STRAIGHT JACKET: OVER­COM­ING SO­CI­ETY’S LEGACY OF GAY SHAME by Matthew Todd

DNA Magazine - - BOOK REVIEWS -

For eight years, Todd was the editor of the Bri­tish gay mag­a­zine, At­ti­tude and worked closely with Dr Alan Downs (au­thor of The Vel­vet Rage) when Downs was the mag­a­zine’s ad­vice colum­nist.

Straight Jacket is the per­fect com­pan­ion to the best-sell­ing Vel­vet Rage with Todd ex­am­in­ing the un­der­ly­ing prin­ci­ples of gay shame and re­veal­ing how it op­er­ated in his own life. He also ad­dresses the wider is­sues of al­co­hol, drugs and sex ad­dic­tions within gay cul­ture, and body image, per­fec­tion­ism and de­pres­sion.

What re­ally lifts this book to the next level is that he pro­vides con­crete steps and sup­port mech­a­nisms for mak­ing things bet­ter. This up­dated edi­tion (which is also sub­stan­tially cheaper) fea­tures a new af­ter­word writ­ten in Novem­ber 2017, in which Todd re­flects on events that have hap­pened since the orig­i­nal pub­li­ca­tion. These in­clude the Pulse Night­club mas­sacre, the death of Ge­orge Michael, ho­mo­pho­bic crack­downs in Russia and other coun­tries, the rise of PrEP, and the ef­fect of movies like Moon­light, God’s Own Country, Call Me By Your Name and Love, Si­mon.

The book in­cludes two ap­pendixes with con­tact in­for­ma­tion for a va­ri­ety of or­gan­i­sa­tions on all as­pects of sex­u­al­ity, ad­dic­tion and health, plus a bib­li­og­ra­phy of books on sub­jects like shame, sex ad­dic­tion, eat­ing dis­or­ders, al­co­holism, drugs and oth­ers.

Straight Jacket was, de­servedly, short­listed for the Po­lari Book Prize in 2017, the UK’s most pres­ti­gious gay lit­er­ary award.

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