Peterson Toscano (born February 17, 1965) is a playwright, an actor, a poet, a stand-up comedian, and a gay activist. A devout Christian, he spent seventeen years in the ex-gay movement attempting to alter his sexual orientation through conversion therapy. In addition to receiving pastoral counseling and discipleship training, he attended several ex-gay programs including Life Ministries in New York City and the residential ex-gay program Love in Action in Memphis, Tennessee. The conflict between his beliefs and his sexuality lead him to consider suicide. He has stated that his experiences in Love in Action "felt like... a biblically induced coma". He currently resides in Hartford, Connecticut.
In 2003, he premiered his one-man satire Doin' Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House and has since performed it throughout the US, Canada and Europe. His other works include Queer 101, How the Indians Discovered Columbus, Footprints--An Inspirational Comedy, The Re-Education of George W. Bush, and Transfigurations--Transgressing Gender in the Bible. He also appears in the documentary film Fish Can't Fly, which explores the conflict that many lesbians and gays have had with their Christian faith.
A Quaker minister, Toscano states that his non-violent approach in his work seeks to expose injustice without attacking anti-gay activists. He believes that gay community poorly welcomes gay Christians, and that that helps drive the popularity of conversion therapy groups. He told news website Salon.com, "If we took better care of our own, we would put these programs out of business".
In April 2007, together with Christine Bakke, Toscano launched Beyond Ex-Gay, an on-line support group for people who are now Ex-ex-gay. Toscano also helps organize the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference held June 28-July 1, 2007 in Irvine, CA. He is also an active contributor to the Gay Christian Network.
- Official site
- Beyond Ex-Gay, a support website co-run by Toscano and Christine Bakke, for people coming out of ex-gay experiences
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