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Crisis: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America Hardcover – September 1, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

In 1989, Mitchell Gold and his business partner created a residential furniture manufacturing company called Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, in Taylorsville, North Carolina. Just nine years later, Inc. magazine positioned the company at number 57 on its list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies. Gold has a long history of supporting grassroots and national nonprofits including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, Leukemia Society, Human Rights Campaign, Empire State Pride Agenda, Design Industries Foundation for AIDS, Friend in Deed, and AIDS Leadership Foothills-Area Alliance. In April 2005, Inc. magazine named him one of the twenty-six "Entrepreneurs We Love." Today the company is a $100M home-furnishings brand known for comfort; it employs more than 750 people and features its own on-site education-based daycare center. Gold is also the founder of nonprofit group Faith in America.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group, LLC; First Edition edition (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1929774109
  • ISBN-13: 978-1929774104
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #658,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel B. Clendenin on August 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you grow up gay, this book shows, you have two choices.

First, you can manufacture a false and increasingly neurotic self that must lie at all costs, to all people, all the time, merely to survive. You must compartmentalize your public and private lives, deny what you know to be true about yourself, and vigilantly censor yourself in everything you do, say, and feel. Living this way leads to mental, physical and emotional exhaustion, self-hatred, suicidal ideation, cutting, and chronic frustration. This first scenario begs the question, "how long can you deny who you really are?" As one contributor put it, "the closet is a terrible place to live."

But there's a second option. You can let down your guard and live spontaneously as your true and authentic self. But in this scenario you face catastrophic losses in your church, synagogue, family, job, school and community. For some gays, living authentically comes at an unacceptably high price. Among religious believers and before God, could you live with being called an abomination who ought to be stoned to death (Leviticus 20:13) and who will suffer forever in hell? Would you be willing to risk full and final rejection by your family? How well do you think you could endure daily taunts and physical abuse at school? Do you think you'd risk your career for the sake of authenticity? Nor is honoring your true self psychologically easy: "The only way I survived as a gay man," writes one person, "was by embracing everything I was taught to hate about myself."

I was deeply moved by these short (4-5 pages each), simple, and intensely personal stories. They're organized around four themes: religion, family-community, work and school.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an extremely valuable book, particularly for communities of faith struggling with the request of gay believers for full inclusion, full communion,a and equal rights within churches. The book documents well the tragically deformative role that religion often plays in the lives of LGBT persons, by fueling condemnation and often outright rejection or hatred.

In doing so, it provides a valuable reminder that religion can, and often does, play a different role in human life and human communities--a liberating rather than oppressing role. This study suggests that, in order for communities of faith to move from oppression to liberation of gay human beings, they must begin to know actual gay human beings--as human beings and not as stereotyped threats to Christian morality. The book's most important contribution is its first-hand accounts that permit people of faith to hear the stories of gay brothers and sisters and to see the faces of gay brothers and sisters.

Through all of the stories in Crisis there runs a common thread: the thread of shame, depression, isolation, overcompensation, and fear of rejection and failure that gay persons all too often encounter as we claim our identities in a culture (and in religious communities) that reinforce these negative self-images. The stories in Crisis document well the hard work required to sustain self-worth in a culture so unrelentingly negative, a culture in which the the name of God is too often used to create obstacles to gay human beings claiming their identities.
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Format: Hardcover
"I'd rather be shot dead than know my son is queer!"
To me, this is the heart of the crisis discussed in Gold's book. It reflects the verbal abuse of gay young people by those who have a responsibility to love and support them. It also reflects the perverted teachings of many churches - that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (GLBTQ) youth are not worthy of respect and love.
The forty short autobiographical sketches that make up the bulk of Crisis largely show over and over the oppression experienced during their formative years by these gay men and women. All of them finally overcame their religion-based oppression. Most are now highly respected leaders in their chosen professions. Still, their stories reveal the years of fear and shame they - and so many others like them - experienced in their most formative years.
Many young gays are not so lucky. Many suffer total rejection by their church, schoolmates, and family, and are left to fend for themselves at a vulnerable young age. They suffer both verbal and physical abuse simply because of who they are. Too many are lost, through murder and suicide. Is no one ashamed that their words have cost these young people their lives?
Crisis stresses the need for acceptance and support of all our GLBTQ children. Parents, churches, schools, and politicians must recognize the grave harm they do not only to the GLBTQ youth themselves, but also to their families and friends.
It is Mitchell Gold's expressed hope that families, church leaders, politicians, and school authorities will read his book. There is a desperate need for all of them to act to eliminate the violence inflicted on the millions of American GLBTQ teens by the very people charged with protecting them.
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