Urnings, Homosexuals, and Isophyls, Oh My!



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Also on this website:


Toby Johnson's books:

Toby's books are available as ebooks from smashwords.com, the Apple iBookstore, etc.


Finding Your Own True Myth - The Myth of the Great Secret III

FINDING YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III


Gay Spirituality

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


Gay Perspective


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


Secret Matter


SECRET MATTER, a sci-fi novel with wonderful "aliens" with an Afterword by Mark Jordan


Getting Life

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE:  A Fantastical Gay Romance set in two different time periods


The Fourth Quill

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




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



charmed lives
CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: GaySpirit in Storytelling, a collaboration with Steve Berman and some 30 other writers


Myth of the Great Secret


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



In Search of God


IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD: A Mystical Journey



Unpublished manuscripts


About ordering


Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series


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  Toby has done five podcasts with Harry Faddis for The Quest of Life

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  Articles and Excerpts:

Review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness


Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"


About Liberty Books, the Lesbian/Gay Bookstore for Austin, 1986-1996


The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate


A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality


Why gay people should NOT Marry


The Scriptural Basis for Same Sex Marriage


Toby and Kip Get Married


Wedding Cake Liberation


Gay Marriage in Texas


What's ironic



Shame on the American People


The "highest form of love"


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Gay Consciousness


Why homosexuality is a sin


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


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


The Gay Succession


Wouldn’t You Like to Be Uranian?


The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter


Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium


Easton Mountain Retreat Center


Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism


The Mysticism of Andrew Harvey


The upsidedown book on MSNBC


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Enlightenment


"It's Always About You"



The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara


Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara


You'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



Meditation Practice



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



World Navel



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


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Gay Spirituality


Curious Bodies


What Toby Johnson Believes


The Joseph Campbell Connection


The Mann Ranch (& Rich Gabrielson)


Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy


The Two Loves


The Nature of Religion


What's true about Religion


Being Gay is a Blessing


Drawing Long Straws


Freedom of Religion


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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


Having a Church to Leave


Harold Cole on Beauty


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Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption


Not lashed to the prayer-post


Monastic or Chaste Homosexuality


Is It Time to Grow Up? Confronting the Aging Process


Notes on Licking  (July, 1984)


Redeem Orlando


Gay Consciousness changing the world by Shokti LoveStar


Alexander Renault interviews Toby Johnson



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Mystical Vision


"The Evolution of Gay Identity"


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


Avalokiteshvara at the Baths


 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


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The Hero's Journey


The Hero's Journey as archetype -- GSV 2016


The  Gay Hero Journey (shortened)


You're On Your Own


Superheroes


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Seeing Differently


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


Facing the Edge: AIDS as an occasion for spiritual wisdom


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


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The Vision


The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside


A  Most Remarkable Synchronicity in Riverside


The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis


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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


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The Secret of the Clear Light


Understanding the Clear Light


Mobius Strip


Finding Your Tiger Face


How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated


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Joseph Campbell, the Hero's Journey, and the modern Gay Hero-- a five part presentation on YouTube


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About Alien Abduction


In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke


Karellen was a homosexual


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


Intersections with the movie When We Rise


More about Gay Mental Health


Psych Tech Training


Toby at the California Institute


The Rainbow Flag


Ideas for gay mythic stories


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People


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 Mark Thompson


About Sterling Houston


About Michael Stevens


The Alamo Business Council


Our friend Tom Nash


Second March on Washington


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


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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


Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom by Jeffrey Kripal


Evolving Dharma by Jay Michaelson


Jesus in Salome's Lot by Brett W. Gillette


The Man Who Loved Birds by Fenton Johnson


The Vatican Murders by Lucien Gregoire


"Sex Camp" by Brian McNaught


Out & About with Brewer & Berg
Episode One: Searching for a New Mythology



The Soul Beneath the Skin by David Nimmons


Out on Holy Ground by Donald Boisvert


The Revotutionary Psychology of Gay-Centeredness by Mitch Walker


Out There by Perry Brass


The Crucifixion of Hyacinth by Geoff Puterbaugh


The Silence of Sodom by Mark D Jordan


It's Never About What It's About by Krandall Kraus and Paul Borja


ReCreations, edited by Catherine Lake


Gospel: A Novel by WIlton Barnhard


Keeping Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey by Fenton Johnson


Dating the Greek Gods
by Brad Gooch


Telling Truths in Church by Mark D. Jordan


The Substance of God by Perry Brass


The Tomcat Chronicles by Jack Nichols


10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives by Joe Kort


Jesus and the Shamanic Tradition of Same Sex Love by Will Roscoe


The Third Appearance by Walter Starcke


The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann


Surviving and Thriving After a Life-Threatening Diagnosis by Bev Hall


Men, Homosexuality, and the Gods by Ronald Long

An Interview with Ron Long


Queering Creole Spiritual Traditons by Randy Conner & David Sparks

An Interview with Randy Conner


Pain, Sex and Time by Gerald Heard


Sex and the Sacred by Daniel Helminiak


Blessing Same-Sex Unions by Mark Jordan


Rising Up by Joe Perez


Soulfully Gay by Joe Perez


That Undeniable Longing by Mark Tedesco


Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman


Wisdom for the Soul by Larry Chang


MM4M a DVD by Bruce Grether


Double Cross by David Ranan


The Transcended Christian by Daniel Helminiak


Jesus in Love by Kittredge Cherry


In the Eye of the Storm by Gene Robinson


The Starry Dynamo by Sven Davisson


Life in Paradox by Fr Paul Murray


Spirituality for Our Global Community by Daniel Helminiak


Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society by Robert A. Minor


Coming Out: Irish Gay Experiences by Glen O'Brien


Queering Christ by Robert Goss


Skipping Towards Gomorrah by Dan Savage


The Flesh of the Word by Richard A Rosato


Catland by David Garrett Izzo


Tantra for Gay Men by Bruce Anderson


Yoga & the Path of the Urban Mystic by Darren Main


Simple Grace by Malcolm Boyd


Seventy Times Seven by Salvatore Sapienza


What Does "Queer" Mean Anyway? by Chris Bartlett


Critique of Patriarchal Reasoning by Arthur Evans


Gift of the Soul by Dale Colclasure & David Jensen


Legend of the Raibow Warriors by Steven McFadden


The Liar's Prayer by Gregory Flood


Lovely are the Messengers by Daniel Plasman


The Human Core of Spirituality by Daniel Helminiak


3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke


Religion and the Human Sciences by Daniel Helminiak


Only the Good Parts by Daniel Curzon


Four Short Reviews of Books with a Message


Life Interrupted by Michael Parise


Confessions of a Murdered Pope by Lucien Gregoire


The Stargazer's Embassy by Eleanor Lerman


Conscious Living, Conscious Aging by Ron Pevny


Footprints Through the Desert by Joshua Kauffman


True Religion by J.L. Weinberg


The Mediterranean Universe by John Newmeyer


Everything is God by Jay Michaelson


Reflection by Dennis Merritt


Everywhere Home by Fenton Johnson


Hard Lesson by James Gaston


God vs Gay? by Jay Michaelson


The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path by Jay Michaelson


Roxie & Fred by Richard Alther


Not the Son He Expected by Tim Clausen


The 9 Realities of Stardust by Bruce P. Grether


The Afterlife Revolution by Anne & Whitley Strieber


AIDS Shaman: Queer Spirit Awakening by Shokti Lovestar


Facing the Truth of Your Life by Merle Yost


The Super Natural by Whitley Strieber & Jeffrey J Kripal


Secret Body by Jeffrey J Kripal


In Hitler's House by Jonathan Lane


Walking on Glory by Edward Swift


The Paradox of Porn by Don Shewey


Is Heaven for Real? by Lucien Gregoire


Enigma by Lloyd Meeker


Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson




Toby Johnson's Books on Gay Men's Spiritualities:




Gay
Perspective cover
Gay Perspective

Things Our [Homo]sexuality
Tells Us about the
Nature of God and
the Universe


Gay Perspective audiobook
Gay Perspective is available as an audiobook narrated by Matthew Whitfield. Click here







Gay
Spirituality cover
Gay Spirituality

Gay Identity and 
the Transformation of
Human Consciousness



gay-spirituality-audiobook
Gay Spirituality   is now available as an audiobook, beautifully narrated by John Sipple. Click here








charmed lives
Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling

edited by
Toby Johnson
& Steve Berman







secret matter
Secret Matter

Lammy Award Winner for Gay Science Fiction

updated







Getting Life
Getting Life in Perspective

A Fantastical Romance





Getting
Life in Perspective audiobook
Getting Life in Perspective is available as an audiobook narrated by Alex Beckham. Click here 






