Franklin Abbot was born in 1950 in Birmingham, Alabama. He grew up in Birmingham, Buffalo, and Nashville. As a kid, Franklin marched to the beat of his own drummer, which wasn’t always well received by his buttoned-down family. But in high school, he found an outlet for at least some of his creative energy in a youth service group called the Order of DeMolay.
Coming out as gay during college, Franklin was simultaneously drawn towards the women’s and black liberation movements. The writings of Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde opened his eyes to feminism as a force of liberation for both women and men. Franklin would ultimately publish three anthologies on men and gender: New Men, New Minds (1987), Men and Intimacy (1989), and Boyhood: Growing Up Male (1991).
After college, Franklin worked at a facility for mentally challenged adults and children, and plunged deeper into social activism. He also got his master’s degree in social work, and in 1979, he became one of Atlanta’s first openly gay professionals when he opened a private psychotherapy practice.
Also during the 1970s, Franklin’s life took an important turn when he connected with America’s radical faerie community. The radical faeries are a loose, global organization of mostly-male queer people who resist assimilation into mainstream society, focusing instead on alternate spirituality, environmentalism, and anarchism. Originally founded in California, one of the main radical faerie centers today is at Short Mountain, Tennessee. For two decades, Franklin spent extensive time at Short Mountain. He served as poetry editor for the radical faeries’ unofficial journal RFD, worked with the journal Changing Men, and also published two volumes of his own poetry. In 2008, he founded Atlanta Queer Literary Festival, and in 2017, he released an CD of original songs and poetry, Don’t Go Back to Sleep.
Today, Franklin lives in Decatur, Georgia, where he continues to practice psychotherapy, write, and make music. His home is filled with memorabilia, souvenirs and photos of the places he’s traveled, and the rich cast of people he’s known. OUTWORDS interviewed Franklin in March 2018 in the same room where he sees clients, which somehow felt just right for the stories and emotions Franklin shared of a gifted individual finding his path in the world – and seeking to make the world a better place for those following behind.