Sometimes I wonder if I AM a militant homosexual. Sometimes I think there is no way I could be one.
Sometimes I think that I shall become one if I allow myself to be a free spirit all the time, as opposed to, occasionally (read: rarely).
Yesterday, Friday, March 28, 2014, I was thinking about how I walk. Thirty-two per cent of the time, I walk like I AM in a music video; thirty-three per cent of the time I walk like I AM in the military; thirty-five per cent of the time I walk like George Jefferson (portrayed brilliantly by [the late and great] Sherman Hemsley).
So far, in my life, I have signed numerous petitions, but have only been to two Gay Pride Parades (both in Manhattan), and I have yet to take part in a demonstration. Also, as soon as I find out that a company does not treat its LGBT employees fairly, I stop spending my Gay CA$H on their products or services (The Salvation Army has lost out on my money, which is a damn shame, and I have never seen the prices on Barrilla pasta so low in my life!).
And yet, there is a part of me that wonders, what would happen if I allowed this part of me to be set free? Would I be arrested? Would someone throw a brick at me? Would I kill someone?
Yes, these are all the kinds of “what if” questions that are excellent for destroying one’s sanity, but I feel that as an openly Gay Man, and as a Spiritual man, I have a responsibility to engage in Self-Inquiry.
Perhaps nothing bad would happen to me if I raised my voice and a big sign in protest about any of the harmful experiences my fellow LGBT people are experiencing, and maybe I simply need to stop thinking about it, and Self-Inquiring and simply do something.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the matter. Because, frankly, I think I would benefit from someone else’s thoughts about this topic.
Before I close, I wish to acknowledge my newest blog followers of “This Gay Man’s Life…” They are: “interestingliterature,” “Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger,” and THE “Cristian Mihai.” I must confess, I love it when published authors follow my blogs!
May all of you receive great Insight, great Wisdom and great PRIDE from following “This Gay Man’s Life…”
And for those of you already following and reading this blog, my other blog, http://thetarotman.wordpress.com, or both, thank you for honoring who you are and what you do, and thank you for honoring who I AM and what I do, too.
Thank you, all, for honoring who you are and what you do. I wish you a lovely and wonderful weekend.
I AM very big on Divine Guidance (and those of you who follow or read my primary blog, “This Is Who I AM,” http://thetarotman.wordpress.com, you know this all too well), and I have been Divinely Guided to begin a series of posts regarding the LGBT community and Spirituality.
In fact, a little after Midnight last night/today, an acquaintance of mine sent me an Email about DignityUSA (which, like yours truly, was also born in 1970), an organization for LGBT Catholics.
I did not think it was a coincidence.
Also, I have begun formulating a series of posts about the symbolism of the colors of the Rainbow Flag (especially considering that I use a variation of it in virtually every blog post for “This Gay Man’s Life…”).
And, as I love to write about, talk about and blog about books (not to mention buy them in bookstores, such as Giovanni’s Room, borrow them from local libraries, and, of course, read them), you can expect some LGBT book reviews in upcoming posts, too.
Now, I promise I shall read and review books that appeal to Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgendered people, too, but yes, it is safe to say that the vast majority of the books I shall review for this blog shall focus on Gay Men.
And my apologies for having taken so long to catch up. Frankly, between my Psychic Practice, a wonderful professional endeavor, a personal life (I actually have one of those. Who knew?) reading books, writing in journals and watching everything from American Idol to Gay Porn on the Internet, I have been busier than usual.
And, an unplugged/off-the-Internet day is so very beyond long overdue.
Before I close, I wish to acknowledge my newest blog follower, “jcorbin88.” May what you read and receive at “This Gay Man’s Life…” fill you with delight, wonder and pride.
And for those of you already following and reading “This Gay Man’s Life…” thank you for honoring who you are and what you do.
Those of you that have known me for years, know that when I AM not giving Readings, writing WordPress blog posts, leading Metaphysical Classes, or spending time with people who I love and adore, I AM home. Either reading a book, writing in my journals, organizing my home, or lounging in bed.
Last year, I began to receive Divine Guidance to make time for attending cultural events.
So, last year, I found out that a local cultural center in my area was featuring a performance of Rev. Yolanda and her “Old-Time Gospel Hour.”
