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"You Can Tell Just By Looking": And 20 Other Myths about LGBT Life and People (Queer Ideas/Queer Action) Paperback – October 1, 2013
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"This groundbreaking book is rich in smart, stirring, and forthright examinations of myths, negative and positive, and clarifying examples, and holds to scholarly standards while compellingly and revealingly addressing the curiosity and concerns of mainstream readers." —Booklist
“One of the most complete sourcebooks about science, sociology and LGBT life out there.” —PopMatters
Top Customer Reviews
This is a brave book because some of the myths are ones perpetuated by the LGBT community itself, and many gays do not take kindly to anyone who strays from the script. "Homosexuals Are Born That Way" is popular among gays as a way to suggest that sexual orientation is like race or gender, something that one does not choose and, therefore, not a valid reason to discriminate. Pity the person, like actress Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City, who publicly proclaimed that her sexuality was a choice. Some others are popular as a defense mechanism ("Most Homophobes Are Repressed Homosexulas") to conveniently label opponents in the battle for LGBT equality.
Other myths explored and debunked concern religion ("All Religions Condemn Homosexuality"), gaydar ("You Can Tell Who's Gay Just by Looking"), transgender people ("All Transgender People Have Sex-Reassignment Surgery," "Transgender People Are Mentally Ill," and "Transgender People Are Gay"), race ("People of Color Are More Homophobic Than White People"), and the media ("Positive Visibility in the Media Increases Tolerance and Acceptance of LGBT People").
Simply put, people are not simple, and neither is sexuality.
Brian W. Fairbanks
The authors of this book are very serious in their discussions of the 21 commonly known and apparently false, or at best misleading, myths about GLBT individuals and the real parameters of their lives. For that I commend them and yet there seems to be a paucity of footnotes. The authors do a very good job of laying out their case as to the falsity of the myths but it seems to be more of a case of their logical thought progressions as opposed to a serious presentation of external research to bolster their premise. Sort of a "this is what we believe and our truth is so obviously accurate we don't need facts to prove our points because their truth should be obvious to all of you." What they seem to refer to most frequently is what they have already written or chapters yet to come.
I found this book a difficult read. The authors' surety of their own arguments left me no room to think for myself and for the most part there was nothing significantly new that I learned. As it was, several times during my reading I ran into the thought "Who is the market for this book?" It's too dogmatic for the LGBT community and those who believe in the myths, for the most part, are disinclined to have their myths busted.
"You Can Tell Just By Looking And 20 Other Myths About LGBT Life and People" may be to some people's taste but did nothing for me.
Still there are valid points and food for thought. The concept of "corrective" rape is not just an LGBT issue but one that reflects the treatment and precarious position of women in all different parts of the world. The balance between individual's sexual freedom, punitive governmental action and impact on freedom of religion and speech bears greater examination. But their discussion of HIV testing is troubling. The authors are technically correct that testing in and of itself does not prevent the spread, it does provide awareness so the individual can take measures to protect the self and others. The authors sidestep the question of personal responsibility, bemoaning the fact that people lie about their status because in the case of "sex workers" (prostitutes) it may cost them clients and in others, might trigger rejection. Well, duh. I don't know anyone, straight or gay, who views getting tested or having a negative test as being a substitute for safe sex.
I was disappointed in this book. It's dry delivery and one sided perspective does little to dispel the myths they highlight or stimulate discussion.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This took me longer to read than I expected because it was so carefully written with lots of content. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Gifted Ed Please
The book arrived on time and has NO visible damaged whatsoever. Thank you very much.Published 6 months ago by Kaitlyn Nasworthy
I suggested this book as a future discussion item for the group but I’m glad it didn’t get many votes because I don’t much like it. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mr. D. P. Jay
In a very professional and sensitive manner, this book takes on the contradictory and paradoxical and often times confusing research into sexual attraction. Read morePublished on May 25, 2014 by Bear medicine
OK book. Not terrible or great. Depends on your knowledge of LGBT issues or people whether you would find the book interesting.Published on January 16, 2014 by Mark C.
Coming from a gay man, this book showed me how many things I had wrong about the gay community. And if I had it wrong, imagine how many other people in the population do as well. Read morePublished on December 31, 2013 by Sean Paradis
For anyone that has children, for anyone that "thinks" they know all about LGBT people, for those that believe any of the common myth's about LGBT individuals. Read morePublished on December 30, 2013 by Young@Heart
I was really looking forward to reading this book.
Here are the 21 myths the authors chose to address:
Part 1: Living In the World
Myth 1: You can tell... Read more
Apparently, like several of the other readers, I was thrown off a bit by the cover art. The only thing that drew me to this book was Michael Bronski (professor of Gender Studies &... Read morePublished on December 19, 2013 by Mad Max