Sweet siblings in Gay Spirit Visions,
Welcome to the annual State of the Tribe address, in which we look back at what GSV has done over the past year and drop some hints about what we have to look forward to.
This year’s edition comprises two sections: Looking Back, where I discuss what our organization accomplished in 2019, and Looking Forward, where the new Presiding Elder shares what we have to look forward to in 2020.
It has been an honor to serve on the GSV Council and to help guide an organization so dear to my heart. From my first Fall Conference in 2000 (when I could barely get through a single process without choking up), through convening a fall conference, and serving for two years as the Presiding Elder of the GSV Council, Gay Spirit Visions has been instrumental to my growth and learning as a spiritually-connected queer man. In remembrance of my own GSV mentors, I have tried to bring the serene wisdom of Martin “Treewalker” Isganitus as well as the mischievous insights of King “Wing of Men” Thackston to my work on the Council. Those dear ancestors are the roots of my GSV experience, and I hope I have brought the best of their wisdom to my time on the Council.
With abiding love for this community of open-hearted men,
2019 was a big year for GSV. Most visibly we put on three lovely gatherings that logically built themselves up into something much bigger:
The Winter Meditation, “Tranquil Reflection and Mindful Intention,” was a beautiful and serene contemplative experience convened by the very talented Bill Harris. This was an opportunity to find that calm center to ground our Greater Work.
The Spring Retreat, “Awaken Our Magick,” was an exploration of the sweet queer magic in our lives, convened by the lovely Jason Buchanan. After centering ourselves, we opened to Spirit and recognized the gifts we have been given to share with the world.
In September, GSV reached a noteworthy milestone: our 30th Fall Conference!!! “Spiritually Sourced Activism” was convened by the incomparable Cami Delgado and featured Toby Johnson as Keynote Speaker and celebrated the actions only we can take to make the world better for all beings.
The stage is now set for another cycle to begin.
The GSV Business of 2019
In addition to supporting our Conveners as they put on gatherings, the GSV Council met regularly to keep this lovely organization vital and ready for its next 30 years. This is what we were up to in 2019:
Members of the Council and past Conveners developed a Convener’s Guidebook to help Conveners navigate the sometimes-confusing waters of putting on a GSV gathering. The Convener’s Guidebook is intended to be a living document that can be refined and improved with the wisdom and experience of future Conveners.
In addition to the Guidebook, the Council also put together policies and/or procedures for each of the working circles as well as role descriptions for officers. We realized some of their responsibilities had been left rather ambiguous. We cleaned them up so that our hardworking members of the community who selflessly donate their time and effort can rest assured in what they’ve signed up for.
The Council voted to change our Convener policy so that Conveners no longer pay to attend the event they’re convening. (This was a total no-brainer, and we probably should have done this years ago, but it’s the policy now.)
The Council decided that Wells-Fargo no longer met our definition of an ethical financial institution (a quick internet search will show you why). Since we want GSV to be a force for good at every level, we decided to move our accounts from a big bank with questionable ethics to Regions, a smaller institution with a much better track record.
At the same time, we voted to put a portion of GSV’s working funds into a Certificate of Deposit to strengthen GSV’s financial standing and keep GSV strong going into the future. (We don’t mean to bore you with details, but sometimes that’s what transparency looks like.)
The Council voted to increase the annual budget for the Altared Spaces Working Circle and, thanks to input from Tony Bayles, to make an expenditure for the Gender Freedom and Expression Working Circle to get all new racks and bins for the Shauna Pleas Boutique! (More beautiful altars and better sacred drag! What’s not to love?!!)
The Council decided that we needed to be able to accept credit cards for the silent auction. Thanks to the diligent work of our own Bill Harris, you no longer have to pass on that fabulous frock, tantalizing tome, or bewitching bibelot you found in the silent auction simply because you forgot to bring cash. Just whip out your card and bid generously and with confidence!
Silent Auction Proceeds
If you’ve ever wondered where funds from the silent auction go, they go to provide financial assistance for siblings who would not be able to attend our gatherings otherwise. Thanks to the success of the silent auction and the generosity of the men of GSV, we were able to provide assistance to 17 siblings in the amount of $4,010.
GSV’s gatherings are works of love by the GSV community for the GSV community, and we are fortunate to have in our midst men whose talents and dedication to GSV are truly extraordinary. We recognized Dev with an Oscar at the Fall Conference, and I’d like to mention a few of our other beloved luminaries here.
The inimitable and wildly talented Craigalee has been a part of GSV for over two decades and has worn a variety of hats within our community, including that of Presiding Elder. As a member of the Altared Spaces Working Circle, Craigalee has been one of the creative forces behind the stunning altars that grace our gatherings, and neither our gatherings nor our community would have been the same without the creative gifts he has so graciously shared.
Many men come to GSV events to revel in the touch of their siblings, and we are fortunate to have a wise, bold, and 100% shameless man overseeing GSV’s Sacred Touch processes. With his playful spirit and wholesome approach to connection Mahan-Kalpa is a gift to our community. He has helped many, many men transcend shame and self-consciousness as they seek out healthy touch and intimacy in their lives.
Over its 30 years, GSV has made quite a bit of history, and we are grateful to Randall Cumbaa and Cal Gough for helping to preserve that history. The relationship they have nurtured with Georgia State University Archives and the video interviews they have conducted over the past few years will help ensure that GSV’s history will be preserved for those who come after us.
Lastly, I want to offer much hearty gratitude to Bill Harris for his amazing work as Elder of Finance. It’s one thing for the Council to decide to change banks or to get a Certificate of Deposit, or to get a Square account so that we are able to accept credit cards, but it was Bill who did the actual legwork to make those things happen, and on top of it all he convened an absolutely stunning Winter Meditation.
