Table of Contents
Google listing of all pages on this website
Johnson's Facebook page
Johnson's YouTube channel
Toby Johnson on Wikipedia
Johnson Amazon Author Page
Secure site at
Also on this
Toby's books are available as ebooks from
smashwords.com, the Apple iBookstore, etc.
YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned
from Joseph Campbell: The
The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness
Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the
SECRET MATTER, a sci-fi novel with
wonderful "aliens" with an
Afterword by Mark Jordan
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
Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams
LIVES: Spinning Straw into
Gold: GaySpirit in Storytelling, a collaboration with
Steve Berman and some 30 other writers
THE MYTH OF THE GREAT
Appreciation of Joseph Campbell
IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE
SEXUAL UNDERWORLD: A Mystical Journey
Crane Gay Spirituality Series
Review of Samuel
Dimensional Structure of Consciousness
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
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
Shame on the American People
The "highest form of love"
Why homosexuality is a sin
The cause of homosexuality
origins of homophobia
about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness
is Gay Spirituality?
Jesus said about Gay
Experiences Unique to Gay
Is there a "uniquely gay
purpose of homosexuality
Interview on the Nature of
What the Bible Says about
Ideal for Straight Men
of Gay Spirituality
of Gay Liberation Activity
The Gay Succession
Wouldn’t You Like to Be Uranian?
The Reincarnation of
Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality
as Artistic Medium
Easton Mountain Retreat Center
Andrew Harvey &
The Mysticism of
upsidedown book on MSNBC
Always About You"
The myth of the Bodhisattva
Campbell's description of
Not A Wave
Joseph Campbell Talks
What is Enlightenment?
What is reincarnation?
How many lifetimes in an
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
The Danda Nata
& goddess Kalika
Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva
John Boswell was Immanuel Kant
The Myth of the
Change: Source of
Suffering & of Bliss
What the Vows Really
from the Subtle Realms
& the Multiverse
est Training and Personal Intention
Dreaming in Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven
Toby Johnson Believes
Joseph Campbell Connection
Mann Ranch (& Rich Gabrielson)
& The Pre/Trans Fallacy
Nature of Religion
What's true about
Gay is a Blessing
Drawing Long Straws
The subtle workings of the spirit
in gay men's lives.
The Sinfulness of
for a study of gay nondualism
Having a Church to
Harold Cole on Beauty
Immaculate Conception & Assumption
Not lashed to the
Monastic or Chaste
Is It Time to Grow
the Aging Process
Notes on Licking
Gay Consciousness changing
world by Shokti LoveStar
Evolution of Gay Identity"
"St. John of the
Cross & the Dark Night of
at the Baths
Tell You a Secret
Articulations of the
Step in Evolution
The Moulting of the Holy Ghost
is a Bodhisattva
Hero's Journey as archetype -- GSV 2016
The Gay Hero Journey
On Your Own
Prostitution and the Nature of Evil
Hu: "God is present here"
The Life is
in the Blood
Gay retirement and the "freelance
the Edge: AIDS as an occasion for spiritual wisdom
are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?
mystical experience at the Servites' Castle in Riverside
A Most Remarkable
Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis
The Techniques Of The
Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the
Part 2: The
Part 3: Jesus
and the Resurrection
Part 4: A
Course in Miracles
Secret of the Clear Light
the Clear Light
How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated
Campbell, the Hero's Journey, and the modern Gay Hero-- a five part
presentation on YouTube
About Alien Abduction
honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke
Karellen was a homosexual
with the movie When We Rise
about Gay Mental Health
at the California Institute
Ideas for gay
Kip and Toby,
friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.
Hay, Founder of the gay movement
About Hay and The New Myth
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 Ask the Fire
About Mark Thompson
About Sterling Houston
About Michael Stevens
The Alamo Business
Our friend Tom Nash
Second March on
Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the "Statement
Be Done on Earth by Howard
Pay Me What I'm Worth by
The Way Out by Christopher
The Gay Disciple by John Henson
Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry
Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth
the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois
Over Coffee: A conversation
Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson
Janet Planet by
Kairos by Paul E. Hartman
with Jesus by D.K.Maylor
Kali Rising by Rudolph
Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada
Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook
The Scar Letters: A
by Richard Alther
Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel
by Charlene Spretnak
Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez
Cut Hand: A
Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr
by Eleanor Lerman
Rizzoli by Felice Picano
to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo
of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar
Razor by David Duncan
Demion by Mel White
Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L.
Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery
Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass
Together: Longtime Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication
by Tim Clausen
Between Materialism and Spiritual by Jean-Michel Bitar
Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion by
Jeffrey J. Kripal
America and the Religion of No Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal
Invitation to Love by
Consciousness, and God: A Lonerganian Integration by Daniel A
Walk with Four Spiritual Guides by Andrew Harvey
Can Christians Be Saved? by Stephenson & Rhodes
Lost Secrets of the Ancient Mystery Schools by Stephenson &
Being: Energy Meditation and Synchronization Exercises by Adrian
Trust by John Marsh
Tantric Song by Rollan McCleary
A Special Illumination by Rollan McCleary
by Lawrence Scott
by Payam Ghassemlou
Landscapes by John Ollom
& Pumpkins by David Hatfield Sparks
Yes by Brad
Blood of the Goddess by William Schindler
Roads of Excess,
Wisdom by Jeffrey Kripal
Dharma by Jay Michaelson
in Salome's Lot by Brett W. Gillette
The Man Who Loved Birds by Fenton Johnson
Vatican Murders by Lucien Gregoire
& About with Brewer & Berg
Episode One: Searching for a New Mythology
Soul Beneath the Skin by David Nimmons
Holy Ground by Donald Boisvert
Revotutionary Psychology of Gay-Centeredness by Mitch Walker
by Perry Brass
The Crucifixion of Hyacinth by Geoff Puterbaugh
Silence of Sodom by Mark D Jordan
Never About What It's About by Krandall Kraus and Paul Borja
edited by Catherine Lake
by WIlton Barnhard
Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey by Fenton Johnson
Dating the Greek Gods by Brad Gooch
Truths in Church by Mark D. Jordan
Substance of God by Perry Brass
Tomcat Chronicles by Jack Nichols
Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives by Joe Kort
Jesus and the Shamanic Tradition of Same Sex Love
by Will Roscoe
Third Appearance by Walter Starcke
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann
and Thriving After a Life-Threatening Diagnosis by Bev Hall
Homosexuality, and the Gods by Ronald Long
with Ron Long
Queering Creole Spiritual Traditons by Randy
Conner & David Sparks
An Interview with
and Time by Gerald Heard
and the Sacred by Daniel Helminiak
Blessing Same-Sex Unions by Mark Jordan
by Joe Perez
Undeniable Longing by Mark Tedesco
for the Soul by Larry Chang
MM4M a DVD
by Bruce Grether
by David Ranan
Transcended Christian by Daniel Helminiak
in Love by Kittredge Cherry
the Eye of the Storm by Gene Robinson
Starry Dynamo by Sven Davisson
Paradox by Fr Paul Murray
Spirituality for Our Global Community by Daniel
Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society by Robert A.
Coming Out: Irish Gay Experiences by Glen O'Brien
by Robert Goss
Towards Gomorrah by Dan Savage
Flesh of the Word by Richard A Rosato
David Garrett Izzo
for Gay Men by Bruce Anderson
the Path of the Urban Mystic by Darren Main
by Malcolm Boyd
Times Seven by Salvatore Sapienza
Does "Queer" Mean Anyway? by Chris Bartlett
Critique of Patriarchal Reasoning by Arthur Evans
the Soul by Dale Colclasure & David Jensen
Legend of the Raibow Warriors by Steven McFadden
Prayer by Gregory Flood
are the Messengers by Daniel Plasman
The Human Core of Spirituality by Daniel Helminiak
The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
Religion and the Human Sciences by Daniel Helminiak
Good Parts by Daniel Curzon
Reviews of Books with a Message
Interrupted by Michael Parise
Confessions of a Murdered Pope by Lucien Gregoire
Stargazer's Embassy by Eleanor Lerman
Living, Conscious Aging by Ron Pevny
Footprints Through the Desert by Joshua Kauffman
Religion by J.L. Weinberg
The Mediterranean Universe by John Newmeyer
is God by Jay Michaelson
by Dennis Merritt
Home by Fenton Johnson
Hard Lesson by James
by Jay Michaelson
of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path by Jay Michaelson
Fred by Richard Alther
the Son He Expected by Tim Clausen
9 Realities of Stardust by Bruce P. Grether
Afterlife Revolution by Anne & Whitley Strieber
Queer Spirit Awakening by Shokti Lovestar
Facing the Truth of Your Life by Merle Yost
Super Natural by Whitley Strieber & Jeffrey J Kripal
Jeffrey J Kripal
House by Jonathan Lane
Walking on Glory by Edward Swift
of Porn by Don Shewey
Is Heaven for Real? by Lucien Gregoire
Enigma by Lloyd Meeker
Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson
Books on Gay Men's Spiritualities:
Things Our [Homo]sexuality
Nature of God and
Perspective is available as an audiobook narrated
by Matthew Whitfield. Click
Gay Identity and
the Transformation of
Spirituality is now
available as an audiobook, beautifully narrated by John Sipple. Click here
Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling
& Steve Berman
Lammy Award Winner for Gay
Getting Life in
A Fantastical Romance
Life in Perspective is available as an
audiobook narrated by Alex Beckham. Click
The Fourth Quill
The Fourth Quill is
as an audiobook, narrated by Jimmie
Moreland. Click here
Two Spirits: A Story of
with the Navajo
with Walter L. Williams
Spirits is available as an
audiobook narrated by Arthur Raymond. Click
Your Own True Myth: What I Learned from Joseph
Great Secret III
In Search of God in the Sexual Underworld
The Myth of the Great
Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell.
