The Hustler Study



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Also on this website:

Toby Johnson's books:

GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness

GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe

SECRET MATTER: updated, revised & expanded edition from Lethe Press with Afterword by Mark Jordan

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE: A romance novel set in the 1980s and the 1890s.

THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil

TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams

CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story

PLAGUE: A NOVEL ABOUT HEALING.

About ordering


Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series


  Articles and Excerpts:

Read Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness

Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"


The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate

Why gay people should NOT Marry

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

Second March on Washington


A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality

 The cause of homosexuality

The origins of homophobia

Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness

What is homosexuality?

What is Gay Spirituality?

My three messages

What Jesus said about Gay Rights

Queering religion

Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men

Is there a "uniquely gay perspective"?

The purpose of homosexuality

The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter

The Gay Succession

Interview on the Nature of Homosexuality

What the Bible Says about Homosexuality

Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men

Varieties of Gay Spirituality

Waves of Gay Liberation Activity

Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium


Easton Mountain Retreat Center

Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism

The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the  "Statement of Spirituality"


"It's Always About You"

The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara

Avalokiteshvara at the Baths.

You're Not A Wave

What is Enlightenment?

What is reincarnation?

How many lifetimes in an ego?


Emptiness & Religious Ideas

Experiencing experiencing experiencing

Going into the Light

Meditations for a Funeral

Meditation Practice

The way to get to heaven

Buddha's father was right



Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal

The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika

Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva

John Boswell was Immanuel Kant

The Two Loves


Curious Bodies

What Toby Johnson Believes

The Joseph Campbell Connection

Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy

The Nature of Religion

What's true about Religion

Being Gay is a Blessing

Drawing Long Straws

Freedom of Religion

The Gay Agenda

Gay Saintliness

Gay Spiritual Functions

The subtle workings of the spirit in gay men's lives.

The Sinfulness of Homosexuality

Proposal for a study of gay nondualism

Priestly Sexuality


 "The Evolution of Gay Identity"

"St. John of the Cross &
the Dark Night of the Soul."

 Eckhart's Eye

Let Me Tell You a Secret

Religious Articulations of the Secret

The Collective Unconscious

Driving as Spiritual Practice

Meditation

Historicity as Myth

Pilgrimage

No Stealing


Next Step in Evolution

The New Myth

The Moulting of the Holy Ghost

Gaia is a Bodhisattva

The Hero's Journey as archetype

Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption


Teenage Prostitution and the Nature of Evil

Allah Hu: "God is present here"
 
Adam and Steve

The Life is in the Blood

Gay retirement and the "freelance monastery"

Seeing with Different Eyes


The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside

The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis


The Techniques Of The World Saviors

Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby
Part 2:
The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
Part 3:
Jesus and the Resurrection
Part 4:
A Course in Miracles


The Secret of the Clear Light

Understanding the Clear Light

Mobius Strip

Finding Your Tiger Face

How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated


In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke

Karellen was a homosexual

About Alien Abduction

What are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?


The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance

More about Gay Mental Health

Psych Tech Training

The Rainbow Flag

Ideas for gay mythic stories

Kip and Toby, Activists


Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.

Harry Hay, Founder of the gay movement

About Hay and The New Myth

About Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first man to really "come out"

About Michael Talbot, gay mystic

About Fr. Bernard Lynch

About Richard Baltzell

About Guy Mannheimer

About David Weyrauch

About Dennis Paddie

About Ask the Fire

About Arthur Evans

About Christopher Larkin

About Sterling Houston

About Michael Stevens

Our friend Tom Nash


 
Book Reviews


Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook

Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer

The Way Out by Christopher L  Nutter
The Gay Disciple by John Henson

Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry

Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr

Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois


Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson

Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low

Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman

The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman

Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor

Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine

The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada

The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook

The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther

The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel

Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak

Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez

Cut Hand: A Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr

Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman

Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano

The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo

The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar

Occam’s Razor by David Duncan

Grace and Demion by Mel White

Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L. Rigoglioso

The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery

The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass

sufi winged heart

The URSA Hustler Study (1978-1980)


Restrictions on how data is collected, especially regarding sex and sexual minorities, can have devastating effects on health care and social service provision.

