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More about Austin Gay/Lesbian Community History (below)

Invitation to Austinites to Participate in the History Project (below)

In 2023 City Council approves an Historical Marker to acknowledge LGBTQ+ History. The resolution asks for names of individuals. Here are some ideas.

The Austin Chronicle has a long article on The History of the LGBTQ Movement in Austin. And a map of the gay hars in town from the 1950s onward.

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Toby Johnson's books:

Toby's books are available as ebooks from, 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

Finding God


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


Unpublished manuscripts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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"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


Historicity as Myth


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


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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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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

Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson

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

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

Spirituality cover
Gay Spirituality

Gay Identity and 
the Transformation of
Human Consciousness

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


Getting Life
Getting Life in Perspective

A Fantastical Romance

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

The Fourth Quill is available as an audiobook, narrated by Jimmie Moreland. Click here

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

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.

A Quality Bookstore for Lesbians and Gay Men

Austin, Texas — 1986-1996

Liberty Books storefront 19901986 - Tom Doyal founded Liberty Books & Liberty Press. The bookstore was at 11th and N. Lamar, behind Sound Warehouse Records, in a former repair bay of an auto dealership repurposed by Austin real estate development (and good guy) Perry Lorenz. (In 2016, the front building is Whole Earth Provisions.)

          - Early on, Mark Weaver, a preacher with the American Family Association, picketed the store and brought media attention. Tom commented that "Mark Weaver was better than a dancing bear" to announce the opening of the bookstore.

1988 - about 18 months into the life of the store, in order to free him up to be attorney for the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas and Publisher of Liberty Press, Doyal invited Toby Johnson and Kip Dollar to buy the business from him. They moved from San Antonio to Austin and took over running the store in October 88.

          - Tom's faithful employee, Kenneth Lloyd, stayed with the bookstore and trained Johnson and Dollar.

1988-1993  -  The store flourished during this period — a high point in gay genre publishing nationwide. Several new employees were hired who worked along with volunteers (mainly U.T. students), including Eric Ganther (who wrote a history of gay/lesbian Austin for a thesis in the History Dept & later the Guidebook to the Stevee Postman's Cosmic Tribe Tarot Deck). Liberty Books became one of the major lesbian/gay bookstores in the U.S.  John Dulworth, who'd been manager of the successful gay cardshop Sparks, joined the staff as financial manager & buyer.

            - During this period, Liberty Books was a sponsor of the Men's Movement spin-off, Shaman's Circle with its Radical Faerie-like gatherings in the woods.

          - In those days, Liberty Books' bulletin board functioned like a "gay google," where gay/lesbian oriented businesses and services could post their business card. Those business cards formed the basis for an Austin gay-business association (called together by Curt Foulkes), which has grown into the Austin Gay/Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

          - Since Liberty Books was often the first stop for tourists, visitors and newcomers to the city to find out about gay Austin, Toby & Kenneth, who worked the front desk in the morning and late afternoon respectively, served as semi-official greeters to Austin's gay community. Kip was bookkeeper and business manager, and worked in the back office and so was a little less visible, though was the real talent behind the business operation.
Toby Johnson & Kip Dollar
          - It was store policy that Liberty Books should feel like a safe place you could bring your mother. That was partly because mothers—and a wide of variety of non-gay people—did indeed come to the store in search of information about AIDS. During the height of the health crisis, Liberty Books was an important resource. Liberty Books was catacorner to Castle Hill Cafe which at the time was one of the most popular restaurants in Austin (Ann Richards was a regular Castle Hill Cafe patron, noticeable coming through the parking lot by her big hair.). Part of the cafe's chic was that there was no waiting area inside, so people waiting for a table stood out in the parking lot and on the sidewalk looking into the bookstore's windows. In those days, Liberty Books was the "face of the community" to many Austinites.

