". . . a writer with a positive vision
and a wonderful attitude" --Rich Grzesiak, Philadelphia Gay News
is a fresh naivete in [Toby Johnson's] style that rings pleasantly in
the ear, like the memory of a
'boy's book' enthusiastically devoured at age 12. Against the sour punk
of so much of today's gay male fiction, Getting
Life in Perspective is a treat." --Marvin Shaw, Lambda Book Report
men have important work to do for humanity," begins the description of Gay Men of Wisdom.
Raymond L. Rigoglioso has been runing a monthly telephone discussion
group, occasional weekend Intensives (at Easton Mountain) and a website
about understanding gayness as a spiritual and life-positive,
contributing vocation. He has published his discoveries in a book
titled Gay Men and The New
Johnson contributed a Foreword to this book.
Says Rigoglioso: "When society
persecutes LGBT people, it harms society at large.
need new messages:
We are your
are your nurses, physicians, and therapists. We
are the ones who create the beauty and culture that enrich your life. We
go first, blazing paths that create what's new. We
persuade religion to choose love over exclusion. We
reinvent manhood. We
free and enrich the human spirit. We
are straight women's best friends. We
model balanced manhood. We
entertain, subvert, and inject humor into a stiffening society. Without
us, society suffers. When you persecute us, you harm yourselves.
is the message we must send. By teaching those who see us only as a
sexuality that their religion deems flawed, we will give each person a
window into how they contribute to the health and welfare of the human
LGBT movement needs a new vision and message. And that is what Gay Men
of Wisdom aims to create."
to new dimensions of creative dialogue on various topics within
religion, philosophy, metaphysics, theology, comparitive religions and
consciousness studies. This will be a network resource connecting to
discussion threads on a variety of subjects, commentaries, freelance
dissertations, resource-links and other goodies of interest for
spiritually minded souls and pioneers of free thought. Freelight
Express by Paul Joseph Purcell.
Beyond Marriage Equality:
QUEER FANTASY AND CHRISTIAN DISINFORMATION, WHAT DOES BEING GAY TODAY
MEAN? -- A VERY interesting article by Australian gay theologian/New
Age thinker Rollan McCleary about gay consciousness, Christianity,
Biblical theology, astrology and mythic symbolism. McCleary comments on
a whole raft of issues from Marriage Equality to sodomy to gay
happiness and fulfillment.
Sacred Nudity -- McCleary has an article of note on his website about
nudity and religion. Nudity is both a sign of innocence and a source of
shame in religoius contexts. NAKED IN THESSALONIKI : RIDDLE AND SIGN
Here's a bold statement about the
gay consciousness & the
nature of religion:
Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality: a review of Kennth Burr's Coming Out, Coming Home with a discussion of the
difference between "spirituality & religion for gay people" and "Gay Spirituality" for gay
Bach has posted a wonderful 10 minute video titled "When I say 'I'm
Gay.'" He ties gay identity and experience into world evolution and the
expansion of consciousness and love. And he places our current
experience within the historical framework of gay people--like the Two
Spirits of Native American traditions--who have helped shape human
(In the novel Two Spirits: A
Story of Life with the Navajo,
Walter L. Williams and Toby Johnson invoke Navajo spiritual wisdom to
speak of "ripples in the spirit field" which are the consequences of
our lives that expand out beyond individuals into the collective world.)
enjoyed the ABC-TV movie written by Dustin Lance Black based on the
book by Cleve Jones When We Rise. Toby Johnson recognized several
intersections of events in the movie with his own life. Here's a link to his brief reminiscences
Toby Johnson & Kip Dollar are
proud to be included among the 700-some couples in the wonderful book
A sensible conspiracy theory of 9/11
• the secret of the Knights Templar
• a gay Mata Hari seducing secrets from modern Araby
• a confrontation with
death and a peek into the Bardo
• young gay lovers
discovering the pleasures of high class life
with Washington, DC
socialites—and the dangers
• reminiscences of gay life in Austin TX in the 1960s • an incredible,
literary melange. ASK THE FIRE
contributed an Afterword and Commentary on the
mythic/mystical meaning of the Crucifixion of Jesus for The Passion of Christ: A Gay VisionA book of
Kittredge CherryAnd paintings by Doug
webpage presentation that Toby showed to illustrate his talk, "Gay
Perspective & the New Myth" in London, Oct 2014. Toby's talk
at LoveSpirit 2014
This is a
good summary of Toby Johnson's basic theories of gay
consciousness and of religion and myth, and an explication of why
Johnson thinks of himself as "Joseph Campbell's Apostle to the Gay
Communty." Among the organizers of LoveSpirit 2014 was Mark Whiting who
uses the Faerie name Shokti Lovestar. He writes extensively about gay
men's spiritualites. Here's a link: Gay Consciousness changing the
world by Shokti LoveStar.
Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality: a review of Kennth Burr's Coming
Out, Coming Home with a discussion of the difference between
"spirituality & religion for gay people" and "Gay Spirituality" for
Queering religion cannot
mean just getting queers to go back to church. Queering religion has to
mean raising the perspective and discovering a new paradigm.
as Myth: an essay for Harry Faddis & Patrick Cheng's "The Ways of the Spirit: A Course
in Spirituality for LGBT People" presented on WRPI radio, March 2006. This essay is
a marvelous statement of what religious truth really is.
Notes on Licking (July,
published in Blueboy Magazine. It's a partly tongue-in-cheek argument
for practicing good hygiene while still relishing gay sex practices.
