When Someone You Know Is Gay

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This book performs a needed service; while gay teens will read it, learn and feel less alone, the target audience is the friends and classmates of gays. The authors' views are that homosexuality just happens, and that friends shouldn't try to change others: ``You can make someone miserable but you can't make them straight.'' The book offers specifics of what gays do, defines the differences between gays, transvestites and transsexuals, discusses gay rights, gay pride and the current AIDS epidemic. Historical and religious attitudes are included (e.g., misinterpretations of Biblical texts), but the emphasis is on understanding. The authors call being gay ``a social disaster'' in high schools, and commiserate with the special difficulties of not being old enough to navigate gay culture. About accepting and helping a friend who ``comes out,'' they laud loyalty but are realistic, advising readers that if they can't remain friends with gays, they must at least observe rules of respect and privacy. Included are a list of organizations, books and films. Ages 12-up. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-- An estimated one in ten teenagers is homosexual. This book addresses the other nine. The Cohens discuss emotions, attitudes, and facts that shape our perceptions of gay and lesbian people in America today. One informative chapter answers questions ``you would be to embarrassed to ask,'' such as ``Is it catching?'' and ``What should I do if a gay person comes on to me?'' Another chapter gives a short history of social attitudes toward homosexuality. There is a frank discussion of the spread of AIDS and, at the back of the book, an annotated list of films, books, and videos. Interviews with teenagers who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual orientation help straight readers understand the realities that their gay and lesbian counterparts face. In trying to address the subject on a teenager's level, the Cohens have used some highly charged language (Oscar Wilde's lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, is referred to as an ``upper-class twerp''). Statements such as, ``Being gay is a social disaster. Who wants to be known as ``the faggot's friend?'', while intended to show that the authors understand teens' feelings, also sell readers short. Elaine Landau's Different Drummer (Messner, 1986) offers a more even-toned presentation of similar material. Unique to the Cohens' book is an excellent and thorough discussion of religion and homosexuality. --Carolyn Polese, Gateway Community School, Arcata, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871315670
  • Publisher: Evans, M. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/2/1989
  • Pages: 170
  • Age range: 17 years

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