GSV 2020 Fall Virtual Conference

GSV Fall Conference 2020 Photo

Resilience through Recounting

September 24 – 27, 2020

While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay
There are frail forms fainting at the door
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say
Oh, hard times, come again no more
(From: Hard Times Come Around No More, Traditional)

Hard times. Many of us have been here before; many will be here again–but not all of us, and none of us in the same way. We know sickness at the door. We know incompetence at the highest level and dealing with such sickness only makes it worse. Both seem out to get us and see us suffer and die. Or, at least, that’s one way of telling the story.

Stories link us in networks of shared understanding if not always agreement. They help us learn about things we haven’t directly experienced. Stories give us a frame to hang the ambiguous on so that it starts to make sense. They make the uncomfortable a little more palatable when seen through the frame of familiar narrative structures. Ah yes, we say, I know this story.

When we cannot gather together in person, when we cannot hug and otherwise explore each other with sacred touch, when we cannot raise our voices together in song or generate steam from our bodies entwined in pulsing dance, we still have stories.

This fall, Gay Spirit Visions invites you to a COVID-19-compliant online gathering to connect as we are able. We come together to tell and to listen to one another’s stories, for stories, too, are a powerful medicine. How are we weathering this storm? How is it familiar? How is it strange? Are there other stories that arise from our current situation that we want to give space to?

Circle ‘round. Listen up. What I have is a story …

Many events conducive to sharing our stories are already being planned, including an online talent show, panels consisting of some of our best homegrown storytellers, an online silent auction, and opportunities for discussions in small groups. As always, our members’ willingness to provide workshops and activities is strongly encouraged and appreciated. If you have something you want to contribute or present, please contact the Fall Conference convener, Jonny Gray (a.k.a. Mothra).

Registration information and suggested donation options will be handled through The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center registration platform. Details will be coming soon.

Jonny Gray,
2020 GSV Fall Conference

Special Message from GSV Council

Dear Members of the GSV Community,

The killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other Black Americans, and moreover the persistent and pervasive racism that enables such acts of abuse, violence, and hate both large and small, call for a strong response. The Council of Trusted Elders of Gay Spirit Visions, Inc. joins in solidarity with those who are working to end the scourge of racism and oppression in all forms.

As an organization of men who love men, we acknowledge that the murder of George Floyd ignites within us our own tribal and personal stories of hate and oppression. We represent men with a shared vision of a world in which men who love men can come together, be authentic, and share our spiritual vision. We feel the need to create a safe place because we live in a world where we do not feel completely safe. We acknowledge and applaud the desire and efforts of anyone to change the world to allow people of any race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, gender, gender identity, or disability to feel safe.

We acknowledge that in our quest in creating a spiritual community, we are often faced with oppression which we seek to overcome. We do not always speak out, however, when confronted with hatred and prejudice as has been evidenced by the recent killings of black men and women, we resolve to stand together to seek a more just and equitable world for all.

As part of our commitment to support others in their spiritual growth, we feel it is important, especially because of the event related to the murder of George Floyd, to hear stories of spiritual growth in our community as it relates to prejudice, oppression, violence, injustice, and apathy. We recognize the importance of a lifelong examination of internalized racism as part of one’s spiritual growth.

We continue to work to create safe, sacred space for men who love men and know that this space can only exist where there is no hate. Although at times we are tempted to avoid efforts at social change and focus instead on making our own personal sphere safe, in truth, we wish for the whole world to be like the world we are working at creating for ourselves: a world in which anyone who loves anyone can come together to heal, nurture our gifts and potential, and live with integrity in the world.

Holding love in our hearts and life in our hands,
Your Council of Trusted Elders of Gay Spirit Visions, Inc.

GSV Virtual Spring Retreat:  In the Wellspring of Queer Resilience: Listening to the Wisdom of Our Ancestors

2020 Spring Retreat
Dear Gentle Ones,

Our Spring GSV Virtual Gathering begins this coming weekend on Friday evening, May 15th, at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

I am pleased to share with you that we have an outstanding series of workshops planned for you on Saturday, May 16th, with Hunter Flournoy, Andrew Ramer, and David and Teddy Jones.

Across space and time, we will have the opportunity to create the gentle, warm, and playful community just like we have so enjoyed all these years previously on our beloved mountaintop. This year we open arms and hearts to each other wherever we are and welcome each other as we hold sacred presence with ourselves and with our community. Our capacity is 50 people. There are about 12 spaces still available. Please register today!

