Mark Thompson


Mark Thompson, author and editor, was born and raised on the Monterey Peninsula, California, during the 1950s and '60s. In 1973, Thompson helped found the Gay Students Coalition at San Francisco State University, where he was a journalism student, and 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 photographs 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 (St. Martin's  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 autobiographical memoir 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 (Alyson Publications), 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), and Gay Men at the Millennium (Tarcher).

Thompson has lectured frequently on the psycho-spiritual aspects of gay experience, and has spoken at the University of California/Los Angeles, the City University of New York, and the University of Wisconsin, as well as to groups ranging from the National Organization of Changing Men to the Unitarian Church in cities across the United States.

Thompson holds a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University and works part-time as a psychotherapist with gay and lesbian youth and people living with HIV. He also serves on the board of ONE Institute & Archives, the largest gay and lesbian library in the world. In May 2002, a prominent Southern California gay and lesbian civic group honored Thompson for his three decades of community service.

Mark and Episcopal priest and author Malcolm Boyd began a long-term relationship in February 1984.  Their exchange of vows on May 16, 2004 at the Los Angeles Cathedral Center officiated by Episcopal Bishop Jon Bruno received widespread. media coverage. They were legally married when that was possible in California in July, 2013.  Following Boyd's death in 2015, Mark moved from Silver Lake to Palm Springs where he worked as a therapist.  He died on August 16, 2016.  

(This statement was written by Mark Thompson with material added following his death by Mark Bowman.)

Biography Date: October, 2003

Additional Resources

An extensive obituary on Mark's life written by Karen Ocamb can be found here:

Archival Collections:


Gay Spirituality | Boyd, Malcolm | Author/editor | Thompson, Mark


“Mark Thompson | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed May 20, 2024, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/mark-thompson.


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