SAN DIEGO – Lesbian author Rayna Gangi will speak to her fans and sign books on Saturday, Oct. 20, at Gossip Grill in Hillcrest.
Gangi has been visiting Southern California for days, and made an appearance on Oct. 13 at the annual Pride @ the Beach! festival in Oceanside.
For more than 30 years, Gangi has been a Holistic Health consultant on alternative medicine, and she is a certified and licensed massage therapist and reflexologist.
She travels the country educating, teaching, speaking and selling her many books, which include historical fiction typically with lesbian heroines.
Gangi speaks with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News about her life and career, how she incorporates her sexual identity into her work, and who are her literary idols.
SDGLN: What will be happening Oct. 20 at Gossip Grill?
I'll be doing a multiple book signing. My newest release, "ILYR" is a love story that centers very much on San Diego and is the main reason I'm here. The women meet on Facebook, fall in love even though they don't want to, and the complications of kids, divorce, religion and spirituality all mirror the duality of our country. Based on the Cree belief that there are only two relationships that exist in our human world, either friend or enemy, and the quest for love that often finds us torn between those two realities.
"Souls of the Fire" was released in June, a story of lesbian parenting and spirituality. "Two Spirit" and "Two Spirit II" are the original "Butch" books now revised and out under my real name. When released in the ‘80s, they were international bestsellers under the pseudonym Jay Rayn. Cutting edge coming out process novels that follow a lesbian named Mike as she searches for Ms. Right.
SDGLN: What is “My Heart And Soul” all about?
“My Heart And Soul” is one of my web pages showcasing all of my current publications. I have spent my life pursuing my reason for being. From the military to money management to holistic health and kids, I have explored my heart, my choices, and the path my soul has asked me to travel.
My writing incorporates many of these things while integrating reality and the stumbling blocks we all face in our quest for the ultimate destination, love. I am in love with love. With all the heartache, joy, wonder and misery love brings to our lives, not one moment, breath, tear or memory is wasted. It is our reason for being, and our greatest challenge.
SDGLN: Why are you such a proponent for the past 30 years of holistic health and alternative medicine, and why is this different from traditional health care?
I was trained in Earth Medicine by the time I was 14 and raised with seven Seneca grandmothers of the Iroquois nation. They taught me that all we need to stay healthy or to heal has been given to us by the Creator whether that means herbs, food and water, or the ability of "self" to heal.
Holistic Health encompasses the whole being because everything in our lives contributes to imbalances, trauma, distress. Where we were born, what we eat, how aligned our spines are, what we think and how, knowing that the only two emotions that exist are love and fear - all contribute to our health, our balance. Physicians were originally surgeons, not diagnosticians, so I believe alternative health is really complementary to Western Medicine and the holistic approach to that alternative is the more intended path to health and balance.
SDGLN: Where did you learn your expertise and skills, and how do you apply it?
As I said, I was originally trained by Native American grandmothers, but then actively pursued courses and degrees in reflexology, massage, iridology, colon health, physics and meta-physics, nutrition, herbs and supplements.
SDGLN: How many books have you authored, and which ones are your best sellers?
I've authored seven books, three screenplays and am included in several anthologies. The Butch books (renamed "Two Spirit"), were international best-sellers and the "Forget the Cures, Find the Cause" books were hits on initial release and are still popular here and in Europe.
SDGLN: How does LGBT fit into your speaking engagements and writing?
My personal story fits into everything I speak about, teach or write because it's not a label or a chosen role, but as much a part of me as my heart and soul. I walk and talk in truth and in my power so I don't fear judgment, nor do I feel I have to "push" my sexuality to make any point. I am just me, and happy with who I am so those who read or listen have never voiced any resentment or opposition. I think when we come from love, walk in truth and hold our power as authentically ours, biases and judgments have no need or room to surface.
SDGLN: With budget cuts and a Congress seemingly indifferent to the oversight of the food and drug industries, how is this impacting Americans?
The food and drug industries are the largest corporations in the world, with profits far exceeding oil companies. It's not Congress that's causing the food problems as much as the EPA and corporations extending from Agenda 21 ideologies that are and will impact Americans.
Monsanto is the best example of a corporate takeover of something so simple and basic as farming.
Pharmaceutical companies are a long story, much too long for here, but basically people need to know that we are "used and abused" by synthetic chemicals, and scare tactics are used to make sure we continue to use any and all products be they prescribed or over the counter.
SDGLN: How can we take control over our own healthcare during a time when insurance companies try to control every aspect of our medical history?
The first step is taking control of our own health. "Forget the Cures, Find the Cause" helps people first find the basic seven keys to health. Book two delves more deeply into everything that affects good health from birth to death.
When we take care of ourselves, healthcare provided by anyone else is not an issue. I have not been to a doctor in over 40 years nor have I had health insurance. I expect to live another 40 years taking care of the aging process in my body and using alternative modalities and therapies to stay in balance.
SDGLN: You were a Marine during the Vietnam era, at a time when the country was divided over the war. How were you treated during that time, and how did that shape the rest of your life?
My father and uncles all served during WWII and Korea, and I love America. When I came back from boot camp to visit friends before coming to MCRD San Diego for further training, I was treated with anger and disdain, but my heart is always with my flag. We get into wars for wrong reasons, but war has existed since the beginning of time, not always for profits, but also for land, resources, religious dominance and often the same differences we see between siblings or lovers.
All war is based in fear. The fear of not being good enough, having enough, of not being the most powerful or any number of fears. They're never based in love. But those of us serve and have served love the country we were born and raised in and see it as a duty to keep those principles and freedoms we've all come to expect and enjoy.
I learned self-discipline and found abilities I didn't know I had, all of which have allowed me to do things with my career that I might not have had the fortitude or discipline to pursue.
My holistic health career was secondary to my electronics career and then even more removed from my financial planning/training career. Three careers on top of pursuing my writing passion, raising 11 children, and graduating from college with a double major. The Marines made me tough, not a killer, and the honor of being a Marine will stay with me always.
SDGLN: What is your coming out story?
I came out not too long after I was born. "Two Spirit" and "Two Spirit II" tell my coming out stories, from grade school, through service in the Marines, to Women's Studies, the Coup in Chile, Stonewall Nation and all the relationships in between.
SDGLN: Single or taken?
I was taken until I arrived here last week.
SDGLN: If you were granted three wishes, how would you use them?
Wish No. 1 would be that all fear was removed from everyone's minds and hearts because fear drives so many negatives and impacts so many in negative ways.
Wish No. 2 would be that people practice unconditional love, or at least the intention, so that judgments and biases ceased to exist and people could just love and find love without fear.
Wish No. 3 would be that millions of people read this and my books so I can continue to write, podcast, speak and teach.
SDGLN: If you could host a dinner party and invite three people (dead or alive), who would they be and why?
Michael Landon, because he told me to write and write now. Mike Landetti in the “Two Spirit” books honors his name and friendship. I loved him. "D" from my latest book because she's totally lost in fear and allowed that fear to destroy the only love she said she ever had. And Ernest Hemingway, because people say I write in his style and I'd like his input on that.
Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at email@example.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to (877) 727-5446, ext. 713.