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LGBTQ Selfcare, Anglican Church Gives Queer People the Finger, Family Fights for Gay Son

Prism & Pen Weekly —August 7, 2022

by James Finn

This week’s P&P: One of Christianity’s senior leaders gives the middle finger to queer people around the world, a gay teen’s family fight for justice after police ignore a brutal homophobic assault, a corporate equality specialist shows us how supporting the marginalized helps everyone, and a new writer wows with short fiction that left me gasping for air. And much more as our writers explore self care amid the backlash!

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— Editor’s Picks —

Anglican Leader Rejects LGBTQ People, Embraces Persecuting Bully

James Finn

Last week at the Anglican Communion’s Lambeth Conference, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby announced that gay sex is definitely a sin and that reform of that Anglican doctrine is “unthinkable.” As much of the world gasped in shock, lesbian comedian Sandi Toksvig published a scorching, viral letter announcing she’d never again set foot in an Anglican church.

As Welby was making his speech morally condemning all LGBTQ people, I was busy writing this article about his appalling choice to treat LGBTQ bishops with naked contempt, stripping them and their spouses of human dignity, while he embraces and empowers moral monsters like Bishop Justin Badi of South Sudan.

Justin Badi, the Anglican Archbishop of South Sudan and one of the leaders of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA), is the man the Archbishop of Canterbury embraced and empowered. Mary Douglas Glasspool, an Anglican bishop in New York, is the woman the worldwide Anglican leader treated with bullying contempt.

Mary is The Other. She’s a lesbian married to a woman, a member of a traditionally persecuted minority — just like that boy in Africa whose family threw him into a river to die.

Read in P&P

How, If You Design for the Most Marginalized, Everyone Wins

Kai Stowers

As Justin Welby was showing the world how to effectively humiliate and hurt marginalized people, Kai was writing this fascinating article about helping the marginalized with effective design. She shows how keeping the needs of the marginalized in mind can help EVERYONE in an organization — as in how sidewalk curb-cuts that allow for wheelchair access accommodate lots of other people too.

The curb-cut effect also shows up in DEI work. For example, in an organization where Black women experienced significant barriers to inclusion, data showed that their managers were less supportive of them than other groups. The organization subsequently invested in inclusion training and management to change managers’ behaviors. As a result, this not only improved the experience of black women employees but also improved the culture and opportunities for all other demographic groups across the organization.

Read in P&P

Escaping Abuse with My Lesbian Lover and Her Newborn

Laura Albrecht

This piece of short fiction about two women, a malnourished infant, and an abusive husband is heartbreakingly beautiful. From about the midpoint down, I forgot to breathe.

We never dated anyone else. It was just us, for four wonderful years. I try not to think about it now, all the moments we had. I don’t blame her for leaving, for wanting to have a normal life. I wasn’t the easy path to take, Max was. She had a tech job, I was going to nursing school, and it was impossible to stay together. She met Max on Tinder, married him six months later, got pregnant, and moved out here, to 609 Wicker Street.

Read in P&P

— Memoir —

Slammed: a Memoir

John Cormier

John and Richard haven’t stopped slamming meth, even though John told his family and friends he was going straight. This week, he misses a bus to his summer-stage gig at the rep company he co-founded, then he stays up half the night surveilling sneaky “tree people.”

The stress from the arrest while continuing to use had pushed Richard’s psychosis into overdrive… Then came the people in the trees. It took awhile for me to fully understand what he was seeing, but apparently it was a reclusive tree dwelling people that lived in the parks and forests around the tri-state area. He told me the name he had found for them once, …

Read: Gay Meth Addict Fucks Up, Sends Up Red Flags

— Essays and Creative Nonfiction —

Surprise Naked Gay Bike Ride in St. Louis as We Continue Transgender Trek

Logan Silkwood

We never would have guessed we were going to end the evening watching hundreds of naked people ride past us on bikes as we finished up our calzones.

When my wife and I arrived at our St. Louis Bed & Breakfast, we found it full of conservative artifacts, and we resigned ourselves to a very familiar conversation. We’d already experienced the cold stares of strangers driving slowly by, fixating on us for looking different. We’re used to this as an interracial, queer, trans polyamorous married couple.

Read in P&P

I Have Evolved Being Gay: Growing up Again and Again and Again

Michael Horvich

I have grown up. Again. And again. And again.