was the second edition of this book.
available in other ebook formats from Smashwords.
Waves of Gay
Where did homosexuality
That's an impossible question to answer. When were the first
people? Maybe it's even before people. Maybe homosexuality/"gay
consciousness," as we know it today, started back with the bonobos and
the champanzees. The bonobos--the cuter of the two, with better
hair--show little violence. They are very sexual, both heterosexually
and homosexually, and seem to solve problem by having sexplay instead
of by fighting, which is what chimpanzees do. Human beings are thought
to be descended from the chimps. But maybe there's a parallel between
mainstream, straight culture and chimpanzees and marginalized, gay
culture as the bonobos.
In the fanciful metaphor of
reincarnation mythology, I wonder if good
bonobos are reincarnated up the karmic ladder as sexually liberated gay
men or conversely if good gay men might be rewarded karmically by being
reincarnated as bonobos.
I want to present four
seminal ideas. These come from the following books:
by Daniel Quinn
OF BONE by Randy Conner
POLITICS OF HOMOSEXUALITY by Toby Marotta
LEAVERS AND TAKERS
beings appear to have lived on Earth for a couple of million years. The
dates have recently been pushed back even further. These people were
roughly called "Hunters and Gatherers." They lived in harmony with
nature and developed a stable ecological niche in which the population
kept balanced with the food sources. The fanciful, new age novel,
ISHMAEL by Daniel Quinn,
tells about a gorilla who has been taught to master human language and
so is able to speak for the non-human inhabitants of planet Earth.
The gorilla Ishmael calls the first humans “Leavers,” because they left
things they found them.
5-10 thousand years ago, a new idea developed among certain human
beings. This is called The Agrarian Revolution and is thought of as the
birth of humankind as we know it. Agriculture allowed food supplies to
increase to keep up with population. And population increased to use up
surplus food in an ever accelerating cycle. Ishmael calls these people
“Takers” because they took what they could get. Their basic presumption
is that Agrarians are above the exempted from the ecological order
because they discovered how to tip the balance their way and keep it
history of the civilized human race—at least in the West—is the history
of Takers converting or killing Leavers.
than 10,000 years the conquest of Taker values has resulted in the
destruction and despoiling of the planet.
last few decades, a new revolution has occurred—still looking for a
name and an identity. It is based on the achievement of perspective. As
no Takers ever before us, we can look back and see what’s happened.
Scientific objectivism, though a Taker artifact, has allowed us to
observe the patterns of history. We’re now beginning to question human
beings’ place in Earth’s ecology.
In the same way that there's a parallel between straight
and gay and chimps and bonobos, there's also a parallel between
straight and gay and Takers and Leavers.
Those early Leaver cultures are thought to have generated
shamanistic religions with cross-dressing/two-spirit tribval leaders.
It's in the later Taker cultures that male dominant doctrinal religions
BLOSSOM OF BONE
Conner has researched the role of “gender variant” people in
pre-Christian and non-Christian religions of the west. He’s found that
what we might loosely call the religions of the Leavers were dominated
by a homosexual priesthood.
Androgynous people can achieve a perspective above males and females.
They make good marriage counselors and conflict mediators. They
function as surrogate parents.
