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I was 12 the first time I looked up the word "homosexuality" in a library card catalog, and I couldn’t have told you what I was hoping for other than a larger world than the one I knew.All I could tell is that I was someone who didn’t fit into the life the world expected me to lead. In middle school and high school, the secret and even illicit books I didn’t dare let people see I was reading: Fire From Heaven and The Persian Boy by Mary Renault. The novels of Gordon Merrick, especially The Quirk and Perfect Freedom.
The next year, Girls, Visions, and Everything by Sarah Schulman.
The anthology This Bridge Called My Back introduced me to many new writers like Gloria Anzaldua, Cherrie Moraga, Barbara Smith, Audre Lorde, and for me, perhaps most importantly, Theresa Hak Yung Cha.
He would come by on lunch breaks and we would talk about Dennis Cooper.
I met Sarah Schulman, and studied with the lesbian poet and publisher Beatrix Gates who introduced me to the poet and memoirist Kenny Fries.
I then took a job at the startup of , and wrote my first story for them in 1992 about a middle-grade writer named Jacqueline Woodson.
I left for graduate school at Iowa, where I was a student, and met the late Reginald Shepherd and Chris Adrian.Over the past year, more than a hundred people have worn my handcuffs. Three months before his third birthday, his Italian grandfather (on his mother’s side) set him on a proper bicycle, pushed him forward, and shouted, “Spingi, spingi, spingi! I suggest that a powerful antidote to the manufactured past now being created for us is the secret history of Indians in the twentieth century. But no matter where we go, I notice that he always knows the way home.Not long ago, in a self-defense class, I wore them myself. Geronimo really did have a Cadillac and used to drive it to church, where he’d sign autographs. I saw the smoke over the hills, knew the ferocity of the Santa Ana winds, and figured it wouldn’t be long before the fire would reach us. Like the other fishermen, I am waiting to have the day’s catch processed and flash-frozen for transport back to the Lower 48.Tom Spanbauer’s The Man Who Fell In Love With the Moon, John Weir’s The Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket, John Fox’s The Boys on the Rock, the stories of Sam D’Allesandro, and the work of Kevin Killian, David Wojnarowicz, Paul Monette, Essex Hemphill, and Richard Rodriguez.I became friends with the incredible Mx Justin Vivian Bond, who introduced me to the trans lesbian playwright Kate Bornstein. I moved to New York and while still working for A Different Light, in their West Village store, discovered the works of Christopher Coe, Edmund White, Ethan Mordden, Robert Ferro, Andrew Grumley, and became friends with Dale Peck, who worked around the corner at a clothing boutique.I kept looking for and finding queer books and writers.I began reviewing, and wrote my first published reviews about Kate Rushin’s The Black Backups, and Mark Doty’s My Alexandria.Somewhere there is a writer like me as I was then, someone who doesn’t see yet what they need to see. He is an associate professor of English at Dartmouth College.Who is walking forward in the dark, looking to prove something to themselves and the world. I can play “Smalltown Boy” on my phone as much as I want. I say “my husband” in social and professional situations and like to watch as some people’s heads jerk back.And yet in some states I could be fired for saying that, or denied housing, or denied healthcare.