Roundup: LGBT Reads

Reading between the lines of a diet book, two memoirs and a transgender study

Gay Men Don’t Get Fat (by Simon Doonan)

Doonan’s obviously never been to a bear bar where the guys come in sizes starting at XXL. But for the silly fruit fly looking for some laughs, Doonan’s gay answer to the diet book will make for an amusing work out. In it, Doonan (partner of the designer Jonathan Adler and former window decorator at Barney’s New York) goes on an imaginative joy ride through the culinary world to conclude that straight gals can learn a lot from gay men (and French women) when it comes to keeping off the unwanted pounds. Translation: Hold the hamburger bun, have a dry martini and think outside the box when it comes to diet and exercise. As usual, Doonan’s insights are uncanny and very, well, Doonanish.

Conversations and Cosmopolitans: Awkward Moments, Mixed Drinks, And How a Mother and Son Finally Shared Who They Really Are (by Robert Rave and Jane Rave)

Mother’s Day may not be until May, but the gay sons out there may want to consider buying this one for their Mommy Dearests. The memoir tells the story of a gay son and his mother who once struggled with his coming out and eventually grew closer after quite a few potent cocktails and candid chats over the years. It turns out Robert’s revelations opened the door for his mom Jane to also come clean about her life. And the two end up sharing a very funny, heartfelt story about getting to know each other less as parent and child and more as independent adults. Robert even creates a kind of gay lexicon for his mom to navigate his New York City gay life – a far cry from his Midwestern roots.

Your Boyfriend & Other Guys I’ve Kissed: The Tails of Totally Tyler (by Totally Tyler)

This is the first we’ve heard of Totally Tyler. And given his name, we came to this farce with more than a little suspicion. At first a party boy – and then a blogger – Tyler weaves his way through dating, nightlife and boozing with no shortage of tales of, well, chasing tail. He fashions himself to be a kind of gay Carrie Bradshaw, but falls a little short when it comes to celebrating his escapades (indulgent, to say the least), but fairs much better with the more poignant stories from his past as a kid growing up in Indiana. One cannot live by a naughty kiss-and-tell alone, but the insight into how the shy boy becomes a wild man does actually have it’s redeeming moments.

The Lives of Transgender People (by Genny Beemyn and Susan Rankin)

There’s nothing funny about this serious research into transgender life. It sometimes reads like a dissertation, but offers a fascinating study into the development of gender identity thanks to a groundbreaking survey of transgender people – the largest of its kind in America. The authors follow the lives of transmen and women, delving into their early childhoods, adolescents and adulthoods as they face not only reactions from family and friends, but also the culture at large. Using data and human testimony, the book tells a story of lives seldom examined. It’s far from an easy read, but it’s an important one for anyone who is or has known a friend or family member navigating transgender territory.