When you go up the mountain you don’t know what you’ll find with Gerard Cabrera

Welcome to our LGBT podcast!

In this episode, we meet Gerard Cabrera (he/him) and I talk with him about The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann. Gerard tells me that, “The Magic Mountain is about educating yourself and trying to make decisions for how you want to live your own life.

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Do you want to follow a path of seeking freedom or do you want to follow a path of just maintaining a status quo so that you can survive? With AIDS raging, I think that was a very salient sort of internal debate for me.”

Gerard is the author of the new novel Homo Novus and I talk with him all about it. What is the plot? It’s Holy Week 1987. And Fr. Linus Fitzgerald, a Catholic priest, is confined to his hospital bed by an AIDS diagnosis, while being comforted by the seminarian he sexually abused as an adolescent.

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Visit thisqueerbook.com/bookshop to purchase Gerard’s novel Homo Novus and Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain.

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Credits

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Transcript

[theme music]

J.P.: Hello everyone. On today’s episode, I welcome Gerard Cabrera and we’re going to talk about the book that saved his life is The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann. The Magic Mountain is about young man Hans Castorp who goes to visit his cousin who is being treated for tuberculosis in the mountain of Davos Switzerland however while staying there he catches an infection himself and ends up living at the sanatorium for seven years. This novel is considered one of the greats and was written by Thomas Mann who lived his life out of the closet for part of his life and then in the closet and then had kids who all turned out to be Gay or Bi sexual. Gerard and I are going to talk about how The Magic Mountain allowed him to see himself and even escape some of the disasters that seemed ready to befall him like losing his family after coming out or even getting sick before he could fall in love. I have been looking forward to this conversation for weeks now so let’s get started. My name is JP Der Boghossian and you’re listening to This Queer Book Saved My Life. Hi Gerard. Thanks for being here. How are you?

Gerard: I’m good.Hi JP. It’s great to meet you.

J.P.: Likewise. A quick shout out to Quatrefoil Library. They are an LGBTQ library and event space in the Twin Cities. What’s really neat is that they have set up a page on their website q library dot org where you can read digital versions of the books featured on this podcast. So, if you can’t buy them, you can still read them. We’re including links in the show notes.

Gerard, tell us about yourself. You’re a writer; you’ve run a safe sex program; founded an LGBT Puerto Rican empowerment group. Share it all. Tell us everything.

Gerard: Well, I helped in doing those things. I can’t say that I did all of those things on my own JP, as you know.

J.P.: Don’t be humble, this is your time.

Gerard: Well no, but seriously now, as you know we all live in our communities and nothing gets done unless we work together so I think from an early age I got some of those lessons in the neighborhood I grew up in which was Springfield, Massachusetts in the Puerto Rican neighborhood at the time. It has spread out since then. In the 70s, there was a program called the Vista Volunteers. I think they were sort of like a domestic Peace Corps. We were sort of invaded in a good way by people from outside of the neighborhood who basically brought their community organizing skills with them. We founded a food co-op and a credit union and I got to meet all sorts of really interesting people from places like the midwest which was a foreign land to me anyway.

J.P.: know someone who lives in Minneapolis and it’s not that foreign but I get it!

Gerard: That was pretty much my introduction to community organizing and some of it was successful and there was political activism about poverty issues and housing issues and things like that so that’s that was my introduction really to activism or political activism. My parents participated in it somewhat but it was pretty much community wide and it’s a lot of fun too! I learned a lot and after that I just kind of continued on in a sense in that way. In my high school, well even in my elementary school, I was taught by nuns. They were the grove nuns which were the guitar playing nuns playing folk songs. I remember that they had an assembly where they had all of the students come to the auditorium and we were given a speech by either one or both of the Rosenborg children: the children of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

J.P.: Whoa, no way! Wow!

Gerard: Yeah. They came and gave a talk against the death penalty and the whole school had to attend. It was very memorable even for little kids to hear about how killing is wrong and we shouldn’t have a death penalty in this country and these two people, their mom and their dad were executed and we don’t ever want that to happen again. It was pretty intense.

J.P.: For folks who maybe don’t know about the Rosenburgs, they were accused by the federal government of espionage and they were ultimately arrested and then one of the very few people that were actually charged under a particular law.

Gerard: Roy Cohn was one of the prosecutors.

J.P.: Right. For those who have seen Angels in America in that opening scene Ethel Rosenberg haunts him in the play which was fantastic to see but wow that must have been a heavy experience.

