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

Queer Celeb Crushes, Catholic War on LGBT, a Grooming Victim Cries Foul

Prism & Pen Weekly — July 24, 2022

by James Finn

Wow! When P&P called for stories about celeb crushes, we had no idea how slammed we’d get with cool, insightful stories. You gotta read some! Plus, a gay man who was groomed for real, an affirming queer Christian, and stories about gay couples thriving under the burden of terminal illnesses like Alzheimer’s and ALS.

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— Editor’s Picks —

Why Christians Become LGBTQ+ Allies: How The Christian Post Gets it Wrong

Esther Spurrill-Jones

Continuing a series of rebuttal articles, Esther discusses her path to becoming an LGBTQ-affirming Christian before she realized she was LGBTQ. She takes Christian Post writer Samuel Sey to task for intellectual dishonesty on LGBTQ matters and on his apparent embrace of Christian racism.

When I was growing up, church leaders taught me that your conscience was created by God to work along with Holy Spirit to nudge you to do what is right.

If your church says you have to be racist and/or homophobic in order to be a Christian, they are wrong. Find a new church.

Read in P&P

Catholic Hospital Chain Escalates Church War on LGBTQ Workers

James Finn

This is scariest story you HAVEN’T seen in mainstream media yet. (But you will.) An order of Catholic nuns is opening up a new front in their Church’s war on LGBTQ employees. The nuns have partnered with an anti-LGBTQ hate group to challenge Title 7 civil rights law. If they succeed, almost every religious business owner in the U.S. will gain legal grounds to mistreat LGBTQ workers.

Nobody has ever claimed Catholic hospital workers are religious ministers, and the Peoria nuns, if they are sued by a gay couple, won’t be using that as a defense. That’s what makes their new policy so disturbing. They’re trying to force open a broad new avenue to let nominally religious corporations exclude LGBTQ people.

Enter Alliance Defending Freedom, stage right, jumping in bed with the nuns.

Read in P&P

I Was Groomed: “Concerned Conservatives” Have it ALL wrong!

Rand Bishop

“Groomer” is the anti-LGBTQ slur du jour, painting queer people as sexual predators. Rand was groomed as a child and sexually assaulted by a trusted adult. He’s asking people to grasp the difference between the slur and the reality — to understand using “groomer” as a slur makes sexual abuse like he lived through more likely for more children.

The head counselor must have picked me out upon my arrival at the lakeside property. And, over the course of the two weeks to follow, I garnered the lion’s share of his attention. This didn’t seem at all strange to me, as I had been raised to believe that I was special and superior.

He asked me if I liked lemonade. Without hesitation, I answered in the affirmative.

Read in P&P

My LGBTQ Agenda? It Started with Adam and Eve …

Danni Michaeli

When Danni’s husband Dave was diagnosed with ALS, he introduced a banner on his Facebook wall, “Until Further Notice, Celebrate Everything.” What has that got to do with the Tree of Knowlege and LGBTQ agendas? Everything!

I want to change the world because I am human, and I am embracing my essential nature. To deny it would be denying my spiritual imperative. Gay people, straight people, it’s true for all of us. Maybe my changes involve a little more color and flourish. I’m going to dance a little more, joke around and show my love to a lot of people. I’m human, and I’m gay, and this is my agenda. Have fun, challenge yourself, make a difference, change the world.

Read in P&P

— Memoir —

Slammed: a Memoir

John Cormier

Nearly getting arrested snapped John out of a fog of meth addiction that destroyed his theater career and could easily have ended his life. His dealer Jackson WAS arrested, and now he’s threatening John. But the threats might be the least of John’s worries.

Jackson was born Eric Matthew Kats on October 23rd, 1974. At 19 he was diagnosed with HIV and Hepatitis B. After moving to Las Vegas, he was arrested at 22 or 23 on multiple drug trafficking charges for meth, heroin, and cocaine.

This didn’t lead to an overwhelming amount of empathy from me, however, as Jackson had flat out lied about his [HIV] status.

Read: Gay Meth Addict gets Threatened When Dealer Makes Bail

Alzheimer’s: A Gay Love Story

Michael Horvich

These two chapters conclude Michael’s four-parter about life with Alzheimer’s after his partner of decades was diagnosed with dementia. Anyone who doubts the solidity of love between men, or who wonders about the validity of same-sex marriage, should read this gripping, sad, joyful story.