Now, it just so happens that I love Gospel music; in fact, I do not listen to it enough.
So, let me tell you about the Divine Force known as Rev. Yolanda (also known as Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes). On her Website, she is listed as a “Singer Songwriter–Interfaith Minister–Gender Bender.” As someone who has had the honor of watching her (oh, dear! I AM going to be switching pronouns during this post!), and have spent time with her after her performances, I can honestly say that description is accurate, but all too brief.
Then again, one can only fit so many words, on the top of the Website page, but I digress.
Speaking of which, there is a section of Rev. Yolanda’s Website that is rapidly becoming one of my favorites: “Awards.” Some of the awards Rev. Yolanda has received (thus far), include, but are certainly not limited to:
Rev. Yolanda’s song “Home” from her newest album, Country Gospel Kirtan was voted the #1 song of 2013 by OutVoice (http://www.outvoice.net);
Rev. Yolanda is a member of the LGBT Hall of Fame (and I must confess, up until I met Rev. Yolanda, I did not know such a thing existed!);
And, of course, this Summer we shall see the release of Rev. Yolanda–The Movie. You can learn more, as well as see a clip, by visiting http://www.goyolanda.com.
Now, for those of you that have yet to see Rev. Yolanda perform, it is a wonderful mix of Gospel, Country, comedy and, at times, very moving shares about her life. She is funny and caring. She often describes herself as “where the Divine Feminine meets the Divine Masculine in the arms of Love.” And she/he is!
If you have yet to visit Yolandaland, I AM very happy to let you know that Rev. Yolanda has become one of the artists in residence at The Duplex in Manhattan, NYC. (http://www.theduplex.com).
I have had the honor and pleasure of seeing Rev. Yolanda perform at The Duplex several times already, and thoroughly look forward to more! Now, the first time I saw her perform, the performance was free, and I have willingly and Lovingly spent money to travel to Manhattan, and then to The Duplex, and then at The Duplex, because I receive so much for my time and money, but I digress.
Rev. Yolanda shall be back at The Duplex on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014, 6:30PM, as well as on Mother’s Day, Sunday, Sunday, May 11, 2014, 6:30PM. . If you are in the NYC area then, and want to have a good time with great Energy, I cannot over-recommend going to The Duplex to listen to Rev. Yolanda’s Old Time Gospel Hour, “Chapter II–Be the Love.”
And in the event, that you cannot make either next month (April) or May, sign up for Rev. Yolanda’s Email newsletter to receive updates on upcoming shows.
Tomorrow, Monday, March 24, 2014, I shall conclude this two-part post about Rev. Yolanda and Yolandaland.
However, there shall be a surprise as to where you shall see it.
Before I close, I wish to acknowledge my newest blog follower, “tomlroy.” May you receive Great Pride and Great Honor from following “This Gay Man’s Life…”
And for those of you already following and reading “This Gay Man’s Life…” may you continue to receive great insight into the life of “This Gay Man’s Life,” as well as the lives of other Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgendered people. Thank you, one and all, for honoring who you are and what you do.
For years, I have been a fan of a Gay porn model named Nick Capra. And I still am!
Recently, I discovered his blog; and today’s post is too good not to share. Not only does he look better than ever, but from reading his posts, I have learned how much better his life is and it seems plain (to me, anyway) how much happier and healthier he is.
I have often said, it is amazing what one can accomplish when he or she is in recovery from addiction.
And so, with that, my first “reblog” on “This Gay Man’s Life…”
And my great Gratitude to all of you for your patience in waiting for this particular blog post to be written and published.
And now, I go to Ms. Arleen Olshan, who for a time was co-owners with Mr. Ed Hermance, who is the current and sole owner.
I must say, I kept being drawn, Energetically to both Ms. Hill and Ms. Olshan. Other than the fact that they are both Lesbians, and former owners of Giovanni’s Room, they are very different ladies.
However, Energetically they are both quite vibrant.
Even when they were not speaking, I looked out for when they would add a comment or anecdote when Mr. Wilson Weinberg, or Mr. Sherbo were speaking, as well as John Cunningham.
My experience of Ms. Olshan is that she is a fantastic combination of serenity and suave, and, indeed, very eloquent.
