Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pre-order my latest book

Our first book in our trademarked series Bible Study that Doesn't Suck, will be released in early December.  You can help us get this book printed by pre-ordering your copy now at a reduced rate. 

All the proceeds from the book will benefit Welcome's work feeding the hungry, advocating for the homeless and educating faith leaders across the country about poverty issues.

Add the number of books you wish to buy
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

In the News: Bay Area Reporter

Confabs to spotlight trans leaders

Two upcoming conferences in Berkeley are focused on transgender issues; one deals with religious leaders while the other looks at leadership in general.

First up is the Transgender Religious Leaders Summit, taking place November 1-3 at the Pacific School of Religion, 1798 Scenic Avenue. The conference is co-sponsored by PSR, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry, and several seminary schools. Organizers noted that faith communities must be educated and inspired to embrace the inclusion and affirmation of transgender, queer, intersex, transsexual, and gender non-conforming members.

The summit begins with a welcome from Bernie Schlager, CLGS executive director, on Thursday, November 1 at 6 p.m. A catered dinner will then be held, followed by an evening worship service. The conference continues on Friday and Saturday with a variety of sessions, including workshops on religious movements and trans liturgy, the transgender Christ, and gender fluidity. Friday's keynote speaker is the Reverend Megan Rohrer, who will talk about faith leaders acting as bridges to communicate life-changing thoughts and actions.

There are also several partner events, including gatherings of gender non-conforming Jews and Muslims.
New Spirit Community church, which holds its services in the PSR chapel, will have a special transgender service Sunday, November 4 with Jakob Hero preaching. He is a former New Spirit intern and PSR graduate. The service begins at 11 a.m.

Full registration is $95, with a student rate of $60. One-day passes are also available for $55. For a complete schedule and more information, visit

One week later, November 9-11, the Transgender Law Center will hold its annual Transgender Leadership Summit on the UC Berkeley campus. The conference begins with welcoming remarks by TLC Executive Director Masen Davis Friday at 7 p.m.

The summit continues Saturday with a morning plenary and workshops, followed by an evening plenary session and celebration. More workshops are scheduled for Sunday morning ahead of closing remarks.
This will be TLC's seventh annual leadership conference and this year it will feature programs from members of the Transgender Advocacy Network, a national network of advocacy and educational organizations. Organizers said that a range of topics will be addressed, including legal issues, health care advocacy, and organizational development.

Registration is $50; limited income is $25. For more information, visit

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Living Lutheran Post: The Effect of Many Hands

I’ve eaten with close to a half a million people and, regardless of who they are or how often they eat with me, they all receive the same welcome.

Jordan was doing God’s work with his hands even when he was sitting on the other side of the feeding line. But after finding housing and becomi;postID=3959331453062178011ng the council president of St. Paulus Lutheran Church in San Francisco, Jordan revived the churches meal program for homeless individuals who are HIV positive, led efforts to partner with Project Homeless Connect to provide free prescription eye glasses for individuals in need and has transitioned from a regular guest at dinner to a meal host and a member of my board of directors.

I’m not telling you Jordan’s story to suggest that he is better than anyone else I’ve fed over the years. I’m telling you so that you’ll know that the work we do with our hands sometimes makes it possible for others to do God’s work with their hands.

Read the rest on Living Lutheran.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

In the News: Rochester Post Bulletin

Don't vote against my family

Posted: Sep 13, 2012, 10:07 am

As an ELCA Lutheran pastor who presides at weddings, I know that God shows up even when family members protest, the dress doesn’t quite fit or popular opinion is against the couple.

While my covenanted relationship is not recognized by the state as a “marriage,” I believe with all my heart that God’s love for me and my family is equal in every way to God’s love for those who will vote in November to make sure my family has fewer rights.

While I respect all faiths and the faith-led actions of others who disagree with me, in the sleepless nights following my son’s birth last week I was reminded that this inequality in the law hurts my family. Since my registered domestic partner gave birth to our son, I must wait another six months before I can apply for a second-parent adoption and gain the legal parental recognition I would get automatically if our relationship was called a “marriage.”

Every parent has “what-if” thoughts that haunt them as often as a newborn baby squeaks; I pray yours never come up for vote.

Pastor Megan Rohrer

See original post here. 

New Living Lutheran Post: The Joy and Terror of the Cross

Sept. 14 is the day we foolishly celebrate a device of terror. Yes, it’s Holy Cross Day.

Before we celebrate, I’ll confess that I didn’t know this day existed before I was asked to write about it. If Jesus would have told me along with Peter about needing to suffer on the cross to save all of humanity, I would have told him that it’s a great metaphor, but there are plenty of better ways to spend his time (i.e., healing the sick, feeding the poor, ending war, teaching us how to be less discriminatory and really love all our neighbors, etc.).