HEBREW CULTURE VS MEDITERRANEAN
The Greeks and Romans are thought to have relatively
accepting of sexual behavior, at least of males, including
homosexuality. The classical model tho' was quite unlike what
know as gay today, which emphasizes sameness and equality. Classical
homosexuality was between men of power and boys or slaves--a great
Biblical Hebrew culture was not very accepting of
sexuality. The difference between the Mediterranean and the Hebrew is
the difference between lush countryside and barren desert. Rules about
behavior and about hygiene are much stricter in the desert. The risks
are greater and the struggle for hygiene more difficult. How do you
keep yourself clean when water is scarce?
All sex is inherently messy, homosexual sex even almost
necessarily "dirty," at least in the sense of violating the taboos of
toilet training. Ancient Jewish culture--and modern Middle-Eastern--was
patriarchal, male-dominant, and strict.
The Bible imposed rules for sexual behavior. One
such rule was certainly intended to condemn treating men as though they
were women. Since homosexual anal intercourse could be construed to do
that, it was included in these condemnations.
And though Jesus was apparently unconcerned about
sexual sins and may have been friends with known homosexuals (like the
Roman Centurion whose "boy" He healed and who-knows-who among the
Apostles--they were mostly all unmarried men at a time men were not
likely to be unmarried), Christianity continued the condemnation of any
and all sex outside strict married, reproductive intercourse. But
there's evidence homosexuality was not particularly noticed; some books
of instruction to confessors class homosexual behavior with spitting in
the street, i.e., a hygiene violation, but not very serious, and not
interpreted as unnatural, just uncleanly.
Following the Black Death and the Hundred Years War and
waves of plagues that devastated Europe, the Church--perhaps
intentionally--came up with a strategy for encouraging rebuilding and
repopulating: blame the plagues on non-reproductive sex. Then the
answer to their threat was more reproductive sex. And that repopulated
the continent. It was only at this time that the story of Sodom and
Gomorrah in the Bible was given the anti-homosexual spin. The idea that
homosexuality was the sin of Sodom comes less from the Bible than from
the Romanized Jewish historian Josephus who came up with the notion the
people of Sodom wanted to anally rape the angel visitors.
This was a useful strategy for social modification. It
saved Europe from despair and depopulation. But for gay people, it
would mean centuries of persecution.
The great heresies in the West have driven
religion. We’re most interested in just one of them, but
it’s the most important and to some extent the basis of the others
There's a gay theme that runs through these heresies. And
indeed homosexuality itself was considered heretical and heretics were
accused to sodomy. And homosexuality is tied into "countercultural"
notions of self-actualization and personal fulfillment. The upper
classes and intelligensia and artist classes could devote themselves to
self-fulfillment--and, for homosexuals, that would mean being able to
speaking, the great Western heresy that ties homosexuality into
mysticism and self-actualization into religion is GNOSTICISM, the
religious/mystical notion that things
aren’t really the way they appear, that the world is a kind of
illusion, and that mystical/initiated experience can give some
individuals a glimpse of the Truth. These individuals probably won’t be
able to communicate it to the masses. And so an elite develops. They
are “the illuminati” and really should control the world.
been many waves of gnosticism. Manicheism was one of the most
important. It was Zoroastrian mysticism applied to the world view of
the near East around the time of Jesus. Basic to Manicheism was the
notion that matter was evil and dark. The soul was goodness and light.
Procreating offspring thus involved imprisoning spirit in matter.
Christianity is doctrinally prolife and so objected to this notion.
Manicheans practiced celibacy and contraception in order to achieve the
mystical experience of sexuality without the consequence of
procreation. The original condemnation of birth control came out of
this. They also believed that “the ritual eating of semen” helped
overcome the power of the darkness and released spirit from its prison
gnosticism has survived as the Old Religions: witchcraft and nature
worship was one side of it. Mysticism, Hermeticism and, in
general, “conspiracy theory” and various kinds of spiritual
elitism were another side. The Counterculture of the 60s/70s was
Crusaders traveling to the Holy Lands discovered
Levantine culture, and sexuality that Europe just didn't know about.
The "Treasure of the Knights Templar" might very well have been simply
homosexual love as preferential to the socially imposed heterosexual
marriage for procreation.
Gnosticism reappeared in France in the early middle ages as
Albigensianism or Catharism. This was centered in Languedoc in the area
of Provence on the South of France.
was possibly the real world basis for the myth of Camelot. It was the
San Francisco of its day: a countercultural, progressive,
multi-cultural center. Here the notion of romantic love was born.
Homosexuality is more like romance and arranged marriage.
