Author-activist Mark Thompson was born and raised on the scenic Monterey Peninsula, California, during the Fifties and Sixties. In 1973, Thompson was a founding member of the Bay Area-wide Gay Students Coalition started at San Francisco State University, where he was a journalism student. He has worked for gay causes since that time.
He began his writing career at the national gay and lesbian newsmagazine The Advocate in 1975, reporting on culture and politics in Europe. Thompson continued to serve the publication during the next two decades in a number of capacities–as a feature writer, photographer, and Senior Editor. In 1994, he completed his tenure at the magazine by editing Long Road to Freedom: The Advocate History of the Gay and Lesbian Movement (St. Martin’s Press), a massive volume of half a million words and over seven hundred images documenting the gay and lesbian struggle for civil rights. The book was nominated for two Lambda Literary Awards
Thompson is best known, however, for his influential trilogy of books dealing with gay spirituality. The first in the series, Gay Spirit: Myth and Meaning (Lethe Press) was published in 1987. The anthology has been acclaimed around the world and was recently included on a list compiled by the Lambda Book Report of the “100 Lesbian and Gay Books That Changed Our Lives.” The Los Angeles Times called Gay Spirit an “exciting challenge to conventional thinking.”
Besides his work as an author and photographer, Thompson holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University and has worked as a counselor to gay youth and people with AIDS. He has also been an active participant in many gay organizations over the years. In 2007, he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Lambda Literary Foundation. And, in June of 2009, the City of West Hollywood presented Thompson and his longtime life-partner, Episcopal priest and author Malcolm Boyd, the prestigious Rainbow Key Award for their decades of “outstanding contributions to the lesbian and gay community.”