Table of Contents
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
THE FOURTH QUILL, a
novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil
CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story
Books on Gay Spirituality:
Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The
Dimensional Structure of
Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"
The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the "Statement of Spirituality"
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
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
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
One such wave of organizing
activity—that still reverberates today—happened in the early 1980s. (I
had just moved back to San Antonio, my hometown, after a decade in San
Francisco and was most pleased to discover a vital gay community
alliance here and threw myself into the project with gusto.)
The originator of the San Antonio Gay Alliance (SAGA) and its associated media venture, The Calendar, was a former UTSA professor named Michael Stevens. Michael was one of those gay men whose personal struggles to claim his identity resulted in a great good and great change for the whole city.
Stevens was a Political Science instructor at the University of Texas here. He’d moved to San Antonio from his hometown Philadelphia with his wife Bernadette to take the job at UTSA. He and Bernadette were a modern sophisticated “liberated” couple; both strong individuals with strong interests in politics and community organizing and a commitment to honesty and openness. After a couple of years, as Michael began to discover within himself his homosexual identity, he and his wife split up amicably and maturely. And Michael and Bernadette were quite open with their friends and academic peers about the reason for their breakup. But when Michael applied for tenure at UTSA, he was turned down—apparently because of his newly formed and very public openly gay identity.
With the end of his job as a college teacher and the end of his marriage, Stevens started a whole new life. He moved to a house in the gay neighborhood off San Pedro and developed a relationship with a former student and fellow activist Patrick Kerr. And Stevens vowed he’d use his political organizing skills to serve his new personal identity. Michael pulled together San Antonio gay business people (like Hap Veltman of The Country and The Bonham Exchange, Lollie Johnson of Faces, attorney David Mitchell, music entrepreneur Rudy Gonzalez and his partner John Mitchell, lesbian bar-owner Julee French and her partner realtor Barbara Havard) and previous gay activists (like Jim Eggling and Gene Leggett) to form the San Antonio Gay Alliance. And he and Patrick started publishing The Calendar, a little booklet-style gay bar rag with announcement s of SAGA activisties and local gay community events. (I joined up as Michael’s protégé and SAGA secretary and manager of the very primitive computer database because I had a then cutting-edge Apple II Plus! Kip and I met, by the way, during that time partly because of my role in SAGA—but that’s another story.)
That was a rich but tumultuous time in
San Antonio. Several of the organizations that survive today in one
form or another were founded during that period: the Alamo Business
Council, Alamo Human Rights Committee, the Alamo City Men’s Chorale,
Esperanza, Gay Fiesta and PrideFest, and, of course, the San Antonio
AIDS devastated the SAGA Board, taking such devoted activists as Dana DiCastro, Max Gillaspy, Dub Daugherty, Veltman, the two Mitchells—and both Michael Stevens and Patrick Kerr.
As I write this short recollection of Gay San Antonio of some 25 years ago, I am looking at an old and yellowed print-out of the SAGA mailing list. There are just too many names to mention (and I apologize for egregious omissions). So many of the people on that list are gone. But many of us are still around. And San Antonio is still benefiting from that wave of organizing activity. We owe Michael Stevens a debt of gratitude. For all that he lived a truncated life, he changed the world for us San Antonians.
Among those "still around" is our good friend Tom Nash. I've made up a page for him elsewhere on this site.
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
SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of
Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated
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
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