Category Archives: WC81 20th Anniversary

WC81 – Bob Barzan on Leaving the Priesthood

Issue55 Leaving the Priesthood
Practical Advice for Roman Catholic Priests and Religious Men

Selections from the sadly departed website

By Bob Barzan

our 20th Anniversary we've decided to
to share from the treasures of our past, by choosing a number of pieces from our 80
issues.  This piece is a web exclusive and was
originally published in issue #55 of
White Crane (Winter 2002)

Barzan Introduction
Though many men have found rewarding lives in the priesthood, many, for a variety of reasons, have not or no longer do so. As a result, the path out of the priesthood is well worn. In the last thirty-five years, thousands of men have left the Roman Catholic priesthood, nearly 20,000 of them just in United States. Many thousands more have left religious life. Most have successfully made their way in the world with new careers, relationships, and living situations. The path is not necessarily easy. A major life change like this one can create a temporary feeling of panic and disorientation. Worries about future job opportunities, housing, health care, relationships, emotional support, or even opportunities for ministry can make for a fearful situation.

The creator of this website was Robert Barzan, a former Jesuit priest and later the founder of White Crane Newsletter, the antecedent publication to White Crane

Joseph Kramer was in the Society of Jesus for more than ten years. He left when he was twenty-eight years old and is now the director of EroSpirit Research Institute and a researcher in the area of erotic spirituality.

“During my years as a Jesuit, the meaning and direction of my life was clear. My commitment was to be a man for others living in a community of men with similar commitments. My desire was to do God's will by following in the footsteps of Jesus. But after ten years, I finally acknowledged that my special way of loving and serving others involved not celibacy but the gift of my sexuality.

“As I stepped off the treadmill of religious life, I asked myself, "How much of what I value must I change?" Just because I was not called to be celibate, do I have to give up living in a community of men committed to justice-doing and love-making? Did the fact that I left the Jesuits mean that I no longer wished to do God's will or be in relationship to Jesus?

“It was important for me to acknowledge every aspect of religious life that was nourishing and meaningful for me. I didn't want to give anything up-except celibacy. So, as a gay man, I started looking for new forms of monasticism that celebrate physically the dear love of comrades. I have been amazed at where that journey has taken me. One lesson I have learned is "Just because you leave the priesthood or religious life does not mean that you have to relinquish one iota of your spirituality."

Terrence Halloran was a priest of the diocese of Los Angeles for seven years before he left at age thirty-three. He is now a computer programmer and lives with his wife and children.

Most men who leave the priesthood or religious life enter the middle class and stay there. You will soon discover you can't afford the comfortable life style of the clergy and religious, unless you are single or both you and your spouse have careers outside the home. You will never get rich working for a large corporation, but the pay and benefits can add up to what you enjoyed in the priesthood or religious life. Don't feel you have to be a teacher or counselor or community organizer. You will soon notice that your seminary or religious community has educated you well for life in the real world. Try real estate, computer technology, or retail management, for example.

You do not have to change or abandon your faith when you leave the priesthood or religious life. The church may refuse to bless your sexual orientation, or your marriage, or your method of birth control, but most Catholic parishes are remarkably hospitable. Priests will baptize your children, ask forgiveness for your sins, and give you the word of God and the bread of life. Try praying at home and attending Mass as often as most other Catholics you know. Avoid parishes that put too much energy into classrooms, golf tournaments, and fashion shows. Jesus taught adults and played with children, the modern church does just the opposite.

Kevin McLaughlin left his diocese in 1995. He had been a priest for nearly seven years.

I was very blessed and fortunate to meet other men who had left the ministry before me. I believe these men were put in my path by God to offer me the guidance I needed. Each was able help me focus various aspects of the transition. One, for example, gave me a great deal of assistance with the process of networking. Another offered me great support by challenging me to expand my search for a new career. And still another was a great sounding board on my budding relationship with the woman who eventually became my wife. 

What I found very affirming and, I must admit, somewhat surprising (though now I don't know why) was the strong sense of community among those of us who have passed through clerical ordained ministry in the Church. It is sad to say, but I never really found that same sense of community and fraternity (that the Church seems to want the world to believe exists) within the clergy. I count many of these men I met in the transition to be genuine friends of my soul…even though I have not seen some of them in a few years.

Jody Blanchard left his religious order at age forty, after twenty-one years. He now lives in New Orleans and is a pastoral care worker in a hospice situation.

I believe that all of life's transitions require courage, good self-esteem, and a goal for the future. Hopefully your courage will come from within and from support of friends and family. In dealing with friends and family, always be honest and try not to make too many excuses or give long explanations. I wrote a letter to family members first, then I spoke to them. It helped.

In the transition start off slowly-don't buy too many things or expect to have it all in one year. Most of all remember that you are vulnerable in many ways, so don't seek out other needy, vulnerable people to "satisfy your needs." Seek to develop healthy relationships and give yourself time to grow, adjust, and love.

After a short time in a Benedictine monastery, Michael Vickery returned to life as a secretary in San Francisco at age forty-two in 1993.

After taking three months off just to sleep in, relax, detox, and watch Charlie Chaplin movies, I bought a couple of suits on sale, got a friend to update my resume, interviewed through an employment agency, and landed a good job, where I've been ever since.

John Anderson was a Jesuit for thirty years, twenty as a priest. He left when he was in his mid-fifties in the early 1990s.

I was successful as a teacher, pastoral minister, and Jesuit superior. I left the priesthood and the order when I was approaching my mid-fifties. I did so with few regrets and in my deepest consciousness I realize I did the right thing.

First piece of advice: Don't expect any real support from church/religious life officials both in the process of leaving and its immediate aftermath. Secondly, the ultimate feeling of freedom is exhilarating; the trade off is that in the past we had most of our necessities of life taken care of, all of a sudden we must rely on ourselves for mere survival. You should not discount your talents and innate generosity that underpinned your religious vocation in seeking employment. Also, I have found that as jaded as we liked to consider ourselves in religious life in terms of creature comforts, we are accustomed to living somewhat modestly in contrast to the peers we encounter in professional life.

I discovered very quickly how proficient I truly was once I was out of the Society, out of church employment, and I started to work for a living. The positive feedback was at first overwhelming. Unless it is absolutely necessary, I recommend avoiding Catholic Church related jobs.  Church officials will never accept you, especially these days when your presence can be interpreted as an underlying threat by some.

Relationships will come along. I nearly despaired of ever finding someone to share my ideals and my life with, but soon enough that person came along. In that relationship I found all the theology of human love manifesting God's love a reality. I never felt holier than when we were expressing our love for each other. In my case, my lover died after we had been together for a couple of years. However, I wouldn't trade the joy and happiness I experienced at that time for anything.

Leaving is part of a journey. Since leaving I have found myself to be more compassionate, understanding, forgiving, and loving. In the journey you will encounter more friends and ultimately form your own community of support. In religious life I always found a certain expected politeness even in casual relationships which often covered over any real feelings. Getting used to being treated with honesty and treating others accordingly I find fascinating.

Marcus Fleischhacker left the Crosier Fathers and Brothers in 1994, at age forty-nine, after twenty years as a priest and thirty years in religious life, including ten in formation work. He is now a resource coordinator for the AIDS Survival Project.

I had begun a sabbatical in January, and at the end of the year I was to receive a new assignment. My conscious intention was to remain in the community and priesthood. Looking back, unconsciously I had already decided to leave, and I suspect, some of my friends and superiors knew it as well. In any case, the sabbatical proved to be a good preparation. I moved from the center of my community and biological family in Minnesota to Atlanta where I knew only three people. As it turned out, I was slowly, not radically, moving to independence.

