LGBTQ plus related, I'm open and willing to talk about.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:28):
I don't have a lot of reference points, but I want to have that conversation. So that's how I see it now but there was a time when I was very cautious like, "Okay, don't want people to think this is like..." So why in my mind, am I thinking that if someone thought that about me, that that's a bad thing. Is it because I think being gay is bad or is it that I don't want them to have the wrong... Like, what was it within me that was so concerned about that? Which brings us kind of to the title we have is kind of changing views. And Pride Month is a great time to kind of reflect on our history of the LGBTQ community and how we interact with that community, I guess.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:17):
And so I'm curious with you, have you always been supportive of all the awesome people out there?
Beth Demme (10:24):
So I definitely have changed in my views to become much more affirming.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:29):
So you haven't been always affirming of LGBTQ plus community?
Beth Demme (10:33):
Well, I think that I didn't know I wasn't affirming because-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:37):
You are one of those.
Beth Demme (10:38):
Yeah, I'm one of those, right? I was one of those, I'm not anymore. Because I-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:41):
She's a pastor now she's changed.
Beth Demme (10:43):
I would have said everyone is deserving of love and that everyone is lovable and-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:52):
Lovable. Is that what you've said?
Beth Demme (10:55):
I would've said.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:55):
Everyone is lovable.
Beth Demme (10:57):
Yes. I think that everyone is worthy of love and lovable.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:01):
And as long as they find the right love, I'm happy for them.
Beth Demme (11:04):
Well, that's where I went wrong. Because there was a long time period where I only just kind of knew with what I was taught and hadn't really thought critically about it. And I was taught coming up, especially in the church that physical intimacy between two people of the same gender was not okay. And so if you were attracted to someone of the same gender, you would have to live a celibate lifestyle. And I didn't think critically about it until I did, at which point I was like, "Well, that actually doesn't affirm anyone's humanity and it discounts who they're created to be." And so that prompted me to do some Bible study on it and to do some soul searching on it and to really come to terms with what I actually believe, which resulted in me being fully affirming. And I support the idea of gay marriage. I support-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:59):
The idea of gay marriage?
Beth Demme (12:02):
Okay. How else would you say-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:03):
The action of gay marriage?
Beth Demme (12:05):
Okay. I support people who are LGBTQIA plus being ordained into ministry. I really do consider myself now a full ally in a way that is different than how I thought maybe 10 or 15 years ago.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:23):
Well, it's interesting that you say that because I think there is a huge perception. I have a huge perception. I'm just going to say I have a huge perception, and I know this is accurate because I have studied this, that a lot of churches and people in churches do not support the LGBTQ plus community. They may say they do, but they don't support them. And I am over it. I am over-
Beth Demme (12:50):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:51):
... the church putting their biblical stuff out there and using that to make people feel less than and feel like they are living the wrong life. And I'm over it. I'm tired of it so fix it.
Beth Demme (13:08):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:09):
Thank you. So my big thing is, the God that I know and love tells me to love everybody and not to judge other people and not to tell them what they're doing right and what they're doing wrong; that's not my place. And so that's the simplicity that I see from my God. And it seems so simple to me, it seems so simple for me to just love people and not tell people what's right, what's wrong. But that's what I see within churches. I see they go a little bit of a step and they say, "We love everybody, come, but you're sinning."
Beth Demme (13:49):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:49):
Whoa, whoa, you're sinning? Why are we pointing out each other sins and also why can't you get over with that the life that they are living and were born to be, the person they're going to be is a sin? That's not okay. Why is that a thing that we keep telling people that this is a sin? Oh, is it a sin to be homosexual?
Beth Demme (14:11):
I don't think that it is a sin because I think that...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:16):
So how many Bibles are there out there that there is such confusion about this? Why is there so many churches and church people that wave their Bible and say, "You're sending because this, you're sending because of that." Why is that such a freaking thing?
Beth Demme (14:34):
I think it's a big thing for a couple of reasons. One goes back to biblical translation and how the word homosexual found its way into some translations of the Bible that have to do with cultural prejudice rather than really solid scholarship and translation. I also think that it is generally easier to speak out against the things you're not dealing with. So for cis-gender straight people in the church... Okay, well, I'm never going to deal with this issue of same sex or same gender attraction and so that's going to be where I hang my hat. Not realizing that they're just focusing on the speck in someone else's eye, rather than the log in their own eye.
