The Queer Psychoanalysis Society

Growing Up Gay and Amish in America

In LGBT, Literature, Polymorphous Perversity, Queer Theory, Uncategorized on April 17, 2012 at 8:41 am
by James Schwartz

Leaving the Old Order Amish community equals leaving everyone and everything you know. Any Amish that identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or gender questioning will be met with condemnation and  Scriptures (Leviticus, always a classic).

They will not be handed a complimentary copy of ‘Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality’ by John Boswell.

Where traditions and heritage run deep there is little choice but leave or live a lie.

Most Amish are of German descent but we are of Swiss stock, my Mom passing when I am 9, thus my upbringing with my father, a model of Swiss tolerance.

I don’t join the church and will not go back.

I go clubbing in Indiana and Michigan.

At 22 I step onstage, making my drag debut at Brothers Beta Club (Kalamazoo, MI) Closet Ball pageant and perform at The Zoo Bar.

I would exchange the cabaret for the poetry slam circuit in my mid 20s and seriously began writing with stars in my eyes.

The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America collects my poetry, writings from 2005-2010 with a few early poems.

THE BEGINNING

 The black garbed men cluster by the shed

 As the morning sun burns mists away

 The unharnassed horses away are led

 To the barns stuffed with hay

 The men kiss in the Spirit of the Lord

 As Christ once kissed his band

 Across the green a rushing stream

 Serenades the countryland

 Only the brethren greet with a kiss

 I am but a child yet know

 What today I am to miss

 And how far I have to go

 To find redemption at the border

 Of new beginnings and the Old Order.

 

INDIANA 2 AM

I was such a queer thing.

Even growing up.

Sexuality is not a choice.

Listen to my femme voice.

Even throwing up…

I was such a disco boy.

Spinning through school.

Twirling in my first disco.

The Seahorse Cabaret 2.

Indiana 2 a.m.

He stares at me and smiles…

- from The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America (inGroup Press)
http://www.ingrouppress.com/ &

http://www.amazon.com/The-Literary-Party-Growing-ebook/dp/B0057AHPY2/ref=zg_bs_10256_1

 About the Author:

James Schwartz is a poet and slam performer striving for the simplicity of Cavafy mixed with modern gay wordplay and elements. Schwartz’s poetry / slam material dialogues of GLBTQ issues and affirmations of gay (night) life and love. He was born 2.19.78 and raised in the Old Order Amish community in SW MI. As a slam performer Schwartz has read at The Meta Cafe, This is Fire! The Zoo Bar, and the St. Joseph County MI. Democrats’ Inauguration Day party of President Barack Obama.

His book, The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America, was published by inGroup Press in 2011, nominated for a Lambda Literary Award and charted at #1 on Amazon.com’s Gay Poetry Best Sellers list.

Twitter: @queeraspoetry

  1. i love this. that is so cool

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