After ten years of living with Alzheimer’s Disease, he needed more help than I could provide at home. Part of the “sign” was also Gregory somehow implying, “I need to slow down, I cannot meet your expectations, Michael, and continue trying to keep my life normal.”

During his three day stay at the hospital I found a bed for him, in a private room, at the Lieberman Center Memory Care Facility.

Read: A Gay Love Story — Chapter Three of Four

Read: A Love Story — Chapter Four of Four

— Essays and Creative Nonfiction —

Transgender Survival Camouflage, Behind Enemy Lines

Emma Holiday

If you are transgender, you have spent a large part of your life behind enemy lines. Regardless of whether you are MTF or FTM, you have lived it camouflaged … You know what it is like to be undercover, desperately trying to stay stealth, worried about being discovered and outed …

Read in P&P

The Queering of Contemporary Christian Music: 8 Big Names to Know

Esther Spurrill-Jones

I noticed that since I was a teenager listening to Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), it was already changing, becoming more cookie cutter worship music and less the interesting, sometimes envelope-pushing, artistry I loved. I stopped listening to CCM when it got boring.

Maybe if I had known that there is a long history of LGBTQ+ artists in CCM, I would have been more interested, but I had no idea they existed when I was growing up.

Read in P&P

The invisible trans woman, disappearing into womanhood

Stephanie Moga

For transgender women, the truth is, we endeavor to disappear. There is no higher compliment, no greater desire than to become invisible. For many, this invisibility is a safety issue and a profound validation of the ultimate goal of being seen as a woman.

Read in P&P

How Not To Scare Away Transgender Employees and Job Seekers

Kai Stowers

This type of [negative] experience is far too common for transgender, gender nonconforming, and intersex (TGI) people. It’s almost guaranteed to happen if your organization hasn’t specifically thought about creating inclusion for us. Unfortunately, this is a space where your good intentions don’t matter if you can’t back them up with intentional, inclusive, and respectful actions.

Read in P&P

Longings for the Unreachable: a Brief Bisexual Genderfluid Crush Compendium

aleXander hirka

Crushes.
We scatter our sighs and emotions.
And swoons.
We see something in them. Something so special. Extraordinary. Enchanting. Others see it too — but not everybody.
(There were even those who preferred Paul McCartney.)

We can share a crush with a friend, but somehow they are ours.
Our dreamboats!

Read in P&P

Coming Out Via The Method Of Queer TV Crushes

Sarah McManus MSc

I don’t remember the name of my very first TV crush or the show that she was on, only that I was around six years old and, to paraphrase Marge Simpson, I just thought she was neat. All I wanted in the whole world was to meet this woman. I remember she wore a lot of suits and was very confident, I wanted to grow up to be her but also fancied her, without knowing what that meant.

Read in P&P

My Biggest Queer Crushes Are Always Relationship Crushes

Roo Benjamin

Stand By Me is told through the eyes of Gordie Lachance (played by Wil Wheaton), as he reminisces about his childhood and friendship with Chris Chambers (River Phoenix).

Some may guess my crush was on River Phoenix — the poster-boy who already had a presence like James Dean. But it was Wil Wheaton and the character of Gordie Lachance I was most drawn to.

Read in P&P

The Vampire Diaries Failed Their Token Gay Character

Esther Spurrill-Jones

I’m so disappointed in the way the token gay character on this show was written. He is a bigoted, conservative, hateful man who dies rather than admit he is wrong about his awful beliefs.

Unless they somehow bring him back in later seasons, I have to say that they failed their token gay character.

Read in P&P

Say Anything… Even My Name. My Queer Movie/TV Crush

Skye Mo'ipulelehua Kahoali'i

My queer movie crush was and is Ione Skye.

My relationship to her should be pretty obvious. Gotta be crushing uber-hard to try and honor an actress by taking her name and making it yours. Most folks remember her from the movie “Say Anything.” That was the movie that said to me, “Be Anything. Be her.”

Read in P&P

Oh, Yes — That Little (Gay) Crush on Michael J Fox

KP_the_writer

Michael J Fox was simply my FIRST crush. But James asks a great question — did this crush (and those that followed) help me feel more secure in my identity or hinder me? Both. Neither. I don’t know. It’s confusing, because I’m, ‘an interesting situation.’

I was taught that transsexuals were gay people who transition to become straight.

Read in P&P

My Bisexual Asexual TV & Movie Crushes

Esther Spurrill-Jones

I’m asexual and bisexual, so sometimes it’s very hard for me to pin down what exactly is a crush for me. Since I don’t experience sexual attraction, my crushes are based on other things like romantic attraction and aesthetic attraction.