Read the rest at Living Lutheran.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

In the News: The Advocate

WATCH: March Honors 46th Anniversary of Compton's Cafeteria Riots

Nearly five decades later, San Franciscans look back at a major turning point in trans liberation.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

August 23 2012 5:31 PM ET

In the 1960s, Compton's Cafeteria in San Francisco's gritty Tenderloin neighborhood was virtually the only place in the city where transgender folks could congregate publicly, as they weren't allowed in gay bars at the time. Cross-dressing was still illegal in the city, and the local police often used the presence of trans women as a pretext for raiding and closing gay bars.
The patrons at Compton's were used to being rousted by the police, but one night, after a cop attempted to arrest one trans woman, that "street queen" (as the women were often called) fought back and tossed her drink into the officer's face. A huge riot broke out and spilled into the neighborhood, becomimg one of the first transgender uprisings in the U.S., three years before New York's Stonewall. (There was a much smaller riot in L.A. in 1959.)

Trans people weren't the only ones rioting as the hours went on; they were joined by many from the country's first youth group, Vanguard Youth, as well as numerous street dykes, queer hustlers, and neighborhood locals. Later LGBT folks from other parts of the city joined in.
The Compton's riot was a turning point in trans liberation, and by 1969 the first transgender advocacy group in the nation -- and the world -- had been founded, according to

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Living Lutheran Post: St Clare of Assisi

Each Monday, I gather with a group of homeless youth in San Francisco who call themselves Otro Vanguard. I join them as a mentor, a pastor and an adult who won’t judge or take advantage of them.

Unfortunately, their stories are not too different from the stories of homeless and abandoned youth (estimated to be between 1.6 and 2.8 million) across the country. It’s hard to find the light in the deep darkness of their all too often broken and battered homes, scarred, addicted bodies or tales of dangerous sexual encounters.

Recently, I found myself sitting in a rocking chair as we shared stories, thinking about what faith stories could inspire the youth to take care of their bodies, live as soberly as possible and to seek the safest options for shelter that are available.

Read the rest at Living Lutheran.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Living Lutheran: A Lutheran Response to Shootings

Since I was 6 years old, I have been afraid of the kind of gun slaying that happened at the Batman screening recently. When I was younger, I tried to sleep in ways that made it look like my room was empty, so if an attacker came into my room at night they would not be able to find me. During nightmares, I strategized escape plans from attackers with guns in public places.

Unfortunately shootings, no matter how shocking, are not unique. And while I’m sure many survivors and pastors will be speaking out in the days following this event, I think the Lutheran tradition has a perspective that is helpful for this national conversation.

If you’re looking for lobbied opinions for more mental health care, more or less gun regulations or an attempt to figure out how or why this tragedy happened, you won’t find it here. Other traditions have louder, more polarized things to say. Lutherans are adept at issues that fall in the messy middle.

Read the rest at

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Living Lutheran: Of Backpacks and Organizing

When I was a student at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., I worked at the summer conferences serving lutefisk at the Nordlandfest, setting up microphones for weddings, cots for the summer music program and chairs for the ELCA South Dakota Synod Assemblies.

In addition to providing me with a way to pay for summer school room and board, I learned many of the behind-the-scenes skills it takes to be a good community minister.

While it may seem strange, I bet that the members of synodical staffs around the country and the ELCA churchwide staff who manage national gatherings may resonate with the call to organize and coordinate.
Perhaps Noah was the first to get large groups coordinated in response to a natural disaster, but certainly, Jesus continued this tradition as he organized 12 motley tax collectors, fishermen and other riffraff to feed people, heal the sick and travel about bringing good news to those who had ears to hear.

Read the rest at Living Lutheran.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Living Lutheran Post: The Weary Traveler

Over the past couple of years I have been traveling around the country to preach or present at conferences and to learn about the ways ELCA congregations have been responding to the poverty they find in the communities where they live and worship.

Everywhere I’ve visited I have been inspired by the creativity, gospel-centeredness and the risks congregations have taken to care for their neighbor and to tangibly pass on the grace they have received.

Some of the greatest risks these congregations have taken happened by inviting people inside their worship spaces and home lives.

Read the rest at

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New Cafe Article: Advocacy - Faith in Action

When most people think of the 2009 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ameria's Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis, they think of the votes cast to allow openly gay people to serve as pastors. Some advocacy-minded folk might also think of the launch of the ELCA Malaria Campaign.

I think of tornadoes.

It felt strange to me that my beloved Lutheran church, in the midst of the biggest economic crisis since the great depression, would spend such little time talking about domestic hunger and economic issues. Particularly at a time when the church seemed like it might be on the verge of splintering, it seemed like we should be talking about what Lutherans are best at: responding to poverty and advocating for hunger relief.

Sleepless in Minneapolis

Following in the footsteps of the great Civil Rights leaders who dramatized struggles in order to bring much needed attention to them, I decided to sleep on the streets of Minneapolis during the assembly. Since I had been on more than eight street retreats in San Francisco and lived with the poor in Nicaragua, I felt confident heading to Minneapolis. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

New Living Lutheran Blog: Upholding Human Dignity

During the 50 days of Easter, we remember the resurrected Christ, who pauses to dwell in humanness for a bit before ascending into the heavens.

