2015 Fall Conference: Conversations About Discomfort and Safety

In addition to the two sessions by our Keynote Speaker, Buddy Wakefield, we have four conversations that will be moderated by members of our tribe. The topics are derived from conversations at conferences over the past few years and from online postings that generated significant interest. You’ll be able to attend two of the following conversations:

Scott Dillard
Scott Dillard

The Discomfort and Safety of Surviving
with host Scott Dillard

Since the advent of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, many of us have lost a good number of friends, family, and partners. Some of us have carried on our lives as we witnessed the passing of those we loved and also worried for our health at the same time. Still others have wondered, “Why them and not me?” It is a sort of survivor’s guilt that makes us wonder about our own mortality, the fairness of life, and how we continue to live with loss.

We will engage in a conversation that seeks to honor those we lost, those we carried for, and our own sense of self in these most trying of times. This is more than a chat. We will do some writing, some sketching, some storytelling that uncovers the emotions we each feel as survivors of the plague. Come prepared to share at our own level of comfort and to contemplate the shared sense of community that living through this has meant.


Joe Kiser
Joe Kiser & Friend

The Discomfort and Safety of Aging
with host Joe Kiser

As I move from one decade to another, I have experienced many changes on many fronts…and backs. How I experience life has evolved. Emotionally, physically and spiritually. From wild to mild and back to wild again. As my body, mind and spirituality evolve, I am presented with opportunities to embrace, deny or adapt. Additionally, questions have arisen for me. What responsibility, if any, do i have for the next generation? What, if anything, can I offer to future generations?

During this session, I will share some of my experiences and the impact of my decisions and reactions. I would also like to hear the experiences and expectations of others.


Greg Hummel
Greg Hummel

The Discomfort and Safety Around the Gender and Sexuality Continuum
with host Greg Hummel

Man, woman, straight, or gay. Do you remember when these were our only options? For some, these identifiers are enough. But for many of us, these labels are limiting and leave us left out of the conversation. At a time in history when women like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox are creating (much needed) ripples in our social fabric, we sometimes find ourselves struggling to keep up. Come join me in confronting our discomfort around gender identity and sexuality. Together we can create an even safer GSV environment and a safer world.


Hunter Flournoy
Hunter Flournoy

The Discomfort and Safety of Victimization and Oppression
with host Hunter Flournoy

Join us for a discussion of our experiences of victimization and oppression, and how we perpetuate these experiences even within our own community by oppressing each other, and projecting the role of oppressor onto each other. Explore how we can step off of the drama triangle and empower ourselves and each other.

2015 GSV Fall Conference: Trusting the Wild Mind

GSV 2015 Fall Conference

GSV 2015 Fall Conference

Trusting the Wild Mind:
Confronting Discomfort in Our Search for Safety

September 17 – 20, 2015
at The Mountain, Highlands, NC

Four Days: $398.90
Five Days: $489.64


My Dearest Brothers,

After many months of planning I am excited to announce that registration for GSV’s 26th Annual Fall Conference is now open. Many of our brothers already have the conference on their September calendars. Others are more spontaneous when deciding if they’ll attend. In whichever group you belong, I hope to see you at The Mountain. While it’s fresh on your mind, I encourage you to register today!

When thinking about the times I have joined together with my tribe – the brothers of GSV – I discover memories of the most transformative and heart-opening experiences of my life. The many men already at work on the 2015 Fall Conference share my commitment to creating a space that allows and encourages personal growth and community connection. Spiritual discernment and the intention to co-create a safe space for heartfelt communication guide the formation of our upcoming gathering: Trusting the Wild Mind: Confronting Discomfort in Our Search for Safety.

Over the next few months you’ll learn more about the theme and our keynote speaker (he studies propellers because they can make themselves invisible). You’re going to find out about our intentional conversations that were prompted by our community chats, workshop opportunities, and other fun activities for our gathering (including a hat and wig social!). Watch your email for updates … and please consider registering today! We have in the last ten years never fallen beneath the anticipated number of attendees; early registration will assure your spot!

Are you willing to trust the wild mind? Come explore the edge of your comfort zone, engage with your tribe of amazing brothers, and possibly uncover your authentic voice.


Todd Humphrey
Convener, 2015 Fall Conference


Read More About the 2015 Fall Retreat >>
Register for the 2015 Fall Retreat >>

2015 Spring Workshops

Terry and I are thrilled about our workshop facilitators! Two of the workshops are described below, and we’re still planning on setting aside several spaces on Saturday afternoon for anyone to lead a workshop or activity.

