The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World

The Velvet Rage Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man s World The gay male world today is characterized by seductive beauty artful creativity flamboyant sexuality and encouragingly unprecedented acceptability in society Yet despite the progress of the recen

  • Title: The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World
  • Author: Alan Downs
  • ISBN: 9780738210612
  • Page: 384
  • Format: Paperback
  • The gay male world today is characterized by seductive beauty, artful creativity, flamboyant sexuality, and, encouragingly, unprecedented acceptability in society Yet despite the progress of the recent past, gay men still find themselves asking, Are we really better off The inevitable byproduct of growing up gay in a straight world continues to be the internalization oThe gay male world today is characterized by seductive beauty, artful creativity, flamboyant sexuality, and, encouragingly, unprecedented acceptability in society Yet despite the progress of the recent past, gay men still find themselves asking, Are we really better off The inevitable byproduct of growing up gay in a straight world continues to be the internalization of shame, a shame gay men may strive to obscure with a fa ade of beauty, creativity, or material success Drawing on contemporary psychological research, the author s own journey to be free of anger and of shame, as well as the stories of many of his friends and clients, The Velvet Rage outlines the three distinct stages to emotional well being for gay men Offering profoundly beneficial strategies to stop the insidious cycle of avoidance and self defeating behavior, The Velvet Rage is an empowering book that will influence the public discourse on gay culture, and positively change the lives of gay men who read it.

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    1 thought on “The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World”

    1. The Velvet Rage provides a three-stage model for the journey gay men are encouraged to take in order to (i) embrace their sexuality, (ii) acknowledge what habits or addictions they rely on to compensate for insecurity; and (iii) discover a life of authenticity and subsequently enjoy healthy relationships. The experience of being a gay man in the twenty-first century is different than any other minority, sexual orientation, gender, or culture grouping. [. . .] Our lives are a unique blending of t [...]

    2. I wanted to like this book way more than I did. Downs' broad premise - that gay culture is awash in deeply calcified narcissism - is a valid one, and bears the additional virture of being entirely true. However, like many readers, it became clear to me very early on that I did not fall into this book's target demographic, which has led me to wonder if its scope is much more narrow than many (including the author) realize. There is a white upper middle class American-centricity to Downs' approach [...]

    3. this book gave me chills because i've never felt an author hit so close to the mark with his description of gay male psychological development. i couldn't have read this at a better time and i am eternally grateful to the author only caveat is to take from it what you will. i think as gay males in our twenties and thirties, we might have a different developmental arc than the gay male generation ahead of us, for which this book seems to be written. however, the fundamental truths still exist and [...]

    4. While I somewhat relate to his message I had to question (a) his methodology and (b) his not-unrelated narrowness of view and sweeping generalisations. Regarding (a) I think there's a serious lack of statistics to back up his statements - he relies on readers being convinced by the familiar sound of the problems he describes, and on their being disarmed by the idea that they aren't alone in suffering those problems, which I think is quite dodgy. And then (b) yes, he does acknowledge that he can [...]

    5. This is kind of at the intersection of 2 genres I seldom read: non-fiction about LGBT issues, and popular psychology. The former genre is something I've just never paid much attention to, the latter is something I've actively ignored from my own snobby contempt (I still remember rolling my eyes every afternoon as a kid when my mom would put on Oprah).Anyway, the basic underlying assumption of this book-- that gay men specifically have a spate of psychological issues which follow them throughout [...]

    6. Honestly one of the most powerful and thought provoking books I’ve ever read. Certainly one of the most important nonfiction books of my life, and I say that after just finishing it. I’m not sure I exactly agree with *everything* in it – the worldview of the author can seem really bleak at times, but a lot of this genuinely struck home for me and the whole thing really made me think deeply. I honestly think this is a book all gay men should read. Actually everyone should read this, as I th [...]

    7. As self-help books go (and I will admit that I am not a fan of the genre), The Velvet Rage is actually quite good. The problematic issue with many self-help books is that the underlying philosophy (or approach, or methodology, or treatment, etc.) is based on the assumption that everyone who reads the book is suffering with or struggling with the same condition (e.g obesity, addiction, unhealthy relationship). This kind of essentializing or pathologizing of a condition usually results in overly g [...]

