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From Barnes & NoblePrimed and Ready
In honor of Gay Pride Month, Alyson Publications offers a practical and informative guide called Coming Out: A Handbook for Men by Orland Outland. This sobering yet witty guidebook tackles the many confusing issues faced by gay men who may be preparing to come out of the closet as well as those who have already done so but are unsure how best to navigate this new territory. Outland, whose other works include the highly popular The Principles: The Gay Man's Guide to Getting (And Keeping) Mr. Right, has borrowed extensively from a previous Alyson publication entitled Coming Out Right but has revamped the advice and added new material to bring it up to date with 21st-century gay life.
It may be easier than ever before to "come out of the closet," but that doesn't eliminate complications or pitfalls. Outland addresses every topic imaginable, from drug usage and social skills to bar cruising and penis size. Should you hit the bars or not? How do you out yourself to your friends and family? What, if anything, should you say to your coworkers? Are the police friends or foes? Where can you meet men who aren't total losers? What community resources are available? What are the political issues, and should you get involved with them? And what about sex -- what is safe, what is not, and how can you raise the issue without ruining the mood?
These are just some of the questions that Outland addresses in this invaluable resource. Although much of the material is geared toward younger men, which, in today's slightly more tolerant society, is when most first step out of the closet, much of the information will also be applicable to older gays who have just come out. In fact, regardless of age, Coming Out reads like an orientation manual for a world, a lingo, and a set of rules that most gays need to survive -- both literally and figuratively.
The book is separated into two sections -- "Coming Out" and "Being Out." Outland deals with the touchier subjects, such as drug use and safe sex, in an honest and forthright manner that neither lectures nor condones. But neither does it skirt any issues, talking about the most sensitive of subjects in a frank and pithy tone. Outland also includes such useful tools as "The Definitive Gay Glossary" (for help in understanding all those slang terms) and sections of advice on handling any potential social gaffes that may arise.
If it were possible to create a primer on coming out, staying out, and making the most of being out, Coming Out would be the one. The book's value to gays is obvious. But it carries great potential for the friends and families of gay men, as well as highlighting the issues, insecurities, doubts, and needs of gay men in a manner that is both nonjudgmental and educational.