Beth Demme (15:24):
I mean, and that they're identifying something that is part of God's creation, they're identifying it as sinful. And are a few what you might call clobber verses in the Bible that people tend to go back to again and again, we can talk about those for sure. I will also just say I wrote a pretty good paper on this in seminary for my ethics class. It was the last paper I wrote in seminary. And so if you really want to know what I think about the verses, I'll just send you my paper because there's a lot of scholarship about these verses and sort of the bottom line is; it doesn't matter where you fall, whether you're affirming or whether you would seek to exclude LGBTQ people from church or from church life, no matter where you fall, you've got the same Bible verses at your disposal. And so it becomes a matter of interpretation and a matter of using the other parts of what we, as Methodists would call the quadrilateral.
Beth Demme (16:16):
You've got to look at scripture, but you have to understand scripture based on your experience, tradition and reason. And that's where the differences seem to happen.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:30):
All right, Beth. See, it's complicated. So I want to know, are LGBTQ plus individuals sinning?
Beth Demme (16:43):
Probably, but not by being LGBTQ plus, I mean...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:47):
Okay, right on. I get you on that one. And I would say, Beth Demme are you sinning?
Beth Demme (16:53):
Yes. Probably, yes.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:56):
But not from your sexual orientation?
Beth Demme (16:59):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:00):
Same thing with me.
Beth Demme (17:01):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:01):
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, we're probably all sinning in different ways, but to throw out-
Beth Demme (17:07):
I mean, we are because otherwise, if I were to sit here and say that I'm completely without sin, I would be saying I'm like God.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:13):
Beth Demme (17:13):
And newsflash, I know I'm not God.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:19):
Well, God's a man, so...
Beth Demme (17:23):
Oh, no. Actually, Steph-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:27):
He is a gay man.
Beth Demme (17:30):
I believe God is without gender and also without sexuality.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:34):
I know. But it was a fun one [crosstalk 00:17:36].
Beth Demme (17:37):
God transcends all of that, all of that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:40):
Yeah. Gods more than we can even comprehend, we can't.
Beth Demme (17:44):
I do believe that Jesus was a dude. So my views have definitely changed and-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:51):
Well, I'm curious though, the change that happened, was it just all of a sudden you woke up and was like, "Whoa, I was wrong." Or was there LGBTQ plus people in your life that you knew that started to help you make that change?
Beth Demme (18:11):
I mean, sort of. The kind of big moments that I remember as I was working through this, I had a conversation with someone at church who was not affirming and who was a little bit upset that I was leaning that way even though I would have at that point, still been wondering about the need for celibacy. And the point that this non affirming person was making is, think about how procreation happens, it happens with a man and a woman. And that obviously is by design. And so if God wants our species to continue, then God must want only heterosexual people.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:52):
So then, what about the women and men that are infertile and have to go to [crosstalk 00:19:00] make science happens?
Beth Demme (19:03):
That was my point. And they were specifically saying, that's why marriage can only be between a man and a woman while I have a fantastic marriage. I love my husband deeply. I feel deeply loved by him. I feel like our marriage honors God in many ways, but procreation hasn't been part of our marriage, both of her children are adopted. And so I know that marriage is about more than just the act of procreation. And yet I think so many people who would not affirm LGBTQ would really want to break marriage down to be just that, to just be about one act. And really marriage is about so much more. And when I realized that, that's when I realized, "Oh, this whole idea of, oh yeah, people need to be celibate, I'm just wrong. I'm just wrong about that."
Beth Demme (19:48):
And then I did have a friend who was married to a man, got divorced and then fell in love with a woman. And I saw a lot of beauty in their relationship and I could see that their relationship also honored God. And it was like, "Okay, well, there's obviously more than one way to do this." And then you think about the diversity of God's creation and you go, "Oh yeah, why was I trying to put God in that box?" It's just because I just was taught that one way and I didn't think critically about it. There's a really great book, I'll put a link to it in the show notes by United Methodist, Pastor and Professor named Steve Harper. And one of the points that he makes is people will get hung up on the idea that in Genesis, God makes Adam and Eve and we have man and we have woman, but Dr. Harper makes the point that if we really look at creation and we see that God made day and night, that day and night are spectrum, right?
