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The Velvet Rage
Cover of The Velvet Rage
The Velvet Rage
Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World
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The most important issue in a gay man's life is not "coming out," but coming to terms with the invalidating past. Despite the progress made in recent years, many gay men still wonder, "Are we better...
The most important issue in a gay man's life is not "coming out," but coming to terms with the invalidating past. Despite the progress made in recent years, many gay men still wonder, "Are we better...
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  • The most important issue in a gay man's life is not "coming out," but coming to terms with the invalidating past. Despite the progress made in recent years, many gay men still wonder, "Are we better off?" The byproduct of growing up gay in a straight world continues to be the internalization of shame, rejection, and anger—a toxic cocktail that can lead to drug abuse, promiscuity, alcoholism, depression, and suicide.

    Drawing on contemporary psychological research, the author's own journey, and the stories of many of his friends and clients, Velvet Rage addresses the myth of gay pride and outlines three stages to emotional well-being for gay men. The revised and expanded edition covers issues related to gay marriage, a broader range of examples that extend beyond middle-class gay men in America, and expansion of the original discussion on living authentically as a gay man.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 23, 2005
    With a title that plays on Janet Jackson's epochal 1997 LP The Velvet Rope
    , and its anatomy of unmet desire, therapist Downs's book describes the paradigmatic ways in which early childhood molds the future lives of gay men: scorned on the playground, disrespected by Dad, loved only by Mom until their first sex with men. Through this mechanism of rejection, gay men feel unlovable, correspondingly angry and, he says, driven to heights of creativity and "fabulousness"—in addition to shopping addiction and obsessions with fat, muscle and penis size—in a bid to distract themselves from their inner shame. For Downs, the only thing that will bring an end to this spiral of torment is, finally, "validation," which produces "authenticity." Downs is an engaging writer, though prone to repeating the same few points in different words, while his patients, quoted in sidebars, often make witty quips that rival Quentin Crisp for dry, bitter sarcasm. While many gay readers will fail to recognize themselves here, others will find Downs's logic warming and even generous. Agent, Susan Schulman
    .

  • AudioFile Magazine Listeners will feel Alan Downs's empathy and sincerity as he narrates his exploration of the challenges that gay men grapple with in a still hostile world. Providing insight and guidance, the book mixes both his personal experience as a gay male and his professional experience as a therapist. Downs certainly has the voice of a therapist; his calm, soothing delivery is likely to put anxious listeners at ease. His narration is well matched to his message as he attempts to work with the listener rather than label him. Yet that's also where the narration becomes problematic. Downs's voice is so relaxing that it may allow some people's minds to drift. L.E. (c) AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

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The Velvet Rage
The Velvet Rage
Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World
Alan Downs, PhD
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Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World
Alan Downs, PhD
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