What A Gay Book
“Anyway, who gets to decide what’s “normal” and what isn’t? What a horrid, excluding word that is.”
- James Dawson, This Book Is Gay
If you’ve pictured what it would be like if Tumblr published a book, this is it. Littered with 1D references, Doctor Who praise and Glee snark - This Book is Gay delivers a truthful rendition of the complicated spectrum of sexuality and gender, told from the voice of a cool, older brother.
Written by London-based writer James Dawson, This Book is Gay is a collection of facts, ideas and stories he collected of more than 300 LGBT* people who shared their stories. Yes, there is an asterisk after LGBT - to symbolize everyone else that cannot possibly fit into one short abbreviation. Dawson is well informed of the fluidity and the wide range of sexual and gender identities. He conducted an international survey in July 2013 as research for the book and the result is the diversity of the range of voices and opinions gathered. Furthermore, it is established from the get-go that you don’t have to be gay to enjoy and relate to the book – This Book is Gay is for everyone.
The very first page of the book is a hyper-simplified explanation of each identity; the one page that should be thrust in the faces of homophobic people and ignorant countries around the world. Almost like a handbook on “how-to-gay”, the pages are packed with fun illustrations that inform and get you thinking. With a page-long description for each sexuality, the book tackles the very interesting topic of the science behind why people are gay. It then proceeds to fight and break down common queer stereotypes, lists counter-arguments to religious homophobic sects, the countries you should avoid due to their lack of support of LGBT* communities and some international charities that can help people with these issues. Dawson makes sure the book gives real, useful advice such as - where to find a romantic/sexual partner, the types of non-heterosexual sex and how each one works, STIs and their consequences – all the while cracking you up with his wit and sarcasm.
This Book is Gay is the kind of book whose pages should be plastered around middle and high schools. To all the adults, you will read the book and wish it were published when you probably most needed it. To all the teenagers today, I say - run. Run - don't walk - to a library or your nearest bookstore and read This Book is Gay.