Precocious for 1984 and still good advice today.
with Different Eyes: How we human beings see the world is based more on our
expectations than on what's really out there (an excerpt from In Search of God in the Sexual
Eye is a meditation on the evocative "koan": "The eye with which I
see God is the eye with which God sees me."
Prostitution and the Nature of Evil, another excerpt from In Search of God in the Sexual
of Toby's discovery of spiritual wisdom in the oddest of places, the
Tenderloin district of San Francisco.
Nature of Religion according to Joseph Campbell. A very wise
statement from The Hero with A
Thousand Faces. (Links to The Joseph Campbell Foundation and the
Campbell Gimbutas Library and Archives at Pacifica.
Most of what Toby Johnson knows of gay history
he learned from his work with Toby Marotta. Marotta has a website with historical
gay political posters for sale and with an exhibit of gay
liberation documents called Revisiting Stonewall.
February 2017, ABC-TV ran a miniseries about gay liberation activity in
San Francisco. It as mostly centered on the life of Cleve Jones. Toby
Johnson's experience in S.F. in the 70s intersected with a numbers of
the events shown. Read Intersections
with the movie When We Rise
Along with Patrick McNamara, Duncan Teague,
Craig Harwood, Dave Nimmons, as well as Mark Thompson, Christian de la
Huerta, David Frechter, Michael
Sigmann, Bo Young, Dan
Vera, and others, Toby Johnson assisted with the calling of a "Gay Spirit Summit" in
Spring 2004 at Garrison Institute.
Read about the Gay Spirituality
Summit and the "Statement of Spirituality" with
Interesting article from the 1981
West Coast Christopher Street Parade magazine by L.A. gay pioneer Jim
Kepner, titled The
Seach for Gay Spirit. Everything he wrote about in 1981 is still
current 30 years later in 2011.
Allen Ginsberg discovered a line
of "Gay Succession"
from Walt Whitman to himself… and beyond.
One of the earliest
expressions of "Gay Spirituality" showed up as the book The Divine Androgyne According to
Purusha. Earlier in his life as a gay cultural activist, under the
name Christopher Larkin, Purusha had made the gay romantic movie A
Very Natural Thing.
Toby Johnson was Walter Williams' editor for Spirit of
a sweet romance set in Civil War times about an escaped slave's journey
to freedom and happiness in the Pacific Islands culture of Hawaii.
These titles are available in gay bookstores nationwide
and by mail
from the author (signed and inscribed, if you'd like).
Toby's non-fiction titles are also
described on that page:
Spirituality: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of
Human Consciousness ( Lethe Press, 2004),
Gay Perspective: Things Our
Homosexuality Tells Us About the Nature of God and the Universe (Lethe
A great influence on Toby Johnson's thought AND writing
style is science fiction prophet, Sir Arthur C. Clarke.
Here's a short article In Honor of Sir
Arthur C. Clarke. Because Arthur C. Clarke was a gay
man, there are
meaningful themes in his books and writing. In 2016 a movie was made
for TV of his novel Childhood's End. Toby Johnson comments on
this movie AND what the novel was really about. Karellen
was a homosexual
Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook.Blending
modern-day physics and cosmology, a little Teilhard and a little
Matthew Fox, comparative religion, some Joseph Campbell, intelligent
New Age thought, progressed Christianity, American political idealism,
evolutionary theory, postmodernism, Pope John the Beloved calls for a
new Church of the Second Coming--also referred to (iconoclastically) as
the Church of Kingdom Come--COKC (try pronouncing the acronym). It’s a
sex-positive religion based in an evolutionary model of human nature
with an openly gay priesthood. Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer.
Souldancer says he is blending good business practice with
multicultural ancient wisdom. As the exercises continue, they
demonstrate that giving is the way to get and that integrity and
ethical living is the best success and the way to get paid by life with
happiness and fulfillment. So the thing about asking for a raise is
really a hook to pull you toward enightenment and wisdom. The Way Out by Christopher Lee Nutter.
Intermixing themes in current spiritual thought—the Dalai Lama, Joseph
Campbell, Don Miguel Ruiz, Gary Zukav, A Course in Miracles, the Twelve
Steps—Nutter offers an answer to who you really are. And in the process
recounts how he came to understand this through his experience in urban
gay culture. The answer, of course, isn’t new or surprising. It’s the
age-old answer: we are each a perspective that “God” or “Divine
Consciousness” or “the cosmos”—whatever you want to call IT—is taking
on itself. The Gay Disciple by John Henson. Gay
consciousness is now part of human consciousness and naturally
recapitulates Jesus’s teaching that love and compassion trump religion
and law. It’s good that the Jesus story be written to include gay
experience. The Life of Christ is an appropriate subset of gay literary
genre. Art That
Dares by Kitt Cherry, presents erotic imagery based in Christian
tradition. Cherry is the author of JESUS IN LOVE, a novelist
"autobiography of Jesus" as sexually and psychologically sophisticated,
a real "tour de force" in transforming traditional myth to modern
consciousness. Cherry book ART THAT DARES was launched during the
National Festival of Progressive Spiritual Art in Taos, NM, May 11-12.
Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality: a review of Kennth Burr's Coming
Out, Coming Home with a discussion of the difference between
"spirituality & religion for gay people" and "Gay Spirituality" for
the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois is an allegorical account, a
set in a modern Texas prison, of the appearance of a Christ-like figure
who reaches out to his fellow offenders with a visionary message of
Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith
by D.a. Thompson is a conversation between a Conservative Christian
Pastor and a Conservative Christian layman--the author, D.a.--who
advocates for the acceptance of gay partnership within religious
congregations. He makes different arguments from the usual pro-gay
marriage ones because he is NOT a proponent of same sex marriage, but
of fairness within Christian churches in how the human (sinful)
condition is treated. Interesting!
