Have you graduated college already?
Last year, I graduated from Drexel University with a degree in computer engineering and got my masters as well in information architecture.
What are Soulforce's plans now that the school season has started again?
We're going to be traveling around the country, doing a lot of local collaborations and unveiling our next campaign, "On the Road." Besides that, in 2008, we are going international. This October, we're going to Lithuania for a conference, to make connections and establish ourselves in preparation for 2008.
If religion is the basis for much of the anti-homosexuality discourse, how do you maintain a strong faith in your God?
It really comes from the recognition that people misuse religion. It's very important to distinguish that just because someone says they are Christian, and they go a Christian school and they were raised Christian, that they may not actually be a Christian.
And, so as long as you can distinguish words from deeds, it makes it possible to own your own faith.
If people misuse religion, does that make you more cynical toward faith?
Not really. I feel that religion is a man-made construct, that it has the bureaucracy and the power-dynamics, much like government or a school board, they are places where you'll get conflict. But when you're talking about faith, one's personal relationship with God, that's something that is very different from religion.
Have you ever been arrested at a Soulforce event?
I have. It was a very emotional experience, and also, I have to say, in a word describe it as "real." You get arrested, and you become so aware of ... how ridiculous this is.
It's one thing to have a conversation with somebody about the Bible and homosexuality and politics. It's another to be placed in handcuffs because someone doesn't want you to have that conversation. I know that every time I've been arrested [six times], I've been in great company, both with people who were arrested with me and those who have been arrested before me for other causes.
How do you respond to people who say that gays and lesbians are requesting "special rights?"
Semantics are something that we battle everyday. It takes an explanation of what a right is; something is only a right if it is afforded to everyone. The right to vote, for example, is only a right once everyone, no matter the color of their skin or their sex or gender, can vote. The same thing applies. If we're talking about marriage is a right that heterosexual people have, that should be extended to everyone regardless of their gender.
Do you have any immediate family members that you stay in contact with?
I'm pretty close with my siblings, and I do speak with my grandparents, our relationship has improved very much, just the fact that we can talk ... is an improvement. We're working on it.
With Generation Next being much more accepting of homosexuality than older generations, do you think that your negative experiences with being openly gay will ever become a thing of the past?
I'd like to not have to work for Soulforce for another decade. I'm very optimistic in terms of what my generation will bring. With the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights movement, I think the world, society, could really learn an important lesson because this bleeds into every single community, no matter what your socioeconomic status, what your religion is, what your ethnicity is, nationality, you can be gay or transgender.
What are your plans for the next year? Next three years?
I have no idea. I no longer believe in very strict plans because life happens. My goal is to be where I need to be. I want to be where I am needed.