With the stink of death still lingering in the air, our journey through Lent and Easter gives us a near-death experience without having to enter the grave ourselves. So what will we do as a church, as individuals in response to this life changing journey? As we shed the garments that kept us entombed, how shall we live in the world?

We pray weekly for daily bread, but Christ asks us to treat every person in need as if they are as sacred and as worthy of help as God’s own child. We ask God to be present at our meals, but Christ asks us to sell or give up our possessions every time someone is in need.
Read the rest on Living Lutheran here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In the News: Aztec Press

LGBTQ author aims to inspire (online version)
By Edward Henderson,
Posted on 07 May 2012.

San Diego State social work graduate student Zander Keig may have a promising literary career ahead of him. Keig’s book, “Letters For My Brothers: Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect,” has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, which honors excellence in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer literature. Winners of this prestigious award will be announced on June 4 at the 24th Annual Lambda Literacy Awards gala in New York City. Keig’s book is nominated in the Transgender Nonfiction category.

“Letters For My Brothers” is an anthology of 24 letters written by female-to-male transsexuals describing the challenges and offering insight from their transition. The concept for the book was inspired by the life of Louis Sullivan, a pioneer in FTM transsexual community activism. Sullivan communicated methods of obtaining peer support, professional counseling, endocrinological services and reconstructive surgery outside the institution of the gender dysphoria clinics, mainly through letter correspondence with individuals interested in making the FTM transition. From the mid-1980s until his death in 1991, Sullivan raised awareness and set the foundation for a community of FTM transsexuals through these letters.

“Today, fewer people who have experience in their transition stay involved in the community, so we have a dearth of mentors,” Keig said. “Because of that, I thought it would be a good idea to merry this letter writing concept with mentorship.”

Keig and his co-editor Megan Rohrer reached out to friends in the FTM community and posted public submission calls to find content for the book. The posts prompted writers to compose a nostalgic letter to themselves before they made the FTM transition. These letters highlighted their challenges, obstacles, fears and joys throughout the experience. Writers could also compose directly to FTM brothers offering advice and guidance.

Keig hopes the book will offer guidance to those within the FTM community in hopes to inspire anyone who reads it.

“If you fall outside the norms assigned to gender at birth, there are consequences. Here are 24 people who dared to transcend expectations of gender,” Keig said. “When people see others living an authentic life, I think it inspires them.”

Monday, April 23, 2012

In the News: Queer Voices 90.1 FM Pacifica KPFT

Listen to this interview for the Transgender Unity Banquet in Houston - it should be around the 6 minute mark.
Play  Download   - Available for 59 days since posting.

Monday, April 2, 2012

New Living Lutheran Article: Joy to the World

No, really.

I know, you’ve probably been led to believe that Christmas is the most joyful time in the church year. With all those rousing hymns, cartoons, window displays and cookies, it’s an easy mistake to make.

Yes, the self reflection and ritualized self-sacrifice of Lent can be a bit bah-hum-bug. But if you are a baptism centric Lutheran (or if you’d like to become one), this week is not only holy but also mystical and merry.

Read the rest at Living Lutheran.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Questions with Grandma: her baptism at 11

Find more questions with Grandma videos here.

Location:The Heard Farm, Pipestone, MN

In The News: Houston's Out Smart Magazine

Replayed from this online edition:

 Trans minister headlines Unity Banquet
by Neil Ellis Orts

The Reverend Megan Rohrer is the first openly trans pastor to serve in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Rohrer has been serving in San Francisco for a decade, first as a social worker and then as a pastor and executive director for The Welcome Ministry, a service to the homeless. Along the way Rohrer has developed programs, especially for homeless LGBTQ youth, and has also been the recipient of many honors, including an honorary doctorate from Palo Alto University.

Rohrer is one of the speakers at this year’s Transgender Unity Banquet (Saturday, April 28, at the Brookhollow Sheraton, 3000 North Loop West) and will also work with Montrose Grace Place, a local ministry to homeless youth.

Neil Ellis Orts: You’ve been invited to speak at the 20th annual Transgender Unity Banquet. What can those attending expect from you?
Megan Rohrer: There’s not a theme. However, the kind folk at Grace Lutheran Church and Montrose Grace Place are helping to get me there because I’m working on an LGBTQ homeless youth leadership project, which is interviewing queer youth who are in the shelter system around the country. I’ve traveled to lots of different cities to record stories of those youth, and while I’m in Houston I’ll be able to do that with the folk at Grace Lutheran. So I imagine I’ll be doing some speaking about the stories I’ve heard from the homeless youth.

Dress whites: Rev. Rohrer taps memories of a challenging childhood to effectively minister to San Francisco’s Tenderloin District.