          - High points in that period for Dollar and Johnson also included performing in Doug Dyer's gay-activists musical-comedy review "I Pass for Straight" and the couple's being invited by LGRL to apply—and be turned down—for marriage licenses in 1991, and then being the first male couple to be Registered Domestic Partners in Travis County in 1993. (The first female couple, who actually registered first, was Dianne Hardy-Garcia and Mary Anne Messina. Dianne had been head of LGRL and had been behind the County's development of the Domestic Partnership registry.) Toby's popular and Lammy-winning sci-fi novel Secret Matter was published in 1990 by Lavender Press, a gay publisher in Connecticut, and Getting Life in Perspective the next year.

    - Along with Pete Robles, Kip was one of the organizers of the first Gay Pride celebration, Gay Fiesta, at Fiesta Gardens in 1990, serving as Treasurer and Grand Marshal, and then Grand Marshal again in 1991.

          - Austin's revered and long-lived feminist bookstore BookWoman, owned by Susan Post, moved from Neches & 6th Street to 12th & Lamar, next to The Tavern and catacorner and down a block from Liberty Books. The two stores complemented one another and referred customers back and forth in a demonstration of lesbian/gay community cooperation. A history of BookWoman is included in the 2016-released book The Feminist Bookstore Movement: Lesbian Antiracism and Feminist Accountablity' by former BookWoman staffer Kristen Hogan.
1994 - Book People announced the opening of a new "Superstore"—with a gay/lesbian section almost as big as Liberty Books—five blocks down Lamar. (What was originally said would be 700 sq ft turned out in reality to be 70 linear ft of bookshelf.) AND Lobo Books from Houston announced they would be opening a store in Austin that would be primarily a video rental outlet catering to gay men, but would also stock books. Liberty Books did not carry the porn videos that were the bread and butter of Lobo's business, so the Houston store seemed like real competition for a limited market. Johnson and Dollar decided to "save" the store and the employees by selling the inventory to Book People and getting them to hire Liberty's staff.

          - Just before that happened, Crossroads Market — a Dallas-based gay bookstore that also had an outlet in Houston competing with Lobo — reached out to buy Liberty Books to bring the competition between the two chains to Austin.

Lberty Books logo1994  - At mid-year, Crossroads Market purchased Liberty Books and, though they brought in an outside manager, kept the core staff. And kept the name Liberty Books because of its historic renown in Austin.

1996  -  Crossroads operated the store for eighteen months, then closed it for good at the end of 1996.

The Liberty Books logo was designed by John Farmer. "Our Lady of Liberty"

Here's a photo of Armistead Maupin at a Liberty Books booksigning


Toby Johnson, Kip Dollar, Terry Anderson, Armistead Maupin


Chris Zimmerman Law
was the TWT representative for Austin in those days.
He has accumulated an extensive collection of photos.

Jihn Driggs & Stephen Finn at Liberty Books 1991

Here're Psychologists Stephen Finn and John Driggs signing copies of their 1991 book
Intimacy Between Men
Behind them all is the famous Liberty Books Bulletin Board

Gay History in Austin

Here's a list of topics in Austin's LGBTQ community history. These were events, organizations, and people who were important in the heyday of Gay/Lesbian Austin from the 1970s to the 90s. These are grouped loosely by topic but are listed in no particular order.

UT purge of gay teachers in the 40s and 50s;
The Chateau,
1959: Old mansion, now on UT campus, home of Arthur Pope Watson & Robert Garrett, flamboyant homosexuals who threw fabulous parties for Austin "socialites."
UT rejecting
Randy Wicker, an openly gay candidate, for Student President in 1960;
Purge of gay students at UT in 1962;
Gay Liberation Front forms at UT in 1969 in the wake of the Stonewall Riots in New York City;
The first national Gay Liberation Conference here in 1970; Dennis Paddie, Jim Denny

Hippie Hollow as a gay nude beach;
Gay-themed plays at Chicago House Theater (playwright Dennis Paddie)
First black lesbian Student Body President at UT, Toni Luckett, in 1990

Modern Gay liberation first spread nationally in the wake of events in New York City, L.A. and San Francisco (like Stonewall, the Black Cat, and Compton's Cafeteria) as peer-support organizations formed that allowed gay and lesbian people to talk openly about their consciousness of themselves as differently sexed — some organizations, like GLF, especially in the context of the anti-war, youth rebellion of the late 60s & early 70s, had activist/political/protest as their organizing principle; many others had peer-counseling/self-help/ psychological growth as theirs.

