Gay in America

Gay in America - Scott Pasfield This will go on my list as one of the best books I have read for 2012. Some reasons: *Excellent photography. Pasfield catches the men in various angles and poses. The quality of the photos is very good. Part of the pleasure in browsing this book is seeing the subtle details and elements that Pasfield can capture. *The stories. Gay men in the U.S. (and yes, when the title says "America," it's the "usual" meaning of the U.S.) are a very diverse set of people. Some of the stories are happy. Some are sad. All will move you in one way or another. I don't think two stories were "alike," and yet there are certain universal elements present. There is also an underlying sense of humanity, of compassion, of overcoming adversity, of inspiration. The best thing I can say for this is that this is a book that must be placed in the hands of more young men. For the young gay men, this book presents role models, both positive and negative, and it certainly shows that there are men out there like them. For straight men, so they can see that gay men are just like any other men. *The men featured. The men represent a broad range of Americana so to speak. From cowboys to farmers, from hobos to successful entrepreneurs, from artists to scholars, these are men who strive to live good lives. Some struggle with being gay more than others. Some have found acceptance, and others are still seeking it. Some may fit stereotypes, and others defy or even break the stereotypes. And some just are. Some are liberal, a few are conservative (something I found curious given this country's notorious conservative hate of gays and lesbians, but in this case, I think I could at least empathize and see their point. The disdain that couple said they got from liberals is just as bad. It should not be that way). We get to travel around the United States from coast to coast to read these stories. Some stories are long, and some are short. Some men are single, or in couples, or even a triad or two. The point is you can can't place them in a single box labeled "gay men." It does not work that way, and that may well be the best lesson of this book. I think every library in this country, public and academic, needs to have a copy of this book. It certainly fits with GLBTQ studies, but it also goes with art and photography collections, and I would even tag it as a book about "Americana."