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Syndication

#83: Religion and the LGBT Community - Can't We All Just Get Along? [Podcast]

#83: Religion and the LGBT Community - Can't We All Just Get Along? [Podcast]

Jenn T Grace:  You are listening to the Personal Branding for the LGBTQ Professional Podcast, episode number 83.

 

Introduction:  Welcome to the Personal Branding for the LGBTQ Professional Podcast; the podcast dedicated to helping LGBTQ professionals and business owners grow their business and careers through the power of leveraging their LGBTQ identities in their personal brand. You'll learn how to market your products and services both broadly, and within the LGBTQ community. You'll hear from incredible guests who are leveraging the power of their identity for good, as well as those who haven't yet started, and everyone in between. And now your host. She teaches straight people how to market to gay people, and gay people how to market themselves. Your professional lesbian, Jenn - with two N's - T Grace.

 

Jenn T Grace:  Well hello and welcome to episode number 83 of the Personal Branding for the LGBTQ Professional Podcast. It is about the end of April in 2016, and if you are paying any attention to the news whatsoever, you are certainly seeing that there is just a lot of activity as far as the religious freedom bills go in regards to kind of spreading across our country, and it's kind of a mess these days if you will. So we all had the beauty and the joy of having marriage equality passed in June of 2015, and since then it's just kind of been bill after bill after bill kind of being introduced into different communities to do everything in their power to do something that takes away protections for LGBT individuals.

Now today's episode is not going to focus on talking about all of the nuance of that, because I am by no means an expert in any way, shape or form. So I bring this up today, and it's not because I have intentions of going into detail on any of these particular laws or bills, or anything like that, because I am the furthest from an expert. I stay on top of the news, and I have a general sense of places to avoid doing business in currently, such as North Carolina or Mississippi, but I don't know the ins and outs. So perhaps at some point I can get an expert on the show to talk in better detail on what all of that means. And if you are listening to this and you happen to be that expert, please reach out to me and let me know, because I'd love to have you on, and just kind of explain all the lay of the land to my listeners.

But what's been on my mind lately, and I was driving the other day and for some reason this just kind of was in my head, of it seems like such an unfortunate state of affairs in regards to how many people that are coming from religious backgrounds are getting lumped into this group of hate mongers, and I feel like it's completely unfair to so many people who have religious beliefs who do not believe what the media is hyping about, and I just feel like it's completely unfair to both sides; to the LGBT side who are getting discriminated against left and right, but additionally from the side of people who do have religious beliefs, and they aren't these hate-filled people, but now they're being cast as such because of a minority of people who are using religion as kind of a weapon if you will.

It's just been on my mind, and I am not going to go into great detail on just the politics of religion or anything like that, but I was thinking about an old interview that I had done with Candice Czubernat who founded The Christian Closet. I believe it was back in late 2012 she founded this organization, and it's still doing well, it's still thriving. I just noticed that she has started a new podcast which is in iTunes now, and if you just type in Candice Czubernat- if you go into iTunes you can certainly find that information, also I'll put it in the show notes. I haven't talked to Candice in a while, but I was just recalling an interview that I did with her which was episode 24 of this podcast, and this is a bi-weekly podcast so episode 24 came really early on now that we're in episode 83. And I believe it aired sometime I'd say in November of 2013; so it was in my first year of podcasting, and it might have been my last episode of that first year. And it's The Christian Closet, but she talks so much about the intersection of Christianity and being LGBT, and the struggle that so many people have with that, and I'm adding this kind of commentary at the moment, but it's just when you have people who are struggling to come out, and struggling to bring their LGBT identity to the forefront, being shamed from a religious perspective is not helping anybody. So it's one of those things that I found, you know what, I should replay this episode for the new listeners especially since we are in episode 83, and this was back in episode 24, so there's a good chance you haven't heard it before. And even if you did hear it then, I'd listen to it again just to kind of re-bring that fresh perspective that not every religious person is coming from a bad place. It sounds so crazy, and I shouldn't even have to say those words, but it's so not the case at all. I have such a great respect for what Candice is doing, and I think her service is tremendous, and I really enjoyed the conversation that we had quite some time ago. And maybe I can do a follow-up interview with her at some point soon, but because this is on my mind, I wanted to put it on your mind to basically note that what the media is showing you is not necessarily an accurate picture, and I feel like you're a smart group of listeners, I'm sure you know that, but I feel like I need to reiterate that point because it becomes so much more clear by the day that the media is really just kind of putting out very small pieces of what's actually happening, and I'm just tired of all the people that I know that do have some religious affiliation kind of getting a bad rap for it because it's not their fault.