Gerard: Yes, it was. Then I went to a school that you know we can talk about later that’s sort of described in my novel. It was a catholic boarding school for boys only who had a thought about becoming a priest but that also entailed a lot of social justice kinds of volunteer work and lots of discussions about things like liberation theology in Central America and whether or not the catholic church should be getting involved in politics and whose side should the church be on? Should it be on the side of the establishment and the powerful or should it be on the side of the underdog? There were passionate sorts of debates as much as high school. Students can do that which is at a pretty good level I would say but I wasn’t out until the end of high school. I should say i came out but then there was basically no support, obviously in a catholic school that was pretty conservative anyway. It was much more conservative than the nuns were. I’m sure if the nuns ran it, they wouldn’t have been so harsh.

I went to college after that and that was a difficult adjustment to transition from real homogenous almost hothouse kind of environment, maybe like the sanitorium in Magic Mountain. You see the same people every day and whether you like them or not you have to deal with them and also you make really good, close friends that I still have to this day. Transitioning from that kind of environment to a university where there was just so many more people was hard. My high school class had fifteen students in the graduating class so it was very small.

J.P.: Oh wow

Gerard: To go to a big campus and all that took a lot of adjustment, nevertheless she persisted and I did come out more for real and permanently towards the junior year and joined the LGBT well at the time. It was just Gay and Lesbian and then in my senior year Bisexuality was added and I left. The rest of the letters came after that so one of the things that we did my senior year was I helped organize a protest against Eddie Murphy. Maybe people don’t remember this but at the beginning of his career he used to make AIDS jokes and Gay jokes and he was invited to the campus as part of the spring festivities. I helped organize a protest asking him to not make those jokes, apologize and give the money that he was going to make to the AIDS Action Committee. That was the AIDS group in Boston. I think it still exists today. Then you know to kind of say he was sorry. I guess you didn’t do any of those things but it was a great experience and scary too because you can see even back then I guess and it’s not a surprise that it was very provocative to ask anyone to say that they’re sorry to us. It seemed kind of outrageous to a lot of people that we would even demand something like that so it was in college that I read The Magic Mountain

J.P. Here we go. Gerard, what is the book that saved your life?

Gerard: The book that saved my life is called The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann.

J.P.: German pronunciation: I’ve been saying man but yeah he is german so Thomas Mann and what is it about?

Gerard: Sure, okay. I’ll tell you you know it was assigned for a course. I didn’t know anything about it. I started to read it and I just kind of fell into it. It’s very long as you know and it’s kind of all encompassing. It has a bunch of really interesting characters: You named a couple of them: Hans Costorp and his cousin Joe Akim who is the original patient at the sanatorium in Switzerland. Hans goes to visit him because his doctor says he needs a rest or a break before he starts his career as a ship builder at a shipyard in Hamburg. It says why he’s described as sort of a mediocre person but a mediocre person in the sense of like an every man. He goes to visit him and he’s immediately swept up into the routine of the sanatorium which is very regimented. It’s on a daily schedule. It hardly ever changes. Basically he’s swept up into it and what starts off as a three week visit to his cousin as you say turns into seven years. All of the time in the novel is one of the subjects of the novel. If you count the pages the first small period of time takes up maybe half the number of pages or three quarters of the number of pages. Then it gets telescoped so the chunk of time actually has the fewest number of pages in the book as it proceeds and I think that was one of the techniques that Thomas Mann used to sort of make physical experience, make the reading experience feel a certain way. So, Hans goes to visit he ends up staying because as you mentioned he is diagnosed with a spot on the lung or is the spot one of the things that kind of goes through my mind as I read and as I’ve reread it is it’s actually kind of unclear how sick he is or if he should even stay and that kind of is an ongoing debate throughout the book. He’s got hair set in brine, what you might call the good angel over one shoulder telling him to go home and get out of here. This is no place for a young man. You’ve got a life to live and he kind of struggles with whether he should stay or he should go. He’s sort of disposed to I think the introspection and the sort of enjoyment that he gets from thinking about things and from talking to people and it’s known as you know as a coming of age story. There’s a lot of education in the process. He learns from different people like hair set and briny who represents sort of liberalism and rationalism and a bright future ahead. Later on in the book he meets a sort of Jesuit on pause who is really sort of the counter angel to set in brine and is very sort of nihilistic and he grew some so you get to see him go back and forth between these two points of view. It’s sort of a survey course on western thought in a way going back and forth between these two people and these different principles like a hopeful principle and a sort of a more pessimistic principle. Now the third character who breaks the impact is the mine hair paper corn who is sort of the Dionysian kind of figure who disrupts everything in this equilibrium that seems to be going on. One of the things that the book also talks about is death and death is a current through the whole book. Time and death and love because Hans also falls in love in a strange way because he falls in love with a woman who reminds him of a teenage boy classmate that he had when he was 15 years old. They have the same eyes. They have the same sort of facial features. Hans never questions any deeper that they resemble each other. Some of the jokes in The Magic Mountain are very camp and funny.

