Califia, assigned female at birth, was born into a Mormon family. He came out as a lesbian in 1971 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and changed his name to Pat Califia, taking the surname Califia after the mythical Amazon. After getting involved in consciousness-raising work in the area, he bought a one-way ticket to San Francisco in 1973, bringing an interest in sex education to work on the San Francisco Sex Information switchboard.
His first book was Sapphistry, a non-fiction work which described butch-femme sexuality and BDSM safety and practice in a non-judgmental tone. Subsequently, he published work in lesbian, gay and feminist magazines, including a long-running sex advice column in The Advocate. In 1979, as a student in psychology at San Francisco State University, his research was published in the Journal of Homosexuality.
With the founding of SAMOIS, Califia shifted focus to the lesbian experience of BDSM and made a major contribution to the diversification of the leather subculture. He contributed to the book Coming to Power published by Alyson Publications. Another book, the Lesbian Sadomasochism Safety Manual won the 1990 Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year. Califia founded the leatherwomen's quarterly Venus Infers in 1992, and in 1996 was co-editor (with Robin Sweeney) of The Second Coming: A Leatherdyke Reader, a sequel to Coming to Power.
During this period Califia was both writing about queer studies and gender identity and coming to terms with these issues on a personal level. During the mid-1990s, Califia decided to transition, adopting the name of Patrick.
Since the 1990s, Califia has had fibromyalgia, which has reduced his ability to type or write. He is currently in private practice as a therapist (he is a licensed marriage therapist and family therapist in the state of California). He continues to publish his work and attend leather community events.
Califia's most recent book is Boy in the Middle, a collection of erotic stories. He is currently working on a number of other projects including a book on FTM sexuality.
His pornographic works were often seized by Canadian customs until he fought a court case to allow them to be accepted. Afterwards he wrote of his amusement at finding that anti-porn feminist Catherine Itzin's book Pornography: Women, Violence and Civil Liberties was seized under the very law she had helped to establish, while Califia's books were recognised as acceptable by that law. Califia fought against anti-pornography legislation co-authored by Catharine MacKinnon.
Pat Califia, 1996, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1123921)
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
Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex by Pat Califia
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Cleis Pr (October 1994)
Amazon: Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex
Amazon Kindle: Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex
For nearly two decades, Pat Califia has been "fuming and fussing" about censorship and the rights of perverts in America. Whether she's writing about lesbian relationships, S/M and "leather sex," sex between lesbians and gay men, eroticizing latex and safe sex, role-playing and genderbending, sex with youth, prostitution, or sex in public, Califia's essays-clear, consistent, provocative and eminently reasonable- set the standard for writing about sex. Public Sex collects the very best of Califia's work, providing both a chronicle of the sex radical movement in this country as well as the definitive positions of America's most consistent and trenchant sexual critic.
More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
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