The Fourth Quill

The Fourth Quill

originally published as PLAGUE




johnson-the-fourth-quill-audiobook
The Fourth Quill is available as an audiobook, narrated by Jimmie Moreland. Click here






Two
Two Spirits: A Story of Life with the Navajo

with Walter L. Williams




Two Spirits
audiobookTwo Spirits  is available as an audiobook  narrated by Arthur Raymond. Click here






Finding Your Own True Myth - The Myth of the Great Secret III
Finding Your Own True Myth:
What I Learned from Joseph Campbell

The Myth of the Great Secret III








In
Search of God in the Sexual Underworld
In Search of God  in the Sexual Underworld










The Myth of the Great Secret II

The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell.

This was the second edition of this book.




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Toby Johnson's titles are available in other ebook formats from Smashwords.

Down through history the nomenclature for what we call LGBTQ+ -- which used to be simply "homosexuality" -- has changed. Each term was chosen at its time to represent how sexual orientation and gender identity were understood. Each term reveals certain facets of gay experience.

In this article, which was prepared for a presentation and discussion at a Radical Faerie Gatherette in Austin TX, Feb 10, 2018, writer Toby Johnson uncrates some of the terms and highlights the specific messages. Johnson is quick to insist that these terms are NOT in competition with one another and perhaps it takes ALL of these terms -- and more -- to elucidate the complex nature of alternative sexualities.



Wouldn’t You Like to Be Uranian?


Uranian  -- 19th Century term used by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs in 1864.
Ulrichs
Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895) was probably “the first man in the world to come out.”

Before this, “homosexuality” was known only as a behavior—sodomy— not a constitutional quality of personality.

Ulrichs developed a more complex threefold axis for understanding sexual and gender variance: sexual orientation (male-attracted, bisexual, or female-attracted), preferred sexual behavior (passive, no preference, or active), and gender characteristics (feminine, intermediate, or masculine). The three axes were usually, but not necessarily, linked — Ulrichs himself, for example, was a Weibling (feminine homosexual) who preferred the active sexual role.

Ulrichs called homosexuals: Urnings (German) or Uranians.

Uranus was the most recently discovered planet  in 1781. Like Mars to males and Venus to females, Uranus was to homosexuals. Reference to Uranus the planet is that this is something newly discovered even though it has always been there.

Uranian came originally from Greek myth and Plato’s Symposium. Uranus was the god of the heavens and was said to be the father of Aphrodite in “a birth in which the female had no part .” i.e, the distinction between male and female is unimportant.
Hirschfeld
In those early days, the German Sexologists, including Magnus Hirschfeld (1868- 1935), (see his Wikipedia page) thought homosexuals were female souls trapped/reincarnated in male bodies.

Homosexual was coined by Karl-Maria Kertbeny (1824-1882) in 1869 in an anonymous pamphletKertbenyKertbeny's Wikipedia page)

Homosexual has a problem in its etymology. “Homo” means “same” in Greek, so “same sex.” But “sexual” is Latin, not Greek. In Latin “homo” means “Man” as in the generic all mankind.


CarpenterEdward Carpenter (1844-1929) (in Wikipedia) and John Addington Symonds (1840-1893) used Uranian to refer to “the dear love of comrades” in the words of Walt Whitman (1819-1892). Symonds is probably the first to use homosexual in the English language. He corresponded with Whitman. (The photo of the bearded redhead below was one Symonds sent to Whitman.) In 1890, he asked Whitman directly about the homosexual content in the Calamus poems—to which Whitman denied being homosexual and claimed to have fathered 6 children.Symonds

In 1890, Whitman and John Addington SymondsWikipedia page) were the only two “homosexuals” in the world, and they didn’t like each other. Whitman said “No, I am not like you.”


Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) also used Uranian in the 1890s.

WildeOscar Wilde  (Wikipedia page) coined the icon Green Carnation – which men wore as an identifier – and there was a fanciful Green Carnation Society in London among the class of men called Dandies—which referred to fancy dress and elegance, only indirectly gay. The idea was that the green carnation had to be made by a florist—an artistic creation, something new. The most famous "dandy," of course, was Yankee Doodle.

Edward Carpenter used the term “Intermediate Types” and “Intermediate Sex” and Homogenic Love – homogenic is from two greek roots homos, same, genos sex. While homosexual was half Greek, half-Latin.