Once you have registered, you will receive an email from me later this week with Zoom links for each session. We recommend you familiarize yourself with Zoom before participating.

With grateful anticipation of our meeting,

Mark Medlin, Convener
Virtual Spring GSV Gathering 2020

In the Wellspring of Queer Resilience: Listening to the Wisdom of Our Ancestors

Virtual Spring GSV Gathering — May 15-17, 2020

Friday Evening
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. EDT
Welcome and In-Gathering
Welcome — Mark Medlin
Fire Bridging — Scotty Simons
Calling in the Directions — Selected Siblings
Heart Weaving — Mark Medlin
Musical Reflection — Bob Strain
Heart Circle — Paul Plate

Opportunities for Connection and Celebration
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. EDT
GSV Council Town Hall Meeting

Join your presiding elder, Jason Buchanan, and members of the GSV Council as they talk about our organization and community. You will also hear from a representative from The Mountain and have an opportunity to ask questions.

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EDT
Rooting and Rising: Discovering our Deepest Resiliency and Truest Visions
with Hunter Flournoy

In this turning of the worlds, each of us must root deep in the tremendous strength of the Great Mystery, the Sacred Earth, the community of those we love, the healing power of our own body and breath, and the truest visions of our hearts. In this 90-minute workshop, we will explore each of these through stories, sharing, and practical exercises. Come ready to move, to breathe, to share and bear witness to the incredible strength we can create together.
Hunter Flournoy is a two-spirited healer, life-coach, breathworker, writer, and master facilitator with a passionate commitment to building community for soulful GBTQ men and helping them change their lives. He is the vision-keeper for Spirit Journeys and a devoted member of our Gay Spirit Visions community.

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT
Optional Virtual Saturday Lunch
Click on the lunchtime Zoom link and be randomly grouped with four other siblings for an hour’s informal conversation as you dine together in front of your computer.

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. EDT
In the Temple of Father Earth: Embodying the Wisdom of our Gay Ancestors
with Andrew Ramer

We are living in a time of unprecedented challenges, caught between the global threats of climate change and the microscopic threats of a new virus. This time invites us to deepen into ourselves, whoever we are, and invites us as men who love men to tap into our own deep archetypal wisdom.

This workshop emerges from the teachings found in Andrew Ramer’s book Two Flutes Playing. After an introduction to the session, we will go on a guided journey of connection with our ancient gay ancestors, designed to support our own embodied elderhood. We will end with an open conversation about our work of global healing and the ways that we can support each other.
Andrew Ramer spoke at the first GSV gathering with Harry Hay and Franklin Abbott. In addition to Two Flutes Playing he is the author of Queering the Text and Fragments of the Brooklyn Talmud, a comic kweerish dystopian exploration of texts and stories.

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. EDT
Yoga with Affirmations for Challenging Times | Men’s Yoga and Harp Meditation
with David and Teddy Jones

Your session is a mixture of gentle active yoga as well as restorative yoga. Please have a blanket or big towel, a yoga mat and a strap or belt. Here is your opportunity to stretch and unwind after a full day of reflection and connection. Yoga and meditation will enable you to integrate all your awareness and learning in embodiment.
David & Teddy
David Jones has been teaching in the greater Nashville area for eleven years. During much of this time he also taught at The Recovery Ranch, a drug and alcohol treatment center. In the recent year he began working at Milestones at Onsite with a focus in trauma recovery. He offers a basic hatha class, a light vinyasa flow accessible to all levels. His focus has become restorative yoga. He teaches spiritual and restorative workshops regularly.

Teddy Jones is an acoustic harpist who specializes in original music created for special events and ceremonies. His recordings are improvisations that can be used for meditation, stress release, massage, yoga, and healing.

Celebration for Preparing Ourselves for Action in the World

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EDT
Releasing the Directions – Mark Medlin and Selected Siblings
Musical Reflection – Bob Strain
Heart Circle – Paul Plate
Closing Song: Dear Friends, Queer Friends – Wendall Johnson

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT
Optional Virtual Sunday Lunch
Click on the lunchtime Zoom link and be randomly grouped with four other siblings for an hour’s informal conversation as you dine together in front of your computer.