She spoke about her experiences with the store, and the challenges, and I must confess I was present to the Energies in the room and how much Love and Pride there was that I hardly remember what she said, but I do recall it was quite well-received.
And then, we get to the current owner, Mr. Ed Hermance, who I had the opportunity to see on Tuesday, March 11, 2014, when I went to Giovanni’s Room for some book shopping. When I was at Giovanni’s Room in February, I recall seeing an article about the store with Ed’s photograph in it, on the second floor (although my European Mind wants to call it the first floor, but I digress).
He also shared his experiences, and the challenges, and I vividly recall Ed sharing about how when he and Ms. Olshan were co-owners, that discussed everything, specifically what kind of books would be sold in the store, as well as what kinds of materials. Some of them would still be considered controversial to this day.
Nonetheless, and here is where I inject some of my personal commentary, many of us in the LGBT communities have seen many a Hollywood motion picture that features the following character and/or storyline:
1. A feminine-acting Gay Man who dresses in drag and walks in a feminine manner;
2. A Lesbian who kills straight men so she can be with her lover (and, not surprisingly, always with a phallic-shaped weapon);
3. A feminine-acting Gay Man who molests little boys.
For years, people thought it odd that I do not watch motion pictures. Really? Why would I want to watch yet another, ad-I’m-going-to-throw-up my-intestines-in-disgust-infinitum motion picture that thinks that ALL Gay Men want to dress up in drag and, when not in drag, molest little boys?!
Granted, my commentary may seem a bit outdated to some, but for many of us, especially those of us above the age of 40, recall this all. Too. Well.
One of the most important conversations of the night, was when Ed said that there are discussions in the works regarding who the new owners of Giovanni’s Room shall be. Not surprisingly, I recall someone in the audience shushing everyone, and it might have been at that point.
May the Universe grant those new owners-to-be and Ed everything they need to make the sale smooth and effortless for all parties. And so we can continue to go to a lovely store and buy and browse and (one of my favorite things to do) sit in one of the window seats on the second floor.
And because Giovanni’s Room is the only remaining LGBT bookstore in the United States of America, I cannot over-recommend that you visit them often, buy there often, and of course, let the staff know how wonderful they are.
The last two times I was there, I did not see one of my favorite employees, Richard, but he was there at the 40th Anniversary Program and happily Re-Minded me of his usual schedule.
If you have never met Richard, let me tell you, his Energy is fabulous (and that is a word I rarely use!). More than ten years ago, when I first set foot in Giovanni’s Room, he welcomed me with his ready smile and his amazing Energy, and seeing him again was like a homecoming for me.
Before I close, I wish to provide you with a brief timeline regarding Giovanni’s Room, and once again, thank Mr. John Cunningham for providing me with a copy of his “cheat sheet”):
1973–Giovanni’s Room opens on 400 block South Street; owners Tom Wilson Weinberg, Dan Sherbo and Bernie Boyle;
1975–Pat Hill buys store;
1976–Ed Hermance and Arleen Olshan become owners;
1976-1979–Giovanni’s Room in 1400 block of Spruce Street;
1979–Store opens at 345 South 12th Street;
1986–Ms. Olshan leaves and Ed Hermance becomes sole owner;
1987–James Baldwin visits Giovanni’s Room (by the way, Mr. Baldwin made it clear to both Ed Hermance and Pat Hill that he had no issue with the name of the store being the same as his novel of this same name);
2011–Giovanni’s Room receives State (of Pennsylvania) Historical Marker.
Before I close, I wish to properly acknowledge one of my newest blog followers: “Dimitris Melicertes.” My apologies to you for not properly acknowledging you sooner. May you receive Divine Inspiration and Divine Pride from following “This Gay Man’s Life…”
And for those of you already following and reading “This Gay Man’s Life…” may you continue to honor who you are and what you do: as Gay Men, as Lesbians, as Bisexuals, as Transgendered folks, as Queer, and as straight LGBT*Q allies.
However, what I did not mention is that, no sooner did I walk into Giovanni’s Room, I learned that a “Giovanni’s Room 40th Anniversary Program” had been scheduled at the William Way LGBT Center in Center City, Philadelphia.
