TOBY JOHNSON an American novelist and writer in the field of Gay spirituality. Johnson is author of three autobiographical accounts of spiritual development: The Myth of the Great Secret: A Search for Meaning in the Face of Emptiness about his discovering a modern understanding of religion; In Search of God in the Sexual Underworld about his experiences — and interpretation of events as a religion scholar—in the study of teenage prostitution; and The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell which added substantial anecdotal material about his mentor.
After leaving seminary in 1970, Johnson moved to San Francisco and lived in the Bay Area throughout the 1970s. While a student at the California Institute of Asian Studies (later renamed the California Institute of Integral Studies), from which he received a graduate degree in Comparative Religion and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology, Johnson was on staff at the Mann Ranch Seminars, a Jungian-oriented summer retreat program. There he befriended religion scholar Joseph Campbell and came to regard himself “an apostle of Campbell’s vision to the gay community.”
Johnson has authored three novels: Plague: A Novel About Healing, Secret Matter, and Getting Life in Perspective. Plague, produced was one of the first novels to treat AIDS through fiction. Secret Matter, a speculative, romantic comedy about truth-telling and Gay identity featuring a retelling of the Genesis myth with a Gay-positive outcome, won a Lambda Literary Award in 1990 and in 1999 was a nominee to the Gay Lesbian Science-Fiction Hall of Fame, the first year of the award.
He collaborated on the novel Two Spirits: A Story of Life With the Navajo and co-edited, an anthology of Gay-positive stories, Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling.
He is also author of Gay Spirituality: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness and Gay Perspective: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe, which explains how homosexuality can lead to a re-evaluation of people’s role in the universe.
Johnson’s central idea is that as outsiders with non-gender-polarized perspective homosexuals play an integral role in the evolution of consciousness — especially regarding the understanding of religion as myth and metaphor — and that for many homosexuals Gay identity is a transformative ecological, spiritual, and even mystical vocation.
From 1996 to 2003, Johnson was editor/publisher of White Crane, a periodical focusing on Gay wisdom, culture and spirituality. As of 2012, he worked as a literary editor He and his husband, Kip Dollar, live in Texas where they were recently married on March 16th, 2018. He is a friend to this writer, now, of many years and I want to personally wish him a very happy birthday.