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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


THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell

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

The Scriptural Basis for Same Sex Marriage

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

Second March on Washington

Why people need homosexuality to be a sin

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

Monastic or Chaste Homosexuality

Is it Time to Grow Up? Confronting the Aging Process

Notes on Licking  (July, 1984)

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.

Joseph Campbell Talks about Aging

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

Cutting edge realization

What Anatman means

The Myth of the Wanderer

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


Historicity as Myth


No Stealing

The upsidedown book on MSNBC

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

Not lashed to the prayer-post

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 at the California Institute

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

About Kimberley McKell

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

Love Together: Longtime Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication by Tim Clausen

War Between Materialism and Spiritual by Jean-Michel Bitar

The Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal

Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion
by Jeffrey J. Kripal

The Invitation to Love by Darren Pierre

Brain, Consciousness, and God: A Lonerganian Integration by Daniel A Helminiak

A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides by Andrew Harvey

Can Christians Be Saved? by Stephenson & Rhodes

The Lost Secrets of the Ancient Mystery Schools by Stephenson & Rhodes

Keys to Spiritual Being: Energy Meditation and Synchronization Exercises by Adrian Ravarour

In Walt We Trust by John Marsh

Solomon's Tantric Song by Rollan McCleary

A Special Illumination by Rollan McCleary

Aelred's Sin by Lawrence Scott

Fruit Basket by Payam Ghassemlou

Internal Landscapes by John Ollom

Princes & Pumpkins by David Hatfield Sparks

Yes by Brad Boney

Blood of the Goddess by William Schindler

Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson

A Quality Bookstore for Lesbians and Gay Men

Austin, Texas — 1986-1996

Liberty Books storefront 19901986 - Tom Doyal founded Liberty Books & Liberty Press. The bookstore was at 11th and N. Lamar, behind Sound Warehouse Records, in a former repair bay of an auto dealership repurposed by Austin real estate development (and good guy) Perry Lorenz. (In 2016, the front building is Whole Earth Provisions.)

          - Early on, Mark Weaver, a preacher with the American Family Association, picketed the store and brought media attention. Tom commented that "Mark Weaver was better than a dancing bear" to announce the opening of the bookstore.

1988 - about 18 months into the life of the store, in order to free him up to be attorney for the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas and Publisher of Liberty Press, Doyal invited Toby Johnson and Kip Dollar to buy the business from him. They moved from San Antonio to Austin and took over running the store in October 88.

          - Tom's faithful employee, Kenneth Lloyd, stayed with the bookstore and trained Johnson and Dollar.

1988-1993  -  The store flourished during this period -- a high point in gay genre publishing nationwide. Several new employees were hired who worked along with volunteers (mainly U.T. students), including Eric Ganther (who wrote a history of gay/lesbian Austin for a thesis in the History Dept & later the Guidebook to the Stevee Postman's Cosmic Tribe Tarot Deck). Liberty Books became one of the major lesbian/gay bookstores in the U.S.  John Dulworth, who'd been manager of the successful gay cardshop Sparks, joined the staff as financial manager & buyer.

            - During this period, Liberty Books was a sponsor of the Men's Movement spin-off, Shaman's Circle with its Radical Faerie-like gatherings in the woods.

          - In those days, Liberty Books' bulletin board functioned like a "gay google," where gay/lesbian oriented businesses and services could post their business card. Those business cards formed the basis for an Austin gay-business association (called together by Curt Fowkles), which has grown into the Austin Gay/Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

          - Since Liberty Books was often the first stop for tourists, visitors and newcomers to the city to find out about gay Austin, Toby & Kenneth, who worked the front desk in the morning and late afternoon respectively, served as semi-official greeters to Austin's gay community. Kip was bookkeeper and business manager, and worked in the back office and so was a little less visible, though was the real talent behind the business operation.
Toby Johnson & Kip Dollar
          - It was store policy that Liberty Books should feel like a safe place you could bring your mother. That was partly because mothers--and a wide of variety of non-gay people--did indeed come to the store in search of information about AIDS. During the height of the health crisis, Liberty Books was an important resource. Liberty Books was catacorner to Castle Hill Cafe which at the time was one of the most popular restaurants in Austin (Ann Richards was a regular Castle Hill Cafe patron, noticeable coming through the parking lot by her big hair.). Part of the cafe's chic was that there was no waiting area inside, so people waiting for a table stood out in the parking lot and on the sidewalk looking into the bookstore's windows. In those days, Liberty Books was the "face of the community" to many Austinites.

          - High points in that period for Dollar and Johnson also included performing in Doug Dyer's gay-activists musical-comedy review "I Pass for Straight" and the couple's being invited by LGRL to apply--and be turned down--for marriage licenses in 1991, and then being the first male couple to be Registered Domestic Partners in Travis County in 1993. Toby's popular and Lammy-winning sci-fi novel Secret Matter was published in 1990 by Lavender Press, a gay publisher in Connecticut, and Getting Life in Perspective the next year. Kip was one of the organizers of the first Gay Pride celebration, Gay Fiesta, at Fiesta Gardens in 1990, serving as Treasurer and Grand Marshal.

          - Austin's revered and long-lived feminist bookstore BookWoman, owned by Susan Post, moved from Neches & 6th Street to 12th & Lamar, next to The Tavern and catacorner and down a block from Liberty Books. The two stores complemented one another and referred customers back and forth in a demonstration of lesbian/gay community cooperation. A history of BookWoman is included in the 2016-released book The Feminist Bookstore Movement: Lesbian Antiracism and Feminist Accountablity' by former BookWoman staffer Kristen Hogan.
1994 - Book People announced the opening of a new "Superstore"--with a gay/lesbian section almost as big as Liberty Books--five blocks down Lamar. (What was originally said would be 700 sq ft turned out in reality to be 70 linear ft of bookshelf.) AND Lobo Books from Houston announced they would be opening a store in Austin that would be primarily a video rental outlet catering to gay men, but would also stock books. Liberty Books did not carry the porn videos that were the bread and butter of Lobo's business, so the Houston store seemed like real competition for a limited market. Johnson and Dollar decided to "save" the store and the employees by selling the inventory to Book People and getting them to hire Liberty's staff.

          - Just before that happened, Crossroads Market -- a Dallas-based gay bookstore that also had an outlet in Houston competing with Lobo -- reached out to buy Liberty Books to bring the competition between the two chains to Austin.

Lberty Books logo1994  - At mid-year, Crossroads Market purchased Liberty Books and, though they brought in an outside manager, kept the core staff. And kept the name Liberty Books because of its historic renown in Austin.

1996  -  Crossroads operated the store for eighteen months, then closed it for good at the end of 1996.

The Liberty Books logo was designed by John Farmer. "Our Lady of Liberty"

Here's a photo of Armistead Maupin at a Liberty Books booksigning


Toby Johnson, Kip Dollar, Terry Anderson, Armistead Maupin


Chris Zimmerman Law
was the TWT representative for Austin in those days.
He has accumulated an extensive collection of photos.

Jihn Driggs & Stephen Finn at Liberty Books 1991

Here's Psychologists Stephen Finn and John Driggs signing copies of their 1991 book
Intimacy Between Men
Behind them all is the famous Liberty Books Bulletin Board

rainbow line

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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