Actually, when I walked into the store on the afternoon of Thursday, February 20, 2014, I was informed by one of the store’s employees that it had been rescheduled twice. Since before this past February, the last time I had been in Center City was more than a year ago. As such, I had no idea the Anniversary Program was taking place, let alone that it had been rescheduled twice.
Now, from the first time I began going to Center City, Philadelphia, I prefer to have plenty of time to prepare, purchase tickets, and have at least $200 saved up for shopping, eating out, etc.
Nonetheless, it is not every day that an independent bookseller celebrates its 40th Anniversary. And I was not going to miss this for anything or anyone!
Interestingly enough, I had never been to the William Way LGBT Center. Every time I go to Center City, there are certain stores I shop in, and certain museums I visit, not to mention walking all around to better familiarize myself with the area.
The Anniversary Program was scheduled from 7:30-9:00PM, last night, and I was running very late.
Everyone who knows me KNOWS I AM a fanatic for punctuality. When I arrived, approximately five minutes late, I discovered that there were no seats available (in other words, upset number one).
I had been doing a lot of walking that day, and my comfort insoles were worn through, which is why I removed them from my shoes and disposed of them two hours earlier (in other words, mistake number two, but I digress).
What amazed me was that there were about eight participants, of various ages, ethnic backgrounds and I think there were a few straight people there, too.
In spite of the fact that it became very warm very fast, and that it soon became standing room only (until some of the Center’s volunteers brought in more chairs), and some ventilation, courtesy of a low-setting air conditioning system, here were so many wonderful people who were there to honor and celebrate a milestone in LGBT History.
Before I continue, I must properly thank and Lovingly acknowledge Mr. John Cunningham, who moderated the panel discussion, and who gave me a copy of his “cheat sheets!”
The first panelists who spoke were Tom Wilson Weinberg and Dan Sherbo, who founded Giovanni’s Room. They both had a third partner, Bernie Boyle, who is no longer with us.
Although there were times when I was unable to hear the panelists clearly (people whispering not too far from me, how far back I was, etc.) I very distinctly heard Mr. Wilson Weinberg state that the rent for the store was $85 a month!
I also vividly recall when both Mr. Wilson Weinberg and Mr. Sherbo gave a heartfelt acknowledgement to Mr. Craig Rodwell, who founded the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop, in 1967, the first bookstore devoted to Gay Male and Lesbian authors.
Mr. Wilson Weinberg mentioned how Mr. Rodwell, would give both him and Mr. Sherbo copious amounts of advice on how to run a LGBT bookstore, including taking trips to Manhattan, New York City to go to Bookazine to purchase–in cash– Gay and Lesbian-themed books.
At one point, Mr. Wilson Weinberg showed all the attendees a photograph of him, Mr. Sherbo and Mr. Boyle, not too long after Giovanni’s Room opened. Alas, I did not get to see from which newspaper it was, nor the date, but since Giovanni’s Room opened in 1973, it is highly likely that the newspaper photograph was probably published around the same time, or within a few years of it.
They also talked about what they were going to name the store. Both Mr. Wilson Weinberg and Mr. Sherbo mentioned that they had considered naming it “The Love that dare not speak its name” in honor of (the late and great) Oscar Wilde (the writer after whom the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop was named).
After Mr. Wilson Weinberg and Mr. Sherbo, Pat Hill, the second owner of Giovanni’s Room spoke. Personally, I loved her Energy right away; she had a quiet, engaging manner, and a lovely sense of humor. She mentioned that when she owned the store, the rent was not $85 a month, but she did mention the rats in the basement!
And she shared that she is a Quaker, and that for many years, she has been involved with a women’s artists colony.
I was not the only one that shared this sentiment. In other words, when Ms. Hill spoke, very few people in the audience spoke, whispered, etc…
Tune in tomorrow, Thursday, March 13, 2014, when I write and publish the conclusion of this two-part blog post.
However, before I close, I wish to acknowledge my newest blog followers. They are: “Don Charisma” and “Tanner Hawryluk.” Thank you, both, very much for honoring who you are and what you do, and thank you for honoring who I AM and what I do, too. May both of you receive greater insight and awareness of the LGBT Communities by following “This Gay Man’s Life…”
And for those of you who are already following and reading “This Gay Man’s Life…” thank you for honoring who you are, and what you do, and for honoring the LGBT Communities, too.