Beth Demme (20:47):
We have dawn, we have morning, we have afternoon, we have dusk. And that moves us into evening, which moves us into night, which moves us into [inaudible 00:20:58], that there's this whole spectrum. And, there are lots of examples of that. I mean, actually everything about the way Genesis one discusses creation is that way; this and that. And we have been taught to read that as a binary, but actually it's a spectrum. And so now that kind of makes sense to me if I think about, "Okay. Well yeah, humanity is also created in a way that reflects the spectrum that includes the diversity of creation." That also prompted me to think back on my life and think about the people who I have known throughout my life who are LGBT.
Beth Demme (21:35):
And probably the very first person who I knew who was really special to me, who was gay, was the organist at the church where I grew up, his name was Tony. And he was unique to our congregation because we were a congregation of all white people and he was a Black man. And I didn't know, maybe other people knew, but I didn't know that he was a gay man until he contracted AIDS in the early... He must've contracted in the 1980s, but he passed away from it in the early 1990s. And it was devastating to me because he was truly a special person. Gosh, when I think back about it, I'm thinking about all the crap that he must've had to put up with; it's kind of heartbreaking. But even as a teenager, I was able to go, "Oh, he had to hide a whole part of his life from us, that doesn't feel right."
Beth Demme (22:35):
That doesn't feel like we were really loving him and honoring him. And so as I was beginning to think critically about my views on LGBTQ and what kind of ally am I, and am I really truly at ally? What do I really believe? I began to really lament Tony again and not lament him, but lament that he had to hide part of his life from us because we shouldn't have made him do that. It wasn't okay. But yeah, I've known especially when I worked for Apple, there was a lot of LGBTQ plus people there, which was so effortless. Apple is such a accepting place and that was something I loved about Apple, was how much they were accepting of all people, female, male, gay, lesbian, transgender, all of those things. And they really believe that in and showed that in the people they hired.
Beth Demme (23:32):
There was never a time where I can remember being like, "Being gay is wrong." I just never really knew anyone that was gay or any of the [inaudible 00:23:43] and so it wasn't until I knew somebody that really kind of cemented my opinion, which was, I still love them, God loves them. This doesn't make any difference to me who they are attracted to. Yeah. And, for so long there was this question and I guess it is still a question for some people about are people who are gay, born gay?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:08):
That's an interesting question. So I think that's something that everyone has to decide, but I don't think you... I mean, I don't think you have to decide but it is something that I know I have really processed. So I'm curious, what is your thoughts on that? Are people born gay?
Beth Demme (24:26):
I think that I would go back to the idea of a spectrum. And I think that based on what I read in the Bible, for example, 1st John chapter four, God is love that any time love is shared, that that is a manifestation of God in some way. And so I don't know, it has become kind of irrelevant for me. Although, I think some people are born gay. It may not be that all people who as adults are gay, it may not be that they were born gay. I don't know. What do you think?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:06):
It's interesting because I do think it's a very polarizing thing to say your thoughts on it. Actually, I do think people are born gay. I think God knows how he created people. And I do like the spectrum that you kind of alluded to. I do think people are born gay but also as I've gotten older and have processed a lot of things within my life, I have come to the conclusion that nothing is one way or the other, nothing is black and white. I literally realized that and yet I know that I want things to be black and white, and I think that's the human condition. We want things to be this or that, it's so simple.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:51):
So the more that I have examined my past in the stuff that I've gone through, I've started kind of researching and realize that a lot of children are harmed by bad adults. A lot of children are molested and abused, and that changes a person, that changes the makeup of a brain. When a brain is not even fully formed, that changes things. And I do think that there are people that have been so badly harmed by horrible adults that their brains have changed. And, I even hesitate to say it because I don't want to give naysayers or non allies any kind of fuel. But I do that there are people that gravitate that weren't necessarily born gay, but gravitate towards the same gender, because they've been so harmed by adults when they were children. And it just that's their survival technique; that's where they find comfort and love is in that same gender.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:05):
And I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I have been harmed and I have had a lot of that my past, and I could see where that could have easily been something that could have been in my life. And I'm not saying that that is a different kind of gay and that is different than being... I have no idea if someone is born gay or that's something that they gravitated towards because of some horribleness in their past. I don't know, and it's my place to say which gay you are; that's not... But from this kind of observation or research I've done, I realized how much harm is done to children and how much that changes kind of the makeup of them. And I don't think LGBTQ plus people need to like think, "Okay, which one am I?" It's irrelevant, I don't think it matters, but I think both of those things.