Because one of the first great successes of the gay rights movement was the American Psychiatric Association removing homosexuality from the list of mental disorders, gay/lesbian groups all had "psychotherapy" and "consciousness raising" as a component and openly gay therapists began to surface offering variations of "gay-oriented psychotherapy." And early gay groups, almost like "neighborhood associations" within the bars and self-help "rap-groups" began health-related projects, like VD testing in the bars and peer-counseling, long before AIDS. (The National Gay/Lesbian Health Conferences began in 78 or 79.)

Gay-oriented psychotherapy developed in Austin with several openly gay therapists; several of them had offices in the complex of restored old Victorian houses off Bee Caves Road at Montebello.

Setting the theme for the great efflorence of gay and lesbian culture during the 70s (before AIDS), gay-oriented psychotherapy sought to emphasize the positive aspects of homosexuality and downplay (or dismiss) the negative ideas and misunderstandings in mainstream society of what it meant to be gay. "Gay is a gift." "Being gay means being special."

In 1983 one of these gay-oriented therapists, Paul Clover, started Waterloo Counseling Center with its Waterloo Counseling Halloween Balls (major fundraising events); When AIDS appears in the early 80s, WCC added The AIDS Project component;

In 1987 AIDS Services of Austin spun off; The Octopus Club developed as a fundraiser for ASA (with annual events ArtsErotica, OctoTea Dance, Viva Las Vegas; Dining Out for Life, and Oscar Parties); Lew Aldridge, Jim Lomorri; Janna Zumbrum

AIDS Walk;
Hill Country Ride for AIDS; David Smith

Informe-SIDA was an AIDS service organization focusing on the Hispanic population and welcoming all people of color;

Care Communities and The Central Texas AIDS Interfaith Network;

Project Transitions;
Top Drawer Resale Shop for Project Transitions;
Christopher House Hospice;
The Sansing Dental Clinic;
AIDS Quilt;

The Advocate Experience in Austin;
The Body Electric in Austin;
Shaman's Circle (Michael Ganther & John Dulworth);
PFLAG Austin;
Gay Olympics — became Gay Games — several Austinites participated (Clifford Ueshley sp?)

Prime Timers; Woody Baldwin
ALLGO; (Saul Gonzalez, Dennis Medina)
Ebony Connection; (Boyd Vance)
The UT Gay Students Association;
Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT)
Gamma Mu ("Gay Millionaires" club)

Austin L/G Political Caucus (ALGPC); Pat  Cramer

Texas Human Rights Foundation;
Lesbian Gay Rights Lobby;
Paid Gay/Lesbian Community Lobbyist started in mid-80s;
(Bettie Naylor was lobbyist for the milk industry and for the Texas Tavern Guild—of gay bars; before LGRL she was the defacto, and volunteer, lobbyist on LGBT issues.)
the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) dinners;
Austin ACT UP;
Glenn Maxey, Texas State Representative

The several attempts to form Community Centers, including the building on Red River which lasted several years;

Metropolitan Community Church (in 3 locations with moves being major events in financing and fundraising);
Dignity (Gay Catholic);
Integrity (Gay Episopalian);
Gay Lutherans;
Protestant churches beginning to welcome LGBT;
UT Catholic Student Center;
Austin Lambda (AA);
Gay Community Services;

The American Family Association (Rev Mark Weaver) crashing AIDS-education events and trying to pass legislation that would have outlawed gay/lesbian businesses anywhere near a church or church-owned property;
Travis County granting Partner Benefits, then the religious reaction and referendum which revoked the benefits but left the  Domestic Partnership registry in place, the first such recognition of same sex relationships in Texas;