Dark Knowledge by
Kenneth Low is a life of
Christ written as a mystery story/puzzle asking the question why was
Jesus actually executed. What crime had he committed that was so
heinous, it deserved crucifxion? Whether you'd agree with the biblical
exegetical approach in this book or not, it is really interesting and
Janet Planet by Eleanor
Lerman is a wonderfully
engaging and beautifully written roman
à clef-style novel based on the real life characters surrounding
Carlos Castenada and The Teachings
of Don Juan.
The Jesus we never
knew is presented in two interesting and entertaining books that offer
insight into the real message of religion: The
Kairos by Paul E. Hartman and Wrestling
with Jesus by D.K.Maylor. Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine is
a very interesting book about the "Foundational Principles of Tantra,"
but it is far more than a book of Hindu mythology. It's about a whole
approach to life based in maintaining balance. The Missing Myth by Gilles
Herrada examines the science and current psychological/philosophical
ideas about the nature and origins of homosexuality. The Secret
of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook calls for a rediscovery of
the Gnostic Christianity that underlay Jesus' teachings. The Second
Coming is here and now. The Scar Letters: A
Novel by Richard Alther is a sensitive,
beautifully-written and ultimately moving and heartwarming account of a
modern gay man coming to terms with personal pain and human suffering.
A great read. Emotionally and literarily satisfying. The Future is
Queer edited by Richard Labonte & Lawrence Schimel is an
anthology of science fiction short stories with interesting,
occasionally unsettling, but always insightful predictions of a "queer"
future. Missing Mary by
Charlene Spretnak, subititled The Queen of Heaven and Her Re-emergence
in the Modern Church, is a partly scholarly, partly personal account of
modern day Catholic devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Eleanor Lerman is a story about the alluring mystery of life--all tied
up with aliens, interstellar broadcasts, new age religion and a lovable
little dog named Digitaria. Nights
at Rizzoli by Felice Picano is a memoir by a very successful and
wonderful writer in the gay genre who worked at the New York upscale
bookstore of the title. Male Sexuality
by Ken Stofft
describes how gender role expectations confine and
restrict so many men's joy and happiness. The Key
to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo is an easy-to-read
book of sensible advice for LGBTQ youth for how to take the next step. The Door of the
Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar is a didactic novel about gay rights
and traditional Christian values. It very well presents a range of
issues from PFLAG, same-sex marriage, anti-gay bullying to organ
donation and husband-wife relationship. And it's got a good story. Occam’s Razor
by David Duncan is a science-fiction novel from the 1950s. I reread it
recently and discovered it's partly the basis for the metaphysical of
parallel universes that appears in my novel Secret Matter. Grace and
Demion by Mel White is a part whimsical, part serious and profound
fable about angels and demons and the struggle for truth about gay
consciousness. Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L.
Rigoglioso is a wonderful book about the 14 Distinct Positive
Contributing Traits of gay men. The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by
Samuel Avery is one of the neatest ideas I have ever come across. I
think this explains what "reality" is.
War Between Materialism and Spiritual by
Jean-Michel Bitar is a partly whimsical, but earnest account of a
philosophical quest to understand the meanings of "Materialism" and
"Spiritualism" and where the supposed "war" comes from.
American and the Religion of No Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal is a
wonderful history of Esalen Institute, the "New Age" conference center
on the West Coast. But it is so much more. It's a summary of the
insights into religion and mythology that have changed America in the
The Invitation to Love by Darren Pierre is a book
of wise and sweet meditations or lessons about the nature of love and
how to find love. Pierre is a gay, Black man; you can feel his
sincerity and sensitivity in his writings.
Bettanini, whose full name as a disciple of Osho is Ma Atmo Prayan (The
innermost journey), is an Italian singer living in Turkey. Her musical
project, "The Invitation, songs inspired by Rumi," is 10 poems of
Mevlana and put to music, receiving the melodies and the
from him, to accompany her singing at the piano in English. "Come, whoever you are"... is Rumi's heartfelt and
eternal poem which you can watch and listen to here.
Christians Be Saved? A Mystical Path to Oneness by Virginia T
Stephenson & Buck A Rhodes PhD is a delightful blend of world
religions to produce a modern, sensible mystical post-religious
Lost Secrets of the Ancient Mystery Schools by Virginia T Stephenson &
Buck A Rhodes PhD is an example of the kind of mystical practices in
their earlier book, Can Christians Be Saved, but applied specifically
to pivotal events in the life of Jesus.
In Walt We
Trust by John Marsh, is subtitled: How a Queer Social Poet Can
Save America from Itself. What a great idea! Toby Johnson's review
discusses the nature of internalized homophobia and projection.
Tantric Song by Rollan McCleary derives a positive view
of sex and eroticism from the Biblical book The Songs of Songs. There
are several gay-positive discussions of homosexuallity.
Special Illumination by Rollan McCleary surveys the Gay
Spirituality Movement and efforts within established churches to accept
gay people. Very wide-ranging book.
by Lawrence Scott is a sweet and touching novel featuring a young
Benedictine novice discovering and coping with his homosexuality inthe
context of Catholic monastic life.
by John Ollom documents the noted choreographer's career and sets for
his ideas for using dance and movement as access to the deep and mythic
unconscious. A beautiful book just to look at and hold in your hand.
by David Hatfield Sparks is a book of poetry that spins autobiogrpahy
into myth and symbol. The author is one of the important characters in
the creation of gay/queer spirit and culture. With his partner Randy P.
