Catholic monk turned activist, psychotherapist and spiritual writer, born in 1945 in San Antonio, Texas, Toby lived in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s and was part of the hippie culture there, becoming a healer. He was strongly influenced by the work of Joseph Campbell. In the 1980s he and his partner Kip Dollar were activists back home in Texas, organising Pride events, gay business associations and early AIDS foundations. They were the first male couple to be registered as a domestic couple in Travis County, TX. In the 1990s they spent some years running a gay B&B in the Rocky Mountains, before returning to Texas.
Toby has also written autobiographical accounts of spiritual development, and has written three novels: Plague: A Novel About Healing (reissued as The Fourth Quill, 2012), Secret Matter, and Getting Life in Perspective. He collaborated with historian, anthropologist Walter L. Williams on the novel Two Spirits: A Story of Life With the Navajo. And co-edited, with Steve Berman, publisher of Lethe Press, an anthology of gay-positive stories, Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling. He was also editor of the White Crane Journal for seven years and his website www.tobyjohnson.comis packed with essays, stories, links and inspiration. Author of several books including 'Gay Spirituality: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness' and 'Gay Perspective: Things our Homosexuality tells us about the Nature of God and the Universe', which call to the queer community to embrace the whole journey of self-knowledge all the way from the sexual to the spiritual.
“Spirituality is about finding one’s personal path to integration and wholeness. It is not about believing in specific doctrines or following a religion (though, of course, belief in doctrine and entertaining certain religious metaphors in one’s mind might be part of one’s personal path). Spirituality is not religion. It’s not about what’s revealed or how everybody should behave or believe. It’s about how you should believe and behave and experience having a reason to be alive and to participate and contribute positively, lovingly in society—all in ways that makes sense to you in today’s world.” “Everybody spirituality” is realizing your own limited, self-concerned, self-obsessed ego is an illusion. You are part of the bigger being that is everybody. Each of us is Everyman in the sense of the medievalEuropean mystery plays. Each of us is everybody. It’s everybody spirituality which calls for each of us, asEveryman, to select and take responsibility for our own spiritual development and our own spiritual path so that we make our lives and the lives of those around us happier, richer and more conscious.
It’s ironic that the theme of oneness and unity in what I’m proposing is gay spirituality naturally moves to the conclusion we’re all one and differences between people (especially about sexual feelings) shouldn’t be emphasized. So, in fact, this “everybody spirituality” is a gay spirituality. “The goal of any spirituality is to experience heaven now. That, I’ve come to believe, is the most important insight into the nature of religion and spirituality that a “gay perspective” on consciousness helps to discover.”