Hearing Us out: Voices from the Gay and Lesbian Community

Hearing Us out: Voices from the Gay and Lesbian Community

by Roger Sutton

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In moving first-person narratives accompanied by candid photographs, Roger Sutton profiles fifteen diverse people who tell what it is like to be gay or lesbian in America.  See more details below


In moving first-person narratives accompanied by candid photographs, Roger Sutton profiles fifteen diverse people who tell what it is like to be gay or lesbian in America.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lesbian adoptive parents, a gay Presbyterian minister, a lesbian police officer, a drag queen and a gay man with AIDS are among the 15 individuals who speak here, in first-person narratives adapted by Sutton from interviews. Their stories touch on homophobia, coming out, creating community, self-acceptance and spirituality; generally positive, they show the progress made by the gay and lesbian community over the years. Others, like that of an Irishman who fears losing his green card if his sexuality is revealed and that of an AIDS educator working with young people, point out struggles yet to be overcome. In his introduction, Sutton explains that he focused primarily on adults (only three interviewees are of high-school age) to show lesbian and gay teens ``that life goes on past junior-high humiliation and high-school ostracism,'' but the profiles likely to interest the target audience most will probably be those about their peers. And while he states that ``my community is bigger than where I live,'' Sutton does not venture beyond his own base in Chicago, somewhat limiting the scope of his otherwise effective book. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
In candid, first-person interviews and photographs, 19 people, from a young teen to a grandmother, share some of their most compelling stories.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-An eloquent foreword by M.E. Kerr sets the tone for 15 short interviews in which gays, lesbians, and their advocates speak about the perils and joys of being sexually different from mainstream culture-how they approach straight society and how it reacts to them. The book documents a wide range of experiences, including a young man who was hounded out of high school; lesbian partners who adopted Peruvian children; a minister; a drag queen who attended the 1984 Democratic convention as a presidential candidate; and a police officer who wants her lover to be treated with care and respect in the event she is injured or killed in the line of duty. This lively title both demystifies a minority group demonized by much of the media and shows teens that there is ``something to look forward to'' in spite of the discrimination and loneliness they feel. It succeeds largely because the narrators' words bespeak qualities such as humor, honesty, generosity, and commitment despite, as Kerr says, ``the prejudice or rigidity of others.'' Clear black-and-white photographs illustrate each interview. This book shows a wider range of experience than Ann Heron's Two Teenagers in Twenty (Alyson, 1994). Eric Marcus's Is It a Choice? (HarperCollins, 1993) is comparable in scope, but provides information in a question-and-answer format.-Claudia Morrow, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Carolyn Phelan
In this collection of interviews, 15 people reflect on their experiences growing up gay or lesbian and living in that community as well as in the larger society. The interviews are not written in question-and-answer form but, rather, as first-person narratives, bringing out a wide diversity of experiences, backgrounds, and points of view. To Sutton's credit, the people do not all sound the same. Each speaks in an individual voice, discussing the experience of coming out or being gay or lesbian as a student, soldier, lawyer, minister, drag queen, police officer. Some of the subjects are teenagers, but most are adults because as Sutton states in his introduction, "I thought it was important to show teenage gays and lesbians . . . that life goes on past junior-high humiliation and high-school ostracism." In the foreword, M. E. Kerr (see the Focus review of her latest novel on p.125) reflects on her own experiences and wonders "what this book might have meant to me, growing up gay, but also to a parent like my mother." Readers wondering about what it means to be gay or lesbian will find this an intriguing and informative book of personal reflections. An annotated bibliography and a list of organizations are appended. To be illustrated with photographs of the subjects.

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San Val, Incorporated
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