It was the first time in my life that I lived alone. I could experiment yet maintain ties with family and community. The most helpful book I read was Living Alone and Liking It, by Lynn Shahan, a practical and emotional guide on how to live alone.

In a matter of days after becoming aware of my decision to leave, I told my superiors, the local religious community I was assigned to, my siblings and their spouses, and my close friends. Then I wrote a letter to everyone else, sending out 125 in one day. I wanted everyone to hear from me that I was leaving and why. I did not want rumors to fly, gossip and suspicion to take hold. I wanted them to know I left because I could no longer be a closeted gay priest in a church that did not want me. The point is not so much why I left, as that I told everyone at the same time my story in my words. No rumors, no gossip. I received almost 100 letters and calls of support and understanding. It felt — it feels — great! The truth shall set you free!

On a spiritual and psychological level, I found peace by realizing that my decision to leave was not a radical change of direction in my life, rather, it was another step on a continuum I had been on for a long time: a continuum of searching for freedom, asking the difficult and scary questions, claiming my own consciousness and truth, celebrating my goodness, and not my sinfulness and unworthiness. Innumerable people tell me I exhibited unbelievable courage in leaving, but I sense I was (am) just being true to myself. All my life, spiritual directors and preachers talked about seeking the truth. I took them at their word and here I am.

So my decision to leave was not a sharp turn to the right or the left, it was just the next step in the process of living my life. Seeing it that way makes it less ominous and dramatic. I am still on the same road, going in the same direction.

Seeing it that way has also helped me deal with the way people's perception and response to me has changed. I no longer get to go to the head of the line at funeral buffets. I no longer get twenty-dollar bills slipped into my hands when I visit aunts. I find it easier to leave behind those ritual responses to a ritual person when I realize I am on a personal journey and always have been. It may look different and prompt different reaction, but it's the same journey and perhaps even a more authentic one now. I have not so much "lost my identity," as found it.


Your relationships with friends will be a solid source of support during your transition to secular life. Rely on your trusted and wise friends. They will help you keep a sense of reality about what you are doing, provide worthy advice, material support, and emotional comfort. Most people are very willing to help a friend in need, especially when it involves such a major life change as leaving the priesthood.

Romantic Relationships

It is a good idea to save romantic relationships for after you have firmly decided to leave the priesthood. Beginning a romance before you have made your decision can immensely complicate your discernment. Ideally, I recommend that you save romantic relationships for after you have made a successful change to secular life. Looking for an apartment, a new job, moving, and dating are usually more than most men can handle. Once you are on your feet, you will be ready for the joys and stresses of dating and romance if you should choose to seek them.

If you have never dated before, or have a limited amount of experience, I recommend that you go slowly. You might profit from joining a support group where you can learn the ins and outs of romantic relationships with, and from, other men.

Salvatore Giambanco left the Jesuits after nine years at age thirty-two. He now works as a technical recruiter in California's Silicon Valley.

In the area of relationships, if you were a "good" religious and never fell in love, proceed with caution. If you were a religious who dabbled in relationships, proceed with caution. Just proceed with caution and remember there is no such thing as the perfect relationship.

For me, falling in love has been the best part of leaving religious life. There is absolutely no substitute for waking up in the morning next to someone you really care about and who cares about you. Rule of thumb, date, fool around, have sex, get horny, masturbate, etc. as much as you like once you get out. However, no serious commitments for at least 8 months to a year on the conservative side. More than one year is good.

Even though many of us often gave relationship advice as religious, theory and reality are very different. Always take it slowly, and use the "love" word very cautiously. Don't go from one prison to another and then have to go through this whole process all over again.

Good luck, It's not easy, but many thousands of men have made the transition over the past thirty years. You can do it too.

For more White Crane, become a fan on Facebook and join us on Yahoogroups.

Subscribe today and keep the conversation going!  Consider giving a gift subscription to
your friends who could use some wisdom!  If there's an article listed
above that was not excerpted online, copies of this issue are available
for purchase.  Contact us at

WC81 – 20th Anniversary Issue


Issue #81

White Crane's
20th Anniversary Issue

Hi Friends!
Below are excerpts from our latest issue! 
Please understand that we rely on the
support of subscribers to keep going.

subscribe today and keep the conversation going!  Consider giving a gift subscription to your friends who could use some wisdom!


"Watch This Space" From Bo Young
"The Big Two-Oh" PRAXIS by Andrew Ramer


Call for Submissions
Subscriber Information
Contribution Information


Two Spirits
A Dialogue with filmmaker
Lydia Nibley about the
documentary Two Spirits.

Clap If You Believe In Faeries
Mark Thompson & Don Kilhefner
on the 30th Anniversary of the First Radical Faerie Gathering

The Temperamentals
Bo Young Speaks with playwright John Marans.

A Taste of Twenty Years

Gay Intuition
By Toby Johnson
    From White Crane #58

The Cult of Masculinity
By Arthur Evans
    From White Crane #11

Portrait of An Artist As a Zen Monk
A Conversation with Don Bachardy
By Victor Marsh   
From White Crane #71

Leaving the Priesthood   Web Exclusive
By Bob Barzan
    From White Crane #55

2009-07-29_013343Gandalf the Gay
By Josh Adler
    From White Crane #60

Call Me Ennis del Marlow
By Bryn Marlow
    From White Crane #68

More Than A Sum of Parts
By Darrell g.h. Schramm
    From White Crane #17

Gay Intuition
By Toby Johnson
    From White Crane #58

Culture Reviews

The Second Coming
By Joel Anastasi
Reviewed by Toby Johnson

By Vladimir
Reviewed by Bo Young

Two Spirits
By Lydia Nibley
Reviewed by Bo Young 

Subscribe today and keep the conversation going!  Consider giving a gift subscription to
your friends who could use some wisdom!  If there's an article listed
above that was not excerpted online, copies of this issue are available
for purchase.  Contact us at

For more White Crane, become a fan on Facebook and join us on Yahoogroups.

WC81 – Thompson & Kilhefner on 1st Radical Faerie Gathering


Mark Thompson &  Don Kilhefner On the
30th Anniversary of the First Radical Faerie Gathering

Authors and community elders, Mark Thompson and Don Kilhefner have been collecting memories from radical faeries around the country to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first Faerie gathering this year. A book collected from these memories is in the planning stages as of this writing edited by the two of them. Mark and Don sat down and talked about it for White Crane:

Mark Thompson: The Radical Faeries at 30. Wow! Who among us standing on the reddish sands of a remote desert ashram in 1979 could have imagined that?

Thirty is such an archetypal age for gay men—youth is over and what awaits each of us as the road narrows and thickens in the years ahead is unknown and in many cases cast away. But that first gathering was a seminal event that deeply marked the lives of each of the 200 men who had gathered there. It was a queer inner initiation by a sacred fire—and then by some wet earth and water, too!

Don Kilhefner: Thirty years later, I still get goose bumps when I think of the closing ceremony of the first Radical Fairy gathering in the Sonora desert night. For a brief moment you, Mark, saw a bull with two large horns on a hill overlooking our ceremony. I felt the presence of benevolent, helpful spirits during the entire gathering. And you are right, it was an initiation—a profound initiation—in the true sense of that word as in beginning something new, initiating a new way for us as gay men to be with each other and think about ourselves. The wet earth and water to which you refer must be the Mud Ritual.

