I was 16 years old when I happened to find an Amália Rodrigues CD accidentally nestled between Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughn at Tower Records in San Jose. The guy at the music store didn’t know who she was and was about to take the CD from me when I realized the songs listed on the back cover were in Portuguese. Enticed by the lyrical titles, I decided to buy the music of the pale woman with ebony hair, whose eyes captivated me. Read More
Let go of that laundry list of dos and don’ts this Valentine’s Day. Finding a meaningful partner is about opening your heart and dropping the superficial standards. Physical appearances usually spark interest, but they shouldn’t be the dominant force when seeking love. If you’re really looking for an epic romance, you must focus on the values most compatible with your lifestyle. Here’s how: Read More
As a fan of Octavia Butler, Mary Shelly, H. G. Wells, Bram Stoker and Ray Bradbury, I sought shelter in science-fiction and gothic novels that made it easier to fantasize outside the hetero world. These authors made it possible for me to write stories that challenged science and society with gay characters. Most of my writings as a teenager were a bit Frankenstein-ish – the story I remembered most is about a guy named R.I.P., made out of the DNA from the three hottest guys at my high school; each letter taken from their first name to make up the gay zombie’s name. Like most of the stories I wrote in adolescence, R.I.P. never made it outside my head. Read More
Before Queer as Folk, The L Word, and Will & Grace introduced queer culture to the masses, I would spend hours rewriting songs, movies, and shows; tweaking lyrics from popular titles became a hobby — soon “American Woman” became “American Bottom Boy.” The gender bending eventually lead to a series of short stories about a gay college called Unique University where Lil’ Kim ruled as president, Mario Lopez instructed weight training, and buildings were named after fragrances like Emporio Armani Hall and The Chanel Nº 5 Center. Friends and family loved the vignettes that chronicled the lives of Nina and Nick – a set of queer twins. Compliments were plentiful, yet I was never encouraged to publish my stories. Read More
As it has for many, the meaning of the 4th of July has changed tremendously for me from the time I was a nerdy kid in San Jose to a writer in San Francisco. Images of barbecues and city parks have been replaced by feelings of patriotism when I listen for the mechanical bird to sing at an intersection when crossing a major street. Ironically, the biggest change in the definition of Independence Day occurred when I lost my sight. Within days of going blind, I was contacted by social workers and representatives from city programs and non-profits that were eager to help out. As I assimilated into my world of darkness, the Department of Rehabilitation purchased blind technology that otherwise I would have not been able to afford on my own.