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'...And Then I Became Gay': Young Men's Stories Paperback – October 22, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0415916776 ISBN-10: 0415916771 Edition: 0th

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This thoughtful, well-researched study provides a fresh perspective on the formative years of contemporary gay and bisexual males in our society. Savin-Williams (clinical psychology, Cornell Univ.) postulates that although their experiences have some distinct similarities, they are complemented by "differential developmental trajectories." This individuation is illuminated by the "young men's stories," drawn from interviews with 180 men aged 14 to 25 years, which enrich the text. These graphic and poignant reminiscences recount such developmental milestones as awareness and acceptance of a gay or bisexual identity, initial sexual experiences (both homo- and heterosexual), and the coming-out process, as well as delving into issues faced by youths who are both cultural and sexual minorities. Although the book is essentially a scholarly treatise, the sensitive treatment and personal narratives will appeal to well-informed lay readers. Recommended for academic and special collections in gay studies, human sexuality, and psychology and optional for larger public libraries.?Richard Violette, Social Law Lib., Boston
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

It is fascinating to read the personal narratives of gay and bisexual youth in this thoughtful,spirited,stimulating study of their lives and development. -- Richard A. Isay, M.D., author of Being Homosexual and Being Gay
It is through stories, our own and others, that we organize and give meaning to our lives and reveal the richness and diversity of human experience. It is also the best way of breaking through the crust of sexual and gender stereotypes. Professor Savin-Williams has provided the invaluable opportunity for the reader to hear the stories of gay and bisexual youth and, in doing so, he has dispelled popular myths about childhood sexual innocence (as if no experience is better than some) and that pre-adult sex can only be abusive and traumatic. In letting gay youth speak for itself he has opened the way for all youth of all sexual persuasions, to reclaim and give meaning to their own sexuality. -- John P. De Cecco, Center For Research & Education in Sexuality
He demolishes the existing stereotypes of gay male development and replaces these stereotypes with real life stories. -- The Ottawa Citizen
It is fascinating to read the personal narratives of gay and bisexual youth in this thoughtful, spirited, stimulating study of their lives and development. -- Richard A. Isay, M.D., author of Being Homosexual and Being Gay
It is through stories, our own and others, that we organize and give meaning to our lives and reveal the richness and diversity of human experience. It is also the best way of breaking through the crust of sexual and gender stereotypes. Professor Savin-Williams has provided the invaluable opportunity for the reader to hear the stories of gay and bisexual youth and, in doing so, he has dispelled popular myths about childhood sexual 'innocence' (as if no experience is better than some) and that pre-adult sex can only be abusive and traumatic. In letting gay youth speak for itself he has opened the way for all youth of all sexual persuasions, to reclaim and give meaning to their own sexuality. -- John P. De Cecco, Center For Research & Education in Sexuality
Recommended for academic and special collections in gay studies, human sexuality, and psychology. -- Library Journal
This thoughtful, well-researched study provides a fresh perspective on the formative years of contemporary gay and bisexual males in our society. . . . Although the book is essentially a scholarly treatise, the sensitive treatment and personal narratives will appeal to well-informed lay readers. Recommended for academic and special collections in gay studies, human sexuality, and psychology. -- Library Journal
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (October 22, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415916771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415916776
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,205,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a good book that should teach you a lot about the development and experiences of gay and bisexual young men, from childhood to young adulthood. The author interviewed a number gay and bisexual young men and throughout the text he includes exerpts from his interviews, which add more 'proof' and 'reality' to the text itself. The only bad thing might be that his sample was pretty limited - mostly college students at Cornell University. It's more of a textbook than anything else, but it still makes a very interesting read.
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Savin-Williams's book, though a dozen years old, remains a good, highly readable starting point, with caveats. Savin-Williams presents a clear developmental trajectory for what he calls "sexual minority" kids: memories of same-sex atractions, labeling feelings and attractions, first gay sex, first heterosexual sex, labeling self as gay/bisexual, disclosure to others, first gay romance, and positive identity. Within each category he gives the diversity of when and how sexual minority youths -- all boys, and I believe all Cornell College students -- achieved or didn't/hadn't yet achieved these "milestones". In particular he shows similarities and differences between boys and young men who achieved them during childhood, early adolescence, middle adolescence and young adulthood. He then compares/contrasts the experiences of white males with those of ethnic young men. So far, a fairly clear, fairly traditional approach to developmental history: here is a "separate" or at least a somewhat distinct category -- gay & bisexual boys/young men. Here's how they develop. Sadly -- my first caveat -- this is a "traditional" approach, using only boys/men, one not overturned until the late 1970's with Carol Gilligan's In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development. I'm not sure why Savin-Williams only studied gay/bi young men. (He may have mentioned this somewhere in the book; I don't recall.) It may have been a funding issue, or simply accepting that female sexual development, including female sexual minority development, tends to be quite different in many ways.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Savin-Williams's book, though a dozen years old, remains a good, highly readable starting point, with caveats. Savin-Williams presents a clear developmental trajectory for what he calls "sexual minority" kids: memories of same-sex atractions, labeling feelings and attractions, first gay sex, first heterosexual sex, labeling self as gay/bisexual, disclosure to others, first gay romance, and positive identity. Within each category he gives the diversity of when and how sexual minority youths -- all boys, and I believe all Cornell College students -- achieved or didn't/hadn't yet achieved these "milestones". In particular he shows similarities and differences between boys and young men who achieved them during childhood, early adolescence, middle adolescence and young adulthood. He then compares/contrasts the experiences of white males with those of ethnic young men. So far, a fairly clear, fairly traditional approach to developmental history: here is a "separate" or at least a somewhat distinct category -- gay & bisexual boys/young men. Here's how they develop. Sadly -- my first caveat -- this is a "traditional" approach, using only boys/men, one not overturned until the late 1970's with Carol Gilligan's In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development. I'm not sure why Savin-Williams only studied gay/bi young men. (He may have mentioned this somewhere in the book; I don't recall.) It may have been a funding issue, or simply accepting that female sexual development, including female sexual minority development, tends to be quite different in many ways. Savin-Williams has written books on gay AND lesbian youth, as a category, including his more-recent, 2007 The New Gay Teenager (Adolescent Lives). (More about this book later in the review.Read more ›
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is probably the best book on gay issues I have ever read! I do not buy those kind of books very often, but this was definitely worth the money.
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