Albigensian Crusade destroyed Langedoc.
counterculture of Provence generated non-canonical religious orders and
associations of friends. One such group were called Mattachines.
esoteric religion has thus long been fascinated with sex magic and
altered states of consciousness. Homosexuality is a natural part of sex
magic. And even today drugs have been a natural part of the gay
MONASTICISM AND MOLLY HOUSES
must have been a kind of homosexuality within medieval monasticism. The
monasteries were populated with men (and convents with women) who
weren't interested in marriage and family. The Church gave been an
identity and legitimacy they wouldn't have had otherwise. This is
where gay people of those days could find acceptance and loving
friendship, if perhaps only chastely (i.e. without intentional sex
Through most of European and British and then
American history, there's probably always been a relatively invisible
homosexual subculture of people who knew people who knew people…
In 18th and 19th century England, there were institutions
called Molly-houses that were effectively gay bars and bathhouses.
POETS AND PLAYWRIGHTS
through history there have been homosexuals in prominent positions in
the arts and letters. Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and class of
artists in Florence Rome were known to be homosexual. How many more
there were who were not known!
The great American poet, Walt Whitman (1819-1892), was
"closeted," but pretty transparent and guileless in his poetry and
expression of love for the beauty and touch of men.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was part of a British homosexal
culture that included a whole class of men called "Dandies." And of
course everybody's favorite Dandy was the American farmboy hick Yankie
Doodle who playfully mimicked the Italian (macaroni) style of the
Dandies and stuck a feather in his cap.
Wilde was outrageous and got himself in trouble by suing
his boyfriend's father, the Marquis of Queensbury, for calling him
homosexual--when he obviously was. Tragically Wilde ended up in prison
and scared homosexuals into retreat.
But that same period saw Edward Carpenter (1844-1929)
explains same-sex love in the context of antrhopology and the study of
been a resurgence of interest in sex in Europe of the late 18th C. In America Walt
Whitman had just articulated a kind of homosexual nature mysticism—a
modern gnosticism. Post
World War I Germany saw a rise of a counterculture. The names of the
sexologists Krafft Ebbing, Havelock Ellis, Sigmund Freud, Magnus
Hirshfeld are familiar.
DER EIGENE, the first gay journal in the world, was published from 1896
to 1932 by Adolf Brand in Berlin. Though there were two prior issues to
this date, this was the first issue that was fully gay in its content.
Brand contributed many poems and articles himself. Other contributors
included Benedict Friedlander, Hanns Heinz, Erich Muhsam, Kurt Hiller,
Ernst Burchard, John Henry Mackay, Theodor Lessing, Klaus Mann and
Thomas Mann, as well as artists Wilhelm von Gloeden, Fidus and Sascha
Schneider. Like White Crane, the journal may have had an average of
around 1500 subscribers per issue during its run, but the exact numbers
The title of the journal, Der Eigene (The Own), refers to the
classic anarchist work Der Einzige und sein Eigentum (1844) by Max
Stirner. Early issues reflected the philosophy of Stirner, as well as
other views on the politics of anarchism, but in the 1920s the journal
shifted to support the liberal democracy of the Weimar Republic and
more specifically the Social Democratic Party. Der Eigene
interwove cultural, artistic, and political material, including lyric
poetry, prose, political manifesto and nude photography. A winning
combination in our opinion.
Magnus Hirschfeld (14 May 1868 – 14 May 1935) was a German Jewish
physician and sexologist educated primarily in Germany; he based his
practice in Berlin-Charlottenburg. An outspoken advocate for sexual
minorities, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee.
Historian Dustin Goltz characterized this group as having carried out
"the first advocacy for homosexual and transgender rights".
In 1921 Hirschfeld organised the First Congress for Sexual Reform,
which led to the formation of the World League for Sexual Reform.
Congresses were held in Copenhagen (1928), London (1929), Vienna
(1930), and Brno (1932).
Conrad Veidt and Hirschfeld as Paul Körner and the Doctor in Different
from the Others
Hirschfeld was both quoted and caricatured in the press as a vociferous
expert on sexual matters; during his 1931 tour of the United States,
the Hearst newspaper chain dubbed him "the Einstein of Sex". He
identified as a campaigner and a scientist, investigating and
cataloging many varieties of sexuality, not just homosexuality. He
developed a system which categorised 64 possible types of sexual
intermediary ranging from masculine heterosexual male to feminine
homosexual male, including those he described under the term
transvestite (Ger. Transvestit), which he coined in 1910 to
describe people who in the 21st century might be referred to as
transgender or transsexual.
