Ghost Rider

~ Shame and Disclosure in the Curious Case of Lance Armstrong

A Personal View, by Paul Woodward

Lance Armstrong

The world recently watched with anticipation as the most successful championship cyclist the sport has ever seen perform an extraordinary series of disclosures in his highly publicised interview with Oprah Winfrey. Despite many years of staunch denial, supported by a mercilessly aggressive campaign of defence against almost all detractors, including libel actions upon both friends and colleagues alike, Lance Armstrong finally came clean to the world, and admitted he used performance-enhancing drugs to clinch the once legendary championship victories that had inspired so many.

I don’t know about you, but it was, for me, a uniquely unsettling experience. It wasn’t just due to the squirm factor of watching a publicly disgraced man attempt to seek absolution through trial by TV. Nor was it embarrassment at watching a man making a last ditch attempt to claw back some remnants of a career for himself. It was something else, something deep inside of me that stimulated these acutely uncomfortable feelings. Continue Reading →

Redefining Gay Community

This past weekend has been such an exciting chapter in the journey of The Quest. It was not so long ago, on one sunny Sunday afternoon on 8th May 2011, that Darren and myself sat in a Thai restaurant on Charlotte Street and talked about the journey of gay men. We had just left an event where Attitude magazine, in association with The Drill Hall, London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard and Pace Health had put on a panel discussion exploring some of the issues that gay men go through.

The event had used as its premise ‘The Velvet Rage – Overcoming the shame of growing up gay in a straight man’s world’, by Alan Downs. I was a big fan of the book, having bought it a few years prior and had since read it a number of times. The book had spoken to me on many levels and articulated my journey from childhood to adolescence into adulthood. Continue Reading →

The Weekend Exploration – March 2012 Workshop

The emerging community of gay men who have been on the Exploration Workshop continues to grow.

The Workshop, inspired by ‘The Velvet Rage‘ (Alan Downs) will be running for the 4th time next month. It feels just like yesterday (June 2011) that we ran the first workshop. The initial workshop ran over a 6-week period in the evenings, in the upper lounge space of Barcode in Vaxhaull, with a group of 10 gay men; we have since changed location and the format of the sessions.
Continue Reading →