I have been loving writing for Gawker this year. A month ago, John Cook came to me with the idea to write an essay “on the difference between gay marriage as pitched and as practiced.” And so, I wrote “Master Bedroom, Extra Closet: The Truth About Gay Marriage.” It was a fascinating piece to write, and the brave couples who spoke to me about how they deal with monogamy gave me a glimpse into an interesting, usually off-limits sociological world. I couldn’t be happier with how Gawker edited the piece nor with the reaction. I was also really honored to see that Thomas Frank (author of “What’s The Matter With Kansas?”) referenced my previous Gawker article in this month’s Harper’s.
I had the honor of writing a poem for the wedding of my dear friends Ann Norris and Jason Pattan. I actually introduced Ann and Jason, so it was a delight to watch them get married this weekend and a blessing to be a part of their service.
I met Ann during the 2008 Obama campaign in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Politics and American history are a big part of my relationship with both Ann and Jason, and while traveling in India, I had the idea to use the preamble of the Constitution of the United States as the basis for my planned poem. In Basel, Switzerland, I sat down in the Grossminster and wrote the first draft of the poem. At that Taize Community, I added some more stanzas, and I revised it in Brooklyn, making if the first poem I’ve ever written on three continents.
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — Last week, as I was contemplating my religious life and processing what it meant that I would voluntarily chose to spend up to eight hours a day praying, I wondered if I’d ever write about politics again. But something about the Private Bradley Manning/San Francisco Pride flap so touched me, even while I’m still away from the United States, that I got back in the saddle. Gawker was kind enough to put my debut piece for them on their front page last night, titled “Haaay to the Chief: The Military-Industrial Complex Conquers the Homos”.
I think I want to start examining endless militarism (in my nation, in my community and in myself) and to start to seriously think about what I can think and do about it with the tools at my disposal. The most obvious tool I have is my ability to write (and I feel very blessed indeed to realize that this tool is still intact after the past year). In once sense, my angry Gawker piece feels at odds with the pacifist, meditative religious treatise I just wrote about Taizé. But in another sense, I totally see how similar and related they are.
I feel grateful that I am getting the chance in my life right now to write what I want, when I want, without much worry. I’m enjoying seeing where it will lead me. I haven’t a clue where that will be, but I’m appreciating being on this pilgrimage of trust.
I wrote my first story for the Daily Beast today, a report from the DOMA hearing of Edith Windsor in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Windsor was slapped with a $363,000 inheritance tax (Republicans might call it a death tax) when her wife died, as the federal government doesn’t recognized same-sex marriages.
Finally got back in the saddle after my Village Voice era ended with a review of Einstein on the Beach at BAM for Rolling Stone. I’m not a music critic by trade, but since I’ve spent so much time interviewing, thinking about and writing about Philip Glass this year, it felt nice to to get to write up Einstein (and to connect with Rolling Stone).
A fun side not: a member of dance company was a friend of a friend, and she emailed me during the five hour, intermission-less.
This is my acceptance speech to the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, upon CNN’s Miguel Marquez presenting me with the NLGJA Journalist of the Year award in Las Vegas on August 3rd, 2012. My prepared remarks (which vary a bit from how they were delivered) are below. Cross-posted at the Village Voice.
I want to first say what an honor it is to appear right after Chris Geidner, my homo journo brother from another mother. We’re exactly the same age – ok, he’s a month, to the day, younger than me – and I’ve been blessed to repeatedly cross paths with him on this amazing journey we’ve both been on during the past couple of years. Although I admire Chris greatly for the quality of his work, I admire him even more for wearing an open heart of gratitude on his sleeve in appreciation of the privilege we all have in doing this work. And it is a privilege; it’s a gift. He understands how blessed each one of us in this room is who gets to earn their bread as a journalist.
Congratulations on your well deserved recognition.
Now, as for the rest of you, my fellow homosexual journalists: I’d like to talk to you tonight about the word access. I’ve been thinking about that word a lot lately, and I’ll start with a kind of coming out story, regarding something I haven’t admitted publicly before.
Yesterday I was deeply honored to be notified by the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association that they are naming me NLGJA Journalist of the Year for 2012. They will present the award to me at the UNTY Convention in Las Vegas on August 3rd, where I will also make a speech. My good friends Chris Geidner and Michael Luongo are recipients of other NLGJA awards.
The award being presented to me is based upon five feature stories I wrote in 2011 for the Village Voice, the New York Times, and Out. They are:
“Diaz Family Values” published in the Village Voice June 22, 2011 (photos: C.S. Muncy)
“Maybe I Do and Maybe I Don’t” published in the Village Voice August 10, 2011 (photos: C.S. Muncy)
“Three Kids, Two Dads, One Uncle” published in Out January 9, 2011
“Paris Is (Still Burning)” published in Out May 22, 2011 (photos: Kevin Amato)
“A Church. A Shelter. Is It Safe?” published in the New York Times November 4, 2011
I am extremely touched to be receiving this award. NLGJA gave some background, along with some very kind words about my writing, in a press release:
NLGJA’s Excellence in Journalism Awards were established in 1993 to foster, recognize and reward excellence in journalism on issues related to the LGBT community. In addition to Journalist of the Year and the Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media, awards will be presented for excellence in news writing, feature writing, opinion writing, local television, network television, radio, online, HIV/AIDS and student journalism.
The NLGJA 2012 Journalist of the Year is Steven W. Thrasher, a staff writer for the Village Voice and writer for the New York Times and Out. Whether it is about multigenerational gay families, a homeless shelter for LGBT youth, or a controversial political dynasty involved in New York’s same-sex marriage battles, Thrasher’s work succeeds at being interesting and unexpected. A keen interviewer and beautiful writer, his willingness to move beyond the usual in covering LGBT lives hit its peak this year.