In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with out gay author Michael Dumlao regarding his new book “The Wisdom of Guncles” (gay uncles).
The Wisdom of Guncles is about queer people and their relationship with family — however, they choose to define it. Featuring a diverse pantheon of gay uncles (“guncles”) and other queer mentors, their stories offer unique perspectives about life, love, and personal empowerment.
Michael Dumlao (he/his) is an artist, author, and activist equipped with more than twenty-one years of advancing diversity, equity, and social justice through award-winning brand strategy, digital marketing, and creative storytelling in corporate, federal, academic, and non-profit environments. He led the rebrand of a Fortune 500 company as its first Director of Brand and serves as a senior advisor for leaders in defense and intelligence.
Are you the black sheep in your family who chafes at traditions and seeks examples of how to redefine them?
In our conversation, Michael shares a bit about a few of the stories. We also chat about his process of writing the book and how his passion for storytelling started as a teenager full of angst and his need to express it through writing. The stories are human stories where any reader regardless of age, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation may connect with the story and perhaps learn a bit about themselves and/or others. As a family “black sheep” bunking the expectations of others, we can find our own identity, passions, likes, dislikes, and so forth. With some family dynamics, it can take courage to break out and do your own thing. Some people are completely rejected by birth families for being different, not the following conformity, and for being LGBTQ+. We can choose to view those past negative situations from a victim’s perspective or change our mind’s narrative into viewing it as a challenge that we dealt with and now is a superpower. With those life lessons learned, the book is about sharing such wisdom with others so that we all may rise and be our true authentic selves.
With each chapter, Dumlao examines what various LGBTQ+ experiences teach about disrupting norms, exploring identity, and creating chosen families that affirm one’s truth. Readers will ponder questions such as:
How do I challenge and change traditions that hide those that are different?
If I choose to never dim my light, will I become a beacon for others lost in the dark?
How will recovering past stories and unsung heroes help us create a better future?
How can I leave a space more welcoming than how I found it?
The Wisdom of Guncles shares ten powerful journeys, each bearing knowledge honed through struggle and triumph, on living with audacious authenticity and compassion. While these narratives are unapologetically queer, they hold universal lessons about the human condition that, like all stories about family, are grounded in love.
Michael was born in Manila, Philippines, raised in Sydney, Australia, schooled in Santa Barbara, California; residing in Washington DC with his Peruvian husband Daniel and their rescue dog, America. He is the proud guncle to more than fifty far-flung niblings and protégés to whom his debut book, The Wisdom of Guncles, is dedicated.
To learn more and find where to get your copy of the book visit: https://www.thewisdomofguncles.com
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