Like much of the gathering, there was a spontaneous, in the moment feel to it, as we co-created with Gay Spirit. After lunch one day, someone just announced that a Mud Ritual was taking place and the Fairies carried buckets after buckets out into the desert where the water was mixed with the red earth.  Then chanting sacred songs, each Fairy present was lovingly and gently covered from head to toe with red mud. As the chanting continued, they formed a circle which slowly moved in on itself until every one was embracing every one else—with OM reverberating over the whole gathering.  It was truly magical to the bone. When people say to me that the Radical Fairies are ‘New Age,” I always correct them by saying actually we are Old Stone Age and to the Radical Fairies—Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam are New Age phenomena.

Mark: So much was ignited in the immediate aftermath of that initial gathering.  Can you tell us some of those results? And then about some of the dissipation that happened after that? And then the cycle of re-imagining we seem to be in today—at least in some places in the world.

Don: In the Spring of 1978, when Harry Hay and I sat along the Rio Grande as it flowed past San Juan Pueblo in New Mexico and first discussed the possibility of such a gathering, we could not see where it all might lead. What we did know is that it was time for visionary gay men to meet and talk with each other as we saw the original, white hot creative energy of the Gay Liberation movement being vampirized by more conventional gay bourgeois politics and unimaginative gay assimilation.

There were three national gatherings. The original gathering in Arizona in 1979, the second gathering in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado sponsored by the Denver Fairies; and the third gathering in New Mexico. At the same time these national gatherings were happening, regional and local gatherings were springing up everywhere and decentralization has characterized the Radical Fairies every since with each region and city taking on its own unique features—most are for gay men only, some heteros and homos, and some men and women.  But initially the Radical Fairies were created by Hay and me as an rare opportunity for gay men to come together in spirit, brotherhood, and purpose in a natural setting.

Mark: Still, for most gay men today, the Radical Fairies appear more mythical than real.  What happened to that original genesis spark and what can we do to reignite it in ways that would make sense for us today.

Don: I see the Radical Fairies, now as then, as both mythical and real at the same time. From my training in and practice of gay shamanism, I know that it is sometimes difficult to know where one world ends and another begins. Cutting edge contemporary physics also has this challenge with string theory and its extension brane (as in membrane) theory which says that multiple, parallel worlds (branes) exist at the same time. In other words, reality is multidimensional. Radical Fairies often experience this—the mythical realm and the middle world realm at the same time.

But getting to the root of your question, what was the original genesis of the Radical Fairies. It was more or less threefold. First, was a attempt to bring together gay men with second sight to talk about the direction of the Gay Liberation movement, to open up the next stage of development for us as gay men. By that I mean to explore the meaning of being gay and what do gay men contribute to society. We know from evolutionary biology that we would not be reappearing generation after generation, millennium after millennium, until we were contributing to the survival of our species.

This questioning has been complicated by the identity than has been laid on us by our oppressors—homosexual—and we carry it around like a ball and chain around our ankle. We have had the tail wagging the dog. And the Radical Fairies, in part, were created to ignite an exploration and manifestation of a new gay man self-defined outside of the slave name “homosexual.” Harry and I were encouraging gay men to make a jail break.

Secondly, we saw from that new understanding of who were are and what we are contributing, we saw the Radical Fairies as being political but not using the old paradigm of left and right and the old political descriptors. But the next stage of Gay Liberation would be gay-centered in a way that would allow us to communicate to the dominant culture what it is we are doing in society. Walt Whitman, Edward Carpenter, and Hay in the Purpose Statement of the Mattachine Society were dancing around the same question. We are yin to their yang. E.O. Wilson, the dean of American evolutionary biology at Harvard, in his On Human Nature states: “There is a strong possibility that homosexuality is a distinctive beneficent behavior that evolved as an import element of early human social organization. Homosexuals may be the genetic carriers of some of mankind’s most altruistic impulses.” Joan Roughgarden, an evolutionary biologist at Stanford, has written Evolution’s Rainbow: Gender and Sexuality in Nature and People in which she suggest we are the carriers of “cooperation” wherever we are found in nature.

Finally, the Radical Fairy gatherings represent the kind of larger, and healthier, gay community Fairies want to create and live in. A community in which we can be visibly and openly “gay” in the widest sense of that word; we value the gifts of each person and weave those gifts into the fabric of community life; we feed each other both spiritually and literally; we honor ancestors, require elders, depend on adults, and invite youth; we assume our responsibilities not only to the gay community but to the larger community of beings; we are environmentally conscious and work to protect and heal the planet; we perform the necessary rituals and ceremonies that keep a community sane and healthy; we are culturally aware and creative; and we play and have fun.

Many Radical Faerie gatherings today have become social gatherings with little connection to the original roots and vision of the Radical Faeries. What is needed today is a national gathering of Radical Fairies to again allow gay men the rare opportunity of coming together in spirit, brotherhood and purpose again. If such a gathering were to be organized, at least a thousand would show up, many of them younger gay men looking for an alternative to the empty calories of gay assimilation.

The Radical Faerie Reader, edited by Mark Thompson and Don Kilhefner will be published sometime in 2010.

For more White Crane, become a fan on Facebook and join us on Yahoogroups.

Subscribe today and keep the conversation going!  Consider giving a gift subscription to
your friends who could use some wisdom!  If there's an article listed
above that was not excerpted online, copies of this issue are available
for purchase.  Contact us at

WC81 – Josh Adler’s Gandalf the Gay

Issue60 Gandalf the Gay
By Josh Adler

our 20th Anniversary Issue we've decided to
to share from the treasures of our past, by choosing a number of pieces from our 80
issues.  This piece was
originally published in Issue #60 of
White Crane (Spring 2004)

My 16 year-old brother Chad is a Lord of the Rings junkie, and during my most recent visit home to Virginia, he insisted on screening the trilogy’s first two extended DVDs before venturing to the multiplex to see the final installation of the Oscar-winning epic. There is an inherent heterosexual maleness that dominates the landscape of Peter Jackson’s faithful adaptation, and cults of ardent straight boys not only flock to the theater for multiple viewings but desperately try to convert their Gay brothers into similarly zealous devotees. It’s hard for me to tell Chad that I’d much rather see Robert Altman’s new film about Joffrey ballerinas than sit through another four hours of warfare on Middle Earth, so with feigned enthusiasm I agreed to oblige him for this brother-bonding experience.

The Good Wizard Gandalf appeared onscreen early into The Return of the King, and Chad did something that startled me. In the crowded theater, he leaned over our enormous tub of popcorn and whispered into my ear, “Is Ian McKellan really Gay?”

Let me preface my response with a little history. I came out to Chad last summer, shortly after his sixteenth birthday. Not only did he tell me that he disagreed with my lifestyle, but he said, “I really wish that you never told me this. Honestly, I’d rather not know.”

His reaction was hurtful and condemning, but as his older brother I tried to see beyond his words and examine the situation from his perspective. Just as accepting one’s sexuality is a unique process for Gay men, a straight teenager coming to terms with a gay sibling or loved one is equally challenging. Less than six months later, Chad felt comfortable asking me openly about Ian McKellan’s sexual preference; I took this as a positive sign that he is growing into his acceptance and understanding.

“Yeah,” I whispered back, a bit surprised that we were having a discussion about Gay celebrities in the Hampton AMC 24. “Actually, he is one of the few out-gay actors in Hollywood.”

“Wow,” Chad replied, nodding his head and sitting back in his seat to watch Gandalf the Gay gallop on a white horse on his quest to defeat the forces of darkness and save the human race from oppression and fear.

