Table of Contents
Also on this website:
Toby Johnson's books:
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
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
Books on Gay Spirituality:
Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The
Dimensional Structure of
Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"
You're Not A Wave
What is Enlightenment?
What is reincarnation?
Emptiness & Religious Ideas
Experiencing experiencing experiencing
Going into the Light
Meditations for a Funeral
The way to get to heaven
Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal
Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva
John Boswell was Immanuel Kant
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 Bougeois
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
When I passed White Crane to Bo Young and Dan Vera in 2003, continuing my path as a gay community service provider a slightly different direction (a direction time is forcing me to look anyway), I began thinking about "gay retirement."
Oh, not retiring from being gay, of course, but retiring from work and career and identity of adult life, something all of us will do eventually. Out gay men are beginning to reach retirement age. Some of us are finding ways to "retire" early, understanding--perhaps with specifically gay perspective--that work and career is only a small part of experience and that we need time in our lives for adventures, for travel, for contribution, for volunteerism, and for finding alternative ways of living. We're going to be needing to structure our lives so we are surrounded with friends and compatriots and access to gay "assisted living facilities" sometime in the future. Who'd want to have to go into a "straight" nursing home? We need new models for such services for ourselves.
I came out of the Northern Californian gay counterculture of the 1970s. Born two days before Hiroshima, I'm part of the very beginnings of the Babyboom Generation and lived in California all through the 70s. In those days we dreamed of retiring someday--“after the revolution"--with hippie friends to utopian colonies in the woods.
Thirty years later many of those friends
have died. And we've all moved on from being hippies. But the utopian
dreams still live on. The Radical Faeries have established a style of
utopian community and sanctuary in several locations in the U.S. Some
of us may "retire" to such sanctuaries. Some of us may be looking for
more "upscale" versions. (There's a project, for instance, announced on
the Internet at www.ourtownvillages.com, to create gay and lesbian rural and urban "villages.")
There's a project for a sort of upscale
retirement/skilled nursing care facility north of San Francisco called Fountaingrove Lodge.
In the Sierras, outside Sacramento CA, Sierra View Retreat, run by Mark Winner, is a gay seniors 55+ independent living facility. The pictures of the center are beautiful. Take a look at www.sierraviewretreat.com.
And an "urban condominium community for
older gay men lesbians, and their friends" in the Fenway/Audubon Circle
neighborhood of Boston expected to statr construction in 2007. Check
An urban retirement facility in Philadelphia is underway: The proposed six-story building will be home to 56 one-bedroom units
designed for people age 62 and over. A portion of the residences will be
dedicated to low-income adults. 249-257 S. 13th St., between Locust and Spruce.
In Santa Fe, NM, there is a beautiful and
extensive facility being built called RainbowVision.
Rainbow Vista is a gay-owned and operated complex for gay seniors in Gresham, OR, a suburb of Portland. Their studio aprtment rate (including food and utilities and access to all their services) runs about $1450 a month. Their website shows many pictures, including a lovely view of Mt Hood. The city of Portland is easily accessible.Tony Branch, a gay realtor, writes about retiring to Florida. "St. Petersburg, Florida with a focus on serving the needs of the large and diverse senior gay community. Given the decrease in housing prices during the past two years, there are some amazingly good opportunities now ranging from beach cottages to over-55 condo communities with very gay friendly (though not exclusively gay except for one). The beaches in this area are sandy, white, and warm. A moderate cost of living make this area one folks should consider especially if they like warm weather and the beach but in area in which all kinds of cultural and other urban amenities abound." www.gayseniorstpete.com
Seashore Point Residences is 55+ community with-in the community of Provincetown MA, the top rated gay place to be. They offer studio-2 bedroom condos with 24/7 concierge services and most every other service a-la-cart. Beth Isreal Deconness has created several successful communities throughout New England. This growing community has plans for phase ii and offers pre-construction prices for new condos.
Some of us, myself among them, learned a vision of alternative living in monastic life. I wonder if we could somehow form "freelance monasteries," keeping the best parts of common life--eco-simplicity and camaraderie --without the religious and authoritarian (and anti-sexual) structures.
I wrote about such a "freelance
monastery" in my never-published novel AWAKENING (which
is available free for download). And in GETTING LIFE IN
PERSPECTIVE (a description of the fictional
Clear Light Colony in Perspective, CO is linked to the book title.)
Mountain Retreat Center outside Albany NY is forming an intentional
community which nicely fits my hypothetical freelance monastery model.
They've abandoned the monastery as a model, but still following through
with the community as centered around a retreat center and gay summer
I would be interested in hearing from
other men beginning to think about and plan how to adapt their own
dreams to today's--and tomorrow's--world.
There's a fairly extensive site now at GayRetirementGuide.com
And there's a good site at GayGray.com
In the past months that this article has been posted, I've had inquires about how I'm coming with the idea. Click here to get a list of others who've written along with a brief description of their visions.
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 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.