This Book Is Gay (James Dawson)

The story behind this book is that I couldn’t go to Pride in London, so I went to the library to find the most Pridey book I could find. The solution was this YA book, This Book Is Gay, written by a PSHCE teacher talking about what adolescent LGBT and their parents needed to know.

It is as cringe worthy as it sounds. The book starts with descriptions of the different sexualities, talks about sex, talks about bullying ect. It interspersed all these basic facts (and statements of outrage that LGBTQ is still barely touched on in sex ed) with the sort of comments found littered over secondary school textbooks, where the author is trying to be cool and hip and use “youth appropriate” language. Boy is it cringe-worthy – as you might expect any book in sex ed to be.

As much as I love the pride flag cover, and the very explicitly gay title, I am certain that (as a questioning teenager), I’d have died of embarrassment before I even pulled this book off the shelf. It would have had to have been a ‘book three in a stack of five and PLEASE MISS DON’T SHOW PEOPLE’. I imagine this book being picked up by people mocking the use of the word ‘gay’ or to embarrass particular children. It is a fairly useful starting point for gay teens, covering a lot of what is covered in straight sex ed but highlighting the normality a little more obviously. It was cheesy and awkward and everything a sex ed book would be. It is definitely pitched for the mid adolescence audience.

I didn’t learn anything new, but then I’ve been out and proud a while now. Oh, wait, I did learn something new (don’t laugh, I was very deep in the closet). I learnt that Jodie Foster is a gay woman! Or at least, is very openly married to another woman. It’s hard to articulate how happy that made me, but apparently I’m five years late to the party – but nobody told me back then!

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