Queer Festivus Gift Ideas- Poetry & More

In Pursuit Of A Dream:
Poetic Prose by Brian D Gryphon

Born near the end of the ‘Baby Boomer Era’, Brian grew up in south-western Ontario. Living in a village of 1,000 people in the 70’s he knew he was ‘different’ – and not just in sexual orientation.

Moving back to Toronto (his birthplace) as quickly after graduation as he could, he did more than his fair share to celebrate life as a gay person and promote ‘sexual rebellion’. He doesn’t claim to have found answers there to all the ‘big questions'; but offers these writings as notes on his journey.

Moving On:
Poetic Prose by Jason Beilchick

Growing up gay in rural Pennsylvania, Jason adopted a ‘Goth’ appearance to survive high school. Mourning the loss of his father to cancer just as he entered his teen years, Jason wrote out much of the material collected in this volume during the 1990s.

Of his work he says “everything i have written tells a story of who i am; if you read these poems and you find they hurt your feelings that wasn’t my intention.

In Pursuit Of A Dream now available at CreateSpace
40 pages
White paper
ISBN: 978-1469958262

Moving On is now available at CreateSpace
74 pages
White paper
ISBN: 978-1470002497

Echoes of My Lips:
Poetic Prose by Michael Harding

A collection of poetry and poetic prose composed during the 1970s when the author was in his 20s. It is a reflection of the times, while also timeless commentary on life, love and sex.

Of his work Michael says: “My poetry is my internal journey. It is the honest — and sometimes painful — expression of my love. A place beyond any scorn.

1 Out Of 10 Therapists: The Poetry of Romanovsky & Phillips Lyrics
Pioneers of the gay folk music scene, Ron Romanovsky & Paul Phillips began their career at San Francisco’s ‘Valencia Rose Cafe’ as the musical break for Gay Comedy Open Mic Night. Over the next two decades they toured across the nation as well as abroad.

They released a number of albums which are available again at their Official Web-site. 1 Out Of 10 Therapists includes 44 selections.

Echoes of My Lips is now available at CreateSpace
48 pages
White paper
ISBN: 978-1480162549

1 Out Of 10 Therapists now available at CreateSpace
54 pages
White paper
ISBN: 978-1469984186

Festivus Queer Gift Ideas – Important Disclosures:

  • I earn a few per cent on Amazon purchases;
  • Some titles are sold through Amazon’s marketplace, not directly by Amazon;
  • I earn a few dollars on purchases from any of my Cafepress shops;
  • I earn a few dollars on purchases of my books from CreateSpace;
  • Romanovsky & Phillips earns a licensing fee for R&P shop sales;
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Queer Festivus Gift Ideas- Movies

Queer Movies

Here are 13 titles- a baker’s dozen, or perhaps a coven? I have each of the first ten titles below in my library. The last three titles are new to me, but come recommended by a friend who has similar taste in movies, so I am quite comfortable listing them here.

Festivus Queer Gift Ideas – Important Disclosures:

  • I earn a few per cent on Amazon purchases;
  • Some titles are sold through Amazon’s marketplace, not directly by Amazon;
  • I earn a few dollars on purchases from any of my Cafepress shops;
  • I earn a few dollars on purchases of my books from CreateSpace;
  • Romanovsky & Phillips earns a licensing fee for R&P shop sales;

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Remembrance Day

Originally published on 11/10/2009

The Armistice that brought an end to World War I (“the war to end all wars“) went into effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Attending school in Canada, this day always included a school-wide Assembly- and it always included a recital of “In Flanders’ Fields“:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Written by Major (later Lieutenant-Colonel) John McCrae, it is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915. McCrae later wrote of that battle: “I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days… Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done.

For more information on the poem and the poppy, visit the Royal Canadian Legion web-site. Or the American Legion web-site to support US vets.

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Me and the ‘T’

This post germinated some weeks ago as I read on-line comments expressing extreme disappointment (if not outright anger) that Cher continues to refer to her child as ‘she‘. Chaz Bono is trans*; born into a biologically female body he is now living his authentic self.

Certainly I understand how people who’ve seen Cher as a long-time hero (by our designation, not hers) to the gay community may be disappointed. Notice that I didn’t say ‘LGBT communities‘. Not that she doesn’t support or love the other letters, nor that many of them don’t appreciate her support and/or her music. Clearly the largest group of queer Cher fans, and perhaps the earliest, is gay men. Often young gays who party to her music. Basic queer history.

