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This is an email from The Digest, a newsletter by Prism & Pen.

LGBTQ Backlash: The Good, Bad, and Inspirational of the Summer of 2022

Prism & Pen Weekly — July 17, 2022

by James Finn

Wow! Isn’t the LGBTQ backlash whipping itself into frenzies? The U.S. and Canada feature in P&P this week with examples of the worst. But also the best! What’s going on in the LGBTQ world this summer? Our writers report in from the trenches with personal stories from Ireland, the U.K., Canada, and all over the U.S.

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— Editor’s Picks —

YouTube/Apple/Spotify Selling Song Calling for Death to LGBTQ People

James Finn

This is possibly the most disturbing story I’ve ever written. “Christian” musician Tyson James (whose songs rack up millions of listens and views) raps that LGBTQ people are “bunch of pedophiles” who should be shot to death as “street justice.” Especially disturbing is Google, Apple, and Spotify hosting the song even though it blatantly violates their terms of service. More disturbing is that this story is all but unreported in mainstream news media. Welcome to the new normal: LGBTQ people with targets on our backs.

In case anyone fails to get the message, James waves around a laser-sighted pistol throughout the video, alternating it with a military-style assault rifle and flame thrower, brandishing them for emphasis when rapping that all LGBTQ people are groomers and “a buncha pedophiles” who should be killed.

Read in P&P

Why I, a Presbyterian Minister, Take Pride in Pride

John A. Giurin

To keep things in perspective, let me feature John’s powerful story about his path to LGBTQ-affirmation as a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Canada. His Church’s journey and his own personal one serve as reminders that the loudest toxic voices are not necessarily ascendant.

It soon became clear that there was no Biblical basis for the rejection of LGBTQi people, and that society’s stance was based on ignorance and prejudice rather than reason and understanding. My heart and my head were finally on the same page: LGBTQi folks were different from straight people in one way, but just ordinary human beings in every other aspect of life.

Read in P&P

Christian Media Scoffs at Church of England for Having “No Official Definition” of Woman

Esther Spurrill-Jones

I didn’t mean to make today’s theme religious, but I must feature this excellent story about the Church of England declining to play the transgender “gotcha game.” Continuing a series of rebuttals to anti-LGBTQ articles in The Christian Post, Esther breaks down why Christian institutions should resist simplistic definitions of “woman” that serve only to exclude transgender women.

The idea seems to be that the definition of “woman” is so evident that they should ridicule those who cannot or will not give this definition. Of course, the only definition they will accept is one that does not include trans women.

It seems to me that the member who asked the CofE to “define woman” was likely following this trend, and not asking in good faith.

Read in P&P

— Memoir —

Slammed: a Memoir

John Cormier

Busted! With John’s meth suppliers in jail or out on bond, he’s crashing hard. Will a few days of enforced sobriety set him on a path to health? Or will he hunker down and turn inward? This chapter is fast paced and refreshing as an April breeze!

Withdrawal from Tina wasn’t like withdrawal from alcohol or opiates. There were no chills or fever or vomiting. Hell, that happened often enough when we were on drugs. But the mental withdrawal was its own kind of hell.

It was as if Tina had cut off all circulation to my emotions, like a limb that had fallen asleep. Now with circulation restored, my emotions were all flooding back like thousands of tiny pins overwhelming my undistracted brain.

Read: How My Gay Ass Came Out the Second Time as a Meth Addict

Alzheimer’s: A Gay Love Story

Michael Horvich

Join Michael for a moving four-parter about life with Alzheimer's, or to be more precise, life with a gay partner diagnosed with a form of early-onset dementia that threatens to destroy the couple’s “golden years” before they get started.

My perceptions of what was happening to us were not the same as his perceptions and it served no purpose in trying to convince him, so I turned to writing…

During our forty-one years we often re-negotiated and changed roles… Our love continued to grow, we were each other’s best friends, and at times worst critics.

Read: Alzheimer’s: A Gay Love Story

Read: A Love Story, the Diagnosis

— Essays and Creative Nonfiction —

Twitter Lets ‘Libs of TikTok’ Direct Violence Against LGBTQ Teens

James Finn

When Chaya Raichik tweets to her 1.3 million followers, violence or threats inevitably follow. The people acting on her tweets are very often the white-supremacist Proud Boys, who have targeted nearly every event Libs of Tik Tok has tweeted about, and who rarely or never target events she doesn’t tweet about.