Conner, he produced Cassell's Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol,
and Spirit. Yes
by Brad Boney is a delightful novel about the fantasy of recapturing
youth and the wisdom of choosing things just as they are.
Blood of the Goddess
by William Schindler merges the European Vampire novel with Tantric
mysticism and worship of the Goddess Kali into a novel full of ecstatic
rapture and transcendetal wisdom.
Roads of Excess, Palaces of
by Jeffrey Kripal argues that the study of mysticism is itself a
mystical practice. He cites the lives of five writers--and includes
himself in a series of asides within the book--to demonstrate his
point. Since at least two of his subjects were homosexual, there's a
very interesting strain in this book about homoeroticism and
in Salome's Lot by
Brett W. Gillette is a decoding of the Christian Scriptures to discover
deeper meanings behind the actual words and letters. The book certainly
shows how to use the Bible like a crystal ball to stimulate intuition
Man Who Loved Birds
by Fenton Johnson is a beautiful and poignant novel. It's about sexual
and emotional liberation, but it's also about the hardness that is in
the heart of Man and anger with which those in authority sometimes
treat those who don't give a whit about authority.
Vatican Murders by
Lucien Gregoire is an account of the mysterious death of Albino
Luciani—Pope John Paul I—by a gay man who had a personal connection to
the short-lived, but potentially revolutionary Pope.
by Brian McNaught was reviewed in White Crane Journal in 2005. This is
a semi-fictionalized account of the sexual attitudes trainings McNaught
is famous for teaching.
Soul Beneath the Skin
by David Nimmons is a wonderful book, published in 2002, about gay
men's cultures. This is a must-read for every gay man to understand the
dimensions of gay consciousness.
Holy Ground by
Donald Boisvert is a series of meditations of gay spiritual
consciousness. Particularly interesting is the discussion of male
Revolutionary Psychology of Gay-Centeredness
by Mitch Walker is a short monograph about Jungian themes in gay
consciousness. The review links to numerous articles by Walker's
students in Uranian Psychoanalysis and Gay-Centered Psychology.
Out There by
Perry Brass, a collection of short stories--a little horror, a little
supernatural, a little afterlife… neat!
The Crucifixion of Hyacinth by Geoff Puterbaugh is
a study of ancient history tracing the rise of homophobia in human
thought. Scholarly but readable.
Silence of Sodom
by Mark D Jordan is a classic about homosexuality and the Catholic
Church. The beginning of the book is precious--What if the Holy Spirit
reveals to the Vatican that they're wrong on homosexuality? Who would
dare to share their revelation from God?
Never About What It's About by
Krandall Kraus and Paul Borja is subtitled “What We Learned About
Living While We Were Waiting to Die" is a wonderful book of wisdom that
demonstrates the paradoxically positive consequences of AIDS in gay
men's lives and collective cultures.
edited by Catherine Lake is an anthology, mostly of Canadian writers,
about queer perspectives on religion. As the title suggests, we are
Gospel: A Novel
by WIlton Barnhard is a WONDERFUL novel about the secret history of
religion. It's about a "Lost Gospel" written by one of the Apostles
which a modern Scripture scholar, wise man, and wild character believes
in hidden somewhere and he is out to find it. This is one of the best
books I have ever read.
Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey
by Fenton Johnson is a beautifully written account of the spiritual
quest and, particularly, the route through monastic life--both Trappist
and Zen Buddhist.
Dating the Greek Gods by
Brad Gooch is a whimsical but wise and insightful discussion of gay
men's dating patterns from a Jungian, archetypal perspective.
Truths in Church by Mark D. Jordan reveals the way religious
language hides and confuses real morality and ethics.
Substance of God by Perry Brass is a science fiction thriller with
a religious/ mythological theme woven in, along with a little hot porn.
by Jack Nichols is an entertaining memoir of one oif the pioneers of
Gay Liberation and a wonderful example of finding true love (even
though it was tragically lost). Jack Nichols, as a writer and magazine
editor, helped create our modern ideas of what "gay" means.
and Time by Gerald Heard who was an important figure in the 1940s
& 50s in the development of what's now called New Age.
and the Sacred by Daniel Helminiak includes 15
essays on religious and psychological issues that gay men and lesbian
by Mark Jordan is a scholarly, but also whimsical and entertaining,
study of marriage and marriage rites. It's even more useful in
understanding these issues now that Marriage Equality has been
recognized by the Supreme Court.
by Joe Perez is a book in the form of a blog. Subtitled Reflections on
Gay Culture, Politics and Spirit, this book is filled with interesting
and provocative insights and commentaries.
by Joe Perez is a memoir/blog/spiritual autobiography. Perez is a
disciple of Ken WIlber and writes in the context of Wilber's Integral
Undeniable Longing by Mark Tedesco, an entertaining and interesting
account of vocation to the priesthood and the problems it creates.
Vintage: A Ghost
Steve Berman, a review of the entertaining, light-hearted horror
novel— along with a little history of White Crane Books and Lethe Press.
for the Soul by Larry Chang is a 800+ page compedium of wise and
winderful quotes. Inspiring. And gay-inclusive.
MM4M a DVD by
Bruce Grether teaches methods for transforming masturbation into a
spiritual discipline and developing high erotic states.
by David Ranan is a scathing report
on the Catholic Church and a call for major reform.
by Daniel Helminiak, the popular Dignity priest and
philosopher/psychologist of religion and consciousness, who offers a
positive way to understand Christianity.