J.P.: They are, aren’t they?

Gerard: Yes but Hans only takes it so far. Maybe you think differently but to me he sort of doesn’t really examine a lot of things but that’s something that he really looks at.

J.P.: There’s so much to get into here but first I think I want to ask you is, what did “saved” mean for you in terms of The Magic Mountain? What were the life-giving features? How did this book save you?

Gerard: First, the pleasure of reading this and having discovered it of course. I wasn’t very happy in college so to encounter a book that just makes you smile and laugh out loud was something lifesaving or life affirming. That’s how I would start answering that. Then it’s because it’s a novel about educating yourself, learning about different perspectives and trying to make decisions for how you want to live your own life. Do you want to follow a path of seeking freedom or do you want to follow a path of just maintaining a status quo so that you can survive? With AIDS raging, I think that was a very salient sort of internal debate for me. Should I take a circle the wagons mentality or an explore and take risks approach to life? I think it’s a debate that everyone my age has had or maybe even has today with the specter of HIV hanging over your head and this is pre protease inhibitors and even some of it pre discovery of the virus itself. It was called grid gay related immune deficiency. It had different kinds of acronyms for it and so to see and to read this book where there’s certainly plenty of time to figure this out, I think relaxed me to say i had time to figure things out for myself. I didn’t have to know everything all at once. Hans does not know everything all at once. A person like Hans who isn’t not like me in many ways but who stands for me um can actually learn things now. The counterpoint for him in a sense is his cousin, the one who came first Joakim who wants to be a soldier. That’s the only thing he wants. He does not want to be at the sanatorium at all. He does everything by the book. He does everything he’s told but he doesn’t want to spend one minute longer than he has to because he believes that he has to fulfill his duty. Hans is more relaxed about getting back to work since he hasn’t actually started anything yet. I think that’s a big distinction for me: The debate about what I should do and what I want to do. I think other people probably can relate to that too at an earlier age when they’re sort of thinking what are my responsibilities vs. what are my dreams? Are those in opposition to each other or is there a way that they can actually be synthesized or brought into some sort of harmony? In a lot of ways, maybe, The Magic Mountain is about that struggle to harmonize all of those desperate forces in my life at the time i was reading it.

J.P.: I like that word harmonize. Were you out when you read it the first time in college?

Gerard: No. Maybe that book helped me come out. It might have, yeah.

J.P.: Can you tell me a little bit more because you were talking about the pressure of time and how the novel was giving you time to figure things out. What was that pressure that you were feeling to figure things out? Was it the family environment? Was it that you’re having all of these conflicting feelings and you’re like I just need this to be figured out now? What was it for you?

Gerard: I think college made me feel like I had to figure things out. I had to know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. There had to be an answer. You had to have some answer. I’m the second person on my maternal side to have gone to college. All of the aunts, dozens and dozens of aunts and uncles and cousins. It wasn’t like I had any role models that were at hand. I could see what other students did. Most of my classmates’ parents had gone to college so they had a little bit more of a sense of what you’re supposed to do. For example, I couldn’t understand why my classmates we’re so relaxed. Didn’t they have homework? Weren’t they supposed to be doing lots of doing things? I think it took some time to settle down. I think that there was a lot of pressure because I needed to find a job. That’s why people go to college.

J.P.: Wow.

Gerard: At least that’s what I was told. Well, you don’t have to actually go to college to get a job.

J.P.: Yeah.

Gerard: Now everyone I grew up with and most people, that’s what they did. If you went to college, you’d have to get a better job than what everyone else was going to be doing. There has to be a reason why your parents are paying that money and you’re taking loans or you’re getting grants and all of the rest of it. Does that help answer your question?