Tell us a little about that project—how it got started and what it hopes to accomplish.
I’ve been doing work with the chronically homeless in San Francisco for the last 10 years. The Polk Street area in San Francisco, where I work, had historically been the gay district before the Castro became popularized by Harvey Milk. When the gay community in San Francisco moved to the Castro, the lower-income queers remained in the Polk Street area and many of them were sex workers. They kind of had an economy of sex work in that neighborhood. Then the AIDS crisis came along and kind of decimated that economy. So a lot of the older homeless folk in San Francisco that I work with are the remnants of this earlier gay community that used be a little more highly functioning.

As I worked with these older, chronically homeless, mostly gay men, I started working with the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society in San Francisco and a gentleman named Joey Plaster. He was starting to uncover some of this history in a Polk Street project that he did. We worked together to research a group of pastors from the early ’60s who had been sent to San Francisco after the National Council of Churches did a survey of then-adolescent Baby Boomers and what they were up to, so churches could respond to their needs. They did their survey by picking up hitchhikers across the country, and the youth they picked up all said they wanted to go to San Francisco. So the Council sent pastors from each of the denominations to San Francisco—perhaps one of the only times that churches have been ahead of the culture. They arrived in 1963, which was before the summer of love, so the hippie kids hadn’t arrived yet.

What they found in the Tenderloin neighborhood, where they stationed themselves, were these queer homeless youth, many of them trans, and most of them hustlers of some sort. So out of this movement, the pastors mobilized and were able to get federal funds by arguing for the first time that a [low-income group] could get federal poverty dollars for reasons other than skin color.

So Joey Plaster and I used the materials that were in the Historical Society and the writings that the queer hustlers from the ’60s had written about what their lives were like, and we shared them with the LGBT homeless youth who live in the Tenderloin today. They wrote responses, and we were able to get some grant funds to share the work from the ’60s and the work that we’re doing today in a few select cities around the country. Through our work using the history of those queer youth from the ’60s with queer youth today, we’ve found ways to encourage youth across the country to become more involved politically and share their stories. My hope is that collecting the stories around the country will make it possible to have a conference in DC in 2013 where some youth from places where I’ve traveled can come together, create their own agenda of what they’d like the LGBT community to advocate on their behalf, and to actually go and talk to their congress people. That’s the progression of how the project has unfolded.

That history with the National Council of Churches is new to me.
Most people haven’t heard it because there’s this movement in contemporary churches to pretend that there’s never been a history of pastors being supportive of the gay and lesbian community. I don’t know if that’s just people who are trying to whitewash religious history, or if it’s also a sense of people wanting to feel excited that they’re doing something new.

To switch gears a bit, I saw that you grew up in South Dakota. What’s the narrative thread that connects that South Dakota childhood to your street ministry in San Francisco?
I think there are a couple of threads that come out of that. One is that almost all the homeless people I work with in San Francisco are from the Midwest or from the South. They’re individuals who are either kicked out of their families or believed their communities wouldn’t support them, so they didn’t even bother coming out because they thought it would go horribly. So even though my family had better resources for supporting and loving me, a part of my work with the homeless is out of gratitude that I had a more receptive family than other people have.

Another part is that when I was five, my parents divorced because my father’s alcoholism became so violent and difficult to manage. There was a period of time when we lived with my aunt. We could have been considered homeless if we would have chosen to identify that way. I have memories of standing in the food line and getting our WIC block of cheese. And as part of a latchkey generation, when my mom was working, I loved hanging out in the library. But it wasn’t until years later that I learned that other people who are hanging out in the library are often homeless people who have no other place to go. So while my narrative isn’t the most extreme version of how people end up homeless, it touches upon some of the same pieces. I think that when you grow up as a small kid waiting in the food lines, it’s easier to see yourself serving in the food line. It doesn’t feel like such a foreign thing. A lot of things that could have been negative baggage become healthy baggage when I work with the homeless as a pastor. All the things I had to learn as a kid having an alcoholic father make me really good working with people with a lot of addiction issues. Thank goodness I’ve been able to do a lot of self-care work and a lot of healing from some of that childhood stuff. I think there’s a kind of intuition that children of alcoholic parents have to know about when things are safe, or ways to finesse a situation so it doesn’t become violent.

Where does your resolve come from to do this work?
My college in South Dakota was really homophobic. I had to move off campus for three months because I was getting death threats and football players were threatening to rape me and religious folk were trying to throw holy water on me to exorcize gay demons. I didn’t see myself as an optimist, but I’ve always been the kind of person who, in the midst of those dark moments, had something like a mystical sense of God being with me. No matter how many people told me that what I was doing was wrong, or that I needed to choose a different path, I always had this deep sense that nothing I could do could separate me from God’s love. And I think that’s the same kind of resolve I have in working with the homeless. I have this deep belief that in the midst of what might be someone’s worst moment, God is with them and for them. When people have said there will always be queer homeless youth because there will always be a family somewhere that’s not safe, I’ve never felt that could possibly be true. I have this sense that if people just knew the stories—in the same way coming out helped advance rights for queer adults—it could make life better, and that we could be part of change.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Living Lutheran: Roll Up Your Sleeves

The most unusual prayer I’ve ever written was a blessing for fertilizer. This was one of many prayers I wrote for the blessing of the Free Farm, where both Bishop Mark Holmerud of the ELCA’s Sierra Pacific Synod and Bishop Marc Andrus of the Episcopal Diocese of California declared the site a church.

