Synopses & Reviews
The spiritual journey to adulthood is, for most gay men, particularly difficult. In an electrifying mix of theory and autobiography, Mark Thompson explores the stages of healing and recovery that men can experience if they dare to take the path leading to a fully integrated body and spirit. In his own life, he details the experience of growing up gay in a dysfunctional family, the heady days of the early 1970s in San Francisco, and his attempts to heal himself--from the fairy circles to the deepest reaches of the leather movement.
Intermixed is an explanation of archetypes and how they function in gay man's life, the roles that they assume, the dangers that they hold, and the lessons that must be learned for each gay man to heal his own gay soul, spirit, and body.
"Unsparingly candid . . . a provocative work."--Library Journal
"Stories like this don't usually get told--perhaps that's what makes Thompson's cri du coeur noir feel so fresh and original. . . . I see both selfless generosity and fearlessness in the telling of these extremely intimate stories, which the author has put out in the hope of helping other gay men to see and learn about themselves."--Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review
"Gay Body is as much a meditation on the spirit as it is the flesh. Thompson's moving, sometimes harrowing, sometimes gut-wrenching memoir . . . is but one version of the journey that all gay men must take if they are to find themselves whole."--Lambda Book Report
"Gay Body has the warmth and humanity of an autobiography and the depth and analysis of a theological work, yet reads like a mystery novel. . . . Thompson seems to have found the unconscious pulse of a gay man's soul, for as I read, I found my own experiences coming back to me within a wider perspective and with new understanding."--White Crane Journal
"Thompson seamlessly weaves an unsparingly candid autobiographical narrative with broader observations, drawing on elements of Jungian archetypes, gay history, and mythology, and New Age spirituality. . . . A provocative work."--Library Journal
"This brilliant book should be required reading for every gay man interested in personal growth and healing. . . . Gay Body offers invaluable insight, compassion, and wisdom to guide us in our search for meaning."--Genre
"The road Thompson travels is fascinating, as he unlocks closets within closets. . . . A powerful inner quest . . . truthfully described."--the Washington Post
About the Author
was born and raised on the Monterey Peninsula, California, where he was exposed to a wide range of spiritual beliefs and practices. In 1973, he helped lead the Gay Students Coalition at San Francisco State University, and has worked for gay and feminist causes since that time.
He began his career in journalism with the national gay newspaper The Advocate in 1975, reporting on culture and politics in Europe. He continued to serve the publication during the next nineteen years in a number of capacities--as a feature writer, photographer, and senior editor. In 1994, he completed his tenure at the magazine by editing Long Road to Freedom: The Advocate History of the Gay and Lesbian Movement (St. Martin's Press), a massive volume of half a million words and over seven hundred photographs documenting the gay and lesbian struggle for civil rights. The book was nominated for two Lambda Literary Awards.
Thompson's other work includes the acclaimed 1987 anthology Gay Spirit: Myth and Meaning (St. Martin's Press), which examined gay spirituality from different perspectives. Leatherfolk: Radical Sex, People, Politics, and Practice (Alyson Publications), a 1991 collection, and Gay Soul: Finding the Heart of Gay Spirit and Nature (Harper San Francisco), a 1994 book consisting of in-depth interviews and photographs with sixteen writers, teachers, and visionaries, have also been nominated for Lambda Literary Awards.
Thompson has contributed to a variety of other publications, including Hometowns: Gay Men Write About Where They Belong (Dutton), Positively Gay: New Approaches to Gay and Lesbian Life (Celestial Arts), Out in Culture (Duke University Press), and Gay Men at the Millennium: Sex, Spirit, Community (Tarcher). He frequently lectures on contemporary aspects of gay male experience, and has spoken at the University of California/Los Angeles, City University of New York, and the University of Wisconsin, as well as to groups ranging from the National Organization of Changing Men to the Unitarian Church. Thompson lives in Los Angeles with his longtime life partner, Episcopal priest and author Malcolm Boyd. He is 0currently working toward a graduate degree in clinical psychology at Antioch University.