GSV Virtual Spring Retreat: Announcement Concerning Registration

Greetings Siblings,

We have been made aware that the registration process has a few unexpected issues concerning payment for this Spring Conference. We are currently working with The Mountain to clear up the confusion in the registration process. It has always been our intention to offer this conference *free of charge* and that any donation, including the suggested donation, to the mountain is totally optional, though appreciated. Your registration is sufficient for attendance.

We are all learning from this new experience and working out the kinks, so if more concerns arise, please reach out so that we are able to address them as best we can and make things right.

With love and appreciation for all of you in this community,
Your Trusted Council of Elders

GSV Virtual Spring Retreat: In the Wellspring of Queer Resilience: Listening to the Wisdom of Our Ancestors

2020 Spring Retreat
Dear Siblings,

Greetings, heartfelt appreciation, and comforting hugs to each of you. How much has changed since my previous letter to you announcing the GSV spring retreat which was to have been held live and in person, face-to-face, and heart-to-heart, at The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center on May 8th through 10th. However, as you may have already been aware, The Mountain has cancelled all live and in person events and is temporarily closed in accordance with the North Carolina governor’s Stay At Home order.

Instead, I’m delighted to announce that we are holding the first ever GSV Virtual Spring Retreat! It will be held in four 90-minute Zoom sessions on May 15th, 16th & 17th .

Like so many other organizations, we have been working to reorient ourselves around a meaningful and engaging live Zoom video communications experience that we can use to explore and experiment with together. In venturing into this new technology-based way of being, we are each called upon to breathe even more deeply, to be patient with ourselves, and each other, and to be open to the moving of gay spiritedness between us across space and time to create community and connection.

The draft agenda for our virtual spring retreat, subject to last minute changes, appears below.

If you’ve never participated in a Zoom event before, please consider watching the following video tutorial prior to Friday evening’s opening event so that you will be more at ease and present.

Some basic suggestions:
1. When you are using Zoom, make sure that the light on your face is brighter than the light in the background; otherwise, we can’t see your bright eyes and beautiful smile.

2. Make sure the environment you are in — whether outside or inside — is completely quiet with no music or noise in the background.

3. Using a 4″ x 6″ index card or something similar, write the name you wish to be called by with a black magic marker, or print your name in large print, so you can hold it up as needed during a session. You’ll understand more about this during the event.


Registration information:

To participate in this virtual event, please register through The Mountain Learning and Retreat Center at this website link: As you complete the registration process on The Mountain’s website, we suggest you consider giving a donation to The Mountain of about $69.00. In honor of The Mountain’s 30 years of service to our community, we invite you to consider making an additional donation. In any case, please know that no one will be turned away for any reason because of financial constraints. Because this virtual experience is new for all of us, total registration is limited to 50 siblings.

I welcome your presence as we create space together, leaning in to sustaining connection even across space and time.

With gratitude for each of you and for our living, breathing community,

Mark Medlin (Rainbow Sprinkles)
Convenor, GSV Spring Retreat 2020

In the Wellspring of Queer Resilience: Listening to the Wisdom of Our Ancestors

Gay Spirit Visions Virtual Spring Retreat

May 15-17, 2020


Friday, May 15th
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Welcome and In-Gathering
Welcome – Mark Medlin
Calling In the Directions – Selected Siblings
In-Gathering Music – Bob Strain
Heart Weaving – Mark Medlin
Heart Circle – Paul Plate

Saturday, May 16th
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
GSV Council Town Hall Meeting,
Jason Buchanan, Presiding Elder

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Opportunities for Connection and Celebration
Two or three options to be determined.

12:00 Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Optional Virtual Saturday Lunch
Click on the lunchtime Zoom link and be randomly grouped with four other siblings for an hour’s informal conversation as you dine together in front of your computer.

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Opportunities for Connection and Celebration
Two or three options to be determined.

Sunday, May 17th
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Celebration for Preparing Ourselves for Action in the World
Naming of the Fall 2020 GSV Conference Convener
Closing Music – Bob Strain
Heart Circle – Paul Plate
Releasing the Directions – Mark Medlin
Closing Song – Wendell Johnson

12:00 Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Optional Virtual Sunday Lunch
Click on the lunchtime Zoom link and be randomly grouped with four other siblings for an hour’s informal conversation as you dine together in front of your computer.

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