Created from materials diverted from the San Francisco dump, on the site where St. Paulus Lutheran Church burnt down in the early ‘90s, the Free Farm is an assemblage of motley farm folk, hipsters, faith leaders, professors and hippies.

While the work that happens at the farm may not seem like typical church, the medical herb labyrinth created from the bricks of the old church and the fact that the farmers have grown and given away nearly 6,000 pounds of produce to local neighbors revives ancient Lutheran practices.

Read the rest at Living Lutheran

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In the News:Entertainment Weekly

24th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists announced: Recognizing LGBT lit

find original post here.

The finalists for the Lambda Literary Awards, or “Lammys” — honoring achievement in LGBT literature published in 2011 — were announced today by the Lambda Literary Foundation in Los Angeles. Nominees for the 24 categories range from major-publisher titles from well-known authors such as Alan Hollinghurst, Chris Adrian, and Hillary Jordan to debut writers from small presses. The Lambda Literary Foundation is spreading the wealth of recognition; this year, more than 600 titles have been nominated for an award. More than 90 booksellers, book reviewers, librarians, authors, previous Lammy winners and finalists, and other book professionals contributed to the selection of finalists.

The ceremony will take place on June 4 in New York City. Below is a full list of nominees:

Lesbian Debut Fiction
The Girls Club
, by Sally Bellerose, Bywater Books
Megume and the Trees, by Sarah Toshiko Hasu, Megami Press
My Sister Chaos, by Lara Fergus, Spinifex Press
Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation, by Christine Stark, Modern History Press
Zipper Mouth, by Laurie Weeks, The Feminist Press at CUNY

Lesbian General Fiction
The Dirt Chronicles
, by Kristyn Dunnion, Arsenal Pulp Press
The Necessity of Certain Behaviors
, by Shannon Cain, University of Pittsburgh Press
Six Metres of Pavement
, by Farzana Doctor, Dundurn Press
When She Woke
, by Hillary Jordan, Algonquin Books
, by Nina Revoyr, Akashic Books

Lesbian Memoir/Biography
How to Get a Girl Pregnant
, by Karleen Pendleton Jimenez, Tightrope Books
Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet
, by Catherine Friend, Da Capo Press/Lifelong Books
Small Fires: Essays
, by Julie Marie Wade, Sarabande
Taking My Life
, by Jane Rule, Talonbooks
When We Were Outlaws: A Memoir of Love & Revolution
, by Jeanne Córdova, Spinsters Ink

Lesbian Mystery
Dying to Live
, by Kim Baldwin & Xenia Alexiou, Bold Strokes
Hostage Moon
, by AJ Quinn, Bold Strokes
Rainey Nights: A Rainey Bell Thriller
, by R.E. Bradshaw, R.E. Bradshaw Books
Retirement Plan
, by Martha Miller, Bold Strokes
Trick of the Dark
, by Val McDermid, Bywater Books

Lesbian Poetry
15 Ways to Stay Alive
, by Daphne Gottlieb, Manic D Press
, by Dawn Lundy Martin, Nightboat Books
Love Cake
, by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, TSAR Publications
Milk and Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry
, edited by Julie R. Enszer, A Midsummer Night’s Press
The Stranger Dissolves
, by Christina Hutchins, Sixteen Rivers Press

Lesbian Romance
For Me and My Gal
, by Robbi McCoy, Bella Books
Ghosts of Winter
, by Rebecca S. Buck, Bold Strokes
Rescue Me
, by Julie Cannon, Bold Strokes
, by Gerri Hill, Bella Books
Taken by Surprise
, by Kenna White, Bella Books

Lesbian Erotica (4 finalists)
The Collectors
, by Lesley Gowan, Bold Strokes
Lesbian Cops: Erotic Investigations
, edited by Sacchi Green, Cleis Press
A Ride to Remember & Other Erotic Tales
, by Sacchi Green, Lethe Press
Story of L
, by Debra Hyde, Ravenous Romance

Gay Debut Fiction
98 Wounds
, by Justin Chin, Manic D Press
Dirty One
, by Michael Graves, Chelsea Station Editions
Have You Seen Me
, by Katherine Scott Nelson, Chicago Center for Literature and Photography
, by Garth Greenwell, Miami University Press
Quarantine: Stories, by Rahul Mehta, Harper Perennial

Gay General Fiction
The Empty Family
, by Colm Tóibín, Scribner
The Great Night
, by Chris Adrian, Farrar, Straus & Giroux
, by R. Zamora Linmark, Coffee House Press
The Stranger’s Child
, by Alan Hollinghurst, Alfred A.Knopf
The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov
, by Paul Russell, Cleis Press