Last Wednesday, OutLoud — an LGBTQ youth program in sleepy North Bay, Ontario in Canada — got slammed with a “tsunami” of hate messages and death threats. Executive Director Seth Compton, several staff members, and many individual teenagers and parents received violent threats.

Read in P&P

Calling for Beta Readers for LGBTQAI+ Sports Romance Novel


Hey readers! I am currently editing my First Strike series and it’s time to put the first installment, Taking the Field, out there for beta reader feedback. What’s in it for you? Well, you get to read a first, early copy of the book for free and have a real impact on how the story is shaped and refined before publication.

Read in P&P

The Hidden World of Fitness Clubs and Gay Sauna Sex


Steam rooms and saunas have been around since Roman times. Health benefits include cleansing pores, detoxifying, and relieving stress. The gay bathhouse includes all the benefits of a traditional spa, but with an extra, unspoken privilege.

The gay bathhouse is an emancipation from the constraints of living within a hetero world. In other words, it is a place to have lots and lots of gay sex.

Read in P&P

The Movies That Made Me Bisexual

Esther Spurrill-Jones

When Nick in Heartstopper had his moment watching Pirates of the Caribbean, bisexuals from all over sighed in agreement. The Mummy and Pirates of the Caribbean are commonly known in online bisexual circles as movies that cause bisexual awakenings. I do find bisexual joy in watching them as well, but here are a few other movies that I look back on and go, “oh, that’s why I liked that!”

Read in P&P

I Almost Didn’t Write This Story about LGBTQ-Bigotry in Michigan

James Finn

I live near Grand Rapids, so the story grabbed me, but the thought of writing about it depressed me. Why? Because this is where we are now, as a nation and in my state. Discrimination against LGBTQ people is ordinary and expected, and today’s radical supreme court is carving out a privileged place for it in constitutional law.

Read in P&P

How a Simple Seed Saved my Marriage but Complicated my Gender Dysphoria

Dave Smurthwaite

At the time, my girlfriend was deciding whether to break up with me again.

Honestly, I wanted to be a great boyfriend. And honestly, I sucked at it like 90%, maybe 95% of the time. The worst part was that I knew it and still couldn’t seem to get past it. Every time I even thought about changing, my insecurities and uncertainties would swirl into a raging tornado of contradictions.

Read in P&P

Is Gay Fatigue a Thing?

Rand Bishop

“I don’t know about you,” Ben confessed. “But, lately, I’ve been experiencing gay fatigue.”

He proceeded to explain what he meant by this heretofore unknown (at least, to me) syndrome. He said he’d grown weary of feeling like he always has to advertise his queerness. He’s feeling tired of putting his gay foot forward and making his membership in the LGBT+ community obvious to the world 24/7/365.

Read in P&P

Transgender Acceptance, A Day At The Park

Kitty Whitemore

I was about 2 years into my gender transition when I got a little stir crazy. I had lost my closest friends, I was lonely, and I craved human companionship. I decided to look into a local tennis league. I was not ready to make the leap to Kitty at that moment. I dressed in women’s shorts over compression shorts and a tank top. I thought it was androgynous; in retrospect I presented like a gay male. I figured that was a logical step.

Read in P&P

Why Not a Pride Flag in Minot?

Kyle Palmer

The majority council’s decision to move the subject forward despite [Carrie Evans’] absence offers a poignant illustration of the obstinance deeply rooted in North Dakota’s political echo chamber: one that effectively saw her speech and spat.

In the following, I will demonstrate how this political consciousness acts to drive the LGBTQ+ people away from their families and hometowns.

Read in P&P

There for the Grace of God Go I: Transgender Identity Crisis # 78.

Fiona Evangeline Leigh

Young men and women have given themselves over to the rites of an early Lughnasadh. Lithe and half-naked they hurl themselves into the sea from the pier, each side performing for the delectation of the other. They emerge laced with water and gleam with vitality and youth, baptism fresh, announcing to the onlookers a pride in their beauty and potential. I wonder if they know how lucky they are to be that young and seemingly so well-adjusted. They storm through the crowds half-giddy with delight, as they should.