The men named above are a few of the many bright stars in the GSV constellation, and you are invited to thank them for their service to GSV when you see them next.
Departures and Arrivals
As is the custom, the GSV Council renewed another third of itself (roughly) at the end of 2019 as four members concluded their 3-year service and four new men begin their own with new wisdom, new gifts, new perspectives, and new energy for the Council.
Leaving the Council at the end of 2019 were Randall Cumbaa, Bill Harris, Mahan-Kalpa Khalsa, and Nightshade.
Joining the Council at the beginning of 2020 are Neil Burns, David Cable, Robert McDonald, and John Rivest.
As the torch has been passed on to these new Council members, so too do the officer’s torches also pass on.
As the new 2020 Elder of Records, John Rivest has been elected to replace Jason Buchanan.
As the new 2020 Elder of Finance, Robert “Bear of the RO” McDonald has been elected to replace Bill Harris.
And lastly, as the new 2020 Presiding Elder, Jason Buchanan has been elected to replace Nightshade.
Welcome, gents! We look forward to the magnificence you will manifest!
And thank you, Nightshade, for your gracious service.
Greetings to all my relatives!
It is an honor to have been asked to wear the mantel in 2020 of Presiding Elder of this organization so dear to this fast-beating drum bucket I keep safe in this calcium-rich cage. I have officially attended nine gatherings since I bumbled into a heart circle I knew nothing about as a Mountain staff member just over five years ago. I have convened a spring retreat, and I have served on Council for the last two years.
As Presiding Elder, I would like to keep our organization as transparent as possible, and I would like to include you all as much as possible because we are all important to this organization, and we all have an equal voice in where we take it. We all hold part of this organization in our hearts, and we all deserve to be held by it in return. Without you, we don’t have this community.
So, thank you for being a member of our amazing community. We hope you like where we’re going.
Jason Lloyd Buchanan
Plunging into 2020
GSV is very much a living community, and we are ever looking forward to our next opportunity to gather. We have a Winter Meditation coming up in a few weeks and two other gatherings currently in the planning process.
The dates for our gatherings in 2020 are:
Winter Meditation: January 17-19
Spring Retreat: May 8-10
Fall Conference: September 24-27
As you may already know from the announcement made at the beginning of December by Convener Vic Mansfield, the theme for the Winter Meditation is “Seeing the Unseen: Bringing our Gifts into the Light.” With such exciting techniques as Systemic Family Constellations, Systemic Ritual, and others to strengthen our ancestral connections and bring forward our unique universe of mystery which lies within, there is bound to be a lot to learn.
I can hardly imagine what is to follow such an enticing winter in the spring and fall! Know that we on the Council, the Working Circles, and the future Conveners are all working diligently to put together the best gatherings we can.
You ARE GSV
The strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf. So it is with Gay Spirit Visions. All that we do is the result of the magic of community and teamwork. As we move forward, consider ways you’d like to take your relationship with GSV a step further. Maybe that means coming back after a long hiatus. Maybe it means attending all three gatherings this year. Maybe you just want to share a few ideas or feelings with us. Or maybe you feel it’s time to lend your hand to one of our invaluable Working Circles, to lead a workshop at one of our gatherings, or to spearhead the community as a future Convener or Council member! Trust us, there is a place for you here. Meet us wherever you are. We’d love to have you.
Let’s keep this an open dialogue. You are warmly invited to communicate with the Council, to send us feedback, to ask us for what you need from GSV, to tell us of your sweet dreams of community and how our gatherings might make those dreams come true.
firstname.lastname@example.org is the perfect way to reach out to us to make this organization what we want it to be. You have a voice. You have desires. We are listening. Our number one goal as a council is to keep our gatherings going, but we can’t do it without you. We’re a living organization. Every year several Council members roll off so that new ones can roll on. You all have the right to be heard, to be heeded, to be held.
Working Circles: Come Play With Us!
The primary purpose of the Council of Trusted Elders of Gay Spirit Visions is to ensure that GSV produces the gatherings that are the core and the crossroads of this community. Without the support and hard work of our dedicated Working Circles, the GSV Council would be powerless to put on the amazing events that, as of this year, we will have been doing for 30 YEARS.
Volunteering with the GSV Working Circles is a fantastic way to build community, to meet new friends, to help create GSV magic, and to ensure the continuation of our magnificent, open-hearted tribe. The Liaisons are the coordinators of their respective Working Circles, and we encourage you to reach out to them if you feel called to dive into GSV for more than the occasional gathering. Being on a GSV Working Circle is one of the best ways to keep that GSV magic going all year long!
The current Liaisons for the Working Circles and an email address where you can reach them are:
Doug Emerson for Altared Spaces ~ Dwemerson52@gmail.com
Ralph Fruchtman for Communications ~ email@example.com
Dev “Trio” Devereaux for Entertainment ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff “Timber” Beacham for Financial Assistance ~ email@example.com
Wade Lee Jones for Silent Auction ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony Bayles for Gender Freedom & Expression ~ email@example.com
Neil Burns for Music & Movement ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Scotty “Banana Spider” Simons2 for Rituals & Fire ~ email@example.com
Mahan-Kalpa Khalsa for Sacred Touch ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Harris for Small Groups ~ email@example.com
Ted Gulick for Welcome & Hospitality ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Feed the Kitty!
If you would like to contribute to GSV, but find yourself with more money than spare time, donations can be made on the GSV website
or by mailing a check to GSV, PO Box 339, Decatur GA 30031. GSV is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions to GSV are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Copyright © 2020 Gay Spirit Visions, All rights reserved.