So that's all I have to say about that, so we're just going to dive right into the interview with Candice, and if you want to find any information from this show, any links that we talked about, you can go to www.JennTGrace.com/83 and that is for episode number 83. I hope you enjoy it, and of course please feel free to reach out to me with your thoughts on this episode, or Candice for that matter. So thanks again for listening, and I hope you enjoy the show.

So I am delighted to be talking with Candice Czubernat today of The Christian Closet. Candice is a licensed mental health therapist and has studied both theology and psychology. She supports Christians who struggle to hold onto their faith as they come to terms with their gender identity or sexual orientation. She founded The Christian Closet just under a year ago to be a support system to those who are struggling. So Candice, I’ve given the listeners a really brief overview of who you are and a little bit about your company. But why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your story, and essentially what your path looked like that led you to where you are today.

Candice Czubernat:

Yeah, thanks Jenn I’d love to. Well you know I grew up in a really loving Christian family, pretty typical, and had a pretty great life. And then you know off to college I went, and I actually went to a really huge party school university, and was lost there actually. It was really difficult, and had such a huge desire to connect with God, and learn more about theology and the bible. And so halfway through that I transferred to a bible college in the Midwest. But I had no idea what was in store for me in a couple different ways. In one way of just the conservativeness of the school and the people that went there. I had not experienced that level before. And also I had not struggled with my sexuality previous to that, and it was literally as if one day it wasn’t there, and then one day it was there. And so that’s really where the beginning of my personal story of how do I- how can I be gay and Christian? And which one of these can I get rid of if at all? And if I can’t, then what do I do? I mean while studying the bible, and studying counselling, and so I kind of just was in that process and took a break after I graduated, and then ended up going to grad school to study psychology. And had a practice, and it was really wonderful, I loved it. But had a supervisor that was constantly telling me like, “Candice you’ve got to have a practice that just focuses on people that come from conservative backgrounds who also are gay.” And really loved and hated him for that, because I knew he was right, and I knew that was my calling, but I wasn’t ready for that at the time. And so it was really torturesome to know that I wasn’t comfortable or ready to really tell the world that I was gay. And so from that point it’s just been a process of you know, building my therapeutic skills throughout the years, and also coming to a place of being okay, having really the world know that I’m gay and a Christian.

Jenn T Grace:

That’s so inspiring, and I have to imagine that there are so many people who have had this struggle. And I come from a Catholic background, and I know that I rebelled against organized religion at a very young age. And as I’ve been getting older I’ve been thinking more about just different types of religions and how people process being LGBT within those religions, because I feel like you see a lot of people who part of their coming out story is somehow they were shamed or pushed out of their family based on that religious view alone. And I think it’s really unfortunate. And then I know when you and I had connected on Twitter I was thinking, ‘I have got to get you on the show so that way you can help get this message out,’ because I feel like you’re providing such an important and much needed service to so many folks. I think it’s fantastic what you’re up to. And it seems a little bit shocking that you’ve only been doing it for- your anniversary is coming up in December of doing this, which is so exciting.

Candice Czubernat:

It is exciting, yeah it’s been great to actually think that there’s need for it, but then also see that wow there really is. You know I have- part of what helped me is actually meeting with a therapist, and he himself was not gay, but really walked me through my own homophobia and my own fears of not wanting to be gay. And so I know how helpful it can be to meet with a therapist, and then to have someone who actually understands, ‘Wow what is life to come from these conservative places?’ But also not wanting to let go of your faith. Sometimes it seems that that’s the only option. Like okay I guess I’ll become an atheist or something else. And that’s really tragic because then there’s another piece of you that’s missing from a full life.