Carpenter’s emphasis was on love of same, not “inversion” of sexual desire, as psychiatry characterized it. Whitman used the somewhat vague, but clearly meaningful, term: The Dear Love of Comrades.
about Prussian sodomy laws. Kertbeny was a travel writer and journalist who wrote about human rights. When he was a young man, a gay friend killed himself because of extortion. That experience gave Kertbeny an “instinctive drive to take issue with every injustice.” He was apparently homosexual himself, but officially denied it. Richard von Krafft-Ebing, in his Psychopathia Sexualis (1886), adopted Kertbeny’s terms and from there they became standard. (see (
Whitman
Walt Whitman (his Wikipedia page)
Gay Succession: Walt Whitman, Edward Carpenter, Gavin Arthur, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, Mike O. (Toby's first psychotherapy client), Toby J.   (See The Gay Succession)


Heard

Gerald Heard
(1889-1971) (Wikipedia page) coined the term isophyl, meaning love of same in the 1950s. Heard was a British radio announcer, writer and cultural commentator. He moved to California and was part of the Christopher Isherwood, British ex-patriate crowd (WH Auden, Aldous Huxley, Vendanta Society).

Heard created a gay, idealistic utopian commune called Trabuco. In 1954 he published an article in ONE Magazine using isophyl. He believed isophyls were a force in the evolution of consciousness. Heard believed that strict gender roles interfered with flexible and innovative thought, and that the isophyl could move beyond the rigidity of traditional masculinity and femininity.


Hay
Harry Hay (1912-2002) (Wikipedia page) and Will Geer (who played Grampa Walton) (Wikipedia page) – both idealistic Leftists and Communists – in 1948 were passing out flyers for the Progressive Party candidate Henry Wallace at Venice Beach and saw all the gay men sunning and realized they were an organizable group because they shared homosexuality. Hay came up with the idea of a group for gay men. Originally Bachelors for Wallace, then Bachelors Anonymous, then Society of Fools, it became the Mattachine Society.

Suggested by James Gruber (1928-2011), (Wikipedia page) Mattachine referred back to a semi-mythical/semi-historical societe joyeux in Provence and Languedoc in Medieval France. These were troupes of masked players and troubadours who performed plays and rituals and passed information and news, imagined to be homosexuals. There was a counterculture in Provence at this time which gave rise to the idea of romantic love as the basis for sexual connection – and put a positive spin on homosexual pleasure because it did not trap a soul in matter as heterosexual intercourse did.

Geer
Hay believed that there have always been men who were sexaully attracted to other men, rather than to women and women to women rather than to men. It’s an “essential” quality in their personality, and this has always been so. Though it has appeared differently at different times in history, but mostly hasn’t been acknowledged at all in history.

The Mattachine Society (Wikipedia page) used the term Homophile, preferring the word for “love” rather than just “sex.” This term was coined by the German astrologist, author and psychoanalyst Karl-Günther Heimsoth in his 1924 dissertation.

Harry Hay and the Mattachine were caught up in the McCarthy anti-communist fanaticism of the early 1950s. The anti-communists were also anti-gay. They used the term HOMINTERN, based on the Communist International abbreviation COMINTERM.

HOMINTERN (Wikipedia page) is a wonderful term – it implied the understanding and support that homosexuals offered one another across cultures and nationalities.

To wit, E.M. Forster’s quote (slightly altered, maybe by Harry Hay)

An aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate, and the plucky are to be found in all nations and classes, and through all the ages. And there is a secret understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one queer victory of our race over cruelty and chaos.


Kameny



In 1961 in Washinton DC, Frank Kameny (1925-2011) (Wikipedia page) and his protégé Jack Nichols (1938-2005), (Wikipedia page) got the Mattachine out marching for gay rights—and his right not to be fired from his job as a federal astronomer just because he was homosexual. He coined the phrase “Gay is Good.” Kameny insisted the marchers wear suit and tie and not show any public display.
Nichols
By 1969, the National Mattachine/Homophile Movement was considered old-fashioned by the youth movement. After expelling Hay in 1953, they adopted a less militant atttitude – homosexuality is a sad condition which happens to people against their will and they shouldn’t be punished anymore by prejudice and laws against sex. They got psychiatrists to come speak about compassion for these sad men.

WickerRandy Wicker (Wikipedia page) was a UT student who’d joined the NY Mattachine one summer during college. In 1958 he’d run for UT student body president but was disqualified when he was outed to the dean. After graduating he went back to NY and in the early 60s helped radicalize the Mattachine along with Craig Rodwell (1940-1993) (Wikipedia page).