Read in P&P

Fighting Against Red State Trauma

Henry Lee Butler

The Supreme Court is set to say they do. Any person who disagrees or disapproves of my life as a gay man has the right to deny me services within the context of a free market system. That the conservative “Red” states make no distinction between public and private services when issuing edicts of condemnation and discrimination, it is only a matter of time before all of us who are LGBTQ are denied the right to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ in those bastions of illiberal democracy.

Read in P&P

— Fiction Series—

Searching for the Lost Quivira

David Wade Chambers and Court Atchinson

David and Court begin a new story in the Prairie Death Tales series set in fictional Dine City, Oklahoma. A serial killer stalking the town’s gay community might still be at large, but the story shifts focus to a mysterious compound outside city limits. Is the charismatic head of the hipster-philosopher commune a cult leader?

On the second floor of the building is the small, private study of Zaanzibar Murphy, founder, leader, patriarch. This room is reserved for his daily lessons and for a few hundred of the books that have most influenced his thinking.

On this particular morning in the study/library, Professor Sam Isaacs, head of the Philosophy Department at Jesse Chisholm University in Dine City, sat sorting his notes in preparation for his tutorial session with the Founder.

Today, he knew, they would again discuss Kant.

Read: People Of The Word
Read: 5 Minutes to Convince Me Otherwise

Anastasia the Nonbinary Dragon

Sieran Lane

This is a great series, reading on the surface like YA or even middle-grade high fantasy, but much more is going on underneath. Three chapters into this delightful tale of a shape-shifting dragon and zir friend Ero the calf, I’m ready to buy the book. But for the moment, all I can do is wait for Sieran to finish serializing it in P&P.

Ero giggled and vibrated against the warmth of his friend’s scales. “You’re an awful storyteller. So matter of fact and direct, no spice or sauce to it.” When the dragon chortled, the calf said, “It’s nice to see that you’re not good at everything, though.”

Ana was silent, and Ero thought he had said something wrong.

Read: Chapter 3: A Heart to Heart

Take it on Faith

Valentine Wiggin

A secret asexual traitor to her country? Valentine’s dystopian fiction series is set in the Empire, a future version of the United States where queer people either assimilate or flee. Amalia, who can walk through airports like she’s above the law, is helping an asexual person flee to the unlikeliest of destinations.

From what Amalia said, Yuri was one of her partners. That’s all she told me, though. For some reason, though, I assumed that Yuri was around Amalia’s age, maybe older if I had to guess. I wanted to have an idea of who Yuri was, but I knew better than to pry. Instead, I looked out the window and tried to get some sleep the way Amalia was doing. She had already drifted off, but my mind was racing.

Read: A Secret Asexual Traitor to Her Country (16)

— Poetry Picks —

Looking for Something I Lost

Alyssa Ferguson

I’m looking for something I lost
I don’t know what it is
But it looks like a loose green dress floating on a summer meadow of wildflowers
It smells like earth
And the perfume of those flowers

Read in P&P

Prague Encounter, 1959

David Wade Chambers

In dreams I remember your eyes:
grey as St. Vitus.
From one dark touch I knew:
the moment beguiled us.
Your eyes of rough grey stone:
shone through the shadows.

Read in P&P

Ménage à Trois: a Relationship Based on Dementia

Michael Horvich

Their life together was good, comforting, kind.
Roles “subject to change on a moment’s notice.”
And then the unanticipated, uninvited lover arrived.

Unannounced, a third partner joined the relationship.
Not fashionable when they first fell in love, being Gay
And having a “three-way” was not discussed in public.

Read in P&P

That’s it, that’s all, folks! I’ve got a pizza to attend to and some icy lemonade to enjoy on the porch. I hope your Sunday is pleasant, and I wish you a great week of reading.

Writers? We need a new prompt for tomorrow, and I’d be more than grateful if you’d hit me up in comments with suggestions.

See y’all next Sunday! ❤




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James Finn

James Finn is an LGBTQ columnist, a former Air Force intelligence analyst, an alumnus of Act Up NY, and an agented but unpublished novelist.