Jenn T Grace:

That’s really- that’s really, really important. So we’ve already gotten into some really good stuff, so I’m excited about this. But I always like to start off the interviews with asking a lighthearted question if you will. So I like to ask is there something about you that’s just completely random that very few people know or would expect from you?

Candice Czubernat:

Yeah, something- you know when I had a practice where people would come into my office and see me face to face, of course I always looked professional. But I am a beach girl at heart, and so something that I do that I really enjoy when I see my patients now, is I wear flip-flops.

Jenn T Grace:

Nice.

Candice Czubernat:

And so I just get to have my beach flip-flops on, and be comfortable, and so I don’t think actually anyone knows that.

Jenn T Grace:

That is awesome. And that’s- I feel like that’s a good way to bring yourself into the equation. Just some simple thing like some flip-flops. That’s good stuff. And for a random note that you are actually at the beach today as we’re recording this interview. So how perfect is that?

Candice Czubernat:

It is and I’ve got my flip-flops on.

Jenn T Grace:

That’s awesome. Okay so let’s dive in and my first question for you, and you may have even already started to touch upon it, is what was your ‘ah-ha’ moment when you just realized what you’re doing now was your life’s calling?

Candice Czubernat:

Yeah, you know I think it had all these little messages along the way. Like I talked about that supervisor who continued to encourage me through the years. And it was actually a year ago this last May that- my birthday is in May, and it was the night before my birthday and I was really feeling really reflective and thoughtful about what the next step for me was going to be. And I went to sleep thinking, ‘Gosh I just feel so kind of lost in this moment, and not sure what’s going to happen.’ And I woke up the next morning on my birthday and I sat up in bed and I looked at my wife and I said, “Oh my God, I know exactly what I’m supposed to do.” It was really- I don’t know if I’ve ever had such an intense ‘ah-ha’ moment, but I will never forget what that was like. And the clarity of it.

Jenn T Grace:

That’s so important, you just saying the clarity of it. Because I find that there are so many people who kind of just make the motions going through life and they’re not really clear on what they want to be doing, or maybe what they should be doing. And they’re kind of missing all of those signs that I feel like life just kind of puts out different signs in front of you, kind of like breadcrumbs if you will, just leading you down the path that you’re meant to be down. And so many people I feel like just miss that. So for your ‘ah-ha’ moment to really just have that clarity around it, I think it’s incredible.

Candice Czubernat:

Yeah, I think it was a real gift and I feel really grateful because I don’t think everybody gets that. That moment. And it also- it takes courage to listen to it I think. There can easily be followed by a lot of doubts. And so to keep moving, even though there’s doubts is an important part of that process. So you must have experienced that as well with what you do.

Jenn T Grace:

I have had- I’ve had several ‘ah-ha’ moments, and one of the ones that just triggered in my mind as you were saying the whole doubts thing, is when I had the ‘ah-ha’ moment that I need to be having a podcast to help share other people’s stories; it just hit me like a ton of bricks that I am meant to be delivering and sharing other people’s stories, but at the same time I was like, I listen to podcasts often, I am a nut about them, but I don’t know the first thing about anything technology related in terms of mixers, microphones, recorders, anything. So that was like the scary part of my ‘ah-ha’ moment, was I knew I had to be doing this, and I knew this was the medium in which to be doing it. But I had no idea what the hell I was doing to be perfectly honest. So it was just a matter of a little bit of education, and training, and I’ve gotten myself pretty well squared away. But it’s interesting when you just know that this is what you’re supposed to be doing, even if you have- you know you have no experience in it. You just know. And it’s weird when you just know. It’s hard to describe to people who haven’t had that.

Candice Czubernat:

Yeah, it’s very true. And it does mean sometimes learning something new like you’re saying.

Jenn T Grace:

Mm hmm. So what inspires you and keeps you motivated to do what you’re doing every day? I would imagine that just being any type of mental health professional that you must have some days that are just really exhausting. So what’s that source of inspiration and motivation for you?

