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This Book Is Gay

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Lesbian. Bisexual. Queer. Transgender. Straight. Curious. This book is for everyone, regardless of gender or sexual preference. This book is for anyone who's ever dared to wonder. This book is for YOU.

There's a long-running joke that, after "coming out," a lesbian, gay guy, bisexual, or trans person should receive a membership card and instruction manual. THIS IS THAT INSTRUCTION MANUAL. You're welcome.

Inside you'll find the answers to all the questions you ever wanted to ask: from sex to politics, hooking up to stereotypes, coming out and more. This candid, funny, and uncensored exploration of sexuality and what it's like to grow up LGBT also includes real stories from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, not to mention hilarious illustrations.

You will be entertained. You will be informed. But most importantly, you will know that however you identify (or don't) and whomever you love, you are exceptional. You matter. And so does this book.

273 pages, Paperback

First published September 4, 2014

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Juno Dawson

9 books562 followers

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5 stars
2,805 (28%)
4 stars
3,435 (34%)
3 stars
2,583 (26%)
2 stars
751 (7%)
1 star
250 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,602 reviews
Profile Image for Sasha.
414 reviews70 followers
March 17, 2019
Just to make that clear for people liking (and commenting on) this review:
I did NOT give this book two stars because I think there is anything wrong with being part of the LGBTQIA+/MOGAI community.
I gave it two stars because it claims to be inclusive but for the most part only covers issues that people who are gay/lesbian (and stick to binary genders and all the expectations society brings with them) have to deal with. I gave it two stars because I don't consider this book to be very inclusive, especially when it comes to non-binary people and/or those who are not gay or lesbian (i.e. bi or pan or ace or ...).
So please refrain from commenting when all you intend to do is to suggest I read queerantagonistic books. Don't like this review. I'm not on your side, I don't agree with you and I honestly don't need your prejudices in my life.

What I liked.
It's an uplifting book. One message repeated over and over again is: "Whoever you are, that's fine!" Plus, there are lots of sections especially young people might find very useful - coming out, who to tell, how to tell, sex, STIs ... So, thumbs up for that.

The BUT. It's a very big one.
You're fine with that book if you're a gay boy/man. You got Grindr explained and are directly addressed throughout the whole book.
If you're a lesbian girl/woman, it's ... okay. You won't get to know what the lesbian equivalent of Grindr is and mind you, dental dams are more important than Juno Dawson makes them seem to be, but otherwise it's okay. I guess.

Any other identities ... well, you get the definitions for "bisexual", "queer", "curious", "asexual" and "transgender", but the one for bisexuality is extremely narrow and excludes most bisexual people, and if you're hoping for the acknowledgement of non-binary genders, you got the wrong book. Generally, the author often refers to differences as "gay or straight" (though not always) and lists any issues any sexual orientations other than homosexuality face as homophobia.

Maybe Dawson wanted to simplify things. Maybe, but it doesn't make it right. And it doesn't explain this constant use of "men and women".
What is particularly confusing is that there seem to be moments of light. E.g. after repeatedly implying that gender = genitals, it is mentioned that there is more to men than just penises or that not having any surgeries is fine ... only to continue as before. What irks me the most about it is that stuff like this is toxic. It's telling people: You're either a boy or a girl and if you want to "become" the "opposite" gender, then you need a penis or a vagina. Mentioning that this isn't actually true once or twice doesn't erase what has been spread before.

Another passage is also rather telling. On page 214 it says:
However, all people - gay or otherwise - must recognize that there is one universal truth of the universe:


Apparently, mentioning and defining asexuality at the beginning is enough and you don't have to acknowledge them again.

So what now?
The title is actually quite telling. This book is gay - and binary. And parts of it are great! But seeing that it even spreads misinformation when it comes to genders and some sexualities ... well, I can't recommend that.

People have been asking for alternative titles you might read instead. I haven't read it yet myself, but The ABCs of LGBT+ has been recommended in the comments and it does sound great.
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 15 books2,497 followers
June 24, 2015
This book is gay, and had it not claimed to be anything else, I think it would be a really, really excellent read. I'd still recommend it for cis gay boys, because I think there's a lot of great information there, and therefore, I'll give it two stars rather than one. But make no mistake - this book is for them. I don't know why the entirety of the spectrum is claimed to be covered in this book, because it isn't with anywhere near the type of depth, accuracy, or effort made for the others. It's ragingly binary, the information on different definitions under the trans umbrella includes things that are offensive and/or wrong; asexuality is barely touched upon and pretty patently ignored after its first mention (and also doesn't address anything on the spectrum, nor discuss (a)romanticism by name, though it is indeed stated that one can be in a romantic relationship while asexual, at least); and there is literally one cited expert on girl-on-girl sex, whose discussion can be boiled down to "There's only fingering and oral, and I don't like oral."