Jesus in Love
by Kittredge Cherry -- in two volumes -- is an autobiography of Jesus
Christ. A remarkable novel, with Jesus as a sexually mature and aware
the Eye of the Storm
by Gene Robinson, Foreword by Demond Tutu is about the transformations
that gay awareness is forcing on religion and the churches—and for
their own best good!
by Sven Davisson is a collection of edgy stories and essays, with one
of the best explanations of Michel Foucault I've ever read.
Paradox by Fr Paul Murray is a novelistic autobiography by the
first openly gay Catholic priest in the diocese of Washington DC.
by Robert Goss is a book of Queer Theology, illuminated by personal
autobiographical stories by the author, a Catholic priest who moved
beyond the Church to become a queer activist.
by Dan Savage is an hilarious sendup of conventional morality in the
interests of redefining and calling for real virtue in our modern
world. Great fun!
Flesh of the Word by Richard A Rosato, a novel avbout a gay man who
develops the stigmata and can cure AIDS by his touch, a beautiful story.
by David Garrett Izzo is a novel written in the form of a children's
book about power and evil--and housecats the size of people, a
for Gay Men
by Bruce Anderson is a wonderful introduction to a very complicated
topic in the history of religions, along with a useful workbook for
actual practice in the tantric tradition.
the Path of the Urban Mystic
by Darren Main is a wonderful summary of the principles of the
spiritual life, told in the context of yoga and Hinduism, but
applicable way beyond these specific traditions.
by Malcolm Boyd, a memoir organized around the life lessons Fr. Boyd
learned and taught.
by Salvatore Sapienza is a semi-autobiographical novel of a young man
entering Catholic religious life and living through the growing pains
of discovering his true self.
Does "Queer" Mean Anyway?
by Chris Bartlett is a simplified, but useful, primer about the meaning
of the alphabet soup of LGBTQIA+ terminology, written by a non-gay man
for non-gay people.
The FInal Odyssey
by Arthur C. Clarke completes the Space Odyssey Triology with a
peculiarly Buddhistic approach to the god-like beings who sent the
Monolith in the first place.
by Daniel Curzon is interesting, educational and provocative epistolary
novel about creating a gay family through artificial insemination. This
review from 1998 is especially interesting because of its discussion of
author self-publishing and the development of Print-on-Demand
Reviews of Books with a Message: High in the Andes: A
Spiritual Adventure Novel by William Michael Kaufman; Planet of
Darkness: A Spirit's Journey through time and matter to save his planet
by Jerry Belvo; Where the Rainbow Ends by Jameson
Currier; Every Man for Himself: A Novel of Love, Romance, and
Finding Mr. Right by Orland Outland.
by Michael Parise, subtittled "Taking Charge After Everything Has
Changed," offers healing advice for dealing with aburpt and unexpetced
change in one's life. Wirrten by a former priest and gay man who
knows what he is talking about.
Confessions of a Murdered Pope
by Lucien Gregoire is a collection of stories, the most important of
which, the title story, is about the ideas of Pope John Paul I, as told
by a fictional reincarnation of the pope who ruled only for 33 days
before dying mysteriously.
by Eleanor Lerman is a wonderfully eerie and evocative novel about
allien abduction with several neat, and illuminating, twists in the
Living, Conscious Aging by
Ron Pevny is really supportive and helpful book in thinking about aging
and considering the meaningfulness of your life. It's got good advice,
intermixed with easy-to-relate-to anecdotes and personal stories.
Footprints Through the Desert
by Joshua Kauffman is a account of a life-crisis of young adulthood
about looking for love, finding love and then losing it when it all
goes wrong. Interesting story. Good psychological anaysis.
J.L. Weinberg is a horror novel about ghosts and witches in modern New
England. But it's also about a gay man's spiritual insight into the
nature of religion. Very nicely done.
by Dennis Merritt argues that everything in our experience is a
"perfect reflection" of what is going on in our inner lives. It's a
brilliant concept--something we all experience but seldom acknowledge
by Fenton Johnson is a collection of essays about modern life, some
autobiographical, all beautifully written with very wise insight.
by James Gaston is fast-paced murder mystery set in a private religious
college where hypocrisy breeds crime and crime leads to death. AND it's
got a sexy and sweet three-way right in the middle of the investigation.
God vs Gay?
by Jay Michaelson makes "The Religious Case for Equality." Michaleson
explains why religion ought to be pro-gay and welcoming of LGBTQ
people. Very good book and very understandable explanation of
hard-to-understand ideas in the Bible.
Fred by Richard Alther is a novel sweet love story--a real life
version of Harold and Maude but with senisible people, and lots
of wisdom about experiencing life fully. A joy to read.
the Son He Expected
by Tim Clausen is a collection of interviews with gay men about their
relationships with their fathers. It's very interesting, and very
9 Realities of Stardust
by Bruce P. Grether is a beautiful and inspiring statement of spiritual
wisdom explained in the worldivew of modern science. It's brilliant.
by Anne & Whitley Strieber is a remarkable account of love and
death, and love surviving death, but also an important treatise on the
nature of reality and the unexpected, but well-documented phenomena
that UFOS and contact with the dead are interrelated.
Queer Spirit Awakening by
Shokti Lovestar is little book of poetry and wisdom by a London-based
Radical Faerie English wiseman about how to understand AIDS mystically
and spiritually, not as punishment but as opportunity and warning.
the Truth of Your Life
by Merle Yost is a book of truly "good advice" and explanantion of
human psychological dynamics. It's interesting, readable, and quite
Secret Body by
Jeffrey J Kripal takes up similar ideas of those in The Super Natural.