Candice Czubernat:

You know it’s a couple different things. One, it’s remembering- it’s remembering what it was like for me. Remembering the real stories, because my life has really- I’m so blessed now, and it can be easy to forget really what it took to get here. And so I remember my own stories. The other thing that inspires me is the stories of other people. My current patients and then just stories of other people that I know personally, and read online, and just the hope that I have for them because I know what could be ahead for them. If that makes any sense.

Jenn T Grace:

It does, yeah. I’m sure it must be reassuring to your patients that you’re not just preaching something, but you are actually guiding them down a path that you yourself had to go down yourself- like had to go down as well. So I feel like especially when we’re talking about two really big topics like religion and sexuality, that it’s probably really reassuring for these folks to be able to listen to you, knowing that you’ve actually gone through it, walked the walk, and come out on the other side far, far better than you probably ever thought you would. So it must be inspirational for them even.

Candice Czubernat:

Yeah, and I know that our stories are all very different, but I think the level of hopelessness and not knowing how it’s going to work out is really the similar factor. And hope that it will work out. So it’s- I’m glad that I can relate to them on that.

Jenn T Grace:

Absolutely. And I want to talk about business a little bit. So before we dive into the second half of the interview with Candice, I do want to make sure that you hear form www.MentalCompass.com, sponsors of this podcast. They’ve been sponsors for a long time now, and their website and their podcast is filled with awesome information. So please just have a listen to this fabulous short commercial and then we will dive right back into the interview with Candice.

Alright now let’s get back into the interview with Candice. So I’m curious on a number of levels, because I know that you recently- you are just hitting your one year anniversary which is super exciting, so you’re still in that start-up mode. But a couple of things hit me, and I have my list of pre-prepared questions that I usually go off of, but as I warned you I do tend to go off script. So do you feel that you’ve had that entrepreneurial- I’m trying to think of the right framing of it. Like the entrepreneurial itch if you will within you growing up that made you realize- Because you had the ‘ah-ha’ moment that you needed to be helping, but I feel like you could have been helping in a number of different fashions. And you chose the route of starting a business. So do you think that that- you know you had that in you all along? And now it’s just kind of coming out at this time?

Candice Czubernat:

Yeah, that’s actually a really interesting question. I think it was kind of- I was born and raised with that. I think about- especially my dad or my grandfather started a family construction business that my dad now helps run. And so growing up with this idea of you can start these things that you want to do. And I always love the story, my brother and I wanted to make a little extra money one summer, and so my dad said, “You know you guys should start a business where you go around and ask people if they want you to spraypaint the numbers of their houses on their curbs. It will be really cheap startup costs because we just have to buy these few things, and it’s mostly all just sort of making money, and people will probably really respond to you guys because you’re so young.” And sure enough we spent the whole summer doing that, and it was really exciting for us to learn how to have that conversation with someone, just knocking on their door and kind of cold calling them, and providing a service for them, and learning how to make it look the best as possible on their little curb there. So it was kind of instilled in me growing up.

Jenn T Grace:

That’s such a great story, how old were you guys at the time?

Candice Czubernat:

Gosh I should probably as my dad, because we were so young, I really don’t remember. But elementary school.

Jenn T Grace:

That’s awesome, that’s really funny. It’s interesting how those things that you’re doing so young just are- they’re just principles that are instilled in you whether you like or not really, it’s just kind of- it becomes a part of who you are.

Candice Czubernat:

It really does.

Jenn T Grace:

That is pretty funny. I love that he was even referring to startup costs to some elementary schoolers. That’s awesome.

Candice Czubernat:

Yeah, you know we’re sort of like, “Yeah, okay.”

Jenn T Grace:

“Sure.”

Candice Czubernat:

“I never thought about that but you’re right. We’ve just got to buy the spraypaint, and the stencils, and that’s not very much so.”

Jenn T Grace:

That’s awesome. So what is the best piece of business advice that you think you’ve ever been given?

