FTR (and for posterity and, with luck, more understanding)

Now that Kirk Talley’s Restoration Team has officially concluded that Talley has “met all the requirements presented by the team” way back in March when Talley gave himself over to the evidently complete care and control of the team members (who had the no small task of de-gaying him) and is ready to return to fulltime ministry, it seems like a good time to put the Restoration Team’s pronouncement in the broader context that Talley himself initially provided for all this. You may recall that when Talley was first outed by the arrest (and later conviction) of an extortionist, Talley essentially turned his e-newsletter into a blog through which he sorted out his feelings, actions, responses, and thoughts about the ordeal he was undergoing. In all, Talley posted five long letters. Shortly after taking over and announcing their control of Talley’s recovery in a final letter that remained up at Talley’s website for a while, all the letters were taken down. Since then and so far as I can find, only two of the letters have been re-posted by people who clipped the originals (both are at AMGS archives). I clipped all of the letters when they first appeared, and now I’m posting the remaining three on my site, plus the letter from the Restoration Team just before Talley went into RT-mandated six months of seclusion and degayification (or “ex-gaying,” in the jargon). Because Talley’s first impulse was to sort through this process openly through the eletters and to actively bring his readers and fans into this intensely complicated situation, the letters themselves are, it seems to me, inextricably linked to any honest effort to understand his ordeal, one that he has made very public on either side of the six-months of silence. And it’s in that spirit of greater understanding that I post the documents. When taken together and in sequence, the letters depict a palpably human, fully flawed individual struggling with circumstances he clearly experiences as beyond his control or ability to cope with and manage. This absence of adequate coping mechanisms, besides (of course) the letters themselves (and it’s clear that Talley sees the act of writing and sending these letters as essential and central to his ability to stay remotely sane), accounts for the range of tones that Talley strikes, often in a single letter: from the distraught, plaintive, and emotionally despairing victim of crime, to the huckster hawking cut-rate long-distance service as way to offset losses from an unexpectedly abrupt end to his career, to a PTL PTL amen-brother believer in the power of God to wipe away all tears hallelujah. As Talley resumes a fulltime solo career, his return is, I predict, going to bestir a great deal of anxiety (both publicly and privately) within sg about a range of questions, from the authenticity of Talley’s “recovery” itself, to the moral and intrinsic value of gay and lesbian lives, to the place of gay and lesbian performers in sg. If the debate is to be at all civil, honest, and candid, every extant resource must be available to help contextualize the catalytic events and personal situations that will drive the debate. I hope these letters will contribute to that end.

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