Gay Memoir/Biography
Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo
, by Michael Schiavi, University of Wisconsin Press
For the Ferryman: A Personal History
, by Charles Silverstein, Chelsea Station Editions
Halsted Plays Himself
, by William E. Jones, Semiotext(e)
If You Knew Then What I Know Now
, by Ryan Van Meter, Sarabande Books
The Jack Bank: A Memoir of a South African Childhood
, by Glen Retief, St. Martin’s Press

Gay Mystery
The Affair of the Porcelain Dog
, by Jess Faraday, Bold Strokes
Blue’s Bayou
, by David Lennon, Blue Spike Publishing
Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries
, by Marshall Thornton, Torquere Press
, by Garry Ryan, NeWest Press
Red White Black and Blue
, by Richard Stevenson, MLR Press

Gay Poetry
Dear Prudence: New and Selected Poems
, by David Trinidad, Turtle Point Press
Double Shadow: Poems
, by Carl Phillips, Farrar, Straus & Giroux
A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos
, edited by David Trinidad, Nightboat Books
, by Thomas Meyer, Flood Editions
The Other Poems
, by Paul Legault, Fence Books

Gay Romance
Every Time I Think of You
, by Jim Provenzano, CreateSpace/Myrmidude Press
Settling the Score
, by Eden Winters, Torquere Press
Something Like Summer
, by Jay Bell, Jay Bell Books
, by Mel Bossa, Bold Strokes
, by Barry Brennessel, MLR Press

Gay Erotica
All Together
, by Dirk Vanden, iloveyoudivine Alerotica
, by Natty Soltesz, Rebel Satori Press
Best Gay Erotica 2012
, edited by Richard Labonte, Cleis Press
George Platt Lynes: The Male Nudes
, edited by Steven Haas, Rizzoli New York
History’s Passions: Stories of Sex Before Stonewall, edited by Richard Labonte, Bold Strokes

Transgender Fiction
The Book of Broken Hymns
, by Rafe Posey, Flying Rabbit
The Butterfly and the Flame
, by Dana De Young, iUniverse
I Am J
, by Cris Beam, Little, Brown Books for Children
, by L.A. Witt, Amber Allure/Amber Quill Press
Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica
, edited by Tristan Taormina, Cleis Press

Transgender Nonfiction
Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex
, edited by Eric A. Stanley and Nat Smith, AK Press
Letters for My Brothers: Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect
, edited by Megan M. Rohrer and Zander Keig, Wilgefortis Press
Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law
, by Dean Spade, South End Press
Re-Dressing America’s Frontier Past
, by Peter Boag, University of California Press
Tango: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels
, by Justin Vivian Bond, The Feminist Press at CUNY

Bisexual Fiction
Boyfriends With Girlfriends
, by Alex Sanchez, Simon & Schuster
The Correspondence Artist
, by Barbara Browning, Two Dollar Radio
Have You Seen Me
, by Katherine Scott Nelson, Chicago Center for Literature and Photography
, by J.M. Frey, Dragon Moon Press
The Two Krishnas
, by Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla, Magnus Books

Bisexual Nonfiction
Big Sex Little Death: A Memoir
, by Susie Bright, Seal Press
Bisexuality and Queer Theory: Intersections, Connections and Challenges
, edited by Jonathan Alexander & Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, Routledge
The Horizontal Poet
, by Jan Steckel, Zeitgeist Press
Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature
, edited by Qwo-Li Driskill, Daniel Heath Justice, Deborah Miranda, and Lisa Tatonetti, University of Arizona Press
Surviving Steven: A True Story
, by Ven Rey, Ven Rey

LGBT Anthology
Ambientes: New Queer Latino Writing
, edited by Lazaro Lima & Felice Picano, University of Wisconsin Press
The Fire in Moonlight: Stories from the Radical Faeries, edited by Mark Thompson, White Crane Books/Lethe Press
Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader
, edited by Michael Hames-García and Ernesto Javier Martínez, Duke University Press
Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme
, edited by Ivan E. Coyote & Zena Sharman, Arsenal Pulp Press
Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature, edited by Qwo-Li Driskill, Daniel Heath Justice, Deborah Miranda, and Lisa Tatonetti, University of Arizona Press

LGBT Children’s/Young Adult
Gemini Bites
, by Patrick Ryan, Scholastic
, by Malinda Lo, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
I am J
, by Cris Beam, Little, Brown Books for Children
, by Lili Wilkinson, HarperCollins
Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy
, by Bil Wright, Simon & Schuster

LGBT Drama
Letters to the End of the World
, by Anton Dudley, Playscripts, Inc.
A Menopausal Gentleman: The Solo Performances of Peggy Shaw
, by Peggy Shaw, University of Michigan Press
Secrets of the Trade
, by Jonathan Tolins, Samuel French, Inc.
The Temperamentals
, by Jon Marans, Chelsea Station Editions
The Zero Hour
, by Madeleine George, Samuel French, Inc.