Beth Demme (28:08):
Yeah. I get your hesitation to say that because it almost sounds like, well then in that case-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:13):
But I don't want use the word choice because I don't think it's the choice that they choose to be gay; I think it was something that was placed upon them from this horror that happened to them as children. So I don't even think that was a choice that they made to choose a same gender partner.
Beth Demme (28:35):
Yeah. But I get your hesitance to say that because it makes it sound like then being gay is a dysfunction or as a result of dysfunction, which I don't think is true. There was a long time in our history when the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a mental disorder. I think that's a reflection of our cultural views on sexuality rather than being good science. Just like I think when we read that into the Bible, that's a reflection of us putting our cultural views into the Bible or wanting to use the Bible to justify our cultural bigotry; just like we did with slavery, just like we've done when it comes to the rights of women.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:17):
In this crazy messed up world, if you can find someone to love and loves you, that is magical and amazing. And whoever that person is, if there's love there and true, honest, healthy love, that's beautiful. And that's all that matters. So to me, if you're in love and you guys are in a healthy, committed relationship, that's amazing.
Beth Demme (29:44):
Right. And, from my perspective as a pastor, is that everything in the Bible kind of comes down to the idea of covenant love, that we're in a covenant with God, that God loves us with a covenant love, and there's no need for there to be a gender difference in order for covenant love to exist. And so that means that some of those questions about, is it something people choose? Is it how they're created? Is it the result of a childhood experience for some, but not for others? All of those questions kind of fall under, for me, well, if you get to a point in your life where you can participate and experience covenant love, that's redemption; whatever has happened to lead you there. And if your covenant love happens with someone of the same gender, that's a gift from God.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:30):
Yeah. It's interesting to think back before gay marriage was legal and there was a very long time where... I feel like it became legal in 2013, but don't know, 2015?
Beth Demme (30:41):
It was 2015. Obergefell versus Hodges.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:45):
Wow. Okay. Man, that was just a couple years ago. That was when I started Mother Daughter Projects. Wow. Okay. I remember though, for years it was such a... Because some states made it legal and it wasn't federal until 2015.
Beth Demme (31:01):
Right, that was when the Supreme court ruled [crosstalk 00:31:03]-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:03):
When it was federal yeah.
Beth Demme (31:04):
Under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:06):
Beth Demme (31:07):
I do remember that I like people were traveling to be able to get married. So there were places where it was legal and places where it wasn't.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:15):
And then they wouldn't recognize in certain places.
Beth Demme (31:16):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:17):
It's so strange to even remember back then and like my [inaudible 00:31:22] will never know a world without gay marriage. Well, and just marriage for everyone.
Beth Demme (31:26):
Yeah. That's right, that's marriage.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:28):
Marriage for everyone. Because I remember it was such a hot topic and there was people, I remember there was people and actors that would be like, "I'm not getting married until everyone can get married," which I was like, that seems like an excuse that you just don't want to get married. And one says that anymore because well, everyone can get married now.
Beth Demme (31:49):
Right. It's true. I participated in a church thing where we met for a few weeks and talked about gay marriage, LGBTQ rights, LGBTQ persons in the church and we kind of talked about all of those issues. Because I'm United Methodist and it's been an issue on which, in my opinion, we have not handled it well. So we were having this series of meetings and it was the last time we were going to be meeting with this particular group and a young man stood up who had grown up in that particular church. And he was probably in his late 20s. Well actually, before he stood up... He happened to be there with his husband and an older woman, a white haired woman stood up and said, "Well, okay, I get all of this, but why do the gays have to call it marriage? Why can't it be something else?"
Beth Demme (32:45):
And she was very sincere and she did not mean for her words to have any hatred in them. So just understand this place she was coming from, we could all hear where she was coming from.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:58):
We'll just call her Karen. Right?