Candice Czubernat:

Well that actually came from my dad as well. He’s a great business guy, and he is actually the one that came up with the idea for Skype. And he was like, “You know Candice, I have been praying for you, and I’ve been praying for God’s direction in your life, and I really think that you are supposed to do therapy over Skype.” And the first time he said it I thought, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. How am I going to do that?” Like it just felt so overwhelming and I really disregarded it. And then it wasn’t until that morning I woke up with my ‘ah-ha’ moment of realizing how it was all going to come together, and actually my dad was right, that Skype was the way to do this because you know, I have lived in all kinds of amazing cities where there’s a lot of resources, and knowing that actually the majority of the country doesn’t have the resources of a therapist who is well-trained, who understands what it is to be gay, and to be a Christian. And so thinking about all those people out there who either are one, maybe too scared to even have their car be seen outside of a therapist’s office. Or people who you know, they’d have to drive hours to see someone. And realizing gosh, Skype was the way for me to reach all of those people.

Jenn T Grace:

That’s really interesting. And how do you attain clients now? How does that happen? Since I would imagine since you do do it via Skype that you can have clients all over the country or the world for that matter.

Candice Czubernat:

Yeah, and I actually do have clients all over the world. And the way that- it’s really through relationship, it’s through getting to know people out there who are already doing the work of you can be gay, and you can be Christian, or have lots of different kinds of faith. There are so many awesome people who have been doing this work for a lot longer than I, and so I’ve been able to just reach out to them and they’ve been so gracious to spend time getting to know me, and giving me advice, and giving me opportunities to meet other people, another thing that’s been awesome is to have opportunities to write, and that’s been a big surprise for me because I never considered myself a writer before. But that’s really helped me reach a larger audience and tell them about my resource.

Jenn T Grace:

Definitely. I would definitely classify your business as a resource. It seems fantastic, and I know that you have some good resources on your site. And all of the interviews that I do, I make sure that I have a post that goes with them, so anything that we’re talking about here I can have listed, so someone listening to this rather than getting yourself in trouble by trying to write things down while you’re driving, you can just go to the site after and all of the information will be there for you. So I’ll make sure that I include a link to your website, and maybe some of your most recent writings as well.

Candice Czubernat:

Thank you.

Jenn T Grace:

So let’s see. I know one of the questions that I ask all of my guests is around LGBT marketing. So the primary audience typically for the folks that are listening to this, or perhaps reading my blog, a lot of them are allies to the community that they’re really just trying to understand how to successfully do business within the community. And a lot of that usually comes down to them not necessarily knowing the right phrases or words or stereotypes that they shouldn’t be perpetuating, or just really having a lack of understanding about how to communicate with the community. So one of my pre-planned questions is, you know for someone who’s looking to market themselves to the community, in your own experience would you have any advice that you would give to someone who wants to do this? That you think would actually help them be more successful?

Candice Czubernat:

Yeah, I do. I really- it really comes back to the importance of relationship. For me I really think it’s- everything is central around relationships. And so I would tell that person they need to get to know some gay people. I think it would be awfully difficult to market to someone or a group of people when you actually have no connection to them. And not the need for you to yourself be gay, but really try starting having conversations with people that are gay, and ideally have close relationships, and really get to know them and allow yourself to make the mistakes of, ‘Oh gosh I said something that’s offensive,’ and ‘how could I say it better?’ within the context of relationship I think would be really helpful.

Jenn T Grace:

That is definitely fantastic advice, and that was really the premise of my blog starting, was I have a friend of mine who’s a physician, and she would have LGBT patients come in and she would find herself in these conversations where she didn’t really know if she was saying something that was actually being really- you know coming across really offensive or not. And so she would just start sending me texts saying, ‘Am I allowed to say this? Can I say that?’ And it just was like on an ongoing basis. And it wasn’t just her, it was other friends as well, and I just kind of became that central hub for all things like, ‘Jenn must know the answer because she’s a lesbian.’ And you know it takes some research, it takes looking into things, and so I can provide a really thoughtful response to these things. But then I’m thinking, ‘Well if I’m emailing her this, why wouldn’t I just create a blog, and provide this information to thousands of other people who have the exact same question?’ So I think that what your answer was is very similar to the impetus for me even starting this blog, which is interesting, which then of course translated to this podcast.

Candice Czubernat:

Well we’re right on track with one another.