When I was a young man, I would look at a new understanding regarding myself and life and say, “Wow, I was so naive. I will never let that happen again.”

I recently visited San Francisco, Gay Capital of the USA, to attend the Frameline 40 Film Festival. I experienced my documentary ALZHEIMER’S: A Love Story screen in front of a warm, accepting audience …

Read in P&P

Republicans Are Working to Turn America Into a Christian Iran

Tyger Songbird

Republicans love to condemn Iran’s theocratic fascism, deeming it autocratic and iron-fisted.

Republicans love to decry how sadistic and tyrannical regimes like Iran are, but that appears to be pure hypocrisy considering how hard they’re working to usher in Christian nationalism, which they might accomplish if they take over Congress in 2022.

In June, in video obtained by Right Wing Watch, Georgia’s Republican representative Marjorie Taylor Greene said …

Read in P&P

As a Queer Person, I Hate Being Asked About My Own Self Care

The Transgender Therapist

It’s a bit disturbing to see how outspoken these angry and hateful people have become. I am very fortunate to have surrounded myself in a little bubble of family who celebrate trans people. I almost forget that people have a problem with who I am until I look at social media or the news. Last year, one of my Medium musings got picked up and posted on a TERF website by a group of people who were considered too toxic to participate on Reddit.

Read in P&P

LGBTQ Backlash Self Care? I’m Lousy, Thanks. And You?

Jericho Turnpike

Still, perhaps unbelievably, I remained optimistic. I thought with my move to Florida, I’d see my daughters fairly frequently. That was thwarted, because I ended up moving a bit further from them than I had hoped, with one working full-time and the other in school.

To counter the loneliness I’m feeling, I force myself to go to a local gay men’s weekly dinner so I’m not sitting at home every evening alone; alas, just about every guy there is coupled, and there is one …

Read in P&P

Why Specialize Our Occupations But Not Our LGBTQ Identities?

Eugene Pierson

In my worldview, the increased specialization that occurred after major breakthroughs in research and innovation lends itself to a common thread that we now seek in the turn of the 21st century for the increased specialization and autonomy of our identities.

Read in P&P

A Gay Slice of Red Americana

Henry Lee Butler

In this boundary space, change has arrived, and it is big. Roe v. Wade has been struck down as the law of the land. Many at the coffee shop feel as if they have won a war, or a significant battle, because this change is galvanizing them for greater things.

Sitting in the coffee shop, the conversational murmur begins to resolve. Most often, these conversations are religious in nature, several bible study groups use the small conference room for their meetings.

Read in P&P

Transgender Imposter Syndrome

Kitty Whitemore

I’ve been on cross sex hormones for almost four years. I’ve integrated into society as a woman. I haven’t been misgendered in some time now. I always think someone might say something, but older women don’t attract much attention.

Fierce. I feel like my energy bounces off people and comes back to me in kind.

Read in P&P

Transgender Road Trip: We Saw Westboro Baptist Church and So Much More!

Logan Silkwood

The hateful message written on the Westboro Baptist Church building wouldn’t have attracted a transgender married couple as tourists, even if it was on the way of our long journey from the east of the United States to the west. We’ve seen enough hate to consider this message unremarkable, if disgusting. What is truly remarkable is the queer sanctuary that made an art out of love just across the street from that ugly place.

Read in P&P

Meet the Utah Teen Coldcocked and Concussed for Hugging His Boyfriend

James Finn

Last weekend shattered the couple’s peaceful plans, shocking Christian and angering his family, who supported and defended him fiercely (and effectively) in the face of a foot-dragging local police department.

I called the family last night to ask about the attack that landed Christian in the ER with a concussion and brain swelling — struggling with memory loss, disorientation, and serious pain for days.

Read in P&P

Thinking About Genital Surgery? My Story May Give You Pause

Suzanna Alastair

The choice to have bottom surgery is a decision that should be considered carefully. Genital surgery is a major surgical procedure that has plenty of risks. Complications are not uncommon. If all goes well, it can be a godsend to those suffering from gender dysphoria. However, when complications arise, the whole process can be downright miserable.

I recently had genital surgery and unfortunately, some complications arose that were serious enough to require a second operation only six months later.

Read in P&P

Turning the Volume Down on Anti-LGBTQ Haters

Amanda Laughtland

As an official Lesbian Expert© (a title which is no less real because I just made it up), I can tell you that a lot of the queer women I know are pretty good at self-care, except when we aren’t.