J.P.: Absolutely. I want to take a quick commercial break here because I want to share with folks how they can invest in our podcast and become an associate producer as well as some announcements so we will be right back on the flip side of this break.

[music]

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[music]

We’re back and I am here with Gerardo Cabrera and we are talking about the novel The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
I want to talk about your coming out journey because you mentioned a little bit about how maybe this novel helped with that. So, you read the novel and then what was that journey like thereafter in terms of coming out?

Gerard: It started in my junior year around the time that I read it and I think that along with seeing other activists a group had started on campus that I really wanted to be part of but was terrified. I did manage to approach you very carefully and was welcomed. Then I just became a part of that group and I started to come out to friends and roommates. You could say that was the second coming out process that I went through. It went like most people: in stages. There were ups and downs. I had the reactions of, Oh, I already knew which is always really annoying! Don’t you find that annoying?

J.P.: I cannot stand that because people would have to be so oblivious. By ignoring the challenges that Queer people have to go through and to sit there and be congratulating yourself “Oh i knew that!” and not say, ‘How do I build trust with this person so that whether it’s a child or a cousin or a nephew or a spouse to be like hey I want to create that trust so this person feels comfortable. I can show myself to be an ally and instead to just sit there and let the person deal with it, I get so angry. Some people say yeah my parents already knew and it was a big joke and i’m like was it, was it a joke?

Gerard: There were some more negative reactions. Obviously, family is always challenging and my family’s very religious and culturally it’s kind of…it exists of course but you don’t really want to talk about it and you don’t really want anybody else to know. That was very challenging so you know there’s ups and downs and now I happen to have the great fortune of getting a work study job in of all places, Gay Community News. Have you heard of it?

J.P.: No

Gerard: Gay Community News was a weekly newspaper in Boston and it was one of the oldest weekly newspapers for Gay Lesbian politics, culture, etc. It was a little thin newspaper and I got to be an intern there and write little news notes or stuff the newspaper into plain brown envelopes because it was a safety issue at the time. I think there was, if i’m not mistaken, just a post office box return address so that you know you couldn’t you wouldn’t know what it was.

J.P.: Wow!

Gerard: I could be wrong about that but I think you know it was people don’t maybe remember about how it was but if you’re mailing something out to well, anywhere really and see the word Gay on the envelope, you can have problems. We would have these mailing parties every week and I participated in that. I also wrote a couple of reviews. I actually got to see the Smiths perform and I wrote a review and that was a big highlight!

J.P.: Whoa! I’m jealous!

Gerard: That was a long time ago. I’ve changed but I don’t think Morris has! In fact he might have been going backwards somewhat.

J.P.: No, no.

Gerard: I think that I really enjoyed that experience tremendously because I got to meet so many great people; activists and writers and people who are really serious about changing things for our community. That was where I had my Gay education. My political and cultural education was through all those people there.

J.P.: You had an email that you shared with Jim, our executive producer that said a little bit about how you felt like The Magic Mountain was helping you escape from disasters that seemed ready to befall you such as losing your family by coming out or even getting sick before you could fall in love. Could you share a little bit more about that?

Gerard: At the time I was reading it and around the time i was coming out I didn’t know if I would ever and it was a real fear that I might get sick and I might die before some handsome guy and I fell in love and not have that opportunity that Hans gets to fall in love. He only has one night and then spends the next seven years basically waiting for something to happen. I guess that seemed kind of a frightening prospect you know that you might just be able to fall in love and see that person once! I could hear about that and read about that. At the time Gay Community News and the people that I knew were getting sick. People were dying. That was really terrifying! Since The Magic Mountain is so much focused on tuberculosis and how in the novel it’s still quite mysterious. There’s treatments et cetera but no one really knows how to cure it. It does get cured at least they say so in the book but it was very much I think, how I was feeling about HIV. Whether or not there could or would ever be a cure or if it would always be life threatening to the same degree. With respect to family, I think when you go up when you go up that mountain, you don’t know what you’re going to find when you come back down from it. You may ascend to the summit and survey all around you and say I’m going to go in that direction and I’m going to go in that direction and that may not be where your people are from. That may not be where your family of origin or anything like that is. For our hero in The Magic Mountain Joachim who leaves against medical advice, he makes a decision: I have to go back down into what they call the flat land and I’ve got to basically fulfill my destiny. Hans, as a soldier takes a different path. There’s a beautiful parting scene between them. It’s the only time Joachim calls Hans by his first name. He says to him, come down soon. It’s so moving. This is the love relationship between the cousins. They are so tender towards each other and so
respectful.