Jenn T Grace:

We are, it’s fabulous. So I have another question, and this one’s interesting and I always love asking this question, especially with somebody who’s really putting themselves out there almost as a professional LGBT person. And I jokingly call myself a professional lesbian all the time, and I would imagine that you might be able to take that crown as well. So have you been able or how have you been able to leverage your status as an LGBT person in the context of business?

Candice Czubernat:

This might not be an interesting answer, because I’ve sort of already said it, and it really goes back to relationship. I feel so grateful, people that I didn’t know, I would have reached out to them- like I said people that have been doing this for longer than I have, and they’ve just been so gracious to give me opportunities. Especially to write, and you know kind of risking knowing, ‘Gosh this Candice person, I don’t know what even if she’s able to write well, or anything,’ and giving me opportunities to put myself out there in these blogs, and also talking to other professionals, other pastors, things like that in their own communities. And so really my success has been in the graciousness and generosity of other people, allies and other gay people.

Jenn T Grace:

And I find that when you’re in a position like I think both of us find ourselves in, is that in order to- I really feel like to be really effective, you really have to put yourself out there. You have to put your whole self out there; the good, the bad, the ugly. So instead of always just talking about how things are so rosy and so great, you really have to be able to share your story, and articulate your story where people are going to resonate with what you’re saying. And I felt that way when I was reading your blog post, which I believe was titled ‘The Hidden Shame of Secrecy.’ And I think that was a guest post, right?

Candice Czubernat:

Yeah, and that’s really- I do most my writing as a guest post on other blogs.

Jenn T Grace:

Excellent. I just know when I saw that, you really just exposed everything about your story, and your past, and how it led you to being the now founder of your organization, The Christian Closet. So I think it just- it goes to show that you kind of have to put all of that out there to really resonate with people and to be successful, even though it almost seems counterintuitive.

Candice Czubernat:

Yeah, it really does and honestly, you know every time before I hit that send button I kind of take a breath and, ‘Okay like this is a piece of me that I’m putting out there,’ and I kind of do a little- I have to do a little pep talk, you know? Like it’s okay if people don’t like it, that it’s the truth of my story, and that I’m happy to give it to others, and to share, and just really also you know have people around me that are loving and supporting me no matter what, which also gives me confidence to risk so much.

Jenn T Grace:

Absolutely.

Candice Czubernat:

But I think you’re exactly right. I mean unless you’re willing to really risk the realness of who you are, people can’t connect with you if you don’t do that.

Jenn T Grace:

Yeah. Yeah, it’s so true. And sometimes it can be a little bit scary, but I think that the payoff is far greater than that little bit of nervousness before you hit the send button.

Candice Czubernat:

I agree with you, yeah.

Jenn T Grace:

So do you have a business book, or not even a business book necessarily, but just some sort of book or program or tool, or just anything in your life that you utilized that helps you effectively go about your business? So whether it’s streamlining your business, or it’s just giving you new thoughts or new ideas. Is there anything like that in your business?

Candice Czubernat:

You know of course Skype has been huge for me. I mean that’s the main format of which I do everything, connecting with people through. And so Skype has been huge. I don’t necessarily have a business book. Another little piece of technology that has been awesome is an app on the iPhone called Venmo. And it’s a way that actually a lot of my patients pay me is through- it’s so easy because you know, if you think of traditional therapy, you know after the session you’re writing a check out to the therapist, and there’s time, and maybe some awkwardness involved in that. But with this app Venmo it’s really easy for the person to just you know, connect it to their account and send me their payment when they’re able. So those are two pieces of technology that I use every day.

Jenn T Grace:

Interesting. And how is that- the app spelled?

Candice Czubernat:

It’s v-e-n-m-o.

Jenn T Grace:

Venmo, interesting. I will make sure that I put a link to their website in the blog post as well. I feel like- I think almost all business owners can probably relate with wanting to have payments come in on time, and not have that awkwardness that sometimes occurs in transactions. So that seems like it could be a good resource for many, many listeners.

Candice Czubernat:

Yeah, it’s a really great one.

Jenn T Grace:

So I have one last question then I’m going to ask you to give yourself a plug and let everyone know where they can find you. And that one question is what’s one thing in your business right now that is just really exciting for you?