Rodwell had been boyfriends with Harvey Milk and had politicized him about his sexuality.

Craig Rodwell opened the first gay bookstore – the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore—in 1967 on Christopher Street, a block down from the Stonewall Inn.
Rodwell
During the Stonewall Riots, it is said, Craig Rodwell called out Gay Power and shifted the “police riot” into a political demonstration. (NY Times reminiscence) Because of Rodwell and other radicalized Mattachine members’ passing out flyers, the demonstrations continued over three nights, and the Gay Liberation Front was formed, mostly by the gay hippies in the Village. Including Jim Fouratt—who is a regular at Austin’s SxSW Festival and OutFest.

I've been told (but I don't remember where) that Rodwell’s partner Fred Sergeant was the model for Dick in the Dick & Jane Reader.  Rodwell was one of the founders of the annual parade to memorialize Stonewall. In some ways it was the Christopher Street Liberation Day March the next year commemorating Stonewall that was actually the event that created Gay Pride Marchs.
Christopher Street March 1970
GLF was based on NLF, National Liberation Front, the people’s movement in Vietnam to overthrow the government  of South Vietnam. So Gay Liberation Front placed itself right in the anti-war movement/youth movement. AND they chose the term gay people called themselves. Like the Blacks, and unlike the Jews, the GLFers did not try to reverse an anti-gay epithet, but to use the term gay people used themselves.

“Gay” as it was used in the Gay Liberation Movement came to mean not only being homosexual, but knowing that you are, and understanding that that means you are part of a conscious community, and have political loyalties to your people and to the future.

There is a generational aspect to the change in terms. “Gay Lib” came out of the Youth Movement and anti-war/peace & civil rights movements of the 60s and 70s. We didn’t identify with the older “homophile” generation. And so we changed the term. This same thing happened later with Gen X dropping gay in favor of queer. This is probably inevitable. Each new younger generation experiences themselves as different from the previous older generations—and not sexually attracted to the elders.

Even then there was a feeling among many of the young gay activists that we resented being labelled. That “Unlabelled” quality is still part of the gay identifiers. I think the objection is less to self-awareness and understanding of one’s sexuality, than to other people assigning you a label and thinking that is what describes you.

As this gay “consciousness” developed, it revealed more distinctions within this conscious community.

In a way, the whole sexual liberation movement arose out of or at least in parallel with feminism and women’s consciousness.

Women in GLF felt they were invisible because the term gay—and even homosexual—were understood by the public to mean mainly men. So the L was added to gay to recognize both male and female homosexuals: Gay Men and Lesbians.

SO “gay” is used both as a generic jargon term for all things sexually deviant AND as a specific term for politically conscious gay men.

In the generic use, there have always been heterosexually married homosexuals who performed heterosexually and homosexually. AND bisexuals who are attracted to both men and women. The latter “true bisexuals” experience a different consciousness from gay men, and felt they were made invisible in the G/L term, so B got added.

In that same generic use, gay had always included both masculine and feminine homosexuals, some of whom cross dressed for costume, for stage, and for political satire of heterosexual styles—and for purposes of prostitution. And among the feminine homosexuals, some cross dressed because they felt themselves more womanly than manly. As consciousness evolved, a distinction became apparent between sexual orientation and gender identity. And people who were trans* in some way recognized they had a different consciousness from the gay men and lesbians. So T got added to make LGBT.

Transvestite is yet something different, referring to heterosexuals who wear opposite sex clothing as a sexual fetish, not as a gender identifier.

By the end of the 1970s, gay was becoming normalized and less radical. Gay was coming to refer to gay capitalism and glizty business—gay bars, gay baths. The political term also had this generic quality for some of the oppressive elements of the culture. In the early days Gay Liberation had sought to provide alternatives to the bars, and to liberate gay men from promiscuity and “the gay lifestyle.” The early gay rights movement was greatly concerned with giving gay people options outside the bars; the movement seriously critiqued the so-called gay lifestyle, and called for opportunities for more authentic meeting and friendship development.

With the acceptance of homosexuality as real, what was called assimilation was seen to be threatening, that is, the idea that gay people are just like straight people in every way, except for what they do in bed and that didn’t matter. We just want to be like everybody else.

