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Toby Johnson's books:
YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned
from Joseph Campbell: The
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
LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE:
Fantastical Gay Romance set in two different time periods
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: GaySpirit in Storytelling, a collaboration with Steve Berman and some 30 other writers
THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell
IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD: A Mystical Journey
Books on Gay Spirituality:
Articles and Excerpts:
Review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness
Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"
EnlightenmentYou're Not A Wave
Joseph Campbell Talks about Aging
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
What Anatman means
Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal
The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika
Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva
John Boswell was Immanuel Kant
Cutting edge realization
The Myth of the Wanderer
Change: Source of Suffering & of Bliss
What the Vows Really Mean
Manifesting from the Subtle Realms
The Three-layer Cake & the Multiverse
The est Training and Personal Intention
Effective Dreaming in Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven
When I passed White Crane to Bo Young and Dan Vera in 2003, I began thinking about "gay retirement" and finding a way to continue my path as a gay community service provider but in a slightly different direction (a direction time is forcing me to look anyway).
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.
By the twenty-teens, things have changed so much. Gays serve in the military, same-sex marriage is the law of the land. While there is a backlash happening with small businesses in small towns wanting the right to refuse gay and lesbian business (to their own financial detriment), generally gay and lesbian people have come to be accepted and even honored and anti-gay discrimination is seen as backward and benighted. Even the Catholic Church has lightened up. Perhaps the problems with being gay in the nursing home have slipped into the past. Perhaps now the nursing home staff will be welcoming the gays because they're more cooperative, more likeable and more fun anyway. That, of course, will be true only on a case by case basis.
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 or forty 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 (http://www.radfae.org/sanctuaries) 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.
Probably opening in 2023 is a LGBTQ-welcoming retirement community outside Austin. It's being created by two young gay men, A.J. Viola and Zach Hollander, who'd been living and working in Silicon Valley. Good friends, they decided to go into business together establishing retirement communities that were more like "communities," rather than cruiseships in big hotel buildings, like a Marriott. The name of the project Kindred Uncommon. Viola and Hollander hope to create a network of these communities across the country--with an appeal to utopian boomers, former New Agers and hippies, music people and artists, progressives, environmentalists, Austin types — LGBTQ and straight. The first such community is planned for Buda, Texas.
Here's a link to their project:
Around the Country
AssistedLiving.org has a very complete page about LGBTQ retirement options (many of them included here below) at https://www.assistedliving.org/lgbtqia-senior-housing-options/
SeniorsMatter.com has a page of links to LGBTQ services
There is a link to LGBTQ+ Residential Centers around the country.
SeniorHomes.com offers a guide
with practical advice, solutions, and comfort for LGBTQIA+ seniors
searching for their perfect home. It discusses key considerations,
offers tips for choosing an inclusive and supportive community, and
provides insight into legal rights and protections for LGBTQIA+
individuals. The guide is intended to empower your audience with the
knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their future.
Here're links to various programs
which I have collected over the last 10 years. Many of them are
included in the SeniorsMatter and AssistedLiving links above.
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
retirement/skilled nursing care facility north of San Francisco called Fountaingrove
In Fall 2015, a reader wrote me that there are two LGBT residential projects in the works in Sacramento: The Lavender Courtyard will be more for low income gays. The Rainbow Village will be mixed low income up to moderately affluent. Sacramento is a wonderful city to live and/or retire in for several reasons. It’s a nice sized city with many things to do that’s much more affordable than the more popular gay meccas of LA, San Francisco, San Diego and Palm Springs. It’s more of a hometown environment than trendy popular destination. The only drawback is air quality. The entire Central Valley traps pollution that the coastal cities don’t have. The Wisdom Project sponsors a monthly cafe for seniors, a monthly drumming circle, and an annual Senior Pride Information Fair in July as a way to form alliances between Sacramento elder LGBT and mainstream businesses, services and government.
New Horizons in the Las Vegas area announces: The
mission of New Horizons Nevada, Inc. is to provide services related to
the senior GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) community. In
partnership with its constituents and allies, New Horizons
Nevada, Inc. is working to provide a high quality of life for GLBT
older adults, and to promote positive images of GLBT life in later
years. We are developing an affordable housing community for the
senior GLBT community - if you would like to move or retire to the Las
Vegas Valley (Nevada) - send us an email to - firstname.lastname@example.org -
and we will add you to our email list for updates.
There is a beautiful complex in
Santa Fe, NM called RainbowVision.
developed along the "country club" or "resort" model for a
retirement community with various levels of participation and
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."
Another retirement option: to be a visible gay group within a larger retirement village or complex. Dave Beaven at the 55+ condo community of On Top of the World (OTOW) in Clearwater FL writes: "We have an active gay social club in an otherwise “straight” 55+ community. The facilities here are great and we have changed minds here about living with gay folks. Here’s our website: https://lambdaclearwater.blogspot.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
is available free for download). And in GETTING LIFE IN
PERSPECTIVE (a description of the
Clear Light Colony in Perspective, CO is linked to the book title.)
Mountain Retreat Center outside Albany NY is forming an
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
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.
Prompted by her father being downsized in his 60s and her mother falling ill, Jenny Holt has written a guide for seniors and their families about the most common causes of financial stress, how it affects the person, and provide some coping strategies. You can read it here: http://reversemortgagealert.org/financial-stress-coping-guide-seniors/.
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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