In previous articles, I talked about Jareth the Goblin King and Sarah in Labyrinth, Éowyn, Legolas, and Samwise in The Lord of the Rings, Jack and Rose in Titanic, Westley and Buttercup in The Princess Bride, and Neo and Trinity in The Matrix.

Read in P&P

Wisconsin Catholic Schools to Trans Students: Get Out

James Finn

Catholic families with trans kids in the Green Bay region now have no good choice but to pull their kids from Catholic schools. I know this might sound like a no-brainer to some readers, but families choose Catholic schools for many reasons, from perceived academic excellence to valuing the Church while disagreeing on some matters.

I’m 60 old, and I’ve never experienced teenagers being treated with this kind of naked hatred and hostility. People need to wake up and back off.

Read in P&P

The Transgender Strength. Baby don’t Hurt Me.

Emma Holiday

I have tried every way not to be transgender. Even my therapist has acknowledge that she has never met someone who has so thoroughly fought their transgender medical diagnosis.

I did not want to enter the ring but gender dysphoria gave me no choice. I entered to survive.

Read in P&P

My Transgender Movie Crushes

Emma Holiday

As someone who is transgender, my crushes were more complicated than most. I have crushes on women because I like women and I have crushes on women because I wanted to be them.

Complicated huh?

As a repressed MTF transgender female, I have always loved ROMCOMs. So here’s my top eight list:

Read in P&P

Everything I Have Learned From Drooling Over Gillian Anderson

GB Rogut

Now, here’s a confession, dear reader. None of my IRL people know I’m bisexual. Not a single one of them. You, a random person on the internet, know more about me than most of my “friends.”

The reason is very simple: Even though the laws in my country have changed a lot, the prevailing atmosphere is still one of intolerance.

Read in P&P

I Give Up — I Remain a Man

Elena Wunderbar

I’ve talked for months about what it’s like to be a trans woman, I’ve made decisions, set appointments, even started taking hormones myself (diy). The full programme.

But now it’s over. I give up. Once and for all.

Read in P&P

Grounded to the Soil: Racism in the UK LGBTQ+ Community

Amae

Yes, not everyone is physically attracted to another. But, this happened too often when I approached a white gay and attempted dialogue, and they responded by looking to the ground. The silence ensues, followed by the overwhelming feeling of humiliation.

Yes, it is good to know where I stand with you, but, sadly, so many align with the Aryan ideals of beauty.

Read in P&P

— Fiction Series —

Searching for the Lost Quivira

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 Quivera chapters give us at peak into the life of hipster-philosopher Zaanzibar Murphy, who may or may not be leading a cult in a commune right outside town.

“They’re your run-of-the-mill Holy Rollers, get the spirit, speak in tongues, stuff like that. Highway Holiness is further out, way further out. The local deputy told me, and I quote: ‘Out there, church ain’t over ’til the snakes are back in the bag.’”

Bemused, Murphy stopped in his tracks. “It’s in Mark. ‘They shall take up serpents, drink poison, and it shall not hurt them.’”

Read: Tilting at Windmills

Read: Church Ain’t Over Till …

— Poetry Picks —

Marching Through Oz: A Poem.

JULIAN GRACIANO NUNEZ

Hammer — thud! — Oh yee, ouch,
Gosh darn, — szzoow, — sang my father
Holding hand to hand,
Only time, I’ve ever seen him comfort —
Himself.

Read in P&P

sis

theoaknotes

we playin catch.
everybody toss the ball.
sis toss the ball.
sis toss four at once.
sis watch me get hit by three.
the ball i catch burn my hands.

Read in P&P

Queer Bachelorette Haibun

Rebecca Herz

We sang Lizzo down 8th street and Leah caught me checking myself out in the window of Van Leeuwen. I was wearing my blue spaghetti strap dress that made me feel hot, plus my Bride-to-be sash, my hair in a messy bun.

Read in P&P

Leaving Neverland

Henry Lee Butler

I never felt my body electric jacked into the machinery of the night
Never heard the rhythmic breath in time, felt the rhythmic pulse
Never felt soul and body fused in release bound by the touch of fate
Never let my lips touch his, searching seeking yearning to taste one moment
Never let time slip the bonds of desire, my soul laid upon his body beautiful.

Read in P&P

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget (as if!) our prompt, My Queer Movie Crush, Then and Now.

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.