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COVER REVEAL – “Still Stace”

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Friends!!

I am SO EXCITED to finally share the updated and official cover for my YA illustrated memoir, “Still Stace”!! I feel like I have been sitting on this for years! (It’s been a few weeks. I no longer understand time post-quarantine.)

Beaming Books is publishing my book on October 19th, 2021. It is available everywhere for pre-order, (click here fellow Canadians!) but please try to order from local bookstores wherever possible! I still honestly can’t process that this will be an actual freaking hard cover book in mere months.

The younger me who I wrote & drew this for is positively overflowing with excitement, and she won’t stop high-fiving me. (AND I AM HERE FOR IT.) When this releases in October, I will probably have the biggest vulnerability hangover of my life. But if it helps one person to feel less alone, it will all be worth it.

Massive thanks to my small but mighty circle of supporters, cheerers, laughers, criers, huggers, walkers, venters, texters, Zoomers…. and of course my incredible wife Tams, who is undoubtedly one of the strongest driving forces behind me being able to (and having the courage to) get this accomplished. What a SURREAL DREAM come TRUE.

Please share this with anyone who may need it! I’m so grateful for everyone who has helped or encouraged me along this road. None of you will be forgotten, I promise. Countdown to October 19th!!

Seasons of change.

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Last week our little house on 221st street sold. While on a bike ride soon after, it hit me how many big seasons have happened these last few years! Pets come and gone, two kids, a pandemic, two book deals, and many more ups and downs. Whoa.

I had so much fun staying up late while everyone slept, and putting a few of these milestones into quick illustrations. I’m totally not sure what’s ahead of me, but whatever it is, I’m looking forward to a new chapter! I’m grateful for endless possibilities.

Out In Faith – March 19-21, 2021

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Updated March 22, 2021 – What a great time with friends this was! Definitely the closest thing to being all together, and I can’t wait for when we can be together physically again! Here’s a screencap from my keynote, and the art piece I created for the weekend – inspired by my many bike rides in the mountains. 🙂

Out in Faith time lapse art from Stacey Chomiak on Vimeo.

Friends! This is gonna be an awesome event with my friends at OutChristian! Lookit that lineup!! I’m really excited to be a part of it, and I’m gonna do a special piece of art just for this event. I’ll be speaking on Friday, March 19th, but come join us for the full weekend of awesome speakers and amazing connection!! I promise you it will NOT be just another Zoom meeting. 😀

“Shipwreck Over Safety” Podcast

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Earlier in January, I taped an episode of the podcast “Shipwreck Over Safety” with Dallas Verity & Blair Roberts. We had a great conversation about art, deconstructing our faith and sexuality. If that interests you, give it a listen! Available below, and also on Spotify & Apple podcasts.

SheLoves Webinar and Video Workshop: Owning My Gay Christian Story

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Wow, what an incredible day today. I am buzzing with gratefulness after spending an hour sharing my story with this beautiful community at SheLoves. I felt celebrated, supported and safe. I could not have asked for anything more! This was also the same day I was meant to share the original workshop, so it felt extra liberating for me.

I really wanted it to be public and accessible for anyone afterwards, so they graciously agreed to post the entire webinar to Youtube here: (it’s just over an hour including the Q&A at the end)

If you just wanted to see the workshop itself (which is about 27 minutes), that video is here:

Owning My Gay Christian Story from Stacey Chomiak on Vimeo.

Please, if there is someone you know who needs to hear this, share this with them. I want us to keep talking, keep sharing, keep trying to love each other better. And please reach out if this touched you in some way! I would love to hear.

Thanks friends. I continue to be amazed at this life that I get to lead.

LGBTQ Workshop Event UPDATE – Partnering with SheLoves!

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Jan 22 UPDATE: GIVEAWAY! I’m going to sign a personalized Rainbow Boy for someone who comes tomorrow! I hope to see you there, grab your ticket before 10AM PST!

You may have seen my post about recording a video workshop telling my gay Christian story, for a Christian conference, and then them dropping the LGBTQ speakers. (Original story here.)

I am SO excited to share I have a NEW PARTNER to share my story – shelovesmagazine! This event will be open to EVERYONE whether you are in Canada or the US (or beyond!). So PLEASE friends all over, come join us Saturday, Jan 23 @ 10AM Pacific Time! We will all gather virtually, screen my video workshop and have a Q & A time after. I would LOVE to see some friendly virtual faces so it’s not just me alone in a Zoom room. 😀

Tickets are available on Eventbrite – fee is a sliding scale, so if things are tough, please don’t worry about paying anything and just come. More info is below.