Kilhefner

Walker
Harry Hay reappeared at this time, invited by Don Kilhefner (Wikipedia page) and Mitch WalkerWikipedia page), two Jungian therapists who had a gay-affirmative healing center called Treeroots, to be the convenor for a gathering to celebrate the outsider/radical/hippie qualities of gay consciousness. This was the first Radical Faerie Gathering in Benson AZ in 1979. And gave a new identifier—Radical Faerie—for a particular kind of pro-sex, pro-homosexual, liberated gay consciousness. Hay’s comment was that what we do in bed is the only thing we have in common with straight people. Faerie recognized a “spiritual” quality to gay consciousness. Hay, Kilhefner and Walker et al argued that homosexuality is essential to the personality of gay men and lesbians.

AIDS in the 1980s changed how these terms were valued. I note two specific phenomena: 1) “gay” became almost synonymous with having AIDS. Indeed AIDS was originally called GRID. So the positive self-identifier took on seriously negative connotations. One way to distance yourself from AIDS was to say you weren’t gay. The health-oriented organizations then had to coin expressions like MSM, men who have sex with men, but aren’t “gay.” And 2) because AIDS brought public attention to homosexuality and gay culture AND because the Internet was developing at the same time, children got exposed to the term “gay” and exposed to the concept of homosexuality before they were sexually mature enough to understand sexual desire and attraction. So “gay” just seemed creepy. “Gay” took on the connotation of being out-dated or un-hip and out of style. “That’s so gay!”

Within the gay world, “gay” had also developed a connotation of being only white men with expensive tastes. The left-wing, Marxist identity was lost among a  generation after the youth movement of the 60/70s.

AND within the gay men’s world dominated by AIDS, anger was increasing because of the failure of medicine to find real cures and of government to deal with the problems of people with AIDS. In response to a wave of anti-LGBT violence in New York City in spring 1990, Queer Nation was started.

Queer was used in the way “Jew” had been – a formerly negative derisive term reclaimed proudly and out of anger to “throw in the faces”of the oppressor.

Queer also then became an umbrella term. And one which championed the commonality of all sexually-oppressed minorities. Queer also included anger at that stereotype of gay men as white, rich, narcissistic, and affluent. “Gay” as generic, as in “gay bar” or “gay baths,” implied a kind of sexual liberation, but also sexual excess.

AND political conservative pundits began using the term “identity-politics” as a negative term to dismiss and demean the real political alliances that people in minorities who have real common identities (and identifications with each other) should naturally feel. “Identity” became a negative term.

The development of consciousness of the various identities and gender variations has been a good thing and one of the great contributions of the sexual rights movement.

As it has happened, it’s been by separating away from “gay” as the generic term, but also as the specific. So that gay male identity is also made invisible by the generic/umbrella use.

The rise of LBTQIA+ has all happened by separating away from the G.

While I like the term gay because it referencing way back to the societes joyeux of the Provencal counterculture of the middle ages, and because it’s a “happy” word, it will probably have to be replaced. Though it remains the common, umbrella, word used by all people—and still usually about gay men.

I think gay men’s consciousness is naturally different from lesbians’, bisexuals’, transsexuals’ and even queers’ – though the queer term is more generational than identificational. But queer as an umbrella term runs into the same problem gay had in the 1970s: it is too inclusive and makes the various segments within it invisible.

To the extent that the LBTQIA+ is all subtracted from the G in order to acknowledge the specific traits and identifies and characteristics of the now identified sub-groups, the G as umbrella is being emptied.

G as “Gay Men” refers to a specific subgroup, with specific traits, identities and characteristics.  The letters in the umbrella acronym are not in competition with or opposition to each other.

I titled this essay "Wouldn't You Like to be a Uranian?" because I liked the original meaning. I think modern gay people as we now understand homosexuality and the range of sexual and gender diversity are indeed something new. We are self-aware in a way that our predecessors just didn't have the opportunity to be. And I think we SHOULD think of ourselves that way. The term is dated, of course, but the idea is as current as ever. Let's all be Uranians together!
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Toby Johnson, PhD is author of nine 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, four 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 and editor of a collection of "myths" of gay men's consciousness. 

Johnson's book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness won a Lambda Literary Award in 2000.

His  GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our [Homo]sexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was nominated for a Lammy in 2003. They remain in print.

FINDING YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III tells the story of Johnson's learning the real nature of religion and myth and discovering the spiritual qualities of gay male consciousness.

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