    8. The quick review: the book is targeted toward gay men, but it’s a worthwhile read if you have any interest in reflection, self-help culture, and even philosophy (if that seems grandiose, just remember that philosophy includes the search for meaning and happiness, whether it's Aristotle or a hippy dippy secular guru doing the philosophising). It’s not as ordered as it could be, it is more than a bit new-agey, but if you can get over that there’s more than a little here. And as a side note: [...]

    9. I was looking for a therapist and during one consultation this book was recommended to me. This work addresses problems that are classically inherent to gay men: body fascism, objectification, perfectionism, inauthenticity, "instamacy", abuse / self-abuse, shame. The author is at his best when focusing on the clinical aspects / analysis of the particular gay male subject is being discussed. In general -- This work is a very fast read.When I arrived in NYC in the fall of 1980, promiscuity was the [...]

    10. I'm conflicted on this book. While I could relate to many of the author's points on gay shame and how it affects us, I struggled with the position from which the author was writing. Early on, the author puts forth a homogenous view of the gay experience, one that oftentimes seemed moneyed and white. With practically every example the author employs, there's mention of fabulous wealth, executive careers, and many other hallmarks of affluence that I just couldn't relate to in my experience. Early [...]

    11. Alan Downs, Ph.D. is a California licensed clinical psychologist who specialises in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), gay men’s issues, and psychological assessment. Using his own experiences and those of his patients (names changed), Downs defines what all gay men deal with - shame. Downs theorises that this shame is born out of being different (ie gay) in a heterosexual world and it this shame which causes many gay men to be the superficial, spiteful and non-commited persons that fit the s [...]

    12. Psychologist Alan Downs believes gay men have an inherent form of shame because of a lack of acceptance from our straight male-dominated society. Because of this shame, we've adapted, suppressing certain behaviors, adding others and seeking validation, in order to overcompensate for our percepted faults and to be better welcomed into society. According to him, gay men often feel unfulfilled because we've lost our "true self," and this has repercussions in our relationships and other endeavors. I [...]

    13. Good good insights, I couldn't really relate with most of it but at least one learns what to avoid. BUT! I sometimes felt as though I was watching a National Geographic documentary: the gay man when at stage three does tarara, the gay man goes and hunts lol Then there's this last part of the book on how to reinvent yourself to be better, self-help that is! I was bored to distraction. So I just thought: skimming throughhhh!

    14. Great book. Really isolates the average experience of the gay male in our society. While not every topic will apply to every gay male, the author acknowledges this, it does ring true at some level in nearly all gay males I know who have read it. Also, there is valuable knowledge for straight men and women also who wish to better understand their gay counterparts.

    15. Oh god what a life affirming and inspirational book. It's ironic that many men, gay and straight alike, will be diverted from reading this healing, insight engendering book, simply out of fear. It's sad that many women may not feel drawn to this liberating and empowering book because it's about men. A lot of people will even avoid this review out of fear and shame.And that is such a shame. Because this book is a thing of beauty, intelligence and excellence (all things commonly associated with ga [...]

    16. Downs acknowledges the symptoms and hurts this book describes aren't solely experienced by gayish dudes --but this is a book I wish every GBT dude or anyone who closely interacts with GBT dudes would read.This book is a masterpiece, culled from a lifetime of trying to figure out how to move past hurts, while helping other gay men do the same.Some key points:"We are born into this world helpless, love-starved creatures" who "avoid abandonment at all costs." GBT dudes know they're different from a [...]

    17. Not everyone can afford to see a therapist, but here is a "self help" book that can really help if one reads it with an open mind. It may terrify some people, because this is one doctor who politely pulls the masks off the Oz-like wizards so many of us gay men wear in order to cope with being gay in "a straight man's world." I recognized myself in these pages;perhaps you will too. My only quibble with the book, and it's minor, is that the author uses the umbrella term "shame" in defining the sta [...]