Like the benign Hobbits of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy, Chad reveres the Good Wizard Gandalf in the same way that a Catholic respects his parish priest, a Boy Scout looks up to his Scoutmaster or an American patriot admires his President. Gandalf is an Elder, a wise man who possesses both worldly and spiritual leadership qualities and assumes a position of greatness in the eyes of the younger and less experienced community. Even before Jackson decided to make his film, the character of Gandalf has been deified by legions of Tolkien readers who see him as a God-like elder capable of transforming the world into a better place.

Similarly, the actor playing Gandalf is a kind of Elder for me and many other gay men, actors and non-actors, who see his willingness to play heroic roles in mainstream films as something of great value to our community. We all know that there are probably other Hollywood action heroes who remain closeted in order to appease the dominant heterosexual paradigm. Sir Ian owns his homosexuality on the Fellowship of the Rings DVD documentary, and he feels free to kiss his partner openly in front of TV cameras at prestigious award ceremonies. He doesn’t pretend to be something he’s not simply to get cast in macho roles or receive huge contracts.

Not only is Sir Ian one of the few gay men in Hollywood to embrace his homosexuality, but this 64 year-old Elder is also an activist in the gay community in the United Kingdom. He is a founder and active member of the Stonewall Group U.K., an organization that works to further legal rights for lesbians and gays in England. In 1988 he came out publicly on the BBC Radio 4 program by denouncing Margaret Thatcher’s “Section 28” proposal which aimed to criminalize the “public promotion of homosexuality.” Since then, his activist stance on political issues has empowered the gay community in the U.K. and abroad.

An Elder sets positive examples for the younger generation and instills a sense of optimism and forward thinking in peoples’ lives. Sir Ian, knighted by the Queen in 1990, appears in both mainstream movies (X-Men and X2 and the Rings trilogy) as well as many independent art-house films, many of which have gay themes (Gods and Monsters and Bent). He has also appeared in a music video for the Pet Shop Boys. His career has taken off since his coming out in the late 80s, and he jokingly mentions wanting to go back in the closet so he can live a simple and quiet life again. “I am going back in the closet. But I can’t get back into the closet, because it’s absolutely jam-packed full of other actors.”

In addition to his activism, Sir Ian possesses a kind of passion for life and a positive outlook on the world around him. This is evident in the journals that he kept during the entire filming process of Lord of the Rings. He has aptly titled his journals The Grey Book and The White Book after Gandalf’s transformation in the trilogy, and they can be accessed online at his website. Many entries talk about his joyful attachment to the project and his admiration for Peter Jackson and the unique vision he brought to the film. Sir Ian’s journals also contain photographs of him enjoying the natural beauty of New Zealand and communing with his cast mates. In one entry he talks about “finding Gandalf in himself” and in another he refers to the “Gandalf twinkle,” the magic spark that makes this mystical leader so adored by the Hobbits.

Ian McKellan is a Gay Elder not only because of his leadership and activism, but because he continues to project a sense of confidence and awareness despite elements of homophobia and hatred directed toward him. Many Lord of the Rings chat rooms on the Internet include anti-Gay postings by fans of the film who somehow can’t fathom a Gay Gandalf. In fact, a Google search of “Gay Gandalf” yields over 30,000 sites, many of which include disparaging remarks about McKellan’s sexuality. McKellan has not tried to hide from this bigotry by ignoring his Gay identity; rather, he has remained publicly proud and assured in the face of discrimination.

The gorgeous conclusion to The Return of the King makes the entire trilogy worthwhile. Frodo destroys the Ring, the fighting ends and the Hobbits return peacefully to their bucolic home where they are warmly embraced by their community. The film also becomes extremely gay, in that it is unafraid to show men kissing, embracing, crying and literally carrying each other on their backs. When tears started to run down my cheeks, my brother Chad gave me a little nudge.

“Stop crying, Josh,” he said, embarrassed that his queer brother was daring to exhibit emotion in public. I nudged him back, lovingly.

“There’s nothing wrong with tears,” I said to him, blurry-eyed. He nodded, the same nod he gave me three hours prior when he accepted Gandalf’s sexuality. These are baby steps, but my brother is slowly growing into an understanding of the Gay Soul. I look forward to the day that he’ll revere me as an Elder, an older presence who offers him a new perspective on the world.

Josh Adler is a writer and director who lives in Manhattan. At the time of this writing he was working on his Master’s in Educational Theatre at New York University.

For more White Crane, become a fan on Facebook and join us on Yahoogroups.

Subscribe today and keep the conversation going!  Consider giving a gift subscription to
your friends who could use some wisdom!  If there's an article listed
above that was not excerpted online, copies of this issue are available
for purchase.  Contact us at

WC81 – Bryn Marlow’s Call Me Ennis Del Marlow

Issue68 Call Me Ennis Del Marlow
By Bryn Marlow

our 20th Anniversary Issue we've decided to to share from the treasures of our past, by choosing
a number of pieces from our 80
This piece was
originally published in Issue #68 of
White Crane (Spring 2006).  It was later featured in and issue of UTNE magazine.

I close the door to the girls’ bedroom, roll the old swivel chair against it, stand the laundry basket on end behind that. I turn and smile at Serge. He returns my grin. This is our favorite part of the day. I watch him wriggle out of his red t-shirt emblazoned with a huge mosquito and the caption, “Minnesota state bird.” He slips out of his European-cut blue jeans, into the double bed. “Are you not coming then?” he whispers. I exhale, long and slow.

Until this summer, I believed men’s underwear came only in white, as boxers or briefs. ’Often as I have seen them, I am still scandalized by his black bikinis. They seem so exotic, daring, a tad dangerous and like the things we do in bed, very exciting. 

We met in England last year as team leaders at a camp for children from London’s inner city. He followed up with a visit to the States late this summer. Our renewed friendship is going places I have never been before. 

I take one step towards the bed when the by-now-familiar sensation hits again. I am a million miles from here climbing a narrow mountain path. My feet slip, I go over the edge. In a panic I grab at grass, dirt, rocks, a branch, anything. Somehow I hold on. My heart pounds, joints quake, everything goes red, black.
The moment passes. I catch my breath, listen to the comforting murmur of my parents’ voices from the kitchen. My brothers have retired to their bunks in the boys’ bedroom, the youngest to rest on his laurels. He bested us all in Masterpiece, tonight’s family board game of choice. To win, one must invest wisely in fine art, avoid forgeries, know when to cash in. My brother is good at identifying fakes. This scares me.
I drop my bib overalls, unbutton my striped shirt. My fair skin, almost as white as my underwear, makes a marked contrast to Serge’s olive complexion. I caress his face, comb my fingers through his long dark curls. 

I love this man, whether I know it or not. He makes me happy. I laugh when he is around. We are always talking–politics, religion, life, its big questions and little ones, our observations of the world, including the irritating things he notices about Americans. (He tells me whatever I see in him is by definition an endearing quality of all Frenchmen.)

We get on famously, and if we do not, I fail to notice it. Literally. Last month he grew angry at me over something. He sulked (the French national pastime, he calls it) and avoided me for days. I thought he needed space and let him be, which only fueled his anger. By day four he gave up, we made up, made love. Now we laugh about it. I have forgotten what he was mad about in the first place. 

Pressed against him I shudder softly, breathe his name, “Serge.” I always mispronounce it. My tongue will not wrap around the proper “Sairgszh,” so I Americanize it, say his name as if it were a jolt of electricity, “Surge.” Although it is said wrong, it speaks my truth aright. When it comes to him, what is wrong is right. Oh, so right.