When the Nazis took power, they attacked Hirschfeld's Institute on 6
May 1933, and burned many of its books as well as its archives, the
Institut für Sexualwissenschaft.
By the time of the book burning, Hirschfeld had long since left Germany
for a speaking tour that took him around the world; he never returned
to Germany. In March 1932 he stopped briefly in Athens, spent several
weeks in Vienna and then settled in Zurich, Switzerland in August 1932.
CHICAGO'S SOCIETY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
The first organization for homosexual rights in America
was established in Chicago
in 1924. Henry Gerber founded the "Society for Human Rights," modeling
his organization on the homosexual rights movement in Germany. The
"Society for Human Rights" focused on educating the heterosexual
community about the nature of homosexuality and reforming the laws that
criminalized homosexuality. However, after only a few months of
meetings and the publication of two issues of the society's paper
"Friendship and Freedom," Chicago authorities shut down Gerber's
organization in 1924 because of the anti-homosexual sentiment of the
Although Gerber's "Society for Human Rights" was short-lived, lesbians
and gay men were highly visible in 1920s Chicago, particularly in the
bohemian world of Towertown, so-called because of its proximity to the
Water Tower. Chicago, like many cities of the 1920s, had its Bohemian
neighborhood where artists, poets, and lesbians and gay men lived and
congregated. The visibility of lesbians and gay men in Towertown marks
an important historical moment when there was an openness and
acceptance of lesbians and gay men in certain artistic and bohemian
CRIMINALS AND PSYCHOPATHS
Homosexual activity was against the law in most of the
world. Where it hadn't been before, the Brtish Empire inspired rigid
morality laws than punished homosexuals severely. This is in a long
tradition of poor gay men being caught and hanged or burned alive or
shot or drowned in a variety of horrible ways. Imprisonment was
The World Wars in the 20th Century had a tremendous effect in exposing
the common people to a bigger world. "How can you keep them down on the
farm after they've seen Paree?" Not unlike the Crusaders in the 12th
Century who were exposed to the Levant, the Americans who went to
Europe discovered more liberal ideas about sexuality AND the
homosexuals among them saw each other in the Army and the Navy and
around the world. It was eye-opening.
A little bit of homosexuality was accepted as part of boys being boys
when there aren't any girls around. The Navy and merchant marine has a
history of such carrying-on.
The US military accepted a certin amount. It wasn't all that forbidden.
At the time of the World Wars, psychiatry was being developed as a
branch of medicine. Psychiatrists were called in to treat
"Shell-shock," as Post-traumatic Shock Syndrone was called in those
days. But military psychiatrists didn't have a lot to do. (As M*A*S*H
and Joseph Heller's Catch-22
have dramatized, it isn't crazy to
be disturbed by war.) Towards the middle of World War II, military
psychiatrists came up with a job for themselves--finding and curing, or
punitively discharging, homosexuals in the ranks. And "homosexuality"
became thought of as a mental illness. While this "more enlightened"
shift probably saved some peopel from being treated as criminals going
to prison for being gay, it meant they and others would endure
electroshock, aversion therapy and other forms of coercive treatment
and waste enormous amounts of money being analyzed insearch of a "cure"
for being who they were.
An irony of history is that male homosexuals who were mustered out of
the Army and Navy in the Pacific Theater were mostly discharged in San
Francisco. They had dishonorable discharges, which were printed on blue
paper, and the gay people had a big red H stamped on the discharge.
These men, and women, couldn't go home. So they stayed in California
and especially the Bay Area.
Inadvertently the US military made San Francisco the gay mecca.
POLITICS OF HOMOSEXUALITY
with Toby Marotta
on the revision of his PHD dissertation for Harvard. It set out to
explain in political/sociological terms how and why the gay political
movement happened and why its organizations have always been
created a model that explains the variety of axes along which gay
movement activity has happened. The model indeed explains why
organizations rise and collapse, and more importantly, explains why
there is so much strife.
Up to the
early 70s there were three waves. We can now identify two—and maybe
THE HOMOPHILE MOVEMENT
by Harry Hay in California, this grew out of 50s idealistic Communism.
Recall that following WW2, existentialist, bohemian, counterculturists
adopted Marxist idealism. The counterculture always mixes up populism
and egalitarianism with its own elitism. (The French Revolution is the
WW2, a lot of homosexuals were dishonorably discharged and mustered out
of the military in California and New York—the coasts.
summer of 1948, Hay was at a party where an idea was brought up to form
a group called Bachelors for Wallace to support the Progressive
candidate Henry Wallace.