    18. Can we be happy gay men, when the pattern of life thwarts us at every turn? Alan Downs is a clinical psychologist and gay man who wants to help gay men become happier human beings.The Velvet Rage explores the typical stages of growing up and coming out as gay. Alan looks at the shame and rage we overcome as we become out and looks at how we compensate and seek validation as authentic human beings. He quotes examples of men he has worked with throughout the book, which does add life to the text. [...]

    19. The sole focus is the emotional problems of gay men who act out their internalized shame through sex addiction and drug addiction. The suggestion is that "everyone" is acting out this drama, and, if you are on that kind of scene, I suppose it might seem that way. Of course, not all gay men have these particular problems, and the book would have been more interesting to me had it explored why some people behave this way and others do not. Many people find this a powerful book, nonetheless, and I [...]

    20. The Velvet Rage- great title. Because I think it's true. We swallow down our anger. Our fear. Our past. We drink and get drunk on it. We let it consume us. And are consumed by it. It's everywhere we look, it's in the lives that we've led. There is an anger there. An injustice. And it's hard to kick against society and taking a step out into ourselves. I found this book to be enlightening. Several times I set it down and thought about past relationships, parental discord, familial discord, feelin [...]

    21. While I started reading this book believing it was telling me exactly what I needed to hear, the effect quickly wore off as the book progressed to be obviously addressed to a slightly different audience. The book panders to well-to-do gay men who are well on their in years who are looking in retrospect over their lives. While I still found many of the lessons helpful whether or not they have applied to me already or might in the future, the constant anecdotes about men who have everything (ultra [...]

    22. Interesting. I have a few issues with it. I think the author spent a lot of ink explaining stereotypes instead of questioning them. For example I am not sure that all gay men are actually affluent, successful and generally fabulous. I've never been invited to a single white tie party in Malibu or wherever it was in my entire life, much less hosted one. I think that many gay men are fairly average. I am also quite uncomfortable about his -- what is it?-- assumption or belief -- that life-long rel [...]

    23. I read this for work, and it provides an intriguing theory about the effects of shame on gay men. While the childhood stuff about fathers, etc. may ring true for a specific number of gay men who grew up in a specific culture-and-time period, I think the author's description of the ways that we internalize and run from shame is a great template for considering a pathway toward more authentic way of life. I'm using it as part of training the interns I work with. What I'd love to know is how much t [...]

    24. The Velvet Rage argues that invalidation drives the inward-facing shaming and outward-facing search for acquisition and avoidance that gay men experience early on in coming out. It utilizes several brief case studies from the author’s psychological experience and additionally layers a discussion of learned gender roles as influencing the emotional illiteracy of men in relationships. A great read for a professional although its reliance on psychodynamic perspective and lack of discussion of int [...]

    25. As a gay man of a certain age, this book provided a cold, hard look in the mirror and solid, practical advice for issues I've been dealing with for years (whether I was aware of them or not). Excellent, thoughtful, and thought-provoking reading.

    26. Not sure how to react to this book. On the one hand, the premise seems a little melodramatic. On the other hand, I can't say there weren't a lot of elements I could relate to. Definitely gave me stuff to think about. Could have used a good copy-editing.

    27. A friend recommendation and good to read over again. Some of the messages are simple but it's usually those simple messages that become lost in life. I certainly relearned a few skills.

    28. (Audiobook)4 and 1/2 starsMister Downs has changed my life. What he has written is nothing new. It's not revelatory but it is powerful in it's presentation of mindfulness and how to dig yourself out of shame. Also, interestingly, I was surprised at how inaccurate the title is of this book. The sub header that reads "Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World" is not really needed. If an editor were to go through and remove every mention of "gay" or "man", the populous would find that the contents [...]

    29. This book comes from a perspective of looking at the impact to the individual of growing up as a minority (specifically gay, mostly cisgender males but I'd go as far as to say middle class and in an environment where political safety and stability is offered to LGBT people), and examines the potential psychological impacts that various events in the typical journey which that archetype of gay man goes through. It came to me at a time when I really benefitted from some of its wisdom.It's worth no [...]

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