Proud, happy, grateful—gay youth describe their lives in terms that would have seemed surprising only a generation ago. Yet many adults, including parents, seem skeptical about this sea change in perceptions and attitudes. Even in an age of growing tolerance, coming out as gay is supposed to involve a crisis or struggle. This is the kind of thinking, say the young men at the heart of this book, that needs to change.
Becoming Who I Am is an astute exploration of identity and sexuality as told by today’s generation of gay young men. Through a series of in-depth interviews with teenagers and men in their early 20s, Ritch Savin-Williams reflects on how the life stories recorded here fulfill the promise of an affirmative, thriving gay identity outlined in his earlier book, The New Gay Teenager. He offers a contemporary perspective on gay lives viewed across key milestones: from dawning awareness of same-sex attraction to first sexual encounters; from the uncertainty and exhilaration of coming out to family and friends to the forming of adult romantic relationships; from insights into what it means to be gay today to musings on what the future may hold. The voices hail from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, but as gay men they share basic experiences in common, conveyed here with honesty, humor, and joy.
In Becoming Who I Am, a rewarding study of youth, sexuality, and identity, Ritch C. Savin-Williams offers clear and insightful glimpses into the lives of young gay men… [An] important book.
Becoming Who I Am is an engrossing book full of rich, varied personal stories on the subject of being young and gay now…Becoming Who I Am presents a broad range of experiences and insights, and is a rewarding look at what makes young gay humans tick.
Inspiring and insightful. Finally we have the full story showing the more positive aspects of gay youth experiences reminding us that they live a proud, resilient, and happy life. Ritch Savin-Williams takes us beyond the often heard stories of tragedy and despair by providing us with a glimpse into the ordinary lives of gay teens. Anybody with an interest in the future of gay youth will devour this book.
Given the ever-changing dynamics of youth sexuality in the contemporary age, a book such as this is sorely needed. Filled with valuable data and rigorous analysis, Becoming Who I Am is a vital contribution to the field.
Savin-Williams has spent forty years studying the lives of gay teens. In Becoming Who I Am, he tells the stories of some of today’s gay teens and highlights the many ways they are typical of young people growing up in present-day America.
- 336 pages
- 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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