LGBT Nonfiction
Gay in America: Portraits
by Scott Pasfield, by Scott Pasfield, Welcome Books
God vs. Gay?: The Religious Case for Equality, by Jay Michaelson, Beacon Press
The H.D. Book, by Robert Duncan, University of California Press
A Queer History of the United States, by Michael Bronski, Beacon Press
Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories, by Wanda M. Corn and Tirza True Latimer, University of California Press

The German
, by Lee Thomas, Lethe Press
Paradise Tales: and Other Stories, by Geoff Ryman, Small Beer Press
Static, by L.A. Witt, Amber Allure/Amber Quill Press
Steam-powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft, Torquere Press
Triptych, by J.M. Frey, Dragon Moon Press

LGBT Studies
Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex
, edited by Eric A. Stanley and Nat Smith, AK Press
Freedom with Violence: Race, Sexuality, and the US State
, by Chandan Reddy, Duke University Press
Sister Arts: The Erotics of Lesbian Landscapes, by Lisa L. Moore, University of Minnesota Press
Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality, by Margot Weiss, Duke University Press
¡Venceremos?: The Erotics of Black Self-making in Cuba
, by Jafari S. Allen, Duke University Press

Friday, February 24, 2012

In the News: Out Smart

The 20th Annual Transgender Unity Banquet Scheduled for April 28, 2011

The Houston Transgender Unity Committee is extending an open invitation to help us celebrate the 20th Annual Transgender Unity Banquet on Saturday April 28, 2011. This is the largest Transgender Community event held in Houston each year.

The Houston Transgender Unity Committee (HTUC) was formed to plan and coordinate common activities for the Houston Transgender Community and is composed of members from; Tau Chi chapter of Tri-Ess, Helping Transgenders Anonymous (HTGA), Some Transgenders Are Guys (STAG), Houston Transgender Cover Girls (HTCG), Diamond T Girls, and Transgenders of Faith-Community Gospel Church.

The Unity Banquet is held each year to acknowledge and honor our allies and advocates. This year’s Unity Banquet will be held in the Grand Ballroom of the Brookhollow Sheraton, 3000 North Loop West, Houston, TX 77092. Doors will open at 6:30pm. (There will be a cash bar.) The Unity Committee asks for your support by attending the banquet and/or participating as one of our sponsors. Last year’s Sponsors included: Equality Texas; Frye and Associates, PLLC Law Firm; Houston GLBT Political Caucus; Dr Kristen Schilt; Montrose Grace Place; Psychology Services of Southeast Texas, Robert Meier, PhD; Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church; Shell Oil – Sea Shell Network; TENT: Transgender Education Network of Texas; Baylor College of Medicine; Dennis “Woodja” Flanigan; Katine and Nechman, LLP; Erotic Cabaret; John Steven Kellett Foundation; J. Silver; and MCONSERV.

Non-sponsor tickets for the 2012 Unity Banquet are priced at $90 for a reserved ticket, $700 for a reserved table of 8, $65 for early purchase open seating, and $85 at the door.

The Peggy Rudd Transgender Scholarship Fund, the TG float in the annual Pride Parade, and other TG Community needs are supported by the proceeds from this banquet. The Unity Committee operates within the Transgender Foundation of America (TFA) and is a 501(c)3 public charity. Your donation may be partially tax deductible and your payment receipt or canceled check should be used as your tax receipt.

Keynote speakers will include the Rev. Megan Rohrer and Marty Ebel.

The Rev. Megan Rohrer, is the first openly transgender pastor ordained in the Lutheran church. Called by four Lutheran and one Episcopal churches, Megan serves as a missionary to the homeless in San Francisco as the Executive Director of Welcome.Working at with the chronically homeless at Welcome since 2002, Megan’s innovative projects have included the Homeless Identification Project, the Urban Share Community Gardens and the LGBTQ Homeless Youth Leadership Project. Megan is also the Provider and Resources Manager at Project Homeless Connect and founded SF Refresh, a series of citywide events that provide free whole body health care in community garden settings that is funded by the Mental Health Services Act in collaboration with the SF Department of Public Health. Recently awarded an honorary doctorate from Palo Alto University, Megan won Out History’s Since Stonewall Local Histories Competition with an exhibit on the history of trans male mentoring in San Francisco, is the co-editor of Letters For Our Brothers: Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect and is an advocacy blogger for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Martin S. “Marty” Ebel is the Deputy Director of the Houston District Office of the EEOC. Before joining the EEOC, he was General Counsel, and later, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), where he ran the Commission’s Springfield office, directed the agency’s employment testing project, spearheaded a review and revision of the agency’s regulations, and adjudicated employment discrimination cases. Before coming to Texas, Ebel was twice named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer. Ebel is a 1994 graduate of Boston College Law School, where he was a member of the Jessup International Law Moot Court Team and was honored with the St. Thomas More Award—the Law School’s highest honor. He is the Immediate Past-President of the Law School’s Alumni Association.

