A gay Jesus vision is at the heart of the new gay mystery novel “All of Me” by Dirk Vanden.
Vanden is a multitalented visionary and gay elder, a “dirty book” author and an artist since before Stonewall. He envisioned a gay Jesus in 1970, only one year after the Stonewall Rebellion sparked the modern LGBT liberation movement.
|Take Away the Cross|
Now 77 and living in California, Vanden had a life-changing vision that Jesus is gay and gays are Jesus. A fictionalized version appears in his new book and is excerpted later in this post.
Vanden was raised Mormon and struggled for years to accept his homosexuality. As he explains on his website DirkVanden.net:
“For many years I felt betrayed and deserted by Jesus. I had truly believed that He was my Savior and pledged my young life to Him -- and ended up irreversibly homosexual! I didn’t know why for years. I didn’t really believe I was born Queer. After many years of soul-searching -- and a couple of very exciting, beneficial Acid Trips -- I finally realized that I had followed the Jesus Path out of the Church and into Homosexuality. When that idea finally stopped being blasphemous, it started making sense.”
Vanden comes from an era when gay books had to be porn to get published. He has been called “a pioneer of gay erotica.” Seven of his erotic novels were published to high critical acclaim in 1969-73, when homosexuality was illegal and gay literature was banned. Some of his original books are available at DirkVanden.com.
The gay Jesus vision changed Vanden’s life and gave him a new sense of purpose. He did two paintings based on his vision, “Take Away the Cross” and “Jumping Jesus.” They appeared here previously in a post titled “Gay Artist Does Inspiring Jesus Art.”
Vanden describes a fictionalized version of his vision in “All of Me” (published by RoseDog Books). The scene occurs in a gay bathhouse in San Francisco on Christmas Eve about 40 years ago.
I turned and looked into a room which seemed to be behind a large window behind the wash basins, where a long-haired, bearded naked man stood looking back at me.
But then, the door opened and the “window” wavered, and I realized I was looking at my own reflection in a mirror.
Jesus grinned and winked at me, and God sang “See who you are!”
The conclusion was obvious: I was Jesus!
The idea should have terrified me, but instead, something in my brain went click-click-click and I thought “Oh! All right. Of course! Why didn’t I see it before?” Suddenly it all made perfect sense!
Gentle Jesus, meek and mild!
Then, through the open doorway, another long-haired, bearded, naked man came in. Obviously he, too, was Jesus! He smiled beatifically and nodded – a little almost-Oriental bow – and went into the showers. As I stepped out into the theatrically-lit, purple-carpeted, tinsel-draped corridor, a dozen other naked and near-naked Jesuses – black ones, brown ones, tan-and-pink ones – were moving to the music like some kind of bizarre avant-garde ballet! In the background music, singers were pretending to be musical instruments, making a dance-tune out of “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful!” I joined the parade and went up to my room with a happiness welling up inside me, ready to explode.
There was something divinely ironic about learning all this on Christmas Eve, in the House of David. Homosexuality was the “Key of David!” Half of our Gay institutions were named after the King of the Jews who said of Jonathan, when he died: “Greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” The other half were named “Lambda.” We were the “Lambs who had gone astray!” The “first fruits of the Lamb of God!” Revelations flowed through my head like a river! We were the “last” who would soon be “first!” We were those “redeemed from the earth, who sang, as it were, a new song!” We were the “Eunuchs” who had made ourselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake. We were the seeds the Sower had sown, long, long ago, finally blossoming! In us were all the prophesies fulfilled! Jesus had returned, not as one man, but as millions of lovers of men.
Look out, world, here come the meek!
…That event is why I came to write my books – why I did everything I did after that. That one event in my life totally changed my life. Or, rather, it illuminated my life. It told me why I was who I was. Somehow, improbably, I was a Jesus-clone. That would slowly start to make more and more sense as the years went by. I had unknowingly accepted and incorporated a kindof secret code – a computer-program — hidden in the Biblical stories of Jesus. As a child, in Sunday School, I had sung “I’ll be a sunbeam for Jesus!” Unlike all the other kids, I had meant it. I had “believed” it. That made it my operating system. The others went on to make babies, like good Mormons. I went on to be a Sunbeam. If you open a sunbeam, it turns into a rainbow! My “vision” changed my attitude toward myself – toward all Gay people. I allowed myself to stop feeling guilty and sorry for myself for being Queer. I stopped condemning others for being weak and imperfect. Instead of a perversion, it became a Divine Commandment – and I finally started to enjoy it!
It’s okay to forgive yourself for loving men. Jesus told you to!
Forgiving yourself is like spiritual masturbation!
I finally understood that I was who I am because of what I’d been taught to elieve. My brain had been programmed, like a computer, to be “Like Jesus.” “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild.” “Love each other.” “Judge not.” I wasn’t the bad guy everyone, including myself, wanted to believe. I was actually one of the good guys. Only nobody knew it yet.
The next day I decided that, somehow, I had been selected by some higher power – God or Fate or Karma – to tell the Gay world – or maybe the whole world – the story I’ve just told here – but after I’d come down, back to earth, had gone home and slept for twenty hours into Boxing Day, I discovered that my “task” was not going to be easy to accomplish.
This vision is set is set in the middle “All of Me.” The novel uses Vanden’s publishing experiences as the basis for a gay murder mystery and romance. Rick, the main character, is a California real estate broker. He gets a death threat accusing him of being “an abomination in the sight of God” for writing “dirty books.” He searches for clues with He searches for clues with David, his new, younger friend, who has also been threatened by the same murderer. Their romance starts to blossom, dwindles, then rekindles as they almost die for their love.
Warning: “All of Me” contains coarse language that some may find offensive.
Vanden’s friends all scoffed at his gay Jesus vision when he told them about it 40 years ago. Now he is delighted to see that more people have come to see Jesus his way.
“I’ve believed in a Gay Messiah for 40 years. I’m watching it come together right now,” Vanden says. “It is definitely being shouted from the rooftops: JESUS IS GAY. Not WAS but IS! Jesus is in love! With you! With me! With ALL of Us!”
Remembering Dirk Vanden (Lambda Literary Review)