My reaction to the condemnation of Cher’s far-too human response is that we queer folk seem to have adopted the surrounding society’s far-too quick willingness to judge any imperfection (see this post for more). Of course I was disappointed when Bette Midler (in 2004, on Larry King) said she wasn’t sure when asked about same sex marriage; “I haven’t done enough research or reading on it to have an informed opinion.” Some of it because I had hoped she was fully supportive, but also because it was such a politician’s answer. As I considered her words and my reaction I was reminded of a quote (from so long ago that I can’t be sure of its source or precise wording) to the effect that many queer folk take years to reach the point of coming out; we need to allow family and friends time to process it as well.

And to be honest (to be really real, as it were) the idea that the gay community, which has its own checkered history of accepting and honouring the ‘T’ and other letters in the ever-growing label that I keep as LGBTITQQ2S, is throwing stones at Cher has a Biblical irony.

This is not the point where I reveal my own saintly acceptance of all the letters, nor a confession of deep-seated hatred. But it is important to me that I be open about my own journey; progress is a process.

In my alphabetical label, mentioned above, there are two Ts. Partly this is for the humourous placement of a TIT in the middle. But it also reflects my youth; we used ‘transexual‘ to refer to those who now tend to self-identify as ‘trans*‘ and ‘transvestite‘ to mean someone who derives sexual gratification from cross-dressing. The second group seems to have disappeared from most LGBT folks’ radar. Not sure if they are conflated with ‘drag queens‘ or perhaps now included in the broader category of ‘fetishists‘ – an accurate enough label.

I was never a fan of the word ‘tranny‘ as it seemed to be most often used with the same rancour as ‘fag‘ and ‘queer‘. Now of course some of us have adopted queer and some queer folk are OK with tranny. For me the rule is simple; don’t try to use a term with a heavy load of negativity as a positive unless the person being referred to has self-adopted the term.

But back to my history with trans* folk.

The first clearly trans* person I had any interaction with beyond the most superficial was an acquaintance back in Toronto. She was great fun despite an awful sense of humour, and was quite vocal in her interest in engaging in a threesome with my then-partner and I. That relationship had weathered one threesome and we were not going to try it again; my jealousy was (is) quite intense. That meant that I was not required to determine whether my lack of interest in such an encounter was based on jealousy, lack of sexual chemistry, or internalized issues around whether I could be gay (as I then self-identified) and have sex with someone who had male genitalia, developing breasts and female self-identity.

Skipping ahead from the 80s to this century. I attended IML (International Mr Leather) events in Chicago in May of 2001- shortly after my serious car accident. My physical recovery was ongoing and engaging in anything strenuous was out of the question. However the attentions and servitude of one young pup was welcome. Walking with crutches, it was nice to have someone fetch food and drink, attend to sore feet, and generally make me feel less like a decrepit old man. Our conversations centered on me and various other attendees of my acquaintance. The pup was open about his journeys; exploring his pup nature while working towards surgery to bring his physical body in line with his authentic self. Again, circumstances were such that I was not required to determine whether I was as fully-open and accepting as I like to think I am.

I’ve also developed friendships with trans* folk that presented absolutely no sexual interest on either part (well, as far as I know). Dad and his second wife have a friend who they’ve known for some time. We’ve met at their place over the years and I was kept up-to-date on her journey. One of the requirements for her undergoing gender reassignment surgery was to move to a new community and live for a full year as her chosen identity. She did not continue for the full 12 months. I’ve not had an opportunity to discuss with her what transpired (ooh, no pun intended) during that time to make her reconsider surgery. I’ve been told that she hasn’t changed her self-identity, so it may have been the costs involved or perhaps the finality of surgery. There’s no deep meaning to this story- other than illustrating that within every label or categorization, diversity remains. Painting any group as homogenous is both lazy and dangerous.

More recently my partner and I were befriended by a fascinating person who shared some of our fetish interests and worked at a gay-oriented business. When I was working 60+ hours a week at Depot and little interested in a night of bar-hopping, they would go out and enjoy the evening. Really a non-story, other perhaps than a reminder that just as gay folk are finding greater social acceptance by being visible, so too (hopefully) will trans* folk.

The latest trans* person to make my acquaintance has but newly arrived in my life so there’s not much to say as yet. His journey has some surface similarities to the others above, but as with all of us who honour our authentic self, is unique and fascinating. I can’t imagine how much richer my life is for knowing him; but I have no doubt it is. And that richness is a gift available to anyone who will approach the diversity of life with an open mind.

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