L.A. club D.J. Paul V. began an online project in 2011 showing childhood pictures of gay men and women along with their descriptions of what it was like to grow up gay.
Over 3.9 million hits later, Paul has turned the surprise smash hit photo project into an amazing book which is riding high on bestseller lists and receiving critical acclaim around the world.
The book features 100 photos of young gay people from the 1940s through to the present day. The pictures are beautifully presented in the style of a vintage scrapbook or photo album and each picture is accompanied by a personal story about the person featured in which they share their experiences of growing up gay. The people featured cover the full spectrum of the gay experience with every shade of masculinity and femininity represented. The stories cover a wide range of topics and include coming out stories, tales of bullying and harassment and pieces about unconditional acceptance. Some of them are hilarious, some heartbreaking and all of them are affirming and inspirational. The key feature is that they end in an upbeat way and show that however hideous our experiences were, they can be endured and survived and we can live to be just a little bit fabulous and a lot powerful. The book positively screams: We were born this way and we actually quite like it, thanks for asking.
There are a few celebrity entries too, including Andy Bell from Erasure and Perez Hilton. Oh, did I mention? I’m in there too, looking cheeky in a tweed jacket aged 5. You’ll have to buy the book to read what my experiences were. I’m not giving that away for free!
Whether you’re out and proud, struggling to come to terms with your orientation or thinking of someone who‘s growing up gay: this book has something to offer. It’s a delightful read and a thing of beauty. Treat yourself, you’ll love it.
Chris is a theatre and book obsessed Midlander who escaped to London. He’s usually to be found slumped in a seat in a darkened auditorium.