Adam and Steve: The Rules for Men Attracted to Other Men
by Russell Baptist
Author Reputation Press

"We are living in a young new century, and like never before, cultural issues that affect [gay men] are part of the world’s conversation."

Baptist begins his informative book by telling several stories of teenagers who committed suicide after bullying at school for being gay. Such tragedies are still far too common, even in our time of increasing acceptance for gay people, and they demonstrate the need for ongoing education and awareness. Baptist hopes to contribute to this effort by showing young gay men that they are not alone, teaching them about gay life, reminding adult gay men of the importance of mentorship, and by educating heterosexuals to be better allies. As a licensed clinical social worker, the author is well-positioned to sort into categories the conversations and interviews he has had over the years. He does so in describing the stages of life for gay men, discussing “Rules for Good Living” (covering style, relationships, and sex), and ending with an analysis of homosexuality in religious discourse.

The author’s book hearkens to an older tradition of acculturation in the gay male community, where instead of information being searched out online, knowledge and experience were passed down from elders to the younger generation. The book’s lighthearted, avuncular tone contributes to this goal. In the first half of the book, principles are illustrated effectively with inspirational stories of gay men from the past who appear as role models for overcoming stigma. A problem occurs in the chapter on drag with the use of the word “tranny.” The chapter does not show awareness that this word has, for a number of years, been considered by many to be derogatory. However, the book ends strongly with its detailed discussion of homosexuality in religion, providing alternatives to the misunderstanding that can lead to lives thwarted and even cut short.

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