Gray, Mary L. In Your Face: Stories from the Lives of Queer Youth. Haworth Press, 1999
Book Description from Haworth Press Inc.: In Your Face: Stories from the Lives of Queer Youth is a groundbreaking and informative collection of real-life accounts that describe and express the hardships and triumphs of lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens. This book explores the views of youth from a variety of societal contexts and experiences. The contributors’ ages, backgrounds, hometowns, childhood experiences, and plans for the future are discussed to give you a deeper understanding of the challenges they face.
Editorial Reviews: “This book makes you realize that these teens confront the same issues as the rest of us. And giving them a voice HELPS US LEARN A THING OR THREE ABOUT THEIR LIVES.” –Seventeen Online
“You’ll find much to discover and enjoy in this wonderful collection. On varied and inclusive topics, these youth have a great deal to say, shared frankly, with insight and humor.” –Circa 2000: Gay Fiction at the Millennium / Community News
“A timely, affecting collection of first-person accounts of the lives of sexual minority youth, In Your Face grew from Mary Gray’s thesis work in anthropology. In collaboration with groups of young people (some of them from queer online chat groups), she designed a series of questions and then arranged for her subjects to interview each other on tape, hoping the answers would be more open and interesting than those she could elicit as an adult. The resulting book contains its share of the inevitable horror stories of growing up queer in America, but it is also refreshingly candid and spirited (and, yes, ungrammatical), with memorable details. Alan Wiley, for instance, remembers keeping a journal in his sophomore year of high school in which he referred cryptically to his gayness as “Problem No. 1.” As Gray argues in her introduction, “combined homophobia and ageism, fixtures of our social landscape, have effectively rendered the realities of lesbian, gay, bi and transgendered young people invisible to both the queer and straight worlds.” From the hopeful to the bleak, the queer youth of In Your Face help fill in the picture.” –Regina Marler Amazon.com
“The title captures neither the tone nor the objectivity of the personal stories that make up the book. There is no saliva-spraying militancy or flag-waving obstinacy anywhere. Instead, the book reads like a spontaneously intimate conversation with new acquaintances in which inhibitions dissolve and truth, sometimes surprising but seldom threatening, emerges as both universal and new. In this “oral essay collection,” Gray presents 15 gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens who share their experiences awakening to their sexual identity, coming out to family and community, clarifying their religious beliefs, searching for love, and sharing their take on what constitutes a gay community and what the future holds for them. The recording of their words verbatim introduces occasional profanity that flows directly from the speaker’s stream of thought, but it also adds a rich authenticity to each voice and makes the emotions more palpable. Just as important, the narrators express themselves, especially about first sexual encounters, with great diplomacy, never sharing details inappropriate to young readers. Their backgrounds and experiences are vastly different, but the teens share concerns true of all youth: the desire to be loved, to find acceptance, to understand themselves, and to discover what they can contribute to the world. What sets these teens apart is simply that the context of their lives has made their personal and social journey more treacherous. It’s unfortunate that the bold honesty of this book may keep some school librarians from ordering it, for it is apt to become a landmark text that defines gay teens of this generation and helps them find the support that apparently many still mistakenly believe is beyond their grasp. Pair this with Adam Mastoon’s The Shared Heart (1997), in which gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens also speak out.” — Roger Leslie Booklist
“A valuable addition to the literature documenting the lives of sexual minority youths. It will be most appreciated by youth. . . But this book is not just for kids-it is also for the rest of us who celebrate the lives of queer youth. . . Adults will be prepared to ask sexual minority youth real questions and listen to their real answers.” —Ritch C. Savin-Williams, PhD, Professor of Developmental & Clinical Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
“Gives a real voice to sexual minority youth. . . Rather than focusing on victimization, suicide, and the other horrors associated with these youth, this book provides a holistic view of their lives with all the variability that entails… This book puts a multiplicity of faces on the category of queer youth.” —Margaret Schneider, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Toronto