Midwest Men’s Festival 2017 at LoveBytes


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Midwest Men’s Festival 2017


So, I am home from this year’s enchanting Midwest Men’s Festival with a sore butt and I had a wonderful time….

My long-term readers will know that each year I head off to an event called Midwest Men’s Festival. Begun in 1982, it is attended primarily by gay men, many of whom are involved in earth-centered spirituality, men of varied cultural or ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, or spiritual beliefs are invited and encouraged to attend. Interestingly enough, at the same time Trump announced that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military, we changed our mission statement saying people who identify as male are welcome.

And that is just part of what Men’s Festival is about. We are a group of men come together once a year in love and magick and wonder. We decorate of camp sites like nothing most people have ever seen and we have a amazing time. We dare to see the world in beauty, balance and delight.

Ever see that episode of Queer as Folk called Stand Up for Ourselves where Emmett and Michael go to camp? By the end of the episode, they’ve picked their faerie names (Michael chooses Dumpling and Emmet sees his is Clear Day) and Emmet says that faeries have the ability to create beauty out of ugliness and joy out of pain. Well that’s a lot what Men’s Festival is all about.

And this year was a good Men’s Festival. It was hot and I ran around in sarongs the whole time and the food—all vegetarian—was good, sometimes really good, and there was lots of catching up to do and new friendships made. I drank far less than in years past and that was good. I didn’t need it! It was a year of not doing things as well as doing things, and that is pretty important too. Knowing when and when not. When to leave things be and when to go for them.

This year was a little more laid back than usual. A number of people, for various reasons, got there a little later than they usually do and had to leave a little earlier—business, death in the family, a honeymoon Alaskan cruise, and more—but as usual everything was as it should have been. No MMF is like any other.

It was still good and I got in a lot of the relaxation that I so desperately needed. Not much writing! I slept in late almost every day, sometimes almost noon! And there is no real tan this year because I burned the first day and then peeled like a snake, but I look good. I got lots of real quality time with my husband (I still thrill using that word after three years of legal weddome) which we needed.

MMF is a symbol of why I feel so blessed to be gay. I was pushed out a lot of my life, cast out really. And with this family of men I have found a place that is so wondrous and fantastic and beautiful it is hard to describe. A family of man.

I decided to write about it a few years ago. In a novel called Summer Lover. I was very pleased to find out that men who go to MMF—when trying to figure out how to explain what Festival is like or about—tell possible newcomers to read my novel. Wow…. Now that is a compliment.

My last day of Festival it rained all day. Made it hard to pack. Made me happy I had a cabin instead of a tent. Although I did slip in the moss at the bottom of the steps leading from the cabin down to the car. Landed hard on my butt and it hurts as I sit here and write this.

But in the end—no pun intended—it’s a good thing. It reminds me that there is good and bad. And I can look back and think about what didn’t happen…or I can reflect on all the good that did.

For instance, I was best man at a lovely queer wedding. A legal one. It was wonderful and I was so honored to be a part of it. The guy I was best man for had am open back tux with tails that drug the floor. Because we’re Faeries, and that’s what we do. We make the world beautiful.

I no longer am mad that I am left out and people like Trump hate me. I revel in it. And I am so happy I have found a family of people—not just gay, but everything else under the rainbow—who like me just the way I am.

That’s pretty wonderful.

I’m holding out my hand. Join me on the other side of the rainbow!

Namasté,
BG “Ben” Thomas

PS: Find the actual LoveBytes post by clicking RIGHT HERE!

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SUMMER LOVER
Book Two of the Seasons of Love Series

Scott Aberdeen doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or God. Or love—at least, he knows no one will ever love him. After all, he has carried a torch for his best friend Sloan for a decade, hoping his feelings will be returned one day. But when Sloan finds springtime love with another man, Scott’s fantasies are crushed and his skepticism confirmed.

Cedar Carrington, raised by rock star parents, leads a free-spirited, nomadic life, never staying in one place for long. Due to a dark past he refuses to share or even think about, he is willing to let men into his bed for sex, but never for the night.

When Scott finds himself camping in the middle of nowhere with over a hundred men who all believe in love—and faeries and a magickal gay brotherhood—he’s pretty sure he’s in the wrong place. And when Cedar connects with cynical, critical Scott, he wonders how he could be falling in for this man of all men. But hearts and lives have been transformed at the Heartland Men’s Festival before, and it might be just the place where two very different men can release their pain and find true love at last.

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