LGBTQ+ Companion to Symbol, Mythology, Folklore and Spirituality - Randy P. Conner†
David Hatfield Sparks [+]
M.L.I.S. Teacher, author, and ethnomusicologist
David Hatfield Sparks (M.M. in Musicology/Ethnomusicology, and a Masters in Library and Information Science) is a gay father, teacher, librarian/archivist, author, poet, and ethnomusicologist. His spiritual practices include both Buddhism/Hinduism and Mysticism. His poems and essays have appeared in academic, feminist and LGBTQ publications including: “Dancing the River: Fluidity of Eros and Gender in Music and Dance of African Diasporic Spiritual Tradition” in Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds (vol. 4, no. 3, December 2010), and the anthologies She Is Everywhere (vol. 3, 2012), and the El Mundo Zurdo Anthology: Selected Works from the 2015 Meeting of the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa. His long poem “Un Grito for GEA,” was published in Imaniman: Poets Writing in the Anzaldúan Borderlands (Aunt Lute Books, 2017). His essay, written with his husband Randy Conner, “And Revolution is Possible,” was included in the Lambda Books Award winning anthology, This Bridge We Call Home (2002). His poetry book Princes and Pumpkins won 1st Prize in the 2015 Writer’s Digest Poetry Self-Published e-Book Awards, and his short story, “A Little Death in Naples” was semi-finalist in the 2019 NOLA Saints and Sinners Fiction Contest.
Randy P. Conner† [+]
Professor, researcher, and author
Randy P. Conner (1952-2022) was a gay father, spiritual seeker, researcher, author, and Associate Professor of Humanities. He earned a Masters in Literature and a Ph.D. in Humanities. He was a gay parent and activist involved in the gay , feminist, and civil rights movements for over 40 years. He published many books and articles on LGBTQ Studies, World Literature, and African-American Diasporic religions. Conner was an initiate and practitioner of Haitian Vodou and Regla de Ocho (Santería) and Neopaganism. His first book Blossom of Bone: Reclaiming Homoeroticism and the Sacred (Harper SF, 1993) was widely acclaimed. With his life companion/husband of 43 years, David Hatfield Sparks, he published the Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol, and Spirit (Cassell, 1997), and Queering Creole Spiritual Traditions: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Participation in African-Inspired Traditions in the Americas (Routledge, 2004), both nominated for Lambda Literary Awards. His comprehensive article “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender American Religious Cultures” was published in 2015 in Religion and American Cultures, ed. Gary Laderman and Luis Léon (ABC-CLIO). His historical analysis of paganism, The Pagan Heart of the West (5 vols) was published in 2019 by Mandrake of Oxford.
Mariah Sparks [+]
Singer, storyteller and librarian
Mariah Sparks (B.A. in English Literature/Theater Arts, and Masters in Library and Information Science), is a Bay Area librarian, community theater artist, and an advocate for literacy as well as for LGBTQ+ political/social justice. She has been involved with her fathers in research for this work for many years. She is a member of the American Library Association, the American Associations of School Librarians and Library Service to Children. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband Prado Gomez, a performer and member of the staff at the SHANTI Project in San Francisco.