Becoming Gay: The Journey to Self-Acceptanceby Richard A. Isay M.D., Richard A. Isay
In Becoming Gay, Dr. Richard Isay draws on the varied experiences of his patients and his own odyssey to explore and illuminate the path from private acknowledgment of homosexual longings to open expression of a gay identity. With unwavering candor and piercing insight, Isay examines the crucial role sexual identity plays in all stages of human development and the… See more details below
In Becoming Gay, Dr. Richard Isay draws on the varied experiences of his patients and his own odyssey to explore and illuminate the path from private acknowledgment of homosexual longings to open expression of a gay identity. With unwavering candor and piercing insight, Isay examines the crucial role sexual identity plays in all stages of human development and the debilitating burden of adopting an identity at odds with one's true nature. His study takes him from the developmental crises of homosexual adolescents to the complex dilemma of homosexual men married to women and the often astonishing effects of HIV and AIDS on the psychological growth of both those afflicted and those who will survive them. Written out of a deeply personal commitment and understanding, Becoming Gay is a timely, profoundly important account of what it means to live authentically, and a revelation of the harm done by those who would stigmatize the gay community for doing so.
Himself a gay psychoanalyst, Isay frequently slips into awkward phrasings and clinical jargon (his meaning is always clear, but his words aren't always felicitousverbs like "self- acknowledge" creep into his prose). Though the book is enlivened by examples from both his life and his therapeutic practice, he sometimes uses frustratingly general and stilted language to describe them. In recounting an event from his own life, for instance, Isay writes that differences between himself and his lover "enhanced the relationship"yet he doesn't say what those differences were. He also devotes a chapter to a thoughtful discussion of the dilemma of the gay therapist: When is it appropriate for him to disclose his sexual orientation to patients? He explores the particular needs of gay teenage patients, gay men married to women (as Isay himself was), patients with HIV and AIDS, and elderly men who are just beginning to embrace a gay identity. Interestingly, unlike many in his profession, he takes an optimistic view of the potential for successful therapy for the gay elderly. An especially useful final chapter lucidly and concisely outlines the author's struggles to change the well-known and entrenched heterosexist biases within the profession of psychoanalysisefforts that, after an eight-year battle, culminated in the American Psychoanalytic Association's 1991 statement opposing discrimination against lesbians and gay men who want to pursue training in its affiliated institutes. This was, in effect, a dramatic disavowal of the APA's unwritten policy, and an indication that the profession may be abandoning its longtime practice of pathologizing homosexuality.
An accessible glimpse of a gay-positive approach to psychoanalysis, which should interest both the gay and psychoanalytic communities.
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.74(w) x 8.49(h) x 0.97(d)
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