Kripal argues that "paranormal phenomena," like hauntings, apparitions,
clairvoyance, UFOs, alien abductions, etc—all demonstrate the existence
of a greater reality. And it is from those kinds of experiences inthe
past that the religions were born. A brilliant book.
House by Jonathan Lane is a fiictional memoir by a young man who
tells of being Adolph Hitler's male whore. An amazing story.
Surprisingly entertaining despite the subject matter. Hitler comes off
worse than ever.
Walking on Glory by Edward Swift is a sweet,
funny, poignant character of a crazy but lovable Texas lady.
of Porn by Don Shewey i a wonderful statement of how to understand
the modern phenomenon of sex videos positively and non-judgmentally.
Is Heaven for Real? by Lucien Gregoire debunks the
popular story of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima in 1917. Scissors,
Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson is a poignant and beautiful and
satisfying novel of life and death and the modernizing of America.
Kip Dollar & Toby
Johnson attended the Gala Lambda Literary Awards
Presentation in NYC, May 31, 2007. Toby's anthology CHARMED LIVES, co-edited
by Steve Berman, was
nominated for Best Anthology. The award went to the very deserving
Love, Bourbon Street, edited by Herren & Willis.
Johnson, PhD is author of some ten books: three
non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of Joseph Campbell, his teacher
and "wise old man," to modern-day social and religious problems, four
gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay
identity, two books on gay men's spiritualities, gay spirit, and the
mystical experience of homosexuality, and an anthology which he edited
with Steve Berman of gay-positive short stories.
For a more extended bio, click
(More photos below.)
Toby Johnson and Kip
Dollar have been partners since 1984. They have been advocates for
and examples of successful longterm gay relationships. Toby and Kip
were the first male couple registered as Domestic Partners in Texas
(Austin, Travis County, Oct 11, '93). There's a write-up about them as
a couple on the very extensive website on gay couples &
Task Force for Gay & Lesbian Couples.
(Click here for a high resolution .tif photo of Toby
Johnson in B&W Or in color and For hi-res color photo of Toby Johnson
& Kip Dollar by Tim Leary)
and Toby have been partners
since 1984. They were the first male couple to register as Domestic
Partners in Texas. An account of their first 14 years together appears
in Merle Yost's book on long-term gay relationships: WHEN LOVE LASTS
FOREVER.They are included in Elisa Rolle's
remarkable collection of over 700 gay and lesbian couples in history
DAYS OF LOVE.
Kip Dollar is a
professional bookkeeper and community activist. It was he who managed
the financial matters of Liberty Books. He worked with numerous gay
community groups and organizations in San Antonio and Austin. He is a
talented natural artist, working on paper in watercolors, pastels, and
charcoal (click on
the link to see his portfolio) and in sculpture with clay. He is
presently studying pastels with protrait artist Susan Carlin and
with renowned watercolorist Brad Braune. Kip is also a creator of marvelous
Halloween costumes. Kip's a striking redhead.
For seven years, Toby Johnson and Kip Dollar ran Liberty Books, the
lesbian and gay community bookstore in Austin. Toby and Kip sold the
store to Crossroads Market in 1994. In Spring 1997, they moved to
Conifer, Colorado in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains near Denver
where they ran a gay B&B called The House at Peregrine's
Perspective. (While in Denver, they purchased a wonderful mantle clock,
a statue by French sculptor Mathurin Moreau, titled Bucheron, i.e., the woodcutter. Bucheron was
a sort of mascot for the B&B.)
2000, they moved back to Texas to operate a B&B called Casa
Peregrino in the little artist colony/river resort town of Wimberley
mid-way between San Antonio and Austin in the Texas Hill Country. And
in 2003, they sold Casa Peregrino and moved back to their hometown to
watch over Kip's parents, and to plan their next life adventure
In 1996 Toby
joined an EarthWatch expedition to videotape the spring equinox
festivals in the rural village of Tigiria in eastern India. Toby
returned with several "longees," the sarong-like
garment the men in the area wear.
Here are Kip and Toby in the backyard in Austin, wearing the Indian
longees. Toby looks like actor Ben Kingsley -- and so by extension,
Ko Imani and Goko Media are producing MyOutSpirit.com, a resource guide,
and social networking
site for gay spiritualities. Click on
the title to go to the homepage for info and to submit your name or project for inclusion.
Joseph Kramer is one of the most
important characters in the development of gay positive spiritual
thought. Through his investigation of
Taoism and India Tantrayoga, he developed techniques for enhancing
sexual arousal (and particularly self-pleasuring) and for moving
sexual arousal into high mystical states of consciousness. This is one
of the most significant contributions of gay spirituality to the
evolution of religion. Kramer teaches through the Internet at The New School of
has presented 4 workshops at Gay Spirit Camp at Easton
He and Kip are both VERY impressed
with Easton Mountain Retreat Center
and its experiment in gay
intentional community and urge readers to check out eastonmountain.org
Bodhi Spiritual Center pastor, Mark Anthony Lord, is organizing a
GLBT coaches, guides, thinkers, thought leaders, etc to lead Pride 2.0: The Next
Wave of Freedom
click on the title for info
Gay spiritual writer
Joe Perez has a new book, short but pithy and insightful, titled Gay
Spirituality 101. But it's hardly an introduction. Perez writes in
of Integral Thought of Ken Wilber. Here's Toby
Johnson's brief review
Hunter Flournoy. Hunter teaches how to
"Touch the Divine in Our Bodies and Our Lives"
develop a loving and sacramental practice of self-touch
• heal the deep wounding of distorted religious dogmas, that portray
the world as fallen, sinful, or broken.
