The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World Paperback – 4 May 2006
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[Downs s] narration is well matched to his message. "AudioFile"" --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
Alan Downs, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist practicing in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His fifteen years of treating clients have already been reflected in numerous books about both leadership and self-help. A personal and professional milestone, "The Velvet Rage" is his first book about the psychology of gay life.
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Top Customer Reviews
There is a distinct cultural difference between American gay men and european ones, even though there are global similarities obviously. And this is a very American book, which is directed towards American gay men. I do think that there is an increased obsession with success in the USA, that you don't find so much certainly here in the UK, and that is reflected here.
I read on through the book as he went on to highlight our failings as gay adults, and what was the cause of them, I felt that he offered little in way of solution.Read more ›
Example (p.74) "...we are almost always over-the-top in what we do. We are the chefs at the best ...restaurants. We are the vice presidents of important investment houses. We are the top hairstylists whom movie stars fly for hundreds of miles just to have us fix their hair. We rarely do things that are quiet, reserved, and commonplace. These jobs we leave by-and-large to straight people to slog through."
This is from a therapist with a PHD in psychology. Thanks, dude. How many gay men actually fit that description? 1%? And this is done constantly through the book - references to "our perfect homes", "lavish dinner parties", "our perfect bodies". Once again, everything is about "perfect professional homosexuals" to whom all those references may be relevant. Just like the majority of gay magazines and media already. Way to alienate 99% of the readers.
These things made it quite hard for me to look for things that are relevant to me.
But there were some. Parts on shame, need for validation, sensitivity for perceived invalidation etc.
There is a HUGE gaping hole between chapters 12 and 13. Chapter 12 is a description of possible relationship trauma people can go through and which can influence later relationships: betrayal, abuse, abandonement, relationship ambivalence. Fine. Chapter 13 starts with "Having broken free from the stronghold of shame and the pain of trauma, the gay man begins to build his life - a life of meaning, purpose and satisfaction". Hm.... great! Having broken free HOW EXACTLY? Any tips? That is such a cop-out. "Oh, you are full with shame. Your life sucks. Call me when you break free and your life will be full of meaning". Awesome.
Felt that it helped me understand myself (and friends) a lot more
Be great if there was a follow up with more of a self help / how to slant.
Highly highly recommended!
Alan Downs, PH.D
American psychologist Dr Downs peruses his experience growing up as a gay man and adds to that a distillation of his experiences with his gay male clients over the years to stitch together anecdotes, some insights and some truly breath taking generalisations, to form that most beloved thing in psychology "a model" (With stages no less. No really, they are all the rage, think Freud, Piaget etc).
Toxic shame, the search for validation and the pinnacle of authenticity. These are our markers on this journey to construct a model of gay maleness that explains why so many of us are so screwed up.
The first few chapters on the roots of rage will, if you are a gay man,have you nodding away like some toy dog in the back of a car. Certainly Alan (we are all on first, if fictional, name terms in this book) has some insights into why young gay man find adolescence so hard. Sufficient echoes of truth from your own experience will whip you into a frenzy of enthusiasm for the text (as encountered on the very first page, crammed with glowing validations from readers whose lives were changed by this opus) and such echoes will continue in subsequent chapters but grow quieter as you progress.
Dr. Downs makes no attempt to discuss the demographic of his sources. That they are American is sure, as attested by insert quotes on most pages from patients identified with fictional first names and the city and state of their provenance (this may mean something for American readers who may recognise the "Lenny" being from Dallas,Tx would feel such and such, because, well you know what they are like in Dallas. Means bugger all to me though). Are they white? Affluent?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It might be different for those growing up now but this is a must read (and re-read at intervals) book for gay men of my age and older - as those who have commented as I have... Read morePublished 14 months ago by The Doctor
This book is flawed, as most of the previous reviewers have stated this book seems to focus and the A-Gays of America. Read morePublished 19 months ago by bazman5000
Second time reading this. The sample used for the book are all seeing a Psychiatrist (the author), which to me means the book is biased towards this group. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Stephen.McK
a good recommendation for everyone gay or straight if they want to know about the effect of the society into the peoplePublished on 9 Jun. 2014 by ricardo
It's very Americanised but gets it's point across. Even in these "enlightened" days (tell that to the Russians) it goes to show that it does not get any easier to come out... Read morePublished on 14 Feb. 2014 by Gareth
An essential book for therapists working with gay men, it helped me to understand their internal struggles and I have recommended this to clients who state they have benefitted... Read morePublished on 23 Jan. 2014 by Lynn
I found it an interesting book about other people's life that makes you realise that we all go through same things.Published on 4 July 2013 by Laboratorio KOS - Gianluca
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