The Quest sits down with Brené Brown

– Navigating the gap between Shame and Pride

Brene BrownBrené Brown PhD, LMSW is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestsellers Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection. She is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and has spent the last 12 years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.

Brené became a global sensation after her TEDx Houston talk on The Power of Vulnerability went viral and became one of the most watched talks on TED.com with over 10 million views. In 2012, she returned to TED and gave the closing talk – Listening to Shame – at the Conference in Long Beach. Brené and her work have been heavily featured in media all around the world, and Oprah recently interviewed her on Super Soul Sunday.

In our work at The Quest we spend time exploring shame and how it relates to the journey of gay men. Brené defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” In her research, Brené found that shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence and depression and that this ‘shame’ is ultimately what prevents people from ‘Wholehearted living’, which she defines as the ability to engage in our lives from a place of worthiness, and feel love and belonging.

Brené explains that for us to feel love and belonging, we need to embrace vulnerability, share our story and let ourselves be seen; this is the essence of our Weekend Exploration Workshop for Gay Men and lies at the heart of The Quest.

We sat down with Brené on her recent visit to London to discuss the insights from her research as it relates to the lives of gay men. Continue Reading →

Journeying with The Quest

In December 2012, Gabriel participated in  The Quest Weekend Exploration Workshop. Here he reflects on his journey with The Quest.

Despite being a lot in my head, sometimes I take decisions without thinking too much; I just jump into the water. The Quest was such a case!

Late last year, a friend invited me to the book launch of ‘Love Me As I Am: gay men reflect on their lives‘, which appealed to me because it showed something I could easily relate to – my difficulties in growing up gay. That same evening, when I arrived home, I registered for the next available workshop with The Quest; no further questions asked. Continue Reading →

Reflections on Robbie Rogers Coming Out

“Breaking that silence means emerging from the closet of shame. To proclaim oneself openly as gay is, above all else, to come out of shame – profoundly, to break the silence. This is why the term “Coming Out “ is a shame metaphor’ – Gershen Kaufman and Lev Raphael (Coming Out of Shame – Transforming Gay and Lesbian Lives)

I remember being a closeted 22 year old, when the footballer Justin Fashanu came out in 1990. It was the talk of the office, as we all watched from the sidelines to see how the story would unfold. Sadly, that story did not have a happy ending, for whilst Justin had taken the bold and courageous step to come out, he was not met by a world ready to embrace a footballer, who happened to be gay. Regardless of how that story concluded, I continue to be inspired by the courage displayed by Justin, and his story certainly gave me the courage to eventually come out and live my life as an openly gay man.

Robbie RogersYesterday, almost 23 years after Justin became the first openly gay footballer associated with English football, another footballer came out as gay. The player in question was 25 year old, US born Robbie Rogers, who had played for the US and Leeds United. Whilst Justin’s coming out had provided the tabloid press with stories reinforcing certain stereotypes of gay men around the issue of sex, Robbie’s coming out was very different, as he took us on a journey that many gay men travel, in their quest to live an authentic life. Robbie showed us what lies beneath the surface of the masks that many gay men have learnt to wear. In his note, Robbie says –

“Things are never what they seem….. My whole life I have felt different, different from my peers and even different from my family………” Continue Reading →