J.P.: They are

Gerard Cabrera:They’re so kind and understand it’s cultural too I’m sure and class comes into it obviously. These are all people with money who can afford to go to Davos and just be a patient and have seven meals a day but you know the sensitivity that they both display to not embarrass the other one or to try not to say the wrong thing or deliver the little white lie. The little sneaking around or the little thing that doesn’t get said to preserve the other person’s sense of decorum. I love that. I just think that shows there’s something very beautiful about that. I could identify with that as well, JP, because coming back to my family, I thought sometimes if people you love pretend they don’t know I’m Gay, there’s a sense that the silence sometimes is just a different way of looking at things. That silence can almost be affirming in an absent sort of way rather than say something negative. They’ll just kind of ignore it. Everyone knows no one says anything mean or nasty or anything. If I bring someone, it’s fine but you know it’s just sort of like let’s keep the conversation on football or what we’re eating or whatever. You don’t get what you want but it’s not because they’re not trying.

J.P.: That’s very magnanimous of you. I can absolutely see that. I can absolutely see that.

Gerard: I’m old now so maybe it’s just looking back and I’m trying to soften up a little bit. I don’t know.

J.P.: I want to transition to your writing career. When did you start writing?

Gerard: I started writing fiction seriously in about 2009, right at the start of the great recession. I’d lost my job and for the first time I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with my time. I didn’t know what to do with myself. It was a real crushing kind of feeling. It also made me start to wonder why did I think that I had to be defined so much by a job which is how I was raised. You’ve got to find a job. You’ve got to make a paycheck. You’ve got to pay the bills. If you don’t do that, you’re a nobody or a loser. You’re not living off of other people blah blah blah. I decided to start writing and you know I took some workshops and things like that. and and I really loved it. I always liked to read but I’d never really thought about trying aside from professional writing because I do that all the time. So that’s really when I started to do it and I started to write short stories mainly.; I try to submit. them.

J.P.: Was there any connection between Magic Mountain and your own writing? Did you ever find any inspiration from it either from the content, the themes, the style of Mann’s writing?

Gerard: Now that I’m rereading it of course, this is highly biased right? I’m saying that reminds me so much of my own novel. I wish, right?

J.P.: Oh that’s great, tell us about your novel.

Gerard: My novel is called Homo Novice and it is basically an attempt to write about the relationship between a catholic priest and the boy that he sexually seduces and abuses and follow their relationship over time. Most of the reporting and the things that we see in the media show the sort of violation and then the consequences are described later when the young person becomes an adult and they’re looking back. We follow them along up until a certain point. I think it’s a little bit unusual in the sense that I’m trying to get at the here and now from both of these characters’ perspectives. That was what I was interested in neither trying to make it more three dimensional without obviously down playing the violence and the harm that was caused. I think that I succeeded. I think that it succeeded in bringing that relationship into life and with all of the complexity involved.

J.P.: There’s a lot of complexity in that I guess. How did you navigate the humanity of that? There are these two characters that are three dimensional, how are you navigating that in a way where it’s not seeming to be excusing behavior and are tuned to the gravity of the situation?