Beth Demme (32:59):
Yeah, I actually don't remember her name. So this man who was in his 20s, who was there with his husband, stood up and said, "I want to be married to him because of what you and your husband taught me about marriage. And I have that level of commitment, I want that level of commitment, we're building our lives together." And you could see the light bulb go off for her. Actually, it was sort of like in the [inaudible 00:33:27], when his heart grows bigger, you could see it; oh, because marriage is marriage.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:33):
Beth Demme (33:33):
Right. It was a very profound moment.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:38):
And I think that's part of the whole concept of this is communicating and hearing each other. And I think when you don't and that's, for me, like when I had personal experience with someone that was gay, it just made it so much clearer because it was someone I knew, I respected, "Oh, okay. You're no different than you were before." And so I think those kinds of situations, the more we interact with our fellow human, the more we can have those interactions and learn from each other. And I think, again, that's like why we started this podcast, is to hear different voices and to hear personal stories that we might not be hearing in other places. And so that's a very cool story because that's exactly what we as humans need to be doing, is sharing. And helping other people understand something that they may have had no context to previously.
Beth Demme (34:37):
Yeah. Every once in a while there'll be a story that I'll come across in the news where it's like, there was this super Christian person who was anti-LGBTQ and then their daughter or their niece or their son comes out. And they can look at that person and they know, I love you. I love you, you are a good person. You bear the image of God. You were created on purpose for a purpose. They can think all of those things on them. And then they realize in that moment, 'Oh, this isn't at all what I thought it was." Because they've been culturally conditioned to dislike homosexuality and to therefore dislike homosexual people. It's so interesting how personal experience can really change a heart on that.
Beth Demme (35:30):
So in the I, LGBTQIA, I means intersex. And I recently took trip to Savannah, Georgia and one... So Savannah is sort of famous for its squares and it has all of these 27 squares or something that are part of how Oglethorpe originally designed the city. Everything's on a grid and there are these central squares and the squares were meant to be shared public spaces, of course. They also function like roundabouts, so they slow traffic down. But anyway, all that is a one of the squares has a monument to General Pulaski and there's also a historic fort called Fort Pulaski. Well, General Pulaski was buried in this particular square, under the monument to the General. And there was some controversy about, well, how do we really know it's General Pulaski? Are we sure these bones even... So they actually unearthed the bones and they confirmed that it was General Pulaski and they discovered that General Pulaski was either a woman or was an intersex male.
Beth Demme (36:43):
He lived his life as a man and would probably have said his pronouns were he and him but biologically was more like a woman.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:55):
Beth Demme (36:57):
So if you're thinking like this intersex thing is new, it's just not. It's just not. Even in the Bible, there's a talk about a eunuch who comes to become a Christian and the, in the course of things. And we don't really know what is meant by that. It could have been an intersex person. So LGBTQIA, and A, we have a whole episode about that's the asexual.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:22):
Beth Demme (37:28):
We have so much fun making this podcast. And we've heard from some of you that you're wondering what is the best way to support us. So we've decided to expand the podcast experience using buymeacoffee.com. You can go there and buy us a cup of coffee, or for Steph a cup of tea, or you can actually become a monthly supporter and that will give you access to PDFs of the questions for reflection, as well as pictures, outtakes, polls, and more. The kinds of things that we would put on social media if we had a social media channel, but we actually don't for the podcast because we decided from the beginning that we didn't want to add to more white noise in your life. So one of the great things about buy me a coffee is that you'll be able to actually get an email when we post new content, you can go straight there and you don't have to deal with ads are being bombarded with other content. You see exactly the content you're looking for without a bunch of distractions.
Beth Demme (38:15):
We plan to post probably like once or twice a week and we're excited to get your feedback as members on our Buy Me a Coffee page, which we are lovingly calling our BMAC page.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:25):
Beth Demme (38:26):
BMAC. So you'll be able to find a link in our description to find out more and to sign up.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:36):
So Beth, we have a voicemail that I wanted to play.
Beth Demme (38:40):
Yes, let's play that voicemail.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:41):
So we got a voicemail this week from a guy named
Joey and I'm going to play it.
Beth Demme (38:49):
Yeah. Hey Joey, thanks for calling.
Hey Steph and Beth, this is Joey from Bryan, Texas, or College Station, and just calling to... There were several things to say, but I'll keep it short. I came across the podcast when I ordered Stephanie's book, which I found out through a video of her and her mom, putting a shed together that I need to put together.
