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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


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

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

Second March on Washington

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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'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

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

More about the history of San Francisco Gay Mental Health Services &, Maybe, the Mosts Important Thing I Ever Did

In the late 70s, I worked at The Tenderloin Clinic in downtown San Francisco. We were a community mental health clinic of an agency called Northeast Community Mental Health. Northeast M.H. had gotten the contract with the City to provide community mental health services in downtown S.F. in part because they had agreed to provide gay-oriented services for gay clients from all over the city and not just from their catchment district through the walk-in clinic in the old Downtown YMCA called The Tenderloin Clinic. (Northeast MH also ran a residential program for mental patients in the former hotel part of the Y.)

One of the reasons Northeast had included this plan in their proposal to the City was because of the lobbying of a gay man named Cliff Kraus.

A few years earlier, Cliff had sort of single-handedly established a telephone gay hotline called The San Francisco Gay Counseling Service. He ran it out of his little house on 17th at Hartford. He appealed for volunteers through a program called Gay Rap that met at the Alternative Futures private community center (on West Pine over in the lower western addition). Gay Rap was the premier gay liberation group at that time--1971-72. Many of the members of Gay Rap later moved on to be BAGL (Bay Area Gay Liberation)--from whence the Northern California Fairy Circle(s) developed.

I'd started going to Gay Rap and I volunteered to work Cliff's phone counseling line a few nights a week. Cliff and I got to be close friends and partners in the project. When Cliff's lease on the little house (that had a leaky roof and was rank with mold because in those days it was covered with vines) in the Castro expired, he moved, along with the counseling service, into my collective household over in the inner Richmond, on Arguello at Clement.

Cliff had been inspired by attending a Don Clark Weekend at Clark's little Victorian house in back of an apartment complex in Pacific Heights. I took the next Don Clark Weekend myself and was inspired to also think of myself as a gay-positive gay social service provider. Don was the unofficial "Clinical Supervisor" for the volunteers. He really was the theoretical leader for us. In the circle(s) around Don Clark and around the Counseling Service were Bill Horstman and Mark Freeman, a young psychologist who'd just published a book analyzing psychological studies of gay personality showing that gay people are not only not mentally ill but are potentially higher functioning than normal (Mark died of hepatitis within a year or two -- a wrinkle in his story was that he used to tell about having tricked with a man he was sure was Art Garfunkel.)

By this time, the counseling service had become the major project of Gay Rap. And leadership of Gay Rap and the leadership of the Counseling Service overlapped. Cliff (and I) had effectively taken over Gay Rap. Cliff was very charismatic. In addition to the big public gatherings of Gay Rap for consciousness-raising exercises and small group sharing at the meetings at Alternative Futures, we had weekly potluck dinner meetings at our house of the leaders. Peter Goldblum was a young social worker recently relocated to San Francisco who joined the project about that time.

The Counseling Service lived for two or three years. Cliff's major plan had always been to get the City to start providing these services and/or for us to get funding from the City to provide such gay-positive, peer-counseling services.

Cliff befriended an openly gay psychiatrist, Arthur Carfagni, MD, who worked in community mental health. Cliff got him to be supportive of our project. A little later the counseling service ceased functioning, because of interpersonal and financial problems in the collective household. By that time, Dr. Carfagni was onboard with the idea and championed the principle of gay-affirmative and gay-identified services for gay clients. Carfagni became head of Northeast Community Mental Health Services and so he incorporated Cliff's vision into the proposal for services out of the old-Y building which Northeast purchased.

There was a lesbian angle going on too.  Phern Hunt was in the Feminist Therapy Collective in 1973-74, with Mildred Dubitsky, PhD, Saralie Pennington, and two other women. Nancy Feinstein and Adria Blum in another collective were also feeding into the lesbian/gay mental health system and putting pressure on the system to recognize the needs of lesbian clients. Already working in the system were Josette Mondonaro, MD  and
paraprofessional Pat Norman, both at an S.F. Mental Health Services clinic called the Center for Special Problems.  Hunt was hired as an out lesbian therapist by the Outreach Team of Northeast Mental Health. Art Carfagni's lover, Floyd McBride, was also part of the Outreach Team. That, in fact, was really the beginning of the gay services.  Art and Cliff were working on this from the board and greater community level. The result was a community mental health clinic in the downtown Tenderloin District that was given a mandate to serve lesbian and gay clients from all over the city with lesbian and gay therapists.

So by a very indirect route, the S.F. Gay Counseling Service evolved into The Tenderloin Clinic.

My own route to The Tenderloin Clinic and D.A.F.O.D.I.L. had diverted through Napa. Peter Goldblum by this time had gotten a job teaching psychology to the Psychiatric Technician students in the Nursing Program at Napa College, the Junior College across the highway from Napa State Hospital. My boyfriend Guy Mannheimer (whom I'd met through the Don Clark connection) and I and a wonderful woman named Leslie Peterson (who later worked for many years for International Rescue Committee) followed Peter to Napa and became both his students AND his housemates.

I finished the Psych Tech training after a year and a half, moved back to S.F. and got a job as a psych tech at Westside Community Mental Health in the Crisis Clinic at Mt Zion Hospital, then went back to grad school at C.I.I.S. and got a PhD in Counseling Psychology. In a wonderfully circular way, I did my internship at The Tenderloin Clinic and then, after finishing the internship, was hired as a staff therapist.

All that is backstory to the importance of The Tenderloin Clinic. (The rest of the story is told on the page about The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance.)

After a couple of years the gay & lesbian therapists at The Tenderloin Clinic began complaining that we had too many non-gay mental health clients from the catchment district to see to fulfill our mandate to serve gay clients from around the city with gay-positive counseling. Fired up especially by Carol Hastie,  a lesbian-feminist social worker who was sensitive to the subtle ways institutions perpetuate oppression in the name of "responding" to it, the clinic staff organized as Dykes and Faggots Organized to Defeat Institutionalized Liberalism  (which meant sounding gay-positive in theory, but in fact being dismissive of minority needs and disrespectful of the gay population).

During Gay Pride Week, on June 24, 1977, we had a demonstration and march -- which was lead by a Lesbian Marching Band with loud brass instruments including a tuba -- from the clinic to City Hall then over to the Community Mental Health Services office on Larkin. The Director of Mental Health, Dr Bill Goldman, offered us $60,000 to expand the clinic AND set up a gay mental health task force to make recommendations for how the city could provide gay-positive, gay-affirmative services.

That task force met for six months to a year. I ended up co-chair/male spokesperson of the Task Force. The female co-chair was JoAnn Lovejoy. We achieved two goals: a job in the Health Dept as head of g/l services for a black lesbian mother Pat Norman (who later ran for City Supervisor) and the acceptance of The Gay Client's Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights declared the right of gay clients to get gay-identified services and/or to at least be sure they didn't get an anti-gay therapist. It put into official policy the idea of gay therapist/gay doctors for gay clients/gay patients.

I think this indirectly had major consequences a few years later for AIDS services. It helped establish that AIDS patients should have gay doctors and helped make gay medicine respectable and allowed gay doctors to practice as openly gay.

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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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