Except that it is not. Two men together? When I think of this an inner voice rumbles in King James English, “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? His own iniquities shall take the wicked, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sin.”

I copied these Bible verses and others into my prayer journal earlier in the week. I live this way. I make up for being defective by being holy. I am the piñata I made for my mother, soggy strips of religion, my pasty attempts at righteousness, layered around a hollow shell, no sweets inside. 

Last wash day my mother nearly busted everything wide open when she turned back the bed to reveal a blue nylon sleeping bag. “What is this? What is it doing here?” I felt my feet go off the cliff. I grabbed a branch. “Serge, um, gets cold at night.” She bought my story, now makes him take vitamin E capsules to improve his circulation. In reality, the sleeping bag is our latest ploy for assuaging my conscience. It successfully serves as a chastity belt some nights, allowing us to be close, me to be holy. 

Serge reaches back and up, turns the knob of the yellowed bed lamp hooked over the headboard. I love the cataract of muscle rippling in his arm, the flat planes of his body, the sound of his breathing, the sweet-sour smell of him. He is unimaginably dear to me.

A thousand yellow roses bloom on the wallpaper. The soft light illumines the built-in closet, dresser and desk opposite us, the bookshelves my father built, the dresser bought at the church camp auction sale. The two windows open to the crickets’ evening concert. Katydids join the chorus tonight, announcing the first frost in three weeks’ time. They have it wrong. The big chill arrives three days from now when Serge boards a plane bound for New York, Paris, Toulouse. Already my bones ache with cold.

He sits up. “Three days until airplane Black Friday.” This is old news. He pulls me up to sit facing him, caresses my cheek, looks long into my eyes. “Listen up, Bucko, I want to tell you what I am thinking of, what I am dreaming of. It will be a long time before we see each other again. We will see each other again, please God. I shall miss you. Already I miss you and you are right here. I love you, as I have told you many times. My heart will be empty. Right, it does not have to be this way. We could live together and share our activities. Come to Europe. We could live in England or Ireland, if you like, or in France, even. You would have no excuse for not learning to speak French then, you Yankee Hamburger. The thing is, we could make a life together, you and I.” He exhales a loud puff of air, stretches his fingers wide, expectant. “What do you say? Will you do it?” 

The air in the room gets very thin. Bed and all, I am going over the cliff. What is there to hold on to? I see with sudden clarity that my panic is about mousetraps, not mountains. My father used to pay me to set and empty traps–a nickel for every mouse I caught. I carried each day’s catch down to the coal furnace in our basement, swung open the heavy cast iron door. Unwilling to touch death, I would hold the trap by its edges, dangle the soft satin body over the glowing coals, prise up the killing edge of the copper wire, watch the little corpse drop away. This, then, is my recurring panic: I am the mouse. The trap has sprung. Caught dead to rights, I am hanging in air. If I say yes I will lift the copper wire, surely tumble into the depths of hell. I scrabble for a handhold.

“Oh, Serge.” My voice catches in my throat. “I could never go with you. I know in my heart there is no future in such a life, no happiness. Not for me, not for you, not for anybody.”
We are silent. My ready answer has landed with all the delicacy of a sucker punch. I watch his face stiffen. He nods. It is OK. He understands. He is sorry he asked. He wants only what I want. He wants me to be happy.

I look at him across the divide of our desires, through curtains of tears. I want him to be happy, too, really I do. What can I say? I vision our future. “Serge, we are both going to get married, find a woman, be very happy. You wait and see. ’Tell you what, when I get married I want you to be in my wedding. I will send you a plane ticket, OK?” Sure. We make a pact. We will both attend each other’s wedding, pay the other’s plane fare. Fine. This takes care of our future, but what do we do with this present space between us?

Serge moves first. He slides his feet into the sleeping bag, zips it up to his chest, lies on his back, staring at the cracked ceiling. I lie beside him feeling no holiness in our chastity tonight, only an aching emptiness that swallows the world, this lonesome, noisy, knock-about world. The katydids have it right. The cold is coming. What do we have but this moment? I unzip the bag, tug it off him, let it dangle over the side of the bed, slip away.

For more White Crane, become a fan on Facebook and join us on Yahoogroups.

Subscribe today and keep the conversation going!  Consider giving a gift subscription to
your friends who could use some wisdom!  If there's an article listed
above that was not excerpted online, copies of this issue are available
for purchase.  Contact us at

WC81 – Toby Johnson on Gay Intuition

Issue58 Gay Intuition
By Toby Johnson

our 20th Anniversary Issue we've decided to to share from the treasures of our past, by choosing
a number of pieces from our 80
This piece was originally published in Issue #58 of White Crane (Fall 2003)

The fact we share viewpoints, hold common opinions, and understand each other’s humor is evidence of a gay cultural consciousness. Central to this consciousness are an openness to experience, a quest for adventure, and a flare for the unusual and the queer. But the details are less important than this sense of shared consciousness, the feeling that there’s a mystical, “karmic” link connecting us.

As we’re growing up, we train ourselves to have what society calls “women’s intuition,” that is, a sense of knowing things about the world and about other people. We often feel we need this kind of “second sight” in order to protect ourselves and our secret, even if as youngsters we don’t quite know what the “secret” is. We likely find the idea of women’s intuition appealing. We allow ourselves to experience this because we’re not bound by gender roles like straight men. Real men, after all, don’t have hunches. Men are supposed to “know” not to “have feelings” about things.

The most common manifestation of gay intuition is the phenomenon of gaydar. Of course, a lot of the talk about this is whimsical. It’s a way to intimidate straight men by suggesting we can somehow “see” their sexual secrets. It’s a way to dramatize our brotherhood by declaring we know the truth about each other. In some respects, gaydar is just projection and wishful thinking. Gay men see men they’re attracted to and project mutual desire onto them. We see beauty, want it to be our beauty, and interpret it as a sign of shared homosexuality. But it’s not always imaginary; most of the time, we’re right.

Though gaydar is a frivolous notion, it absolutely dominates our lives. We spend far more time trying to figure out who else is gay around us than we actually spend having sex. Gaydar is the main way we experience our homosexuality moment by moment.

Gaydar seems to demonstrate two things. First, it suggests there is something so basic to homosexuality that it alters physical appearance; we’re recognizable to people who know what to look for. This is certainly antithetical to the notion that homosexuality is a choice, for choices people make (like to be Catholic or to eat meat or not to own a television set) don’t show in their visage. That we look gay (like people look male or female or look Negroid or Caucasoid) suggests it’s something physical, natural–and very real.
Second, gaydar indicates the existence of something “supernatural,” something like telepathy or clairvoyance. It is like reading other people’s aura and discerning things about them that exist in their soul. Perhaps it demonstrates “karmic patterns,” spiritual links between people. Our experience of gaydar shows us that people give off vibes, that we live in an environment of mind as well as of space.

All people receive vibes from other people (though not all people allow themselves to be aware of them). This isn’t special to us as gay.

But we learn to be especially attuned to the vibes people put out. We get lots of practice. We look for other gay people in our surroundings — to cruise, to seek beauty to gaze upon delectably, and to gauge the degree of our personal safety. We learn to read people’s vibes to know whom we can come out to, whom we should avoid, for whom we should affect a straight, non-threatening persona and whom we should invite for sex.