Beth Demme (39:19):
Put that shed together, Joey.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:22):
Stephanie, I read your book.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:30):
And I am quite sorry for the things that you went through. And I'm glad that you are overcoming those things and you're brave enough to share those experiences, both in the podcast and in the book. So very cool. And to the both of you, I am just enjoying the podcasts. I've been going through them for about a month now and I love hearing the conversation. So keep it up. God bless. I am enjoying the journey that you are both on, and it's cool to see a refreshing voice up in the atmosphere these days. God bless, [inaudible 00:40:17].
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:19):
Joey, thank you. Thank you so much.
Beth Demme (40:21):
That was so awesome.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:22):
We are definitely on a journey and you are very careful with your verb choices, which I appreciate that.
Beth Demme (40:29):
What do you mean?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:30):
Like the, you are overcoming, we are overcoming. Not that like it's done, it's in the past. We've gotten to some destination, but this is all a journey.
Beth Demme (40:38):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:39):
Well, thank you so much, Joey, for... And how exciting that's how he found us. I love that he found the shed video, mother daughter project shed video that led him to my book that led him to the podcast; that is full circle.
Beth Demme (40:51):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:52):
Thank you, Joey. You completed the circle. You gold stars all around, but get that shed done. Come on.
Beth Demme (40:58):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:59):
Come on, get it done. You'll love it.
Beth Demme (41:00):
Get it done, send us a picture. We want to see it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:01):
We want to see your shed done. So I do want to remind everybody that we do have a voicemail number that
Joey called into. You can call that number and share anything, you can answer questions we may have asked in the past; whatever you want, give us feedback, let us know your thoughts on today's episode, anything. And you can also text that number, it's a text number as well. So Beth, what is that number?
Beth Demme (41:28):
Text or give us a call at (850) 270-3308.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:34):
That was great. I love your announcer voice. That was my favorite.
Beth Demme (41:37):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:41):
Call now, appraiser standing by.
Beth Demme (41:44):
I am available for voiceover work.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:45):
All for the [inaudible 00:41:48] price of 1989, plus shipping and handling and all it'll be $2,000. Don't you remember those from back in the day?
Beth Demme (41:56):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:56):
I don't see those anymore. I know why-
Beth Demme (41:58):
We don't watch commercials.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:58):
Yeah. We don't watch TV.
Beth Demme (41:59):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:00):
Beth, do you have any weird news for me today?
Beth Demme (42:01):
Well, I do. So I love to travel and so I'm kind of always look out for travel news. And this popped up in my feed recently that it has come to light that in the 1960s, before Neil Armstrong had ever even been to the moon, Hilton came up with a concept for a space hotel or like a hotel in space. And that is on the one hand, very forward thinking and on the other hand, what a ridiculous waste of time?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:28):
What do you mean?
Beth Demme (42:28):
Well, because we're like 50 years later and we still don't have hotels in space. So come on, [crosstalk 00:42:36] put time together, putting together like a space hotel, come on.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:39):
Okay, Beth. Now you're going to make me bring you back though. If you never have the ideas, we're never going to get to a place if you don't have the ideas. So you got to have those ideas and that will lead us, who knows when we will have that, but it's because they came up with the idea. Was that your weird news?
Beth Demme (42:56):
Yeah. That's my weird news. That it's weird that they had a design 50 years ago for a space hotel. So I'll put a link to it in the show notes.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (43:01):
I think that's forward thinking. That's like Steve Jobs kind of stuff, where he has these like crazy ideas and then it actually happens [crosstalk 00:43:08]-
Beth Demme (43:08):
Because he made his ideas happen.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (43:09):
Well, not right away. And then he died so...
Beth Demme (43:13):
So we don't even know what ideas were [crosstalk 00:43:15].
Stephanie Kostopoulos (43:15):
He probably had an idea for a space hotel and never made happen. It probably would have happened, but...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (43:23):
At the end of each episode, we end with questions for reflection. These are questions based on today's show that Beth will read and leave a little pause between or you can find a PDF of them on our Buy Me a Coffee page.
Beth Demme (43:33):
Number one, what are your feelings on Pride Month? Number two, who was the first person close to you who you learned was gay? How did you react? Number three, do you struggle to understand all the acronyms and why they matter? And number four, if you're straight, how do you support the gay community? If you're gay, how do you want to be supported?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (43:58):
This has been the Discovering Our Scars Podcast, thank you for joining us.