That group never formed. But
a couple of years later while he was at the Southern California Labor
school where he taught music, he came up with the idea of the
“International Bachelors Fraternal Order for Peace and Social Dignity”
or Bachelors Anonymous. Soon after the Korean War broke out, the
political activists in California, calling themselves communist, put
out a petition. Harry Hay took the petition to the beaches of Santa
Monica and Venice. Hay saw that homosexuals could organize politically.
Soon the Mattachine Society was formed.
creation, the Movement harked back to gnosticism.
Kameny was a Harvard PhD astronomer who got a job with the Army Map
Service. When they found he was gay, they fired him. He appealed to the
Courts, getting all the way to the Supreme Court (which, however,
refused to hear the case). Politicized by his experience he helped form
a Washington branch.
men represent two different approaches. Hay was a communist militant
calling for revolution. Kameny was a moderate reformer who wanted
redress through the system. Kameny was in fact a militant compared to
the moderates who followed him and formed the New York Mattachine.
homophile movement downplayed sexuality, thus its name. They believed
that “prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination were the source of
the homosexual’s problems and that education, policy reform, and help
for individual homosexuals would bring about the recognition of basic
similarity, equality of treatment, and integration that were tantamount
to social progress.”
McCarthy hearings scared moderates away from Harry Hay’s communist
idealism (while inspiring Hay to make his organization a secret society
of cells that did not know who belonged to other cells).
homophile movement ended up organizing lectures by psychiatrists and
seeking law reform on the grounds that homosexuals were hapless victims
who didn’t deserve any more oppression. This retrechment was based in
organizational maintenance concerns (they didn’t want to be outlaws),
but made it difficult for the organization to attract members, because
its basic argument (coming out of the civil rights movement) was that
sexual orientation didn’t matter very much.
hard to get members to risk their lives and livelihoods for something
that didn’t matter.
Daughters of Bilitis was an organization for women formed first in San
Francisco by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon who had formed a social club,
but having heard of the LA Mattachine and ONE Magazine, politicized the
social group to become DOB.
we want to look at here is Moderate vs Militant.
In S.F. and L.A. and elsewhere around the country, mostly unknown,
there were protests against police oppression of gay people. like
the Black Cat Bar Raid (1948) and the Compton’s
Cafeteria riot (August 1966), both in S.F. that weren't directly
associated with any
In 1973, partly in response to Alfred Kinsey's discoveries
about sexual behavior, sympathetic doctors, like Judd Marmor, and
openly gay researchers, like Evelyn Hooker, successfully lobbied the
American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the list
of mental disorders.
the so-called Stonewall Riots in New York City in late June 1969,
hippies and anti-war politicized students and
counterculturalists formed GLF, taking the name from the National
Liberation Front of Viet Nam.
fell apart because it was too disorganized. Gay Activists Alliance
(created by Arthur Evans) formed to replace it.
devised the action of “political zaps.” Chaining themselves to the
mayor’s desk; clasping his hand in a crowd and not letting go;
disrupting the opera. “Mr. Mayor (Lindsay), what are you going to do
about the problems of homosexuals,” they’d ask.
created The Firehouse, the archetypal gay community center, where they
held dances and meetings to educate gay people.
change in strategy from the homophile movement to educate the public
was to GLF/GAA’s strategy to educate gay people.
Liberation rose out of the counterculture and politicized anti-war
identifies two axes here.
Political-economic vs. cultural concerns (i.e. leftist politicos vs.
Radicals vs. reformers
Political-economic radicals/revolutionaries were inspired by S.D.S and
student protest. In fact, they saw homosexuals as simply another
minority to mobilize in the revolution and overthrow of capitalism.
radicals wanted to create a whole new gay culture, separate but equal
(actually, of course, superior). The Firehouse was their creation,
along with gay theater, arts, etc. Gay bookstores come under this
reformers wanted to infiltrate the existing system to change laws to
make them fairer. They were not trying to overthrow capitalism and were
always frustrated and annoyed by all the radicals who didn’t seem to
know how to get anything accomplished—and didn’t seem to care.
reformers wanted to change the way gay people are portrayed in the
culture. GLLAD is a manifestation of this; domestic partnership
Also gay capitalism which
co-opted the movement in the 1970s and carried gay culture into the
affluent gay ghetto, but diluted its political/radical punch.
third wave is women’s participation.
was made up of both men and women. They had adopted GAY as their term.