There's also an incredibly shallow discussion on how to fight with people of different religions that literally put Judaism as a subset under the header of Islam, and then blamed Orthodox Jews for starting homophobia because Leviticus. (If you know me, you might have an idea why that'd rankle a bit on eleventy levels. If not, hi, I'm a really, really pro-LGBTQ Orthodox Jew who does indeed keep the laws of Leviticus mocked in this book.) So, yeah, I'd recommend this for cis gay boys with a massive grain of salt, hoping they seek info on the rest of the queer spectrum elsewhere.
Profile Image for Ashton.
155 reviews957 followers
December 5, 2021
if i, as a sensitivity reader, was given this book to review, i would simply tell them to throw it away
Profile Image for Reading Corner.
88 reviews109 followers
April 19, 2017
I really enjoyed reading this one especially because I finished it so quick.I thought the narrative was great as parts were funny and it felt like I was just being personally addressed.The book deals with many important topics in an informative,insightful and entertaining way.Also, it helped me view things differently like the need to always give ourselves labels and fulfil stereotypes isn't necessary.This was a nice,quick,enjoyable but informative read and I'd recommend it.
Profile Image for Juliana Zapata.
280 reviews4,196 followers
December 19, 2015
Cuando empecé este libro, no sabía con que me iba a encontrar, la verdad pensé que era un novela, una historia con personajes LGBT, pero resulta que no es así.
Este libro es un manual, una guía para conocer y entender a la comunidad LGBT, creo que sería de mucha ayuda para alguien que esté buscando su identidad sexual o que necesite ayuda para "salir del armario".
También sería de gran ayuda para amigos, familiares y especialmente padres que quieran entender mejor y ayudar a una persona cerca que esté pasando malos momentos por ser LGBT
Profile Image for Not My High.
286 reviews836 followers
December 1, 2022
o bogowie.

TW wszystko co bolesnego i nieodpowiedniego w mówieniu o queerowości
1 review
December 23, 2015
Look. I really wanted to like this book. But I couldn’t get through a single page of it without wrinkling my nose at all the blatant transphobia from a book that claimed to speak for me.
I started being wary on page two, with the whole “some men want to be women" thing. Trans people don’t want to be another gender, they are, plain and simple. Imagine if I wrote gay men want to love boys. That looks absolutely ridiculous and homophobic; gay men do love boys. And trans people are they say they are.
It gets way worse from there. I recall in the stereotypes section he said something akin to “of course gay men aren’t girls, they have penises!”. The basis of transphobic rhetoric, men are men because they have penises and women are women because of their vaginas: right in plain sight.
Additionally, sexuality is only discussed in an attracted to men/attracted to women binary. The undertones of non binary people being unlovable is certainly there.
I cannot explain how upset it makes me that other young trans people will this and think that they can never truly be their gender because this author, someone supposedly teaching them, is just spewing the same transphobic garbage they’ve heard all their life under the guise of fighting homophobia. And all the cisgender people who are giving this book full stars, thinking that he is representing the trans community perfectly.
Sorry if this seems a little rude, I’m just tired of seeing such blatant transphobia perpetrated by people in the LGBT community. This book is the guide to being a cisgender gay man who sweeps everyone else under the rug. It is dangerous to have this information out there with mostly positive reviews when it is perpetrating systematic transphobia.
Profile Image for Eliana.
103 reviews5 followers
August 5, 2016
I was so prepared to love this book and recommend it to all my friends and buy a million copies of it to donate to my library.

Unfortunately, while there were a few good parts (like the tips about coming out), this book was mostly a disappointment. It mostly focuses on cisgender gay men and their problems, and often throws trans people under the bus to make a sassy statement. Like, there are several times when the author says "lesbians love vaginas!," which completely ignores the fact that not all women have vaginas, and not everyone with a vagina is a woman. And later, in the advice for trans people, the author says that "people don't fall in love with genitalia," but she seems to not understand why it would be transphobic for her to equate body parts to gender identity.

I also didn't like how in the safe sex section, she literally just says "lesbians have a low risk of getting STIs" and that's her whole section on safe sex between two people with vaginas.

I also didn't like how in the religion section, it pretty much blames Jews for there being religious homophobia in the first place, and for some reason puts Judaism as a subcategory in the Muslim section (???????????????) and doesn't mention at all how many Jews are supportive of LGBTQ people (hint: it's a lot).

Overall, I think I would MAYBE give this book to a cisgender gay boy to read, but only after heavily enforcing the idea that body parts=/=gender identity.

Update: edited to reflect the fact that the author of this book now uses she/her pronouns.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,619 reviews986 followers
November 16, 2020
This book isn't really gay, it's just wonderful. It's essentially a whirlwind myth busting tour of the world of sexual orientation and gender identity. A must-read for anyone with concerns or just general interest around this continually evolving area.