We learn to trust other gay people. It’s not that straight people can’t be trusted or, frankly, that all gay people can be trusted. Yet we feel confident that other gay people are likely to be conscientious and compassionate. At least we know they won’t suddenly turn weird on us, as some straight people might if they realize we’re gay. This vibe of trust is especially important in gay sexual recreation. Cruising sex partners requires us to trust our own intuition–and to trust other gay people’s guilelessness. We learn through subtle intimations with whom we can connect.

The presence of an undetectable invader–like HIV or the panoply of STDs–in gay sexual space confounds this gay intuition of safety and danger. There has been such turmoil about things like safe sex training, disclosure of HIV status, “barebacking,” and such a rift between positive and negative men, perhaps, because of the “jamming” to our gaydar.

We seek affirmation in the vibes of homosexuals of the past; we like the idea that famous men and women of history were gay. And we delight in knowing something intimate about them that other–straight–people don’t know. We sometimes feel a curious pleasure when we tell straight people—who are often shocked—just which famous actors, writers, or historical figures were homosexual, as though we ourselves can thereby bask in their importance and legitimacy.

Finding other attractive gay people who resonate with trust-affirming gay vibes creates a sense of a magical world around us. Gay space is safe space, secret space, sacred space. Discovering our own homosexuality imbues the world with secrecy and magicalness.

We learn to look for signs: a hairpin dropped by another gay man to confirm our gaydar, synchronicities and coincidences, epiphanies from God. All these things tell us it’s really OK to be gay and that we are beneficiaries of a special vocation that other people don’t get.

The lives of those who’ve lived before us impart vibes that we pick up from the environment around us. This is the psychological ecology in which each of us lives and finds his place in the scheme of things. We figure out who we are by examining the things that interest us and carry meaning, the vibes we resonate with.

Our homosexuality is bigger than we are; it transcends our individual existence. It is a reality we participate in, a quality of God manifesting itself in the world. Studying our experience of homosexuality reveals why we’re here at this particular moment in history and how playing these particular roles serves the evolution of consciousness.

Maybe the phenomenon that we call by the cutesy term gaydar is the real “cause” of homosexuality. It’s not that gayness is caused by biology or genetics or conditioning–all things that have to do with personhood and individuality. Maybe it’s that gayness is karmic and spiritual. After all, that’s what we mean when we throw up our hands at all the scientific, psychological, and political wrangling about the causes of homosexuality and say, “It’s just how God made me.” Maybe the “reason” we’re gay is that we’re resonating to gay intuition, vibrating along the gay dimensions of the spirit field. Maybe these vibes come from the World Mind, Gaia, or planetary homeostasis telling the human race it’s time to adjust population imperatives to the reality of life on an overcrowded, resource-exhausted planet.

That people give off vibes is a major insight into the nature of consciousness and that whole realm of phenomena called the supernatural which is the content of religion. It explains phenomena like ghosts and haunting; prophecy and clairvoyance, apparitions and miraculous healings; the power of prayer; afterlife, reincarnation and karma; mystical experience and the sacredness of places and events; the dispersion of myths and legends around the world; synchronicity, signs from God, bizarre and wondrous coincidences; fads and pop crazes; even UFOs and alien abductions–all the issues of religion, the paranormal and the supernatural.

For what we all actually are is, in Herman Hesse’s words from the Prologue to Demian, “the always significant and remarkable point at which the world’s phenomena intersect.” We are the intersection of genetic, historical, geographical, political, cultural, and karmic patterns. How these patterns intersect–from our DNA to the karmic vibes we resonate with–determines our particular perspective on the greater reality. That variously individuated perspective gives rise to our individual egos. And the “greater reality” is metaphorized as the Mind of God.

The major content of gay intuition is the sense of being part of a specific group and being a specific kind of person. It takes some effort to accept this intuition, but once you’ve done it everything else makes sense. You see there’s a secret homosexual slant to almost everything and you see you’re one of the people with the homosexual slant because you can recognize it. And that’s the point. You see things about life and love, religion and God that other people don’t see precisely because of your gay perspective.

Excerpted from Toby Johnson’s book Gay Perspective: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe.

For more White Crane, become a fan on Facebook and join us on Yahoogroups.

Subscribe today and keep the conversation going!  Consider giving a gift subscription to
your friends who could use some wisdom!  If there's an article listed
above that was not excerpted online, copies of this issue are available
for purchase.  Contact us at

WC81 – Review of Lydia Nibley’s Two Spirits

Rev81_twospirits TWO SPIRITS
Directed by Lydia Nibley
Say Yes Quickly Productions
Running time: 64 minutes.

Reviewed by Bo Young

long time ago, in a universe far away, I sat with politico David
Mixner, after we had won the No On Six ballot initiative in California,
talking about “what comes next?” I’ve always been haunted by what he
said, “Someone has to die. Like Martin Luther King; movements need
martyrs”… because, less than two weeks later, Harvey Milk and George
Mosconi were killed in San Francisco. In many ways, Harvey’s story has
become larger than the life he led, and, sadly, this is often the case
with our martyrs. And too often it’s the case with films about GLBT
people. In the end, the GLBT person is usually dead. Alas, we don’t get
“happily ever after” very much.

Now comes the story of yet another
hate-filled murder of a teen-age Navajo boy…a Navajo nádleehí …Fred
Martinez, told to us by the filmmaking/writing team, and real world
husband and wife, Lydia and Russell Martin, asking the question “Why
are people killed for being who they are?” in the documentary, Two
Spirits. In doing so, they have elevated the life of Fred Martinez into
something greater.

Not that Fred hadn’t done a pretty good job in
his short life, on his own. Wonderfully self-aware, and born into the
Navajo culture, that, like many Native American cultures, recognized
the existence of more than two genders, Martinez’s expressions of his
nature were greeted by those close to him with warmth and
understanding, if not embraced, as an expression of the traditional
“nádleehí” or Two Spirit tradition. Coming out of an understandable
adolescent “dark night of the soul,” Martinez recovered to thrive and
was loved by most in his community. Until one night, when some thug
decided to “bug smash a fag.” It’s an ending with which we’ve become
all too familiar.

It is worth noting that Fred’s story, purely on
the basis of the facts of the murder, is almost identical to that of
another martyr that became larger in death, Matthew Shepard. But Fred
was dark-skinned, Native American and Matthew was blond-haired,
blue-eyed. Should we wonder, then, why more people know about Matthew
than Fred?

This documentary goes a long way toward remedying that
cultural lacuna. Elevating Fred’s story from more than another hate
crime tragedy in a small, dusty reservation, the film interweaves the
story of a mother’s loss of her son with a revealing look at the
largely unknown history of a time when the world wasn’t simply divided
into male and female and many Native cultures held places of honor for
people of integrated genders. Often confused as containing both male
and female, the two spirit, was called “nádleehí” in the Navajo language — tennewyppe in Shoshone, lhamana in Hopi, winkte
in Lakota, there were more than 500 nations with different languages —
was the “not-male, not-female” gender…something in between.

in the space in between the male sex and the female, as Two Spirits
examines beautifully, the nadleehi were considered the
culture-carrying, spiritually connected holy people of their community.
The many forms of this tradition have until recently been lumped by
historians under the rubric of “berdache,” being defined by Webster’s
as a “homosexual male – an American Indian transvestite
assuming more or less permanently the dress, social status, and role of
a woman.”

Not surprisingly, the experience of Native
peoples, as is shown so vividly in this film, is something other than
either the popular or the professional stereotype. Though it would be
presumptuous to claim to represent its essence from the perspective of
outsiders, we can still look at certain features of two-spirit life in
Native cultures, features that delineate how First Nations peoples
integrated individuals with uncommon gender identity into their
society. And the irony is, we called them “savages.”

