I've often thought of how great it would be have a gay version of Big Brothers/Big Sisters in which older gay men would mentor younger gay men as they grew from bois to (ideally) healthy and happy gay/bi men. The papa gay would help the baby gay through the coming out process and learn about gay history, gay culture and the crucial differences between Madonna and Britney and Christina.
Unfortunately this kind of program does not exist and I don't have the smarts ie the cash to make it happen. I do have a gorgeous MacBook and the public square that is the gayosphere. Hence my list of 10 (Non-Fiction) Books Every Gay Boy Should Read.
1. Ultimate Gay Sex - is a gorgeous book written by Michael Thomas Ford that provides a wonderful introduction to and celebration of sex between men. It covers more than just the mechanics of who puts what where and also provides smart information about dating and relationships, sexually transmitted diseases and coming out.
2. Making Gay History - written by Bilerico contributor Eric Marcus is an engrossing look at the first 50 years of the American LGBT movement through the stories of more than 60 people. Its an amazing testament to the gay men and lesbian who had the courage to live their lives openly and honestly.
3. From Boys to Men: Gay Men Write About Growing Up - is a wonderful collection of essays by gay men about what it is like to be gay and young, to be different and be aware of that difference from the earliest of ages. Some of the stories are funny, some touching and some will make you cry.
4. Outing Yourself - by Michelangelo Signorile is point by point guide to coming out to your family, friends and co-workers. The coming out experience is one that unifies us as gay men and one that we all struggle with. Grab this book to help take some of the drama out of revealing to your loved ones who you really are.
5. The Way Out - is written by journalist and former party boy Chris Nutter. Its about how gay men are taught by both straight culture and gay culture to see themselves in a destructive way, how to detox from the drama and the power you have to create the life that you want to live.
6. And the Band Played On - is an amazing history of the first five years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic written by Randy Shilts. It chronicles attempts to identify the virus, traces its spread in the U.S., the federal government disastrous response and how the gay community defended itself against a wave of anti-gay hostility that swept the country. It is the best book on the early years of the epidemic that has had such tremendous impact on gay men and our culture.
7. Queer in America - written by Michelangelo Signorile takes on the hypocrisy in the media which continues its double standard of reporting on every detail of of every one night stand of heterosexual celebrities like Britney while whitewashing the romantic lives of powerful gay men and lesbians and closeted gays who work for and promote business leaders and politicians who promote an anti-gay agenda. Want to know where outing began? Then this is the book for you.
8. Beyond the Down Low: Sex, Lies, and Denial in Black America takes on the media's fascination with the "down low" in which Black men become vectors for HIV transmission by cheating in their female partners with men. Among white gays being on the "down low" is simply called being in the closet. Writer and activist Keith Boykin dissects the racism and homophobia implicit in the media's promotion of this story line and offers a way to move forward with a much needed discussion of sexuality, gender, race and AIDS.
9. My Life and the Paradise Garage is a memoir of the Godfather of Disco Mel Cheren. Mel tells what he calls "a story of my gay generation, the world we built, and the world we lost." In these days of openly gay politicians and celebrities its easy to forget just how important disco was to the development of gay culture and the creation of a stronger, more vibrant and more visible community. Mel passed away on December 7th.
10. Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality - is written by conservative gay writer and blogger Andrew Sullivan In this volume Andrew takes a critical look at the current state of the movement for LGBT civil rights from both the right and left. Andrew calls for the LGBT movement to focus on two issues: marriage and military service. When those two goals are achieved he suggests closing up shop and throwing a big party. You may or may not agree with him, but he is a damn good writer with a unique perspective.