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Jason Rich Wing
"Growing Up Gay In America"
Jason Rich

Review by: Mountman

This book is something that all schools should have in their libraries. Every teacher should read it. Not just a select few that specifically deals with Gay Teens. This book deals more with the Gay male, but can help anyone that is questioning his/her sexual identity.

      One of the things that impressed me right off the bat is in the introduction. No matter what you like, like to do or would like to do… there are just as many

differences in the Gay community as there are in any community. In between each chapter there is a section called ‘Shout Out America’. These sections are filled with quotes from American Gay Youth (ages 15 to 25).   

In the first chapter, Your Sexual Orientation, Jason gives some great advice. Once you have figured out that you might be gay, talk to someone. He gives examples of how to approach the subject with family or friends. There is a list of phone #’s and web addresses for readers to get some questions answered. Such as PFLAG and the Trevor Hotline Project - This is the first round-the-clock national toll-free suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth. It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Teens with nowhere else to turn can talk openly to trained counselors, find local resources and take important steps toward becoming healthy adults. All calls are free and confidential.

     There is a section of questions to ask yourself if you are wondering if you are gay. Coming To Terms With Your Own Sexuality, deals with just that… coming to terms within yourself.  “…being gay isn’t a physical or mental disease, it can’t be cured – mainly because there is nothing to cure. According to the American Psychological Association, no scientific evidence exists to support the effectiveness of any therapies that attempt to convert homosexuals into heterosexuals (gays into straights).” “Having urges, desires or sexual feelings toward someone (a guy or a girl) doesn’t mean you’re forced to act upon them.” Wait Until You’re Ready! Don’t do anything that you are not comfortable with. Jason talks about the fact that questioning your sexuality can lead to depression.

     Throughout the book Jason stresses the importance of developing a support system… This may be a friend, relative, or councilor or even a therapist. One thing to keep in mind, make sure that your councilor/therapist is open-minded. The worst thing that you can do is having a councilor/therapist that is homophobic.

There is one chapter in the book are dedicated to Coming out to your parents. While other chapters explain what the gay scene is all about, Relationships, Sex, Gay Life in Cyberspace, Homosexuality and Religion, and Your life and future. 

     This is one of the most comprehensive books on Coming out. You might call it the Coming Out Manual. I wish this book was available to me when I came out in ’75! If you know someone that might be gay, get this book for him/her. Read it yourself and learn about things that you may not have figured out on your own. Like Jason says, some people don’t come out all at once and some never do. This should be required reading to anyone that discriminates or harasses someone due to sexual orientation.   

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