Sunday, August 3, 2008

Are You Two Guys Brothers? by Brian McNaught

Author and sex educator Brian McNaught has been someone to whom I have looked up to throughout my gay adulthood. He is a man with integrity, passion for what he does, and a mission to teach the world about gay issues making it safer to be gay and lesbian. I have also admired his openness, honesty and genuineness as a person and gay man.

This book adds another level to all of this.

We all need someone to turn to who has been there before us to give us guidance. That is the role often of parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles. However in the gay culture we often don't have that and with this book you now do! McNaught talks about his life with his partner, his suicide attempt, his sexual life including some childhood sexual abuse, and how he managed his successes as a gay men in the 1970's and how he feels about gay life today.

We need more men like Brian McNaught who are willing to talk openly, freely and frankly about being a gay man. I first heard of Brian McNaught in 1993 when PBS was regularly running his talk, Homophobia in the Workplace.

I was mesmerized by the casual way he talked about being gay and the way he taught his beliefs to his audience. I was particularly interested in the guided imagery he used in his presentation in which he asks people to imagine the entire world to be gay but that you are straight. He walks the listener through what it would be like to be a child and for the world around you to be gay when you are straight. He takes you into your first day of high school, your first date, kiss and sexual experience with someone of the same gender.

After the guided imagery he asks people what it was like to go through the visualization to which people say, “scary”, “lonely”, “frightening”, and more. He then points out how lesbians and gays go through this very thing while growing up and calls it a form of sexual abuse. He asks folks to consider the profound trauma and abuse that would be inflicted on heterosexual young people if there were forced to date, have their first kiss and sexual experience with someone of the same gender.

This guided imagery is highly sought after particularly after I use it in my gay affirmative talks so I published it in my latest book, “Gay Affirmative Therapy for the Straight Clinician”. It can also be found in Brian McNaught’s book, Gays in the Workplace.

In his current book he admits that he was sexually abused by his father but had not been public about this lest others think he was gay because of it. On page 52 of, Are You Guys Brothers? He writes:
“As a gay man raised Catholic, I would argue that I have been sexually abused
far more effectively by Pope Benedict XVI, also known as Cardinal Joseph
Ratzinger, than I ever was by my father, and that the impact of his carefully
chosen, gratuitously hostile, erroneous, and dehumanizing words about my
sexuality have left far deeper and more significant scars than the inappropriate
touch engaged in by my father. I’d suggest that this is true for gay men and
women throughout the world. But who would dare charge the Pope with the crime of
sexual abuse?
I take McNaught’s thinking further and call it “covert cultural sexual abuse” which you can view here as well as address it throughout Gay Affirmative Therapy for the Straight Clinician.

Thank you Brian!

1 comment:

Mac said...

Thanks for leading me to this book, Joe! Brian and Ray inspire me every day. I've shared the book with my friends at the Stonewall Columbus coming out group, which in turn, prompted some guys to read a couple of Brian's earlier books: "On Being Gay," and "Now That I'm Out, What Do I Do?" The legacy continues . . . :) Mac