The first
step on the path to a two-spirit life was taken during childhood. The
Papago ritual is representative of this early integration: If parents
noticed that a son was disinterested in boyish play or “manly” work
they would set up a ceremony to determine which way the boy would be
brought up. They would make an enclosure of brush, and place in the
center both a man’s bow and a woman’s basket. The boy was told to go
inside the circle of brush and to bring something out, and as he
entered the brush would be set on fire. They watched what he took with
him as he ran out, and if it was the basketry materials they recognized
him as a berdache.

In recent times that pattern of acceptance has
been undermined, originally by the boarding school education forced
upon native children, and further by the influence of Christian
missionaries, and increasingly by the encroachment of television into
the psychic space of the tribe, with the result that two-spirit people
are more and more being viewed with suspicion by the less
traditionalist in their community. Yale anthropologist, Robert Stoller,
observed the “… deterioration in American Indians of techniques for
ritualizing cross-gender behavior. No longer is a place provided for
the role – more, the identity – of a male-woman, the dimensions of
which are fixed by customs, rules, tradeoffs and responsibilities. The
tribes have forgotten. Instead, this role appears as a ghost.”

Native two-spirit peoples are experiencing a re-awakening to the
validity, and to the cultural and spiritual roots, of their inner
calling. Many who, as a result of the cultural scorched-earth policies
of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), had sought escape from isolation
and rejection by adopting modern “gay” identities are now reconnecting
with their heritage by way of groups like the Native Gay and Lesbian
Gathering. They are re-interpreting their identity in terms dictated
neither by white culture nor by ancient customs, or perhaps by both.
The result is a mix peculiarly their own, which by breaking with both
traditional as well as modern forms remains true to the essence of the
two-spirit life. Fred Martinez embodied this modern form.

And he
died for it. The filmmakers pay proper respect to the horror of Fred’s
death. But they unpacked this story, and we should all be grateful they
did. There’s deeper value to be learned here. Fred’s memory is
well-served. We can only hope his mother finds some solace in his story
being told in this important, rich and loving manner.

Bo Young is White Crane’s publisher.  He lives in Upstate New York.

For more White Crane, become a fan on Facebook and join us on Yahoogroups.

Subscribe today and keep the conversation going!  Consider giving a gift subscription to
your friends who could use some wisdom!  If there's an article listed
above that was not excerpted online, copies of this issue are available
for purchase.  Contact us at

WC81 – Joel Anastasi’s The Second Coming

The Second Coming:
The Archangel Gabriel Proclaims a New Age

By Joel D. Anastasi
iUniverse, 340 pages.  $20.95.  ISBN 978-0-595-49405-7
Reviewed by Toby Johnson

the Christian, long-anticipated “Second Coming of Christ” really refers
to is not a return of a bodily Jesus descending through the clouds as
portrayed in the myth, but rather the awakening of the soul in all of
humanity so humankind realizes and experiences the “Christ within,”
that is, that we are all incarnations of God.  This is, indeed, one of
the central themes in contemporary, post-Christian, post-mythological,
and (in the very best sense) New Age spiritual thought.

“You are
God. The container you’ve chosen has chosen one fragmentary aspect of
God to experience, one speck in the cosmos, one cell in the universe…
allowing God to experience itself in its infinite complexity.”
is how this wisdom is expressed by the Archangel Gabriel, speaking
through a trance channel, in Joel D. Anastasi’s fascinating and
thought-provoking The Second Coming: The Archangel Gabriel Proclaims a
New Age

Anastasi is a trained journalist, news reporter and former
magazine editor who applied his professional skills to interview the
entity that is channeled by Reiki Master, counselor and healing
practitioner Robert Baker. Baker has a website about his practice at

Part of the experience of reading the book is
understanding just what channeling is and how its productions are to be
evaluated. Certainly what is now called “trance channeling” is a
parallel phenomenon to what in Biblical times was called “prophecy” and
in Christian and Muslim tradition is called “revelation.” Through a
human being—especially a human being who has trained him or herself in
meditation practice to allow personal ego to quiet and a deeper voice
from within to speak—trans-human wisdom and information is articulated
as though it were coming from an external personal entity.

Since the
central theme mentioned above holds that God is within each person,
then the entity that speaks from within is always that God. So
contemporary New Age spirituality naturally honors this particular
literary genre of channeled revelation as a manifestation of the
human/divinity unity. Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God
series, Jane Roberts’ Seth Speaks and Esther and Jerry Hicks’ Abraham
books, and in a slightly different way A Course in Miracles are other

Beyond the actual content of the revelation, what is
probably most important about the phenomenon is the meditation training
in quieting personal ego. And reading the productions and revelations
of trance channels are more important for how they train the reader in
such practice than in details they purport to reveal. That is to say,
at least in the understanding of this reviewer, the medium itself is
more important than the content. It’s the medium, the idea of
channeling itself, that reveals and demonstrates the central wisdom that all human beings are “fragmentary aspects of God.”

began studying with Robert Baker in 2002. He found the experience of
listening so profound and fascinating that he decided to write it down
and to organize and present the wisdom in the literary genre of modern
journalism: the interview. The style makes the material easier to
understand and less “ooo goo boo goo” mystical and more realistic and
down-to-earth. Indeed, since the interviews began in 2002, the
terrorist attack of 9/11 was still very vivid and so Gabriel naturally
comments on this watershed event in human history. As it happens,
Gabriel espouses the conspiracy theory that the World Trade towers were
imploded from within. That may or may not be actually so. My
proposition that the medium is more important than the content holds
that the value of the revelation is not dependent on the factuality of
what’s revealed. The Truth that Gabriel manifests through Robert Baker
wouldn’t be disproved by the evidence that there were no explosives in
the WTC any more than the mythological significance for Christianity of
the Resurrection would be invalidated by the discovery of Jesus’s
bones. The mythical, transcendent Truth stands beyond the metaphors
that are used to express it.

In The Second Coming that Truth is that
God is within us all. Reading the book is a fascinating reminder that
each of us should listen to our deepest selves.

I’m not sure what I
think about 9/11 Conspiracy Theory, though what it certainly true is
that contemporary human consciousness is permeated with conspiracy
theories, and these, at least, point to the reality of collective,
planetary consciousness. We all think something is going on beyond what
we all see; there’s a hidden dimension to human life.

Anastasi, an
openly gay man who occasionally mentions his partner and questions
Gabriel about gay issues, ends his introduction: “I began this journey
as a skeptic. The intuitive truth and rightness of Gabriel’s teachings
have found their way into my ‘deepest heart,’ my ‘deepest being.’ It is
my wish that Gabriel’s teachings find that place in you and that all
mankind may one day join in peace, love, and unity in this new
two-thousand-year age.”

In recommending this book to readers, I am
echoing that sentiment. We really are at the start of a “new age”; a
new religion, a new consciousness of what “God” means is being born in
our time. This book is a wonderful demonstration of that—and evidence,
I think, of how gay people are part of its unfolding.

Toby Johnson is a former publisher of White Crane and a contributing editor to the magazine. He lives in Austin, Texas.

For more White Crane, become a fan on Facebook and join us on Yahoogroups.

