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Photo of Mark Thompson
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with Mark and life partner Malcolm Boyd
Mark's book describing his
"coming home" with fellow travelers.
About author and
activist Mark Thompson
Brief summaries of each of the books by Mark Thompson

photograph of Mark Thompson with two of his portraits
Photographs by Jorge Alatorre (black-and-white) and Stephen Elson (color)

Author-activist Mark Thompson was born and raised on the scenic Monterey Peninsula, California, during the Fifties and Sixties. In 1973, Thompson was a founding member of the Bay Area-wide Gay Students Coalition started at San Francisco State University, where he was a journalism student. He has worked for gay causes since that time.

He began his writing career at the national gay and lesbian newsmagazine The Advocate in 1975, reporting on culture and politics in Europe. Thompson continued to serve the publication during the next two decades in a number of capacities--as a feature writer, photographer, and Senior Editor. In 1994, he completed his tenure at the magazine by editing Long Road to Freedom: The Advocate History of the Gay and Lesbian Movement (St. Martin's Press), a massive volume of half a million words and over seven hundred images documenting the gay and lesbian struggle for civil rights. The book was nominated for two Lambda Literary Awards.

Thompson is best known, however, for his influential trilogy of books dealing with gay spirituality. The first in the series, Gay Spirit: Myth and Meaning (Lethe Press) was published in 1987. The anthology has been acclaimed around the world and was recently included on a list compiled by the Lambda Book Report of the "100 Lesbian and Gay Books That Changed Our Lives." The Los Angeles Times called Gay Spirit an "exciting challenge to conventional thinking."

Gay Soul: Finding the Heart of Gay Spirit and Nature (HarperSan Francisco) followed in 1994. The Lambda Literary Award-nominated book consists of in-depth conversations and photographs with sixteen prominent writers, teachers, and visionaries. "Gay Soul is an outpouring of much-needed love--from new kinds of 'fathers'," commented poet Judy Grahn. Christine Downing, author of Myths and Mysteries of Same-Sex Love, described the book as "a wake-up call to gay souls."  Robert Goss, author of Jesus Acted Up said, "I came away with a great deal of hope, for gay spiritualities have the potentiality for profound cultural transformation."

The trilogy was completed in 1997 with the publication of Gay Body: A Journey Through Shadow to Self (St. Martin's Press), an autobiography  combining elements of Jungian archetypes, gay history and mythology, and New Age spirituality. The Washington Post said "the road Thompson travels is fascinating, as he unlocks closets within closets." Library Journal called the Lambda Literary Award-nominated book "a provocative work, seamlessly woven."

Thompson's other work includes Leatherfolk: Radical Sex, People, Politics and Practice (Daedalus Publishing), a 1991 anthology that has been widely cited as a classic volume on the shelf of books dealing with human sexuality and identity. He has also contributed to a variety of other collections, including: Hometowns: Gay Men Write About Where They Belong (Dutton), Out in All Directions (Warner Books), Positively Gay: New Approaches to Gay and Lesbian Life (Celestial Arts), Out in Culture (Duke University Press), Gay Men at the Millennium (Tarcher), and In Times
Like These: How We Pray
(Seabury Books).