About this Event

LIBERATION STORIES: Join us for a powerful personal story from Artist Stacey Chomiak on Owning Her Gay Christian Story (Plus Q & A)

WHAT: LIBERATION STORIES: Owning My Gay Christian Story, with Stacey Chomiak.

WHEN: Saturday, January 23 at 10am PST / 1pm EST / 6pm GMT

WHERE: Register on Eventbrite and hosted on Eventbrite.

COST: Tickets available at a sliding scale, starting from free through $20 plus fees. (Limited quantity.)

“For 13 years, I fought against my body and my heart and its innate desires,” says Stacey Chomiak, an artist in the animation industry. “I grew to hate them, because I was taught to do so. I believed my desires were bad and therefore I believed I was bad. I had to finally admit that I couldn’t pray my gay away any more than I could change the color of my eyes. I didn’t want to leave my faith, because Jesus and I had a very deep relationship.”

Join us for this powerful hour of Liberation Stories.

ABOUT SHELOVES:

SheLoves is a global sisterhood conversation on personal and collective liberation. We focus on deconstructing faith, practising allyship, antiracism, decolonization and the Jesus kind of feminism.

Being asked to leave the table.

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(Trigger warning: LGBTQ Christian voices being silenced)

In September, I was invited to speak at a Christian conference out of Vancouver. I was really excited, because they wanted to include LGBTQ Christian voices, and I love speaking about such things! Their conference is in January 2021, and due to Covid, all virtual. Because of that, they asked the speakers to film their 30 minute workshops so they could stream them the day of the conference.

In October, I wrote what was on my heart to share: owning my gay Christian story. They approved and were really encouraging about my outline. In November, with the help of my pastor and friend Bradley, I filmed and edited the workshop (no small feat), and sent it over.

Filming the workshop in November 2020 at my home church, Open Door Church, in Maple Ridge, BC

In mid-December, the founder of the conference reached out to me to say that they have come to a very difficult decision: they have to cut the LGBTQ workshops out of their conference. (I believe there was one other one besides mine.)

Since then, we have exchanged emails, and had a very honest and lengthy conversation on Zoom. (Which was tough – but encouraging too. People these days tend to not want to have hard conversations, so I really appreciate that openness.) They are a fairly new conference, and I know this has not been an easy decision for them. It has caused grief and heartache. I say this because I want to point out that I don’t believe there are clear cut “good guys” and “bad guys” in these situations. We are all imperfect people, trying our best to love each other and navigate this journey of life. But yes – this still hurts. 

I want to be really careful about speaking on their behalf. So I’m going to share their official announcement in regards to cancelling the workshops here: (this was posted on their Facebook page)

The reasons they decided to cut the LGBTQ workshops are not the main focus for me here. The focus for me is this: I was invited to the table to share because of who I am. And then I was asked to leave for the same reason. In December 2020, in (liberal Canadian) Vancouver, this still happens. LGBTQ Christians are still being asked not to share.

As a gay Christian, this strikes a painful chord that resonates deep, almost like that feeling when you bite on tinfoil. Like so many gay people, I have a long history of being hurt and silenced by “the church” and by some “Christians”. This situation brings a lot of that past trauma to the surface. 

It dredges up the same old fears: 

Is my voice not valued? 

Am I not valued? 

Do I not belong? 

Should I stop sharing?

On behalf of myself and the LGBTQ Christian community, I have this to say: I am angry. And that is good. Anger is necessary here. This is unjust. This is not okay.

But I refuse to use this energy to destroy, or to be malicious. I will let it fuel me towards the greater good, and I will forge ahead. Because I have and will make missteps and hurt people, and I need to practice radical grace for others, if that’s what I hope to receive. Even though it’s hard, I want to keep talking, keep learning, keep growing.

I will choose to forgive, because as someone who follows Jesus and not a specific institution, I believe it’s the best thing for my heart, my faith and my integrity. But I won’t rush to fix the hurt, because I need to feel this.

For those of you for whom this also brings up past hurts, please hear me: I am here for you. I will stand up for you. When I am quiet, and I let the fears calm, there is a louder and steadfast truth that reverberates from inside: I AM valued. My voice IS valued. I DO belong. God is – in fact – proud of me for sharing. 

But. Make. No. Mistake. 

I will not be silenced. I plan to release my video workshop in January when I am ready, and on my own terms. I think it may actually hold more meaning because of what has transpired. 

This has happened to me before, and it will no doubt happen to me again. This is why I wrote my book. This is why I will continue to speak when asked. This is why I choose to be visible.