Gerard: I think for me that was obviously a big concern on my part. I think the way I tried to approach it was to describe it and try to use a narrative sort of method to describe what was happening from each character’s point of view and not let the actions speak for themselves. You could see what was happening. That was the best way for me to accomplish it, to try and inhabit each one of these characters separately and sort of imagine what it would have been like. I think that was hard but I think it worked. Since it’s unusual because it follows them over time I had to use my imagination and you try to bridge these gaps. One of the things I wanted to focus on was the religion and the sort of ways religious thinking played into the dysfunction of that relationship. One of the things I learned is that the priest character really believes that he can’t he can’t be held accountable so much because of being a priest. There’s something that happens when you become a priest in that because you take on the person of christ, it forms or snaps or dislocates or disconnects your actions and the consequences. I’m just going out on a limb here but I feel like that’s part of the training. It’s not explicit but I think that’s sort of my gut. That’s what my instinct tells me is that they kind of get carried away with this role. There’s stuff in the novel about how he thinks of himself as an actor. How actors can sort of separate their role from their private life. In this case, literally the belief is that the priest becomes christ during the consecration. That’s why it is the real body and the real blood for catholics. I mean it’s fascinating right? There’s a thousand years of theology. It has developed a certain way and I think that that has something to do with it and it’s very attractive to a character like Orlando who is coming from a poorer family who isn’t white and who wants to fit in. He isn’t the brightest student. It’s very attractive. You can become a celebrity in a certain sense. You get to have a nice car. You can have a nice house. You can take vacations. Those are very middle class aspirations. I think that unfortunately that’s what makes poorer kids more vulnerable to those kinds of predators. So the novel tries to deal with all of this and in the context of disease and death and the Magic Mountain there’s also disease and death and there has to be some reckoning with that as well which remains unresolved in the book. Readers can decide whether they think father is going to pull out of this or not. We certainly don’t know what’s going to happen with Orlando because he doesn’t even know whether he wants to go get a test but those things are for the reader to decide. It was a way to sort of reflect the reality of that time of 1987. I’m hoping that when people read it they find that it gets deeper into those kinds of issues. One of the interesting reactions that I’ve gotten is that Orlando is not such a saint himself. He’s been able to profit from it as well. We’re not sure what’s going to happen by the end when he starts to see a truer picture of what his past is. Now, he’s sort of a naive character maybe like Hans,less curious though but pretty average I’d say. Maybe in a sense he’s like Hans: that average, every man kind of way.

J.P.: Given the moment that we’re in, we’re recording this in January of 2023, so literally a week ago, we could talk about Pope Benedict who was really well known for covering all of this up and being very anti LGBT has died.

Gerard: Yes.

J.P.: What about the accountability, if that’s the right word over the past few years? What is your hope for your novel with the larger public that they’re going to take away from it?

Gerard: Well, if anyone needs to read this book it’s certainly people in charge and people in power because I think the book shows the damage caused to two young men who are selected for a sort of a program that they’re just not ready for. These sorts of schools for young adolescent boys just are a bad idea and I know they still exist but they really shouldn’t. I think that’s the first thing that comes to mind with respect to accountability. you know We have the civil justice system that’s not, well we have the criminal justice system too but usually the statute of limitations has run out to prosecute anyone. Here in New York, they passed a law to extend the statute of limitations for civil suits so that people can sue and a lot of lawsuits have been filed. How they turn out, who knows but it’s a very imperfect way to get justice because as you know damages are monetary so that can help but really what we would need is something like they did in South Africa like a truth and reconciliation commission. They have people come in to testify about the bad things that they’ve done and they might get immunity When they did did that in South Africa I thought that was pretty intense and impressive. So they instituted all these new policies and norms and things like that. Whether they get followed or not, I don’t know. The catholic church is so hetero hegemonic.

J.P.: That’s a good word for it.

Gerard:They look at man and woman you know? That’s it. Strangely enough this current pope wrote an encyclical about the environment where he talked a lot and very eloquently about the diversity of nature and it would only take one little baby step to talk about the diversity of nature among homo sapiens right? They don’t. They don’t do that. It’s depressing and it’s kind of hopeless I think on their part because they’re so invested in this almost medieval way of looking at how human beings relate to each other. We can still get money. In Michigan they actually allowed the District Attorney of the county to review stuff in a new way. Is that going to help, I don’t know. We can go nuts on the prosecution and that’s why we have the prison system that we have because everyone gets incarcerated and nobody gets a fair trial. It’s a big problem. I think there’s been some progress certainly and there’s some great organizations that do this work but I think that there’s there’s going to be more lawsuits and I think the problem itself cannot go away unless there’s a dismantling of this sort of patriarchal kind of ridiculous way of looking at people and also looking at children, looking at how families exist, how children are brought up. I work in family court now and we do child abuse and child neglect cases. I see a lot of different kinds of cases and I think that would go a long way to help people understand that the diversity is inherent in each person.

J.P.: I’d like to thank Gerard for being on today’s episode.

You can buy both The Magic Mountain and Gerard’s novel Homo Novus on our Bookshop.org page. Visit thisqueerbook.com/bookshop.

Gerard is currently working on a story collection set in the neighborhood he grew up in and he also has a novel project which is a twist on Shay’s rebellion, but instead as a Puerto Rican independence uprising. For updates and to read more of his work, you can follow him on Facebook. He is also on Instagram. His handle is @GerardCabrera697. His website is gerardcabrera.com. Links for all of this are in the show notes and on our website.

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