In the middle of a pandemic

Promise Keepers rally at RFK Stadium, Washington DC, 14 June 1997. Photo by Elvert Barnes. (CC BY 2.0)

I almost feel I don’t need to write this story, that the headline speaks so strongly for itself that elaboration is pointless. But I won’t tease. The details, distressing as they are, matter too much to ignore.

So, the Promise Keepers are back. Maybe you’ve heard of them? They were a popular Evangelical Christian men’s movement that fought same-sex marriage and promoted theocratic sexism while packing stadiums with men who prayed and sang hymns.

“Honey, I’ve made a terrible mistake. I’ve given you my role. I gave up leading this family, and I forced you to take my place. …

Hundreds of bishops and priests proclaim “Love Wins!”

An LGBTQ Pride flag flies in front of the famed Catholic cathedral in Cologne, Germany (photo via

“[Gay people] want the church to hold their life in such value that they are given the blessing of God and not denied it. We must face up to this wish.” — Bishop Georg Bätzing, president German Bishops’ Conference

German Catholic clergy vow to celebrate God’s rainbow covenant of love on May 10

In a move stunning for its embrace of love, hundreds of Roman Catholic bishops and priests in Germany have set aside May 10, the day the Eastern Orthodox Church commemorates Noah, to bless the loving relationships of lesbians, gay men, and committed same-sex couples of all stripes. …

Would I ever get them back?

Male Baltimore oriole at my jelly feeder, May 3, 2021. All photos in this story property of author.

In the last few years of his life, my dad became a passionate backyard birder

COPD had stolen his breath, so he couldn’t tramp the countryside anymore, but he sure could get birds to come to him! He’d spend hours on the Internet learning how to attract hummingbirds, blue birds, goldfinches, and more. Together, he and I became pretty damn good porch-sitting ornithologists.

Our favorite birds of all were the brilliantly plumed Baltimore orioles whose contortionist antics amused us so much at the jelly feeders we hung over the lawn. And the hummingbirds! So tiny, so delicate, so bright. Such a rare treat, yet we’d see them every day for hours.

We ended up seeing…

LGBTQ stories in Prism & Pen — May 2, 2021

by James Finn

Prism & Pen writers this week seemed to decide to focus on change — individual and societal — along with the pleasure and pain the process can provoke. Join us for an exploration of transformation and transition that probes beyond ordinary queer expectations.

Writers: please remember when you clap 50 times for P&P, including this Digest, you help amp up distribution and get more eyes on stories.

Readers: remember if you don’t subscribe to Medium, our underlined links will tunnel you right through the pay wall.

The fight for trans youth isn’t over. You can help!

Chris Attig, lawyer and father of trans son. Selfie via them.

“It was just shocking sitting there in jail thinking this is what happens when you speak to people about how their proposed laws are affecting your children,” Chris Attig told them Magazine. “They don’t want to hear it. They put you in jail.”

Chris had gone thirty seconds over his allotted speaking time March 9th before a committee of the Arkansas Legislature debating a bill banning health care professionals from providing gender-affirming care to transgender youth.

Chris is a lawyer and the father of a transgender son. Before Arkansas state police removed him from the committee chamber and jailed him…

Aunty Jimothy returns to answer a tough question

These days, aunty never wears REAL feathers. Photo by Mat Hayward licensed from Adobe Stock

Hey Aunt Jimothy,

I’m a 26-year-old man in California. I’ve identified as bisexual most of my teen and young-adult life. But I find it easier to get hard thinking about men than women. Does that make me gay?

Bemused in Burbank

Dear Bemused,

What a great question! I haven’t done an Aunty Jimothy column in a long time, but this is so intriguing Imma don my faux fabulous boa and fling about some feathers of questionable wisdom. Ahem!

By coincidence, Prism & Pen contributor Sean Bennett was thinking about labels just yesterday, wondering what would happen if as a self-identified…

Biden makes unprecedented legal move to champion them

Photo of Ashley Diamond by Robin Henson, courtesy SPLC press kit.

As Alex Bollinger reports in LGBTQ Nation, the Biden Administration just took a bold step to protect transgender women in jails and prisons. The DOJ has weighed in on a lawsuit filed by Ashley Diamond to assert trans women inmates have a constitutional right not to be housed with men and a presumptive right to receive hormone replacement therapy (HRT). In a moment, let’s delve into the DOJ’s sweeping position. But first, let’s talk about the thousands of trans women serving sentences in men’s prisons in the U.S.

Let me tell you a story about a fierce trans advocate who…

LGBTQ stories in Prism & Pen LGBTQ — April 25, 2021

by James Finn

I don’t think I can pick out a theme from Prism & Pen stories this week. As storytellers, artists and thinkers, we’re all over the queer map. But isn’t that how life should be? Dive in for a tapestry woven by lesbians, trans folk, gay guys, bisexual folks, and allies.

Writers: please remember when you clap 50 times for P&P, including this Digest, you help amp up distribution and get more eyes on stories.

Readers: remember if you don’t subscribe to Medium, our underlined links will tunnel you right through the pay wall.

Equality means equality. Full stop.

“Rainbow colored hand with a fist raised up,” by vgorbash. Licensed from Adobe Stock.

LGBTQ people face mountains of legal discrimination in the U.S. and elsewhere. By legal, I mean we are often excluded from jobs, housing, education opportunities, etc., with no legal recourse.

I write about that a lot — to raise awareness. We can’t fight problems we don’t know about. Lots of Americans presume LGBTQ people are legally protected from discrimination; many are surprised to learn we often aren’t.

Grave injustices go down constantly. If I chose to write a daily column titled something like, “Nasty shit done to queer people yesterday,” I would NOT struggle to find copy.

I’ve written about…

Board hijacks language of faith to spread hate

Professor Jéaux Rinedahl, denied promotion by Seattle Pacific University on the grounds he is gay. Screenshot from KIRO 7 reporting.

George Orwell may be dead, but his spirit lives forever in people who fight to make words mean what they say. I’m going fight today to hold the trustees of a private Christian University in Washington State to account for bigotry, employment discrimination, and hatred wrapped in religious language.

University refuses to promote gay professor Jéaux Rinedahl

I reported last January that Seattle Pacific University, a private Christian institution associated with the Free Methodist denomination, refused to promote Jéaux Rinedahl, a successful and popular professor of nursing, solely because he’s gay.

The facts are not in dispute. Administrators told Rinedahl frankly that even though he’s a devout Christian…

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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