Hey guys, Brett here.
I was blown away by the response to Blue Babies Pink. Nearly 100,000 people have checked out my story of faith & sexuality since I started writing about it in late 2016.
And lots of you wrote me, sharing both your thoughts on BBP and your personal stories. I wasn't able to respond as fully as I wanted so I thought,
"Brett, these people are amazing...you should just go meet them."
I then envisioned a tour...around the country...in my Prius. In my mind it was like a book tour except...there was no book. I then thought about how Seth Godin (one of my longtime digital mentors) talks about the concept of "picking yourself." So I decided to pick myself to go on a tour without a book. 😜 And I decided to call it The Bookless Tour.
Then I had to decide where to go. I thought...
"I should make it a fundraiser—not for me—but for a cause I really, really believe in. Each dollar given will be like a vote for their city. And I'll go to the top cities that raise the most money."
I wasn't sure if this would work, but doing things that can flop is both fun and terrifying. So I launched the project to the BBP-Mail subscriber list with this email. I told them our goal was to raise $10,000, and we only had three days to do it.
After three days, we'd done it. And we surpassed our goal!
And the top five tour cities were chosen—Washington, D.C., Chicago, Florence, Birmingham, and Atlanta.
My friend Ashley here in Atlanta volunteered to go with me.
So in late January, we left Cabbagetown for a 2,200 mile adventure over 11 days...
- Meeting with Julie Rodgers in Washington D.C. and hearing about her former work with Exodus International and her current work advocating for LGBT Christians.
Driving through the snowy Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania.
- Meeting with Rich Havard and learning about his discipleship work through The Inclusive Collective.
- Having tacos and margs with about 20 LGBT Christians after the Chicago event. Was so inspired by their sense of community.
- "We told them that if they put up a rainbow flag outside the church, we'd pull it down!" This is what one of those Chicago friends told me at the dinner mentioned above. He was a gay Christian man who serves in his local church. He jokingly told his pastor this to let him know that he went to that church because they were Jesus-focused, not because of a big public stance on LGBT stuff.
- Seeing Hamilton in Chicago!
- The bbq pork baked potato at Bucky Bee's BBQ in Cave City, Kentucky 😋.
- Meeting some students from Florence High School's Gay/Straight Alliance.
Meeting a hairdresser in Florence who told me that during Blue Babies Pink, all the women wanted to talk about in his chair was BBP 😂.
Speaking to some English majors at my alma mater of the University of North Alabama and getting to talk about story-telling, online content creation, etc.
Meeting leaders of several small LGBT non-profits in Florence and hearing about the local support network they are building.
Speaking in the brew room at TrimTab Brewery in Birmingham.
Meeting 4 "Catholic mamas" (that's what they called themselves) who drove over an hour to be at the Birmingham event. They began reading Blue Babies Pink and discussing amongst the other moms at the Catholic school their kids all attended.
Breakfast with an old friend in Birmingham who attends a conservative church and is genuinely trying to understand how the church should respond to the LGBT conversation.
Having lunch with a BBP reader / Christian college student in Birmingham, trying to carefully navigate his way out of the closet.
At the Atlanta event, meeting an American family living in Haiti who'd read BBP at the recommendation of a missionary there. They were visiting America for a few weeks and were able to attend the event.
In all, we covered over 2,200 miles in the car and met with over 500 BBP readers at eight different events around the country. Together, we raised over $13,000 to help move women out of the sex industry in Atlanta. For a fake book tour, it couldn't have turned out any better, in my opinion 😂.
Thanks to everyone who came out and encouraged me with a hug or a story. It was so good learning from each of you. My only regret was that I wasn't able to meet more of you!
Shine on you crazy, diamonds. 👊