Subscribe today and keep the conversation going!  Consider giving a gift subscription to
your friends who could use some wisdom!  If there's an article listed
above that was not excerpted online, copies of this issue are available
for purchase.  Contact us at

WC81 – Review of Vladimir’s Vladmaster

By Vladimir
Reviewed by Bo Young

There aren’t many artists working in the View-Master™ medium, but Vladimir does. As it happens, I visited the Museum of Jurassic Technology last time I was in Los Angeles.  Well worth a trip just for a visit to that magical place. One of the MJT’s more cunning souvenirs is a View-Master™ collection of discs showing four of the exhibits that were there at the time (and may well still be.) So I fortunately happened to have a View-Master™ handy when I discovered Vladmaster. It is possible to buy a View-Master™ at Vladimir’s website, along with other stories she tells in the medium, but when I found the art, the View-Master™ wasn’t offered.

Vladimir, an artist living in Portland Oregon, makes Vladmasters. Vladmasters are handmade View-Master™ reels designed, photographed, and hand-assembled by Vladimir. She makes use of toys, neglected household objects, and odd ephemera to tell 28-picture, 3-D tales of missing earth-moving industrial equipment, disastrous dinner parties, and overly adventurous cockroaches, to name a few.

Vladmaster performances are simultaneous Vladmaster experiences in which every attendee needs a viewer and set of discs and then led through the story by a soundtrack featuring music, narration, sound effects, and ding noises to cue the change from image to image. If you don’t happen to be the lucky person with the lone View-Master™ in the room at your eyes, you can enjoy the accompanying light show that displays on the computer screen. But how fun would it be for everyone in your household to have their own View-Master™?

Bottom line, there is just something charming — a little queer, if you will — about the medium and the message. And isn’t it time someone brought back the View-Master™? Me…I’m a soon-to-be 60-year old, about to move to the wilds of upstate New York, so a View-Master™ seems like just the thing for snowed in winter evening entertainment. And I showed it to my hipster-cool, 20-something nieces and the general comments were in the area of “This guy’s good!” (20-somethings call everyone “guy”).

The Vladmaster I received was The Public Life of Jeremiah Barnes, the above-referenced story of missing heavy earth-moving equipment told in miniature toy medium. Other titles include Franz Kafka Parables, Italo Calvino – Invisible Cities, Lucifugia Thigmotaxis, Actaeon At Home, and Fear & Trembling. Collect them all! Just $20. View-Master™ $5.00 extra + $3.00 shipping. Viewers are ONLY for sale with the purchase of a Vladmaster set. I say: Spring for it.  Visit

Bo Young is White Crane’s publisher.  He lives in Upstate New York.

For more White Crane, become a fan on Facebook and join us on Yahoogroups.

Subscribe today and keep the conversation going!  Consider giving a gift subscription to
your friends who could use some wisdom!  If there's an article listed
above that was not excerpted online, copies of this issue are available
for purchase.  Contact us at

WC81 – Andrew Ramer’s PRAXIS

Ramer The Big Two-Oh by Andrew Ramer

Recently, at a queer gathering I attended, we were asked, “What’s your favorite number?” As a retired bodyworker I’ve always been fond of the number twenty. Not that everyone comes this way, but of us most do – with ten fingers and ten toes. To me twenty is the number of wholeness, not ten, the number that usually carries that symbolic value. For me ten is Commandments and a continual reminder that somehow I and we have done it all wrong, or are about to. But twenty in my private lexicon of life is the number of embodiment and completion, from top to bottom, earth to heaven. It’s the number of fullness, of overflowing richness, toes pressing into the warm earth while curious fingers reach out toward the stars.

And here we are, celebrating White Crane and its twentieth birthday. As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing quite like this magazine. Each issue is another gift come in the mail, another window onto the world. What I can always count on from White Crane is that I’ll get words and images to help me stay alive and aligned, encountered, engaged, and encouraged to go on. It may not be the New York Times – but I can’t help quoting Sappho:

let me tell you this:
someone in some future time
will think of us

We are all a part of that us, the family of White Crane and twenty is five times around the cosmic wheel of the four directions. That’s a lot of traveling and twenty is a time to pause and review. Franklin Abbott’s poem “Self-Help” contains useful directions for reviewing a long and honorable history: 

    review your notes
    the ones you took
on your life
    old photographs
    read letters
    written to you
    cycles ago
    recount your blessings
    one by one
    two by two

    of any doubt
    or shame
    that you are not worthy
    nothing short
    of a miracle

Others have reviewed and recounted far better than I. I wasn’t here at the beginning. I can only vaguely recall something folded in half as my first introduction to the miracle that is White Crane. What I do remember are the many many hours I’ve spent in private intimate time (in the tub and on the toilet) with the writers and artists whose work has filled the pages of this magazine. Timothy Liu, in his poem, “Leaving the Universe,” points me in the direction of what I want to say:

    Can’t go back
    to his body. That wilderness.
    At times he would let me
    rest there, no other place to go.
    A bedroom
    full of star charts, planets tearing
    free from orbit, a belt
    of asteroids flying apart.
    In that space
    between us, the gravity
    of my bed unable
    to keep his body from floating
    out the door.

Can’t go back to retell my top twenty favorite articles. The carton of back issues in my closet will remain there, for now. What I can say is that the star charts of our inner lives were recorded in this magazine when almost no one else was paying attention. And the deep gravity of our encounters with the world and with each other, all those toes and fingers of back issues, include every element of our queer lives, the good, the bad, and the frightening.

Twenty is also a number that’s useful for looking ahead. I can’t say where this gift of a quarterly is going, but the community found here, the wisdom, the culture, all add up to something that Assotto Saint understood:

    birds of a feather coo
    spread their wings
    at the edge of the world
    they soar
    stretching themselves
    to god

We are birds of a feather, we readers and writers and artists and editors of this communal treasure. The play-work of White Crane is a kind of offering to that which some of us might call God. And as the guardian of one corner of this yummy little world, called “Praxis,” I offer twenty spiritual practices to help you celebrate our many journeys around a star. Each practice is tied to one of the four cardinal directions and to the center. Pick one, or as many as call out to you.


Think back on your 20th birthday if you’ve already celebrated it
Think ahead to your 20th birthday, if you haven’t gotten there yet
Think about the 20th anniversaries of significant events in your life
Think about 20th anniversaries that are waiting for you in the future


Draw a picture of something that has 20 elements in it
Draw a picture that uses 20 colors
Draw the same picture 20 times and compare each version
Draw 20 different pictures and compare them to each other


Cook a meal with 20 ingredients in it 
Cook a meal for 20 friends 
Cook a meal for 20 people and give the meals away
Cook a meal that you dedicate to White Crane’s 20th anniversary


Meditate for 20 minutes on what White Crane has meant to you
Meditate in 20 different place on what White Crane means to you
Meditate for 20 days in a row on the future of White Crane
Meditate in 20 different positions on what you offer/can offer White Crane


Write something about White Crane and send it to the editors
Send a gratitude check to White Crane as a donation
Give the gift of White Crane to a person or institution, perhaps your local library
Thank whatever Force/energy/Being/beings/god/Goddess/God/gods you believe in for White Crane having reached its 20th birthday, and wish it 20 more.

Andrew Ramer is a writer and educator.  He is the author of numerous books including Revelations for a New Millennium, Little Pictures: Fiction for a New Age and the Gay classic Two Flutes Playing: A Spiritual Journeybook for Gay Men  from White Crane Books.  Ramer lives in San Francisco.   Praxis is a regular feature of White Crane.

For more White Crane, become a fan on Facebook and join us on Yahoogroups.

Subscribe today and keep the conversation going!  Consider giving a gift subscription to
your friends who could use some wisdom!  If there's an article listed
above that was not excerpted online, copies of this issue are available
for purchase.  Contact us at