Candice Czubernat:

Well the whole thing has been really exciting. It’s been really awesome to get to meet lots of different kinds of people. But I think about just I love the individual stories of, ‘Hey how did you hear about me? How did you hear about The Christian Closet?’ Because they’re always really unique, you know? It’s like, ‘My sister’s friend’s cousin sent her your website, or sent her your blog,’ and it’s really this person sent it to this person to this person. And so that’s so exciting for me to hear just how word is spreading. And so like I said, I have patients all over the world which has been also just so exciting. People that are in the armed forces, and you know live in rural parts of- you know way out in the boondocks of Montana. You know just wherever. So it’s just so exciting to really see there’s this great wide huge world out there, but through technology we’re able to connect in these really meaningful important ways.

Jenn T Grace:

And let me ask you another off script question. When you set out to do this, and I’m asking because I had this recent revelation myself. Is when you set out to do this, were you expecting to have a global impact of any kind? Or were you really just thinking that this was something that you could deliver to people that are within your local community, or maybe even just some- you know maybe just in the United States? Or were you really aiming to try to hit a global reach, and hit anyone where you could?

Candice Czubernat:

I mean I never thought about the global reach. I think I probably would have been maybe a little too overwhelmed if I had have thought that. So it really was like, ‘Well I’m just going to put this out there, and see if anybody needs it. I have no idea.’ And so to have the response has been really exciting. You know another piece that’s been surprising is the need for straight family members to have a place. And it’s been really wonderful to talk and walk with them through their own feelings. Because part of- a huge part of the process as you know is, okay so it’s your individual how do I feel about this thing- being gay. And can I be gay? Can I be Christian? But then the other piece of my family and- family members go through their own grieving process and coming out process. And it takes a lot of time. In fact sometimes it takes almost even longer for the straight family members to get to that place. And so I also meet with straight family members who need a space to process their own feelings and thoughts without kind of sort of verbally throwing up on their daughter, or son, or niece or nephew, or something like that. So that’s been a unique direction that I’ve gone as well, that I did not anticipate but have really enjoyed.

Jenn T Grace:

That is excellent. It’s so great that you’re inclusive of everybody. I think that that’s really important in the work that you’re doing. And I think you’re doing some fabulous things, and I want to make sure that everyone can find out how to get in touch with you. So why don’t you just give yourself one last plug and let everyone know what the best ways of getting you are.

Candice Czubernat:

Sure. Thanks so much Jenn. You know the best way to get ahold of me is really two different ways, and that’s through my website which is www.TheChristianCloset.com. And you can learn more about me on there, and there’s actually a tab that is a Contact Me tab on my website, and it has my phone number, my email address which is ChristianCloset@gmail.com. But there’s also this really nifty super easy contact me little thing, and you can just fill out your name and message, and submit it to me and it gets sent directly to my email. So that’s several different ways to get ahold of me.

Jenn T Grace:

Perfect and I will make sure that I include all of those ways in the blog post that goes with this episode.

Candice Czubernat:

Thank you.

Jenn T Grace:

You’re welcome. Thank you so much, I appreciate it and hopefully you and I will stay in touch.

Candice Czubernat:

Yeah, I really would like that.

Jenn T Grace:

Well I hope you enjoyed that fascinating interview with Candice Czubernat of The Christian Closet. I personally had a great time talking with her, and I learned a thing or two, and I’m hoping that that was the case for you as well. So definitely head on over to the links that she provided, check out some more of her material, she’s got some great stuff happening. And as always if you want to leave a review I would highly love that, and you can do so in iTunes by going to www.JennTGrace.com/iTunes and that will bring you right to the podcast page, and the more reviews we have there, the more other people can find the show. So I would highly recommend taking a moment to do that if you could, that would be wonderful.

