From Boys to Men

From Boys to Men is a collection of short stories by gay writers. They’re less about coming out than growing up in the outskirts of the acceptable. Here’s the summary on Amazon:

More than an anthology of coming out stories, From Boys to Men is a stunning collection of essays about what it is like to be gay and young, to be different and be aware of that difference from the earliest of ages. In these memoirs, coming out is less important than coming of age and coming to the realization that young gay people experience the world in ways quite unlike straight boys. Whether it is a fascination with soap opera, an intense sensitivity to their own difference, or an obsession with a certain part of the male anatomy, gay kids — or kids who would eventually identify as gay — have an indefinable but unmistakable gay sensibility. Sometimes the result is funny, sometimes it is harrowing, and often it is deeply moving.

Everyone’s personal coming-of-age story is inimitable, but media–even artistic–often perpetuate the majority’s collective story by recycling tropes that assume patriarchy, heteronormativity, and (in countries like America) whiteness. While minorities’ stories overlap with the majority’s, there are shades of difference that, when erased, erase art’s power to connect. I enjoy many movies but I remember feeling unprecedentedly connected when I first watched a movie with Asian actors. Seeing actors onscreen who resembled me more than an all-white cast was a more visceral experience. Similarly, reading about heterosexual love can be stimulating but when I read these nonfiction stories by gay men growing up I recognize myself in them. There’s no anthropological interest–it’s real; it hits home.

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