The Capitol City Men’s Chorus; Mark Weigle
Gay Bowling Leagues;
Gay Square Dancing Club;
The Gay and Lesbian Business Association (which evolved into the LGBTQ Chamber); the business association was first organized from the Liberty Books bulletin board by Curt Foulkes.
Gay Rodeo in Austin;
the HOWDY Parties; Kerry O'Quinn
Gay Pride festival at Fiesta Gardens beginning in 1990 which became Austin Gay Pride with occasional parades in addition to the Fiesta Gardens Festival; Diane Russell, Pete Robles, Kip Dollar
Queerbomb; first as protest, then as popular street party marching up 6th St.; PJ Raval, Curran Nault, Paul Soileau (Christeene Havermeyer)
Gay by GayGay (at SxSW);  partly protest that SxSW doesn't have much LGBTQ content.
AGLIFF Gay/lesbian Film Festival;
The “I Pass for Straight” gay activist musical/comedy review in 89 and again in early 90s; Doug Dyer
Cleigh Nease's Waterloo Compound, gay housing complex off Red River;

Gay Bars of Austin (this is a bigger topic, all of its own, as the bars have opened and closed and moved over the years);
The "United Court of Austin" with Emperor and Empress;
Bars opening on 4th St and rise of Boystown, a few blocks from the 6th Street Nightlife district;
First and Last Splash at Lake Travis/Hippie Hollow sponsored by the bars
Gay Baths on West 16th;
Gay Baths on Airport Blvd;

The businesses (beyond the gay bars and lesbian bars) around which the community coalesced:
Liberty Books (1986-1996) (Tom Doyal; Toby Johnson & Kip Dollar) and BookWoman (1975-present) (Susan Post) (both with bulletin boards that gave identity to the community), and later Lobo (1994-2003??), making gay genre literature available;
the Texas Triangle Newspaper; 
later L Style G Style Magazine;
the lesbian-owned Eastside Cafe on Manor Rd and
G/L popular Las Maņitas Cafe on Congress;
Lesbian-owned Celebration gift & card shop on 43rd St;
Gay-owned Sparks gift & card shop on Guadalupe; Flint Sparks
Chances Bar on Red River as a "community center" (owner Sandra Martinez);
Mexicarte as gay-welcoming community center;
Alma de Mujeres Retreat Center(s) for women at the lake and outside San Marcos;
Lesbian printers Mcgillicuddy Press and Kestrel Printing;
The gay doctors (Phil Richardson & Tom Smith) & dentists (Ralph Branch & Chris Fabre).

Read about The Memory Project – LGBTQ History of Austin sponsored by the Austin LGBT Coalition on Aging.

There are links from that page to other community history projects.
Please consider participating.

And PLEASE send additions and corrections for this list above.



The Austin Chronicle has a long article on The History of the LGBTQ Movement in Austin. And a map of the gay bars in town from the 1950s onward.

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Invitation to Participate in the Austin History Project

Toby Johnson invites you to contribute your story to the History Project

July 2022
Dear Austinites,

Several history projects are going on in Austin these days. I'm writing to tell you about a couple of them that I'm involved with through the Public Library's History Center and the University of Texas. Additionally, there are similar projects to collect local history through Queerbomb, through The Little Gay Shop, and through Oakwood Cemetery Chapel.

I invite you to participate in at least one or two of these.

In collaboration with the Austin History Center, the LGBT Coalition on Aging is hosting "The Memory Project: LGBTQ History in Austin." There is a webpage at

Dennis Paddie, Dean Carpenter Turner, and I are working with the History Center to expand their LGBT collection. There is a description of the collection on the webpage. Dennis is our main contact with the History Center staff (specifically librarian Kelly Hanus); Dean and I will be conducting interviews through Zoom; and I am doing the inviting, hoping that most of you will remember my name from Liberty Books days and trust email from me enough to open it.

For this project, to make the facts and bits of memory easier to find, listen to, and understand, we are inviting contributors to tell brief (5 or 6 min) stories about some specific event they knew about, witnessed, or were part of in our collective community history that reveal some facet of the past that ought to be remembered and/or that changed the course of history. ☺️ Participants would be welcome to tell several such stories in several different clips. We'll do these over the computer with Zoom. It should be easy and fun. As we collect these stories, we'll save them (probably to disk) and add them to the Austin History Center's collection. Staff at the History Center are enthusiastic about expanding this collection.

