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.