Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Straight Jacket by Matthew Todd

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly spot hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine and is meant to showcase the books that a blogger is anticipating in the next couple of months. Today I'm going to be talking about Straight Jacket by Matthew Todd.


Title: Straight Jacket: How to be Gay and Happy
Author: Matthew Todd
Page Count: 384
Publisher: Bantam Press
Release Date: 16th June 2016

Format Available: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle
Original Language: English
Genre: LGBTQIA+ Non-Fiction


Written by Matthew Todd, editor of Attitude, the UK's best-selling gay magazine, Straight Jacket is a revolutionary clarion call for gay men, the wider LGBT community, their friends and family. Part memoir, part ground-breaking polemic, it looks beneath the shiny facade of contemporary gay culture and asks if gay people are as happy as they could be – and if not, why not? 

In an attempt to find the answers to this and many other difficult questions, Matthew Todd explores why statistics show a disproportionate number of gay people suffer from mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, addiction, suicidal thoughts and behaviour, and why significant numbers experience difficulty in sustaining meaningful relationships. Bracingly honest, and drawing on his own experience, he breaks the silence surrounding a number of painful issues, explaining: 

· how growing up in the closet can overwhelm the gay child with a deep sense of shame that can leave young people with perilously low self-worth and a powerfully negative body image
· how many gay men overcompensate for childhood shame by pursuing unobtainable perfection, aspiring to have perfect bodies, boyfriends and lives
· how gay culture, so often centred around alcohol, drugs, quick sex and even quicker wit, exacerbates the problem, and what we can all do to make things better

Meticulously researched, courageous and life-affirming, Straight Jacket offers invaluable practical advice on how to overcome a range of difficult issues. It also recognizes that this is a watershed moment, a piercing wake-up-call-to-arms for the gay and wider community to acknowledge the importance of supporting all young people – and helping older people to transform their experience and finally get the lives they really want.


I feel like this is going to be a super important book, because society has this view of gay people that is not beginning to shift anytime soon, and we need to begin a conversation which no one has the chance to back out from. However uncomfortable this topic makes you feel, I think this is going to be one of the books that forces you to reassess your image of the LGBT community and be educated on the reason why certain stereotypes are visible in the world.

Because at the end of the day, the LGBT community cannot control the way they are, and many of these stereotypes (for example, the stereotype that gay men are obsessed with their looks) have explanations.

I applaud Matthew for this book, because he is including a wide range of the community in this book. So, he isn't just speaking on behalf of cis white and young gay men, but LGBT people of all ages. More importantly, this book is also written more specifically for those people outside of the LGBTQIA+ community, in order to educate and build tolerance.

All in all, I think this is a very important book for the community, and this is why I cannot wait!

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