    In the late 70s, my colleague and nicknamesake Harvard-trained sociologist Toby Marotta wrangled a federal contract to study gay teenagers who'd been sexually-abused at home and/or rejected by their families and who'd subsequently fled to the big cities and were likely to be involved in prostitution. Darryl Summers, a gay official at the Youth Development Bureau, the agency that oversaw shelters for runaway and homeless youth, recognized that these youth were often selected out by the shelters and denied services (mainly because the federally-mandated priority of "family reunification" was unfeasible). So the kids the agencies proclaimed their greatest concern were routinely sent back to the streets.

    The hustler study, with its goal of creating a resource manual for youth-serving agencies, was funded through URSA, a progressive, Black-owned, San Francisco-based consulting firm; I was Marotta's assistant. One part of the URSA team studied sexually-active girls; Toby and I studied boys--which meant "gay hustlers" and "trade." We did ethnographic research, i.e., we moved into hustler hotels in the Tenderloin District and later N.Y.C.'s Times Square and made friends and confidants among the target population, "interviewing" the kids informally (but then recording and coding the data formally) and learning about their actual experiences. We also talked with service providers and youth shelter staff in numerous cities. Hired as openly-gay researchers, we talked with the hustlers and the social workers with the matter-of-factness, familiarity, and non-judgment about sexuality that gay men are so good at. 

    Over nearly three years and hundreds of conversations, we gathered important and useful information about the dynamics of the underworld of teenage prostitution. With URSA's expert guidance, we created the Report with Marotta's incisive model of sex-trade zones and the Resource Manual with advice about services and suggestions for policy decisions that would include these neediest youth instead of sending them away.

    By the time the contract was finished and the various documents ready to be submitted to our federal employers, the Administration had changed. Carter lost and Reagan won. The priorities at the Dept. of Health and Human Services had changed. The feds, who'd paid tens of thousands of dollars for this research and its analysis, declined to accept the report. Margaret Heckler, Reagan's Secretary of H&HS, herself is said to have declared the findings unacceptable.

    The government didn't like that we'd gathered facts about sexual activity (who did what to whom and how). The finding they singled out as unacceptable was our observation of the obvious:  teenage boys who hustle adult homosexual men in gay neighborhoods and sex trade zones are generally themselves homosexual and seeking entry into gay life in the only way available to minors. Sex-positive and gay-positive counseling and services were called for to help them find more wholesome and less risky entries. Apparently the new Republican administration preferred the theory that gay hustlers were innocent straight boys lured into prostitution by wicked homosexual child molesters and what they needed was to be sent back home to their parents. (That, of course, substituted one-way bus tickets for shelters and social services.)

In Search of God


   For several years URSA marketed the Report and the Resource Manual. Mack Friedman, author of the Lammy-nominated book on gay hustling, Strapped for Cash, knew of the URSA study. I wrote a book about my adventures (In Search of God in the Sexual Underworld). But all that carefully collected and analyzed data was sacrificed to squeamishness over actual sex.


With a book in the works and a consultant role in a second precocious URSA study (on cocaine and crystal-meth use among urban gay men), Toby Marotta continued the ethnographic research on his own through the early 80s and the eruption of AIDS in the gay population. Through his frank and unfettered discussions with sexually active members of the sexual underworld about their actual  behavior, Toby deduced very early on that AIDS was associated with a vector that carried it primarily from top to bottom through anal (much less than oral) intercourse. Today this seems almost self-evident, but in 1983 (when the "causes" of AIDS were the four H's: heroin, hemophilia, homosexuality, and being Haitian) it was revolutionary--and unacceptable.

    It could have informed early AIDS-prevention strategies with intelligent rationale. But neither the CDC nor the NIH--nor, for that matter, early gay doctors and community AIDS programs--were interested in Marotta's findings. It may be exaggerating to claim Toby Marotta's simple observations could have saved countless lives. But his, and our, experience of doing gay-sensitive and sexually frank research demonstrates the point of Kadour's article: if you don't ask intelligent questions, you can't arrive at intelligent conclusions; and if you can't ask about sex, you can't find out anything intelligent about sexually-related--which, probably, means almost all human--behavior.


Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.

An Excerpt from In Search of God in the Sexual Underworld






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Toby Johnson, PhD is author of eight books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, three 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.

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 from Lethe Press.

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