"I met Asa Dean Liles in May of 1993, when I hired him as my housekeeper. We sat on the sunny back patio steps at A Different Light Bookstore in San Francisco for the interview. I thought his then-boyfriend was cute, and eyed him as Asa and I discussed domestic duties. [...] In January 1994, my housekeeper house guest and I went out for dinner. Are we in love? we asked. Yes, we answered. We went home and slept in his bed on the floor. My housekeeper was my lover. And we slept together every night. [...] Late at night, Asa asks if I will miss him when he's gone. Will I take care of the dog? Who will clean my house? Do my laundry, rearrange the furniture? What will happen to the truck? Will I remember? Many mornings, I crawl into his bed at dawn, my life wrapped in his, his in mine, Percy in ours. I won't ever forget my housekeeper. My house guest. My house mate. My lover."Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Labonté studied English and political science at Carleton University in Ottawa, where he was an editor for The Charlatan. Following school he joined the Ottawa Citizen in 1972 as an editor, later writing film and book reviews. In 1980, he contributed to an Ottawa Citizen series on gay life in Ottawa, becoming one of the first Canadian journalists ever to come out in the pages of a mainstream newspaper.
Perth, Richard Labonte and Percy, 2004
Richard Labonté is a Canadian writer and editor, best known as the editor or co-editor of numerous anthologies of LGBT literature. Labonté and his husband, Asa Dean Liles, moved back to Canada in 2001 and currently reside on Bowen Island in British Columbia. He likes to startle deers as he walks his dogs terrier / schnauzer Zak and shit-zu/yorkie blend Wen (formerly Wentworth, name changed on adoption), accompanied by his husband, Asa, through the island’s temperate rainforest.
Photo by Gavin Geoffrey Dillard, Lawrence Schimel with Richard Labonte's pooch Percy in the background, 1996
During his time contributing to the Citizen, Labonté began a relationship with Norman Laurila, then an employee at Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto. The couple subsequently moved to Los Angeles, where they would become co-founders of the influential LGBT bookstore A Different Light. Although their relationship broke up in 1983, they both remained involved in the store, with Labonté managing the Silver Lake store and Laurila managing a new branch in New York City. (Gaydays, Aug 1978: Michael Christianson (left) with Norman Laurila). Photos: "Piggles"; CLGA)
After Michael Thomas Ford stepped down as editor of Cleis Press's annual Best Gay Erotica series in 1996, Labonté was invited to become editor of the series, because the deadline for the next anthology was imminent and his job as a bookstore manager meant he would have extensive contacts in the gay literary world whose work he could call in quickly. He had also edited numerous other themed anthologies for the company. He had also published several anthologies with the Canadian Arsenal Pulp Press, and had written book reviews for Books to Watch Out For/Gay Men's Edition, Book Marks, PlanetOut, Q Syndicate and Publishers Weekly.
He has won three Lambda Literary Awards for his work as an editor, for Best Gay Erotica 2005, First Person Queer (coedited with Lawrence Schimel) in 2008 and Best Gay Erotica 2009; his other titles have included The Future Is Queer, Second Person Queer and I Like It Like That: True Tales of Gay Desire.
When he’s not turning turgid bureaucratic prose into comprehensible English for the Inter-American Development Bank or the Reeves of Renfrew County, Ontario, or coordinating the judging of the Lambda Literary Awards, or crafting the best croutons ever at his weekend work in a Bowen Island recovery center kitchen, likes to startle deer as he walks his dogs, terrier / schnauzer Zak and shit-zu/yorkie blend Wen (formerly Wentworth, name changed on adoption), accompanied by his husband, Asa, through the island’s temperate rainforest. In season, he fills pails with salmonberries, blackberries, and huckleberries. Yum. Since 1997, he has edited almost forty erotic anthologies, though “pornographer” was not an original career goal.
Richard Labonte at A Different Light, 1989, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1121513)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digital
First Person Queer: Who We Are (So Far) by Richard Labonte & Lawrence Schimel
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press (November 1, 2007)
Amazon: First Person Queer: Who We Are (So Far)
In this amazing, wide-ranging anthology of nonfiction essays, contributors write intimate and honest first-person accounts of queer experience, from coming out to “passing” as straight to growing old to living proud. These are the stories of contemporary gay and lesbian life—and by definition, are funny, sad, hopeful, and truthful. Representing a diversity of genders, ages, races, and orientations, and edited by two acclaimed writers and anthologists (who between them have written or edited almost one hundred books), First Person Queer puts the “personal” back into “queer.”
Best Gay Romance 2012 edited by Richard Labonte
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Cleis Press; 1 edition (January 10, 2012)
Amazon: Best Gay Romance 2012
Brains, muscle, tenderness, kink. Like the perfect lover, Best Gay Romance 2012 captures the raw energy of man-on man desire like no other. Once again, award-winning editor Richard Labonté has gathered hot, heart-pounding, tent-raising, gorgeous stories of no-holds-barred sex between men that will grab your senses, and send you into the sweaty backrooms of your erotic imagination. As varied as the unique and irreproducible experiences of falling in lust, the sensually rich Best Gay Romance 2012 celebrates the intensity and passion of gay love in all its glory.
History's Passions: Stories of Sex Before Stonewall edited by Richard Labonte
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (November 15, 2011)
Amazon: History's Passions: Stories of Sex Before Stonewall
Four acclaimed erotic authors re-imagine the past... welcome to the hidden queer history of men loving men not so very long—and centuries—ago.
The Future is Queer: A Science Fiction Anthology edited by Richard Labonte & Lawrence Schimel
Publisher Arsenal Pulp Press; First Edition edition (November 1, 2006)
Amazon: The Future is Queer: A Science Fiction Anthology
In a world increasingly complicated by questionable technologies and factional poli-tics, what does the future hold for gays, lesbians, and transgenders? In this anthology, the first of its kind in over ten years, provocative stories and comics posit a queer future of limitless possibilities, covering issues like cloning, gene manipulation, and gender assignment. It includes contributions from best-selling author and comic book creator Neil Gaiman (Anansi Boys, The Sandman), World Fantasy Award-winner Rachel Pollack, and cult UK comic artist Bryan Talbot.
More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
More Real Life Romances at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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