Franklin AbbottCircle of Healing

with Franklin Abbott
(and Bob Strain on music)

Energy is a nonverbal form of communication. We will be communicating healing through energy and touch in pairs and in the circle. This will be enhanced by guided imagery and music. The Circle of Healing format was used for over five years in a monthly gathering at First E in the early years of the AIDS epidemic to provide comfort and support for those infected with the virus and those in the community who supported them. It is not AIDS-specific and can be used in all forms of healing: physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Dev "Trinity"Let your kid come out to play!

with Dev ‘Trinity’

Using ideas from Transactional Analysis, Non-competitive play, Improvisation, and Theatre Games, the goal of the workshop is for each of us to get in touch with our fun-loving kid and let him come out to play. Most of the play is nonverbal, though that does not mean silence. It does mean focusing on our experiences when we get out of our heads and into our bodies. Touch is involved at a safe level and a participant may choose to sit out any game.

2015 Spring Retreat—Engaging in Communication: Paths to Connections

Engaging in Communication: Paths to Connections

As humans, we tend to compartmentalize ourselves. We sometimes see ourselves as part mind, part body, and part spirit. We even have different doctors for each one of these parts. However, all three parts are one and the same.

There is a concept in social work, Holon, which establishes that we are more than the sum of our parts. In fact, illness in any one of these areas affects the others. This spring we would like to engage all three areas—mind, body, and spirit—to communicate our needs. In order for us to communicate our needs to each other, we first have to connect with these three areas in ourselves.

As a practice, connection and communication offers two opportunities: one, to learn and internalize new skills and tools, and another to self-explore and express yourself on your own terms. This cycle of discovery continues throughout our lives; we often call it growth.

The Spring Retreat will provide safe spaces for us to explore how we communicate though our words, bodies, and spirits. When we cultivate an inner connection in ourselves, we can then connect with others. And for that, we have scheduled unstructured time throughout the weekend.

So, come brothers, and grow with us as we seek to create a spiritual community with the intent to heal, nurture our gifts and potential, and live with integrity in the world.

Peace and Love,

Luis and Terry

2015 Spring Keynote: Brandon Kazen-Maddox

Brandon Kazen-Maddox
Brandon Kazen-Maddox

Connection and communication is vital to human relationships and community. Brandon Kazen-Maddox practices connection and communication using an original art form he’s created called ASLAD, or American Sign Language (ASL) Acrobatic Dance. He says, “I want to spread its breath, lift, flips and sweeps far and wide across our world, in hopes that one day we humans might communicate through gestures that are so emotive, so communicative, that we won’t even have to look twice.”

A gymnast since the age of four and a grandchild of deaf adults (or GODA), Brandon maintains a professional career as a freelance American Sign Language Interpreter for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and has worked in the television and entertainment industry through shows involving deaf performers. He has also trained Chinese Acrobats in a Professional Training Program in San Francisco, CA.

Brandon’s unique perspective as a biracial, gay artist that has fused communication with movement can help us discover ways to expand how we connect. When asked if he saw his work as a spiritual practice, he said, “Oh definitely!”

About Brandon

Brandon Kazen-Maddox, Acrobat
Brandon Kazen-Maddox, Acrobat

Brandon Kazen-Maddox is a freelance American Sign Language interpreter in the Bay Area who focuses the bulk of his artistic efforts on blending the linguistics of American Sign Language (ASL), the explosive inverted qualities of acrobatics and the technique of various styles of dance to cultivate a new form of performance art he has named American Sign Language Acrobatic Dance, or ASLAD. Brandon has performed works of ASLAD in both live performance and video through his performance company, Body.Language.Productions. Recent works from B.L.P. include a video performance project for the 2013 Bay Area Deaf Dance Festival, an ASL dance duet choreographed by dancer and choreographer Antoine Hunter for the 2014 Black Choreographer’s Festival and an upcoming ASL project with Rosa Lee Timm, a notable Deaf performer whose passion is rooted in signing poems and songs in American Sign Language.

Brandon’s Mission: To meld the intricate emotions of American Sign Language, the kinesthetic dynamics of rhythm and dance and the percussive qualities of high-energy acrobatics together in order to create a brand-new medium of art that resounds within the souls of hearing and deaf people alike.

Brandon’s Motivation: His deaf family members, friends, and fellow dancers who have the ability to feel as far as the sky.

Brandon’s Muse: Rhythm, music, and dance that evokes the body to feel compelled to physically and emotionally express itself in a manner all its own.

Watch Brandon’s American Sign Language performance: