Though Richie Jackson is 30 years younger than me it seems his generation had a harder time coming out--maybe because ours was more 'secretive' and not so much in your face as the generation between his and mine was. I am glad he had mentors like Harvey Fierstein, 17 years younger than me, and Larry Kramer, who died at the age of 84 this year, and that his son has Richie and Jordan as his mentors.
Though this is written to his son every gay teenager, and older, should be reading this just as their relatives and friends should. As hard as 'coming out' may be for non-gay people to understand, the process comes at all ages for the gay person.
I was moved to tears in many sections and wanted to pat him on the back for others. He quotes many writers and as much as I would like to quote some of his wise and/or moving comments I would rather you read this book.
In any case, from the book, the words of Richie Jackson:
"Being gay is a gift. It's the world revealing itself in all its glorious otherness, saying go it your own way, make it yours. The revelations are endless. There are no expectations of what you need to be or to do."
"Being gay is not a lifestyle: it's life. My gayness is the most important, the best part of me. It is the blessing of my life, and I want that for you. But it takes daily managing, because it is as much a challenge as it is a joy."
Be sure to read the most important chapter in the book for today's young people: "It's Still a Straight Man's World" starting on page 125! (That's if any ONE chapter can be THE most important one in this book.)
I have never questioned or known if I was born or chose to be gay but if it was the latter then I made the smartest choice of my life as a youngster and have never regretted it.
Thanks, Mr. Jackson, for putting into words so many things I wanted to say to others.
And, oh yes, thanks to Carol, Susan, Betsy, Bob and Mike for getting me back into reading with the 20 books they sent me!