To purchase your tickets go to or visit Vanity’s Transformation Studio at 1446 Yale St, Houston, 77008 (cash or check only)
For information on volunteering contact the committee at

Monday, February 13, 2012

Living Lutheran: Christ is the Church

In a time when many congregations struggle to stay alive because they can’t afford their building or the maintenance it needs stay a warm, safe sanctuary, it is more important than ever to remember that Christ is the church.

With a promise to be present whenever two or three gather, we are assured that when we meet for worship, prayer, study, a meal or to provide care for others, that we are not only Christ’s hands and feet in the world but also that the coffee shops, hospitals, multipurpose gyms, stages, food pantries and garages we share our faith in are places where church happens.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Living Lutheran: What does peace look like?

ELCA members take part in a Taize service, a peaceful time of prayer.
Photo by Dirk van der Duim

ELCA members have traditionally longed for two kinds of peace: the one that is available now (commonly called inner peace, or baptismal freedom in Lutheran lingo) and the one we have not yet seen (world peace).

The peace we see now is everywhere. I find it most in baby giggles, cozy winter cuddles with a beloved pet and soy hot chocolates. Others find it in exercise, meditation and homemade pies.

These are the roads to inner peace we are willing to admit to in public. They come from virtue, spiritual practice, communal singing that syncs our breathing, or what I like to call an Oprah lifestyle.

Read the rest at

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In the News: Windy City Times

The pleasures and perils of LGBTQ history
by Joe Franco

As part of the American History Association's recent conference in Chicago, a great deal of discussion was devoted to the emerging interest in LGBTQ history. An early-morning panel discussion Jan. 8 confronted many of the problems and the successes with LGBTQ history and its dissemination to the popular masses. Lauren Jae Gutterman, the panel's moderator and a Ph.D. candidate at New York University, started the group's discussion.

Professor Kevin Murphy, with the University of Minnesota, discussed his recent tribulations when putting together an oral history of the Twin Cities, saying, "We collected over 100 oral histories of the Twin Cities LGBTQ community. Historians, sociologists, geographers and ethnologists tried working together but found it difficult to create a work that would make their work interesting to the masses." The resulting book, Queer Twin Cities, was not well-received by the media or the intended target audience. Murphy admitted that not even the local Minneapolis gay press reviewed the book after its 2011 release. He said that it was "heartening to see the localized interest in GLBT history" but that, ultimately, the work seemed to alienate readers.

Professor John D'Emilio, with the University of Illinois-Chicago, brought more problems with LGBTQ public history to the table. He is co-director of a website called that was originally envisioned to be "Wiki-like" in that anyone could submit entries with constant updating from others. "The problem," said D'Emilio, "is that almost nobody submitted any content. Ultimately, there just was never going to be enough interest and enough content to build up steam."

D'Emilio believed the upcoming re-design of the website would help: "We want to abandon the 'Wiki' concept and make the content more transparent for the user." D'Emilio's solution for making LGBTQ public history more accessible through the web involved the use of individuals and more popular features that were user-friendly. He admitted that this was absolutely imperative that academics learned to speak in a language that made what they had to teach and say more accessible.

Professor Don Romesburg—an assistant professor at Sonoma State University and a curator for the recently opened GLBT History Museum (the first full-scale, stand-alone facility of its kind in the United States) in San Francisco—reported on a definite success in the LGBTQ-history scene. Worldwide attention focused on the opening of the facility, prompting Romesburg to joke, "Britney Spears was at our museum."

Tens of thousands of individuals have visited the museum since its opening last January. "We've had 2,000 new Facebook 'Likes' and 100 new members in our first year alone," said Romesburg. The museum is unique in that it resisted a chronologically linear model in its layout. "The arrangement was about demonstrating belonging and making power present," said Romesburg about the museum's success. The museum's success, seen in light of the failure of other queer-history initiatives, certainly begs the question, "What did the GLBT History Museum do differently?" Romesburg theorized, "We tried to welcome everybody. The construction of a museum means that we matter. It's relevant, important and meaningful."

The discussion ended with Joey Plaster, a graduate student at Yale, and Rev. Megan Rohrer, a Lutheran minister who works with at-risk and impoverished LGBT youth of the Castro and Tenderloin neighborhoods in San Francisco.

Their work with the queer youth is not unlike Boystown's unprecedented problems this past summer. The gentrified Castro wanted the gay youth out of the neighborhood. A concerted effort among the residents, shop owners, bar owners and politicians began to form.

Ultimately, Plaster and Rohrer used history as a way of mobilizing the disenfranchised queer youth. They used the imagery of the 1960s to propel the voices of the neighborhood queer youth. Rohrer said that "the use of tactile GLBT historical artifacts was more than enough motivation for the queer youth to spring into action." She added, "When an individual gets to see and touch something historical, something from the past, this alone is transformative."