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LGBTQ families celebrate International Family Equality Day. Photo by Family Equality. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

SHOCKING news worth embracing

I’m seldom surprised by anything I read in the news, and I’m almost always outraged by news about evangelical Christian institutions. That’s probably not surprising for a gay man like me raised in strictly conservative religious settings; by family heritage I’m half Roman Catholic and half Baptist.

As a gay man and queer activist, that’s meant dealing with a lot of rejection. It meant losing my closest friends after coming out as a late teen. It’s meant coping with faith traditions that hype charity and love while demonizing human beings like me.

It’s meant squinting through religious double talk all…

We sadly expect amorality from U.S. leaders

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) and man being tortured in Indonesia for same-gender sex.

Many Americans are angry President Joe Biden broke a campaign pledge to hold the Saudi crown prince personally responsible for the brutal murder of an American resident and journalist. We Americans want our values to matter on the world stage, and we don’t want our leaders enabling or tolerating brutality and human rights abuses. LGBTQ Americans count among those angered by events of the last days, but we aren’t shocked. We sadly expect American values not to matter. Let me explain.

President Joe Biden made a lot of noise on the campaign trail about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman…

A Prism & Pen writing prompt

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Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

Are rainbows writing magic?

Not long ago, I dined under a triple rainbow that filled the sky over the restaurant in the tiny Michigan village where I live. I’ll never forget how the colors glinted off pond ripples just beyond the terrace.

I’ll never forget spying a grizzled old gay couple in the same grungy joint, dressed like the farmers you’d expect them to be, but with one pair of wrinkled overalls set off by a pastel ascot in colors that advertised the men’s queerness as loudly as their mannerisms and speech.

My fiction writer’s soul is begging me to write a story about…

Prism & Pen Queer Stories — February 28, 2021

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by James Finn

We’ve got tons of personal stories in Prism & Pen this week, from Fiona J. Feng’s wild prose touching on forbidden attraction in Beijing, to Tre L. Loadholt’s intensely personal fiction set in steamy Jamaica, to the story of Alex, a nonbinary kid who isn’t thriving even though they should be.

Plus, Emma Holiday continues her master classes on the trans experience, and Ken Wilson tells a tale of treachery set where you might least expect knives to flash.

Don’t subscribe to Medium? Click on the underlined story links!

President’s LGBTQ and abortion stands enrage Church hierarchy

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Joe Biden (L) (photo by Gage Skidmore) and LA Archbishop and USCCB president Jose Gomez. Both photos (CC BY 2.0)

Catholic Bishops debate the “Biden Problem”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the senior leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, continue to reveal themselves to count among the biggest aspiring theocrats on the planet. In a controversy that has flown mostly under the radar of mainstream press coverage, the bishops have been fiercely debating denying an important religious rite to President Joe Biden, who describes himself as a devout Roman Catholic.

The Conference recently disbanded a working group covering the Biden administration’s positions on abortion and LGBTQ equality. Conference statements represent that the group was dissolved because its work was finished…

Bright futures are better than flawed pasts

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Boom Boom Room (L) by Alan Light. Church image by claitonmp on Pixabay

This morning, in a tweet I’d rather not link to, a controversial gay public figure pushed a transphobic trope, inaccurately implying lesbians and lesbian culture are disappearing. I’m not going to directly rebut his claim here. Data show clearly that lesbians are not going extinct.

I’m writing instead about queer culture, how it evolves and changes, and particularly about how gay spaces look nothing like they used to a generation or two ago. I’ll connect the dots at the end, but first …

Once upon a time, in an era I experienced directly, queer culture was very different from what…

When scapegoating defines you, love flies out the window

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Donald M. Schiewer, LGBTQ ally and pastor of the Dust Church, formerly of the ECC.

Existential Christian Dilemma

Evangelical Christian denominations and churches that brand themselves progressive, hipster, or cool often put on good LGBTQ-ally performances. Leaders are aware most young people today won’t participate in theologies of stigmatizing and scapegoating.

It’s not cool to bash on queer folks with Bibles, and that’s becoming an existential dilemma in some Christian circles.

Gone are the days when an electric guitar and vibrant children’s programs were enough to fill evangelical pews with young adults. According to Ken Wilson, co-author with Emily Swan of Solus Jesus: A Theology of Resistance, “The heyday of evangelical growth (as a share of U.S. …

‘Christian Lives Matter’ mocks BLM and Christianity

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Photo of Syndey ‘Christian Lives Matter” protest from ‘Christian Lives Matter’ public Facebook group. Caption: “Praying the Rosary outside St Marys Cathedral right now….True Soldiers of Christ.”

Was Jesus a warrior who marshalled soldiers to drive out gay people singing and dancing near a temple? Going by events in Sydney last Saturday, some protesters believe he would do exactly that. But they didn’t wait for Jesus to return and lead them. Egged on by Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher — Australia’s top Catholic prelate — protesters got right down to some old fashioned homo-hatred in downtown Sydney.

To make matters worse, the people who organized the protest of an LGBTQ concert defined themselves as “persecuted” and called their event “Christian Lives Matter,” a stunning mockery of the…

Prism & Pen Queer Stories — February 21, 2021

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by James Finn

Browse Prism & Pen this week for wildly creative prose from Fiona J. Feng, thoughtful musings on gender presentation from Emma Holiday, Liam Heitmann-Ryce’s interview with Hornet CEO Christof Wittig, and fiction by Jeff Harvey we hope makes you think as much as it might set your teeth on edge.

Scroll down to see which P&P story is also running in the Los Angeles Blade this week. If you’re reading this newsletter on Medium, could you clap 50 times to help get it front of more eyes?

If you don’t subscribe to Medium, bypass the paywall by…

Acceptance and love? Schools say no.

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Cover art from “Call Me Max” by Kyle Lukoff and Luciano Lozano. (Photo courtesy of Reycraft Books)

Outrage over trans people ends entire diversity reading program

The Murray School District in Utah just ended the “equity book bundles” program they launched to give children access to authors of color, LGBTQ authors, and more inclusive literature in general.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the district ended the program in response to complaints that a third grader brought in a copy of Call Me Max, a picture book for young readers that features a transgender boy. The student’s teacher read the book aloud to the class, and over the next several days, all hell broke loose. …

James Finn

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.

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