• reclaim a spiritual vision of the world and ourselves as holy,
beautiful, and divine.
• begin a loving, empowering relationship with your own body, your
sexuality, your pleasure and your desire
Hunter has developed wonderful body positive perspectives on the
spiritual life. One of his websites is titled "Embody God." (Isn't that
the Secret? that we really are "God in the flesh.")
events through Gay
adventure--"pilgrimage"--are traditional spiritual
John Stasio has made a short YouTube video about Easton Mountain. It's partly
appeal for donations, but also a lovely slideshow of photos,showing the
beauty of the gay retreat center in upstate New York.
is publishing a 'zine of queer spirituality called The Holy
Sal Sapienza gave a
wonderful talk to a progressive church group in his hometown Saugatuck,
explains why being gay can be an occasion for spiritual insight and why
coming out is an act of anthenticity and truth telling.
Missing Myth: A New Vision of Same-Sex
Love is written in the context of Ken Wilber's Integral
"With astounding scholarship, Gilles Herrada provides a panoramic view
on the myths and mysteries of same-sex love. It will be a key work, for
sure, in the coming decades as society's understanding of LGBT people
deepens and evolves." — Mark Thompson, author of the Gay Spirit, Gay Soul, Gay Body
Toby Johnson's review: "The Secret
Myth: A Congratulatory Response to The
Agenda: All In. Juan Ahonen-Jover, Ph.D., Cofounder,
www.eQualityGiving.org, has just released an updated edition of his
wonderful The Gay Agenda with new specific actions to take, including
what we should get the president to do, and which states to target and
what results to ask for in each state. This book is a very
comprehensive guidebook to reach LGBT equality under the law.
Gay people are not given myths through traditional culture
with which we can explain our experience to ourselves. We have to
create our own myths. Stories like Mel White’s Grace and Demion (which I had the
good fortune to assist with editing) is a delightful and wise example
of how to rearrange the old stories in order to create deeply
meaningful, satisfying and revelatory personal myths.
"Queer" has turned out to be a very queer word. It
has a variety of meanings and inflections. And to some extent these are
Queer was THE term of derision during the 1950s and 60s when the "first
generation of sexually-liberated gay men and lesbians" were
coming of age—these
were those who came out at the end of 60s as part of the Youth
Movement, anti-war movement, civil rights and sexual liberation
movements. Queer was shameful and, if you dared, you shouted it back in
anger. "Takes one to know one." Else you learned to push down your
feelings, so you wouldn't let them see you cry.
Queer was reclaimed as a self-chosen epithet of anger during the height
of the AIDS crisis when it appeared society just didn't care that
homosexuasl were dying. We weren't very gay, in the cheerful sense, in
those times. Our proudly calling ourselves queer "rubbed their noses"
in their silence and derision of us. See what suffering you are causing!
AIDS made homosexuality visible. Even children knew about it, and, as
ever, it was a little embarrassing—though also necessarily titillating.
An odd connotation got attached to "gay" to mean lame, out-of-date,
square, passé, dumb, "retarded," uncool. "That's so gay."
For a younger generation, queer, that angry term that didn't hold much
anger anymore, was a truer term than "gay." And so a generation
following AIDS picked queer as their preferential identity. Among
younger homosexuals, queer was for a new generation that wouldn't be
dogged by AIDS; it was old men who suffered through that. Each
generation seems to take a new term. Urning, homosexual, homophile,
gay, GLBT, LGBTQ, queer. Each generation has a new set of experiences;
each stands on the shoulders of those before, but what they experience
is that they are different, they're not like those before them. And
There'll be a next generation after queer who'll take a new term of
reference. Perhaps "pride" in a generic way as both noun and adjective.
"You're listening to Pride Radio." "I'm pride." "Do you think she's
pride?" "Let's all go to Pride tonight." [meaning pride festival, pride
week, a pride bar]. Maybe even "Let's go pride tonight." [meaning going
out into the gay subculture].
Queer is an umbrella term to mean everybody who thinks of themselves in
any way sexual or gender variant. As a term of political solidarity all
queers need to stick together. The differences between us don't matter.
In fact, the umbrella term use of queer recognizes that everybody, even
the non-gay people, are fundamentally just people. We shouldn't make
any differentiation between people at all. That's the essence of
liberation—to have no specific identity separate from others. That, of
course, is what the "Men" also means in "All men are created equal."
And as soon as you have an umbrella term, somebody under the umbrella
feels left out and wants to be recognized. That's how the string of
terms and letters developed in LGBTQIA+.
The Queer Theology of Patrick Cheng says the "only sin" is making
distinctions. We should focus on our similarities, not our differences.
The differences are insignificant. All religions teach love, and the
way to love is to overlook division.
That was the major tenet of the second period of the Mattachine Society
(after Harry Hay). Being homosexual doesn't really matter. Gay
liberation arose to say, yes it does, and that's why we have to
organize and fight back against oppression.
Queer also means a branch of academic literary, philosophical and
cultural criticism. Queer Theory is concerned with how historical,
political, sociological and cultural factors "construct" sexual
identities through time. What homosexual behavior was thought of at
different times and places were all different. There's no "essential"
homosexual nature. Within the academy Queer Theory has achieved many
important insights in human behavior and consciousness. It's part of a
general recognition in intellectual and educational circles that all of
human experience is constructed of streams of personal and societal
impressions and ideas. Reality itself is constructed in the mind. This
is a very Buddhistic realization, but now in the French school of
Structuralism and post-structuralism of Michel Foucault. As queer
theory appears in pop culture, it seems to deny the reality of
homosexuality (not unlike Fundamentalist Christianity which also denies
there is anything inborn and constitutional as homosexuality). Gay
writers and commentators have to identify themselves as essentialists
I think the "solution" is to see that they are both true. AND they can
both be deconstructed away. You can always rise to a higher perspective
from which to see that apparent excluding opposites are actually parts
of the same thing. That's the use of "queer" as the umbrella term.
