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Is It a Choice?: Answer to 300 of the Most Frequently Asked Questions about Gay and Lesbian People

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Overview

There Is No Such Thing As a Stupid Question

In this newly revised edition, Eric Marcus provides insightful, no-nonsense answers to hundreds of the most commonly asked questions about homosexuality. Offering frank insight on everything you've always wanted-and needed-to know about same-gender relationships, coming out, family roles, politics,...

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Overview

There Is No Such Thing As a Stupid Question

In this newly revised edition, Eric Marcus provides insightful, no-nonsense answers to hundreds of the most commonly asked questions about homosexuality. Offering frank insight on everything you've always wanted-and needed-to know about same-gender relationships, coming out, family roles, politics, and much more, including:

  • How do you know if you're gay or lesbian?
  • What should you do if your child is gay or lesbian?
  • Do gay parents raise gay children?
  • If you think a friend is gay or lesbian, what should you say?
  • Why do gay men and women want to get married?
  • What does the Bible say about homosexuality?


About the Author

Eric Marcus is coauthor with Greg Louganis of Breaking the Surface, the #1 New York Times bestseller, and the author of Together Forever, The Male Couple's Guide, and Making History.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062516237
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 212
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



?
The Basics



> What is a homosexual?

A homosexual person is a man or woman whose feelings of sexual attraction are for someone of the same sex. The word homosexual was first used by Karl Maria Kertbeny in an 1869 pamphlet in which he argued for the repeal of Prussia's antihomosexual laws. Homosexual combines the Greek word for "same" with the Latin word for "sex." In contrast, a heterosexual is a man or woman whose feelings of sexual attraction are for the opposite gender.

Homosexual people come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life, just like heterosexual people do. Some are single, and some are involved in long-term, loving relationships with same-gender partners. Some have children and grandchildren; others don't. Homosexual people are a part of every community and every family, which means that everyone knows someone who is homosexual. Most people just don't realize that they know, and perhaps love, someone who is homosexual, because many — if not most — homosexual people keep their sexual orientation a secret.

I wish I had known what a homosexual was when I was growing up. At first I didn't know exactly what a homosexual was, except that they were very bad and disgusting men who did terrible things to children — the kind of people your parents always told you not to accept candy from.

As I grew into adolescence, I still wasn't exactly sure what a homosexual was, never having actually met one, but I knew that the most horrible thing you could callsomeone was a "faggot." In summer camp, there was always at least one boy who got tagged with that label. It was usually someone who couldn't throw a ball and always struck out at baseball — a total wimp, despised by the other boys and shunned by the girls. One summer, I was that boy, and while I didn't really think of being a faggot in terms of wanting to have sex with other boys, I knew there was some truth in what they were calling me. Would I, I wondered, grow up to be one of those terrible men?

When I finally met someone I knew was a homosexual, I was so relieved. Bob was a smart, handsome, and very confident college student who lived down the block. He didn't lurk behind shrubs, and he never once offered me candy. He did, however, help dispel all the myths I had grown up with about homosexuals and homosexuality. He was the first person to explain to me that a homosexual is simply a man or woman whose feelings of sexual attraction are for someone of the same gender. One man could meet and fall in love with another man, my new friend explained, and one woman could fall in love with another woman. So simple, but to me it was a revolutionary idea and it changed my life.

> What is a lesbian?

A lesbian is a homosexual woman. The word derives from the name of a Greek island, Lesbos, where Sappho, a teacher known for her poetry celebrating love between women, established a school for young women in the sixth century B.C. Over time, the word lesbian, which once simply meant someone who lived on Lesbos, came to mean a woman who, like Sappho and her followers, loved other women.

> What is a gay person?

Gay is a synonym for homosexual. Since the late 1960s, the word gay has been publicly adopted by homosexual men and women as a positive alternative to the clinical-sounding homosexual. Gay was used as slang in place of homosexual as far back as the 1920s, almost exclusively within the homosexual subculture. For example, when Lisa Ben published a newsletter for lesbians called Vice Versa back in 1947, she gave it the tag line "America's Gayest Magazine." Other homosexual people knew Lisa didn't mean that her magazine was simply full of fun. When Lisa spoke about herself or other lesbians, she used the phrase "gay gal." And she described places in Los Angeles where she and her friends were welcome as being popular with a "gay crowd."

Not all homosexual people like the word gay; some prefer the word homosexual to gay. And since gay has come to be used primarily in association with male homosexuals, many, if not most, homosexual women prefer to be called lesbians.

> What is a bisexual?

A bisexual person has significant feelings of sexual attraction for both men and women. These feelings may be stronger for the same gender or for the opposite gender. That simply depends on the individual.

Some people are under the mistaken impression that people who are bisexual are conducting relationships with both men and women at the same time. While this may be the case for some people, most bisexual men and women who are in relationships have only a single partner at a time.

> Aren't bisexuals people who are afraid to admit they're gay?

Some gay and lesbian people, as they deal with accepting their feelings, may first assert that they are bisexual. That's what I did. In my last year of high school I confided to a close male friend — who I thought might be gay — that I was bisexual. By this time I already knew I was gay because I had an overwhelming adolescent crush on Bob, the college student who lived down the block, and I wasn't the least bit interested in having a physical relationship with a woman. But somehow, "bisexual" didn't sound nearly as bad as "gay." If I said I was bisexual, I rationalized, at least I was half heterosexual. I could put one foot in the gay world and keep the other safely in the nongay world — in word, if not in deed. I imagined that people would have an easier time accepting me if they thought I went both ways. But within a couple of...

Is It a Choice?. Copyright © by Eric Marcus. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 The Basics 1
2 Self-Discovery - Growing Up 26
3 Coming Out - Going Public 38
4 Family and Children 50
5 Dating 68
6 Relationships and Marriage 74
7 Work 96
8 The Military 106
9 Where Gay and Lesbian People Live 113
10 Socializing and Friends 119
11 Religion 128
12 Discrimination and Antigay Violence 140
13 Sex 146
14 Mass Media 157
15 Sports 162
16 Education 166
17 Politics, Activism, and Gay and Lesbian Rights 175
18 AIDS 187
19 Aging 195
20 More Questions ... 200
Bibliography 207
Index 211
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2002

    How to come out????

    Coming out is never easy and this books is a great guide to taking that first step and the subsequent steps that follow. Every gay child and man who hasnt come out should read this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2001

    MOST HELPFUL BOOK OUT THERE!!!!

    This book helped me as I was coming out. I found it so informative that I gave copies of it to all of my friends and family. I also bought extra copies to have on hand. I have used one of those extra's to help someone else who was just coming out! This book is an easy to read question and answer book that is a MUST for anyone interested in GLBT life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2001

    A Work of Affirmation

    Eric Marcus has written a wonderful book. It reaffirmed all the things I thought to be true since I first began experiencing a strong attraction to men, while all those around me tried to make me feel mentally ill and less of a human being than a heterosexual. I wish I had had a book like this during my teen years. It would have relieved many painful thoughts that I had. I have benefited from Mr. Marcus' crystal clear answers to all the 300 questions. Gay people and straight people will understand his responses.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2000

    Answers any questions for the gay and homophobic!

    this book was great! It asked the stupidest questions and the most chalenging all in one book. Eric himself is gay and he really proved he knows what it's like to be gay in this book. He deffinately made answering 'questions' easier for the gay/lesbian comunity.

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