In brief

16th January 2004 at 00:00
YOUNG GAY MEN TALKING: Key Issues and Ideas for Action. Edited by Simon Blake. Working With Men pound;7.50 (320 Commercial Way, London SE15 1QN)

You think we're comfortable with the idea of gay male sexuality now - that it has gradually migrated to the mainstream?

Alas, not so. People who, in later life, have seen most of their prejudices drain away, and assume that the rest of the world has moved on with them, are often brought up short by the virulent attitudes and language of younger men who are keen to assert their heterosexuality. This short book reminds us that: "One in three gay men have experienced violent attacks (and) 30 per cent of gay men report having been sexually assaultedI the British culture of homophobia is grim and horrible."

The author has collected the thoughts and experiences of 27 young gay men between 15 and 24, from across the UK. Their stories - often of fear, denial, and shame ("The level of anxiety and guilt towards parents was huge") - ought to be eye-opening to the teachers, governors, youth workers and lecturers who are targeted in the chapters of advice that follow the personal accounts.

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