Queer is also one of the sectors within LGBTQIA+. Then it is not an
umbrella term at all, but a signfier of either the young generation for
which it is a hip term and/or an element of "misfits" and
"noncompliers." While these terms have negative connotation, there is a
long, honorable tradition of "gadflys," "jesters," "tricksters,"
"coyotes," "contrarians" who force change. Within the large spectrum of
sex and gender variant people, some fit right into mainstream culture
and mainstream gay culture, others feel unwelcome. They were nerds, not
pretty boys, sissies, tomboys, losers They rightly
identify as "queer." Most of the gay activists from the Mattachine on
were "queer" in this sense. That they weren't satisfied with the status
quo—and, in particular, the sexual objectification and looksism and
flagrant materialism in mainstream gay culture—is why they were
I suppose the reality is that "Queer" means all of these meanings. And
also none. For every one of these can be deconstructed into
meaninglessness. The only thing that matters is how you yourself feel
about the word and what it means to you.
religion cannot mean getting queers to be religious, i.e., getting us
to go back to church/synagogue/ temple/mosque/etc., to believe in the
popular myths and to accept the authority of religious officials.
Queering religion has to mean
recognizing the multiplicity of voices and perspectives around the
world, rising above one's religion of origin to look at it as but one
tradition among many.
so many of us that tradition has been Christianity, and in that regard,
such a higher, outsider, perspective--what
is loosely called "spirituality"--allows for a simple response to the
history of Church and bible-based oppression: It's all myth anyway,
take what's meaningful to you and leave the rest behind.
That's queering religion: to understand
it, not to "believe" in it. That frees you from religion while showing
you what it was really about in the first place, and so "enlightening"
you to the nature of consciousness and the nature of "God," as a clue
to who you really are as a conscious entity asking questions about the
nature of your existence.
The point of the mythological
traditions is to raise people's vision above just everyday and selfish
concerns and to inspire compassion. The proper goal of religion isn't
to be right, but to be loving and kind. If the bible says homosexuals
should be stoned, it's evidence the bible's outdated and inadequate for
addressing issues of contemporary life.
You don't need to explain the "texts of
terror," those verses in the Bible that get quoted out of context to
justify condemnation of homosexuality as inevitable because it is
"God's will." You can just tear those pages out of the book.
Actually you might find it would be
simpler to just save the one page with Jesus's Golden Rule on it and
throw away all the rest. That's probably what Jesus himself would have
The message to be learned from
observing the anti-gay attitudes and behavior of the Christian churches
is that it's time to move on. Let's throw the baby out with the
bathwater because the reason the water is fouled is that the baby has
died and the body's putrefying and deserves a respectful burial.
It's not enough to queer Christianity
by seeking the original meanings or discovering that Jesus would have
been pro-gay if he'd had the words to speak about such issues--though,
of course, that IS true. Christianity is but one voice in the
conversation about spiritual meaning--and it's got a very old-timey
You've got to queer religion itself. All of us, gay and straight, need a new
spiritual paradigm that makes sense in the modern world and speaks with
a modern, enlightened voice.
This, I think, is what "gay
spirituality" is about AND what the human race is evolving toward.
The "new myth" is the story of what
religion and myth have been in the history of the evolution of
consciousness. We can understand these things to have been metaphors
This realization is: 1) a higher order
myth, 2) a real queering--in the sense of despoiling--of religion and
traditional notions of religious authority, and 3) ironically, the
salvation of religion as a high culture art form.
If religion and myth are in competition
with science to describe the external material world, religion will
necessarily lose. If the new understanding of religion and myth is the
scientific tool to describe the structures of deep consciousness in the
interior, "spiritual" world, then religion and science work side by
side to further evolution and expansion of consciousness.
For all of this is fundamentally about
the Universe waking up to itself.
In a very parallel and deeply
meaningful way, I think, being queer is about waking up to yourself.
Nobody identifies as gay or queer without having waked up in some way,
that is, having understood the clues their lives are giving them about
their own interior experience of consciousness.
Being queer, being gay gives us the
proverbial leg up for understanding and moving into the new myth that
is the cutting edge of evolving consciousness.
It's being One with the evolving
universe; being One with the Big Bang; being One with "God."
The way to queer religion is to be God.
Read Toby Johnson's article on the Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality,
i.e., the two separate thrusts of gay people's innate religiousness: 1)
reforming the traditional churches to accept gay/queer members AND 2)
creating a whole new vision of spiritual meaning.
Toby Johnson, PhD is author of ten
books: four non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and
"wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious
problems, four gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the
heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and
the mystical experience of homosexuality. In addition to the novels featured elsewhere in this web
site, Johnson is author of IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD
and THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET
(Revised edition): AN APPRECIATION OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL.
His most recent book is a spiritual autobiography: FINDING YOUR OWN
TRUE MYTH: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the
Great Secret III/
Johnson's Lammy Award winning book GAY
SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of
Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated
book GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things
Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was
published by Alyson in 2003. Both books are available now in new
updated and expanded editions from Lethe Press.
Enter search words to use the google search of the tobyjohnson.com