Becoming Gay

The Journey to Self-Acceptance
  • -by Richard A. Isay, M.D.
  • ISBN: 0-8050-5315-8
  • Sexuality for Men
  • A Winner of the Books for a Better Life Literary Award in Psychology.
  • Henry Holt and Company, New York
  • First published in hardcover in 1996 by Pantheon Books

Kudos for Becoming Gay

Discussed at grand rounds in the departments of psychiatry at numerous medical centers throughout the country, in psychoanalytic societies, and symposia of the American Psychiatric Association, Becoming Gay is also the subject at meetings of the National Lesbian and Gay Association.

The author, Richard A. Isay, M.D., has also given plenary presentations at the Institute of Human Identity in New York City.

Obligatory Homosexual

One of the many topics that are discussed in Becoming Gay is the phenonenon of heterosexual men who have occasional sex with other men: M2M. Here it is described as fleeting and anxiety ridden. And the point is made that heterosexual men do not need coercion to have sex with the opposite gender. The distinction is made between gay adolescent and heterosexual with homosexual feelings.

Of course, you have to read: The Homosexual Adolescent; a chapter in Isay's book, Becoming Gay.

Questioning the nature and origin of male homosexuality

Traditional Freudian psychoanalysis (overpowering mother, emotionally distant father before the Oedipal crisis) has given way to the acceptance of a different psychoanalytic view. Read about this newer model in Isay's book Becoming Gay.

"[As recent as mid-1980]...most psychoanalysts and analytically oriented psychotherapists still held tenaciously to the idea that normal development led only to heterosexuality..." pg. 3. Read Isay's excellent book for the remainder of the quote and more elucidation.

It is a common experience feeling different as a child, not being interested in sports, and having greater sensitivity. A stereotype isn't necessarily false. And Isay drew conclusions from the stories of patients relaying their early experiences, which seemed to contradict the commonly held hypothesis. Broadly, it is that homosexuality is a disorder that one develops early in life. It is more likely that sexuality is determined by genetics, rather than certain anxieties, or the absence thereof, early in life.

Becoming Gay is a must-read for any gay man. This is especially true with the cognitive dissonance (caused by justifying, blaming and denying) that is typical, unfortunately. And the relevance of Isay's book becomes clearer as one encounters the self-hatred. This is a self-help book.

This book review was written by: James Legare

Psychoanalytic Theory, dynamics of personality development, guides psychotherapy.

Models on Freud on Psychosexual Development. Follow the above link for details such as: "Sigmund Freud began his research into the workings of the human mind in 1881..."

The Books for a Better Life Awards have recognized more than 400 self-improvement authors.

  • Article on Books for a Better Life Award.
    • The New Sun features "Books for a Better Life".
    • Winners Announced by New York City Chapter of the National MS Society
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