I cannot call myself an advocate, and then shy away from these situations. I will stand up. Because it’s needed. Because many other LGBTQ Christian people are asked to be quiet, to leave, or to change who they are – and they may not have the energy or will to keep going. 

I DO.

There is still much work to be done. And I am here for it.

Thanks to MercyMe’s new song for coming into my ears this week: (lyrics taken from “Say I Won’t”)

“Not enough

Is what I’ve been told

But it must be a lie

‘Cause the Spirit inside says I’m so much more

So let them say what they want

Oh I dare them to try

I’m gonna run

No, I’m gonna fly

I’m gonna know what it means to live

And not just be alive

The world’s gonna hear

‘Cause I’m gonna shout

And I will be dancing when circumstances drown the music out”

Rain on me.

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Covid-fatigue is hitting everyone. I feel it all around me. This has been hard, hasn’t it friends?

Lately I have tried to allow this discomfort and fear and anxiety dust off the buried treasures within myself. I think there are extremely important lessons about life, and ourselves, that we can only learn in these types of seasons. I’m learning to be grateful for small things, to slow down and listen to my own voice, and how to show up for my family.

On Sunday I took a quick break from working on the sketches for “Still Stace” (pant, pant, there are 89 sketches now!) to go on my bike.

When I left it was sunny. Halfway through my ride, it clouded over and absolutely down poured rain. I pulled over, looked up at the sky and let it soak me. It felt renewing. I maintain that it’s one of the privileges to being alive.

There are days when we need to run and seek shelter from the rain. And then there are days when we open our arms, and invite the rain to wash over us.

Sending love, friends.

A new day is coming.

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I know, I know – I’m Canadian… BUT that doesn’t mean I wasn’t dancing in my kitchen at the Biden/Harris victory announcement yesterday!! Us Canadians are used to constantly living America-adjacent, and while political decisions don’t DIRECTLY affect us, they definitely affect us down the line.

And even though I’m not American, I love a lot of Americans. And yes, I’m a self-appointed emotional-support-Canadian. It’s been scary as hell watching what has been happening with this (lack of) leadership, especially for our LGBTQ friends and friends of colour. Yesterday felt like SUCH an influx of hope for a change! FINALLY.

But let’s focus on something amazing about yesterday: KAMALA. It was a historical day for all women! We all stand on the shoulders of so many great women who brought us to this moment. (I see you, Stacey Abrams!) Kamala becoming VP has opened the door for so many more women in leadership in our future. It’s about damn time.

I had to draw this in celebration!

Get ready for a new day, friends. It is coming.

Falling for the colours.

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Lately I’ve been working seven days a week on two shows Monday to Friday, and illustrations for “Still Stace” on the weekends. In between furious sketching and painting, I escape for mini hikes, walks and bike rides around our neighbourhood. It is for my literal mental health, and helps to reset my soul.

It’s Fall, and in this part of the Pacific Northwest, the fog sits heavier on the pines, and the leaves show off their brilliantly saturated colours. I breathe it in deeply. This is my absolutely favourite time of the year. Time for me to dig out my thicker hoodies and mustard-coloured toque, (if you aren’t Canadian, google that word) and admit that I do love to indulge in the occasional pumpkin spice latte.

The seasons changing reminds me that even in the middle of a world that feels upside down, there are some things I can count on.

A 20 minute speed painting I did after our hike through Gold Creek in Alouette Lake. (Tons of shows are filmed here including “Riverdale” and “The 100”.)
During a walk with my kids in our neighbourhood, we saw this super tall wheat-like grass (called madras, I think) and we were all enamoured with it! I couldn’t resist painting my fav Fall palette. 🙂

By the way, Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians! Wow, 2020 has thrown me for so many loops, but damn. There’s still so much to be thankful for. So hug your bubble people, eat some stuffing, and let yourself be present in this moment of gratefulness. I’m gonna try to do just that. ❤

Editing Oct 20 to add a couple more Fall-esque pieces:

In this corner of the West Coast, we have leaves waaaaay bigger than your head! No, seriously. This drawing isn’t even an exaggeration. My kids love doing this every year!
A speed painting after a long day of painting for development, from a prompt word of “scarf”. I get really tight and nitpicky when doing development (for big clients), and doing a 20 minute speed painting is like a cleansing sorbet for my soul. 🙂
I just can’t seem to physically get through October without drawing some form of Halloween candy. I prefer to eat mini Snickers, but candy corn is MUCH more fun to paint 🙂
We were walking back to our car after a walk with the kids, and I loved the early evening Fall lighting and colours.