And let’s see, so the thing that I alluded to in the beginning was the fact that I have a new sponsor of the podcast. And this is my first time talking about them on the air because they are a brand new sponsor to the show. I have known the ladies of Teazled. It’s T-e-a-z-l-e-d, www.Teazled.com. And they are an LGBT specific greeting card company. So they provide- and this is their company’s slogan, or one of them. They provide traditional greeting cards for the nontraditional family, so that they might be able to also celebrate those meaningful moments. And I think it’s just pretty awesome that there are LGBT inclusive cards available. Because I know for myself when I was getting married, we had a pretty large wedding shower, and then we had a decent sized wedding, and honestly we got- I think it was three, we got three cards repeatedly. So it was just basically the most gender neutral card that all of our friends and family could find when they went into CVS or they went into Target, or wherever they happened to be. So it was, you know it stinks essentially because you get three of the same card over and over again, because everybody’s trying to do the same thing, which is try to find the cards that don’t have a man and a woman, or a husband and a wife on them. So it’s really great to see that Teazled has found this as an opportunity to kind of jump in and really help provide LGBT families to have cards that really resonate with them. So I know that if I were redoing my wedding, which I obviously have no intentions of doing, but if I were going to a friend’s wedding now, I know that I can actually go and find cards that have two women on it, or have two men on it. So it’s really, really awesome, and I’m totally pleased to see them really kind of kicking ass and taking names these days. So it’s pretty fun.

And I believe if I’m not mistaken that they already have about 200 different types of everyday cards, holiday cards, et cetera, and the thing that I want to mention to you is that they actually offer customized business to business type of greeting cards. So if you want to have a tailor made photo, if you want to have your logo or some kind of your branding on it; they really can do all of those things, and it’s really to me- and this is the best way I can put it, is that it’s just going that extra step, just one extra step, that will say so much about you as a business owner when you’re providing an inclusive LGBT card to one of your customers. So I think that there’s a lot of opportunity here, which is why I’m absolutely thrilled that they’re now sponsoring this podcast. And you can find information about them by going to their site. You can definitely go to my site which is what I would recommend doing, I just want to make sure that I can somehow show and track the people that are going to their site. So if you can head on over to www.JennTGrace.com/cards that will actually send you right on over to their site, and it will show that I sent you there. So I would love for you to check them out. Just go poke around, see what there is, but there’s a lot of customization options. So if that’s something you’re interested in you can always shoot me an email or contact me via my contact form, and you know we can go from there.

So that is that with Teazled, I’m thrilled this is the first time you’re hearing about them, but it certainly will not be the last. So that is my exciting news for today. And the next podcast that will be out on December 26th, I am thinking right now- and this could change, but I’m thinking it’s going to be some sort of year in review. Perhaps discussing what’s happened with LGBT this past year since there’s been a lot of changes in the LGBT landscape. And then maybe let’s see what we can look forward in 2014. And then as always, I always like to do an end of the year kind of a wrap-up, and what else I might include is something around maybe some of the lessons that I’ve learned this past year. I did it last year and it’s one of my most read blog posts, and it’s probably because I’m just- I was really, really honest and kind of really open with some of the struggles that I had last year, and I want to make sure that I’m providing you with value. So if you can save a lot of time by learning from a mistake that I’ve made, and I can show you a shortcut or way around it, then I would love for you to be able to take advantage of that. So that’s what I’m thinking will be the last podcast of 2013. It will be the 55th podcast episode that I produced in 2013 which is kind of crazy when I’m saying it out loud, that’s a lot of shows. But that’s also a lot of content for you to consume. So all of the shows, all of the past interviews that I’ve done, they all have what I would consider to be evergreen content, which is basically you could listen to it the day it comes out, or you could listen to it three years from now, and the content in there is still going to be relevant. And I really try to make sure that my shows have that type of sense to them, so that way you can get the most value out of it regardless of when you happen to be listening to the show.

Thank you for listening to today's podcast. If there are any links from today's show that you are interested in finding, save yourself a step and head on over to www.JennTGrace.com/thepodcast. And there you will find a backlog of all of the past podcast episodes including transcripts, links to articles, reviews, books, you name it. It is all there on the website for your convenience. Additionally if you would like to get in touch with me for any reason, you can head on over to the website and click the contact form, send me a message, you can find me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all at JennTGrace. And as always I really appreciate you as a listener, and I highly encourage you to reach out to me whenever you can. Have a great one, and I will talk to you in the next episode.

Direct download: Epi83_-_Religion-and-the-LGBT-Community-Cant-we-all-just-get-along.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

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