Dr Lauren Gutterman is a professor in the University of Texas LGBTQ Studies Dept; she also teaches interviewing skills. Working with Lisa Moore and Karma Chavez, Gutterman is getting her students to interview a wide range of LGBTQ+ Austinites about their lives and experiences. These are likely longer interviews about a variety of topics, including subjects' personal lifestories. These interviews, also probably conducted by Zoom, will be archived at the University and shared with the Austin History Center (and maybe even the Library of Congress).

Please think about contributing your stories to these projects. We have lived through a remarkable time in human history; especially within the LGBTQ world we have seen unimaginable success and unquenchable sorrow. Let's get our experience into the collective mind.

On the-memory-project webpage, there are instructions for donating papers and memorabilia to the History Center. Even if you don't want to record an interview, maybe you’d send in papers or documents that will otherwise be lost at your passing.

I'm currently a contact for both these projects. Please reply and let me know what you think.

The webpage page again is

The email address we're using is

Toby Johnson

PS I have a page on my website about Liberty Books with a brief chronology of the store. Also on that page is a list, in somewhat random order, of things in gay/lesbian Austin of the 80s and 90s. Reading that list might jog your memory, and it might remind you of something I left out. If so, please let me know. I would like to keep expanding this list.


Toby Johnson
ALGBTCOA Steering Committee member

Austin City Council Approves an Historical Marker for LGBTQ Austin in the 4th and Colorado "Boystown" District

Here's a pdf of the resolution

List of Names of Individuals

Here are some people who contributed to the history of LGBTQ Austin. Some--or all--of them deserve to be included in any kind of Historical Marker. And there would be many other names I am not including here. So if you, dear reader, know of such names, please let me know.

Bettie Naylor
Glen Maxey
Tom Doyal
Bunch Brittain
Jim Denny
Dennis Paddie
Janna Zumbrun
Doug Dyer
Pat Cramer
Saul Gonzalez
Dennis Medina
Boyd Vance
Randy Wicker
Paul Clover
Lew Aldridge
Jim Lommori
Toby Johnson & Kip Dollar
Susan Post
Sandra Martinez
Diane Russell & Kathy Cook
Dara Gray
Diane Hardy-Garcia
Pete Robles
Mark Weigle
P J Raval & Curran Nault
Scott Dinger
Jimmy Flannigan
Ana Sisnett

Here's text I submitted to the City for consideration:

As queer as you want to be.
This historical marker commemorates the contributions, struggles, and successes of Austin's LGBTQIA+ community, whose once -denigrated members have always spanned all genders, races, classes, creeds, generations, and origins.


In earlier times, people lost their jobs, social standing, and sometimes even their lives for being sex- or gender-variant. Outside of the isolation of private homes, downtown bars and nightclubs offered secret, safe havens for LGBTQIA+ people to gather.


Social justice movements in the 1960s advancing the struggles for justice, acceptance, equality, and freedom for women and racial minorities gave rise to a national gay and lesbian rights movement. Austin was quick to respond. A local chapter of the Gay Liberation Front was founded in 1970, with the first National Gay Liberation Conference hosted here in 1971.


A vibrant culture evolved with restaurants, bars, retail shops, bookstores, theaters, churches and a wide variety of professionals and service providers. In the 1980s, a nightlife scene developed in the old warehouse district around 4th Street and Colorado. Clubs with drag shows, entertainment, and dances provided opportunities for gathering and community building. During the AIDS crisis of the 80s and 90s, the clubs offered occasions for sex education, counseling, and fundraising—and solace. In the 21st century, as the movement evolved to recognize all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and other segments of the community, these blocks of bars and coffee shops became integrated with the rest of downtown—much like the assimilation of queer representation into mainstream culture.


With many of the political and social dreams of the leaders of past decades realized, Austin remains a vibrant place for all communities to call home.

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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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