But what the women in the movement discovered was that the men (tho’
homosexual) were still men. AND that the word gay as an all-inclusive
term made them and their cause invisible.
were torn between being gay liberationists OR feminists. And still are.
mainstream women’s movement, based on the civil rights movement for
equality, not social upheaval, didn’t know what to do with lesbians.
They were an embarrassment and a liability for organizational
separatism was one reaction.
here is biological identity vs. behavior.
similar to the issue involved currently with the gays in the military
feminism in some ways has had the greatest effect on how we all think
about and discuss these issues. That’s because feminism analysized how
words and word usage affects people’s thinking (hence the effort at
inclusive language). But lesbians observed their issues needed to
not be inclusively covered. We now all use the expressions Lesbian and
Marotta’s analysis ended
here with what he called The Explosion of Things Gay, i.e. the
inclusion of gay people in everybody’s understanding of what human
beings are like.
The fourth wave started a
couple of years later. It rose out of efforts of cultural reformers to
get the health and medical needs of homosexuals identified. Health
activists were radicals or reformers.
GAY MEN’S HEALTH CRISIS
thrust of gay organizing changed with the appearance of AIDS. The
disease politicized a segment of people who had not paid much attention
to the political side of gay liberation.
forced a reassessment of the norms of sexual liberation and of the
meaning and significance of death and mortality.
clear there are reformist groups: ASA, AmFAR, etc
radical, non-conformist groups: HIV Wellness Project, Attitudinal
moderate and militant groups, to wit, GMHC and ACT UP
nihilistic, angry cultural reaction to AIDS has given rise to a
non-medical reaction to the health crisis. This wave set out again to
select and all-inclusive word: Queer.
countercultural styles are those of the late 80s punks and skin heads,
not the 60s hippies and flower children.
By the 2000s,
had come to develop a newer meaning. It has come to be seen as an
umbrella term for sexual diversity than transcends political-cultural
identification. "Queer" now includes a generational cohort that
experiences sexual attraction and sexual identification as fluid and
changeable and inclusive.
A SIXTH WAVE
this is what has been at the heart of all his activity all along: the
collapse and overthrowal of male-dominated, patriarchal mythologies and
like to call this emerging theme Gay Eco-Spirituality. This takes
us back to Ishmael and the Takers and the Leavers.
arguing that the perspective given to gay people by our not fitting in
and not identifying as either male or female gives us CRITICAL
DISTANCE. We can see what’s happening.
values are all founded on reproduction of offspring and cultivation of
the earth to produce harvest. What you are is what you produce and your
value to society lies in production of desired and needed goods
Leaver values are founded on understanding of dynamic systems and
ecological balances. Gaia, not Jehovah, is the god. And we are created
as instruments of her guidance of planetary evolution.
Author note: The
Sixth Wave I
envisioned in 1990 when I wrote this article (and when I was reading
Daniel Quinn's and Morris Berman's books) never quite materialized.
Though it woukld be included in the larger notion of "Gay Spirituality"
which I came to champion.
What DID happen, starting in the 90s and succeeding in 2015 with the
Supreme Court was the recognition of Same-Sex Marriage. This is an
example of what Marotta would have called Political-economic Reformism.
To the larger world, gay marriage was radical, but within liberated gay
life getting your relationship approved by the government seems
anything but. Recognition of gay relationships and acknowledgement of
our issues and of our individual rights was something we always
believed the Supreme Court would have to approve of once these issues
got to its docket. But they weren't getting there. And the push for
marriage forced our issues into public view--and in a fairly
identity is an
artifact of medicine and surgical prowess, but it responds to an
important segment of gay people's consciousness. The asterisk in Trans*
is ussed like the wildcard in a computer search. It acknowledges that
there are a variety of gender identities and roles and appearances that
one can transition into.
Drag and cross-dressing have always been parts of gay life. During the
heyday of gay liberation, cross-dressing--especially "genderfuck
cross-dressing"--was a parody of how traditional society treated women.
And the idea of surgical reassignment or surgical gender confirmation
was new--and the medical implications only partly understood.
The drag queens at The Stonewall weren't really "trans*" because that
label didn't exist yet. But some of the people who were drag queens
back then would later come to think of themselves and their gender
experiences as trans*.
It's a curious question how trans* fits into gay/queer. Trans* is tied
into the heterosexual duality. The whole idea of transforming from one
side to the other emphasizes the two sides. But surely all
sexually-diverse people must support one another in achieving the goals
of self-actualization and psychological fulfillment.