I don’t want to haul out the statistics on stuff like the use of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and other means of coping that can hurt our bodies over time. I don’t want to talk about the rates of suicide among queer people (although I have to mention that nearly half of queer youth have considered suicide, according to a recent survey).

Read in P&P

The Transgender Screams Inside Your Head

Emma Holiday

When you have a toothache or a headache or backache, you can describe it to your doctor and draw some sympathetic nods from those around you.

The ache of gender dysphoria is invisible and near impossible to explain. I live in New York City and even my regular doctors seem to have a problem understanding gender dysphoria and the fact that I am transgender.

Read in P&P

Alzheimer’s Doesn’t Discriminate in Sexual Matters or Ask Permission

Michael Horvich

Perhaps my success in loving someone living with Alzheimer’s Disease is that I had been able to create a life for Gregory, my partner of decades, which he could truly live in the moment, in which for me his now and his world were all that mattered.

I organized our life fully and carefully. This gave Gregory a certain sense of consistency and control and allowed me to make sure that what needs to be done got done, especially because I am the one who has to do it … all.

Read in P&P

Trans-Trender — What a Nonsense!

A Breath of Elena

There is no transgender trend or trans-trender for short. Anyone who does it will regret it badly. And I was just talking about the body. Consider the social consequences, which for many weigh even more.

As a transgender person, you really are born in the wrong body and sooner or later you will discover this for yourself. The lucky ones among us recognise this in childhood, so that processes that take place during puberty can be limited or even stopped.

Read in P&P

— Fiction Series —

Anastasia the Nonbinary Dragon

Sieran Lane

Shape-morphing dragons and cows who spent part of their lives as humans. High fantasy AND allegory! This fantastic series continues with world-building explanations and unexpected developments.

Anastasia glared at him. “Stop staring, Ero.”

The calf-shifter blinked. “Sorry, I just didn’t expect that you would, uh, present in such a masculine way.” He blushed.

Lucille stared at Ana like she could drill diamonds into zir skull. She gritted out, “I knew there was something familiar with you, Tundra.”

The dragon hissed. “My name is Anastasia. I’m very sorry for what happened to your farm ...”

Read: Chapter 5: Uncomfortable Truths

The Salt Fork Murders

David Wade Chambers and Court Atchinson

David and Court’s Prairie Death Tales series is set in fictional Dine City, Oklahoma where a serial killer might be stalking the local gay community. The authors recently changed the working title of this series of shorts from Searching for the Lost Quivira to The Salt Fork Murders.

“This is all such bullshit!” Jesse Perkins said at last. There was a bitter edge to his voice. “Why are you guys all worrying about gold and which Europeans found it or didn’t find it? All that really matters is that native peoples be given proprietary rights to their own knowledge, to their own land. This science you worship is nothing but a tool, a white man’s tool for colonial exploitation.” As he said this, he looked directly at Michael Legge.

Read: Ain’t No Cure For Summertime Blues

Read: Let’s Talk About Sex

— Poetry Picks —

Green and Blue — a poem

Alyssa Ferguson

The difference of green to green
is like the difference of blue to blue:
unseen, but true.
The greenness of my green is seen
by you as greenness of a different hue…

Read in P&P

Wanting to be a Diva for a Night — a poem

Amae

Descending claustrophobic staircases — as surreal a picture as one could imagine.
With her diamond ring and sequin dress, she dressed to the max.
The atmosphere is heavy and foreboding in a smoke-filled room with hungry shark-like gazes…

Read in P&P

Touchstone: A poem to visit during my journey with HRT

Simon May

This is the poem I’ll read some day
in a voice I’ve never known.
Like a turtle to her natal beach
I’ll return to these words
Over each chapter of my ontogenesis…

Read in P&P

I Do Not Grieve My Father’s Death — I Grieve His Life

Michael Horvath

I do not grieve my father’s death.

I grieve the inevitability of death.
•finality of death.
•mystery of death.
•awareness of my own death…

Read in P&P

Thanks for reading! Whether it’s an essay, fiction, or a poem, I hope you find a favorite in this selection. If so, could you reach out and let the writer know? I guarantee you’ll make their day!

And writers? Given any thought to our selfcare backlash prompt?

See y’all next Sunday! ❤

Jim

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James Finn

James Finn

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