It's been so long since I sat down and read anything around these issues, seeing this splendidly titled rainbow book got me thinking it was time I read-up on where we are today and where we're heading. Dawson's smart-casual approach littered with humour as well hard cold facts is not only easily digestible it's a compulsive read. A must-read for all... and I mean all. 8 out of 12.
Profile Image for laurel [the suspected bibliophile].
1,502 reviews448 followers
October 2, 2021
A fun, factual and frank discussion about what it means to be LGBT...but mostly G.

I'm on the fence about this one.

On the one hand, it was one of the first books that was widely published providing teens something of a how-to manual—what certain things mean, what it means to be gay, lesbian, bi or trans, what is the difference between gender, sex and sexuality, politics and law, navigating sex as part of the LGBT community, STI/Ds and HIV, and how to combat religious bigots. It does try to be inclusive.

On the other hand, it is very skewed towards gay cis men, with lesbians and trans folk coming in a close second. While it does—briefly—mention ace, aro, pan and bisexual folks, the definitions feel dated and really show the vast amount of social change and awareness that has happened in the LGBTQIA+ community since 2013—particularly because this book barely mentions what it means to be nonbinary, agender, genderfluid, genderqueer, etc.

It is very much focused on the binary of the gender spectrum, and while it does go into details of being trans, the trans and lesbian sections feel a lot...skimpier and less detailed than the sections talking about gay cis men. I did like that a lot of scientific research was included for trans folk, along with the various ways trans people express their sexuality, and that the emphasis of it all being valid and right.


tl;dr—go in for a general this is almost everything overview of the LGBTQIA+ community, while being aware that lots has changed (for better and for worse) for queer folks, including societal norms, laws and political support, and definitions and understanding of gender, sex and sexuality.
161 reviews45 followers
August 31, 2020
„How to be gay - Alles über Coming-Out, Sex, Gender und Liebe“ von Juno Dawson ist am 26.08.2020 bei S. Fischer Verlage erschienen. Es ist eine Neuauflage und ist schon einmal 2015 unter dem selben Titel, aber noch unter dem Namen James Dawson erschienen. Sie ist Transexuell und klärt in diesem Buch über LGBTQ+ auf. Übersetzt wurde das Buch von Volker Oldenburg. Es gibt zwei verschiedene Cover. Das neuere finde ich viel schöner als das Alte (wobei das bei meinem Ebook genauso aussieht) und das Original. Es wirkt durch die Schrift und knalligen Farben moderner und enthält auch eindeutig die Regenbogenfarben, genauso wie die LGBTQ+ Flagge aussieht. Da die Hauptzielgruppen Jungendliche und junge Erwachsene sind passt das sehr gut. Der Titel ist passend gewählt. Man weiß sofort worum es geht. Der Originaltitel lautet „This book is gay“. Die deutsche Übersetzung finde ich persönlich besser, da man sich so mehr angesprochen fühlt und es etwas lustiger ist. Der Schreibstil ist locker und lustig. Ab und zu hätte ich es mir ganz gerne ein bisschen sachlicher gewünscht, da ich es ab und zu ein bisschen over the top gefunden habe. Ein bisschen Übersetzungsprobleme sind mir auch aufgefallen. Es gab einige Fälle in denen nicht richtig gegendert worden ist. So war zum Beispiel in einigen Fällen nur von „dem Partner“, aber nicht von „der Partnerin“ die Rede. Normalerweise ist mir dieses allgemeine gendern relativ egal, ABER in diesem Buch geht es unteranderem um das richtige Gendern und dann sollte man auch darauf achten. Man ist es im deutschen gewohnt, dass meistens nur männlich gegendert wird. Da haben es andere Sprachen einfacher. Zum Beispiel im Englischen gibt es nur „the partner“ für im deutschen „der Partner/Lebensgefährte“ und „die Partnerin/die Lebensgefährtin“. In diesem Buch erzählt die Autorin nicht nur über ihre eigenen Erfahrungen, sondern lässt auch die Erfahrungen von anderen Jugendlichen und jungen Erwachsenen mit einfließen. Ab und zu gibt es auch Zeichnungen und Statistiken. Das lockert das Ganze noch ein bisschen mehr auf und bringt Abwechslung.
Fazit: Eins der besten LGBTQ+ Bücher! Hier werden die ganzen Begriffe von gay, lesbisch, bi und LGBTQ+ über Gender, Liebe und Sex einzeln auseinandergenommen und gut erklärt. Mit Klischees wird aufgeräumt. Ein paar Aussagen der Autorin würde ich nicht unbedingt zustimmen, aber es ist ein lockeres Aufklärungsbuch über ein sehr wichtiges Thema. Das Buch ist auch schon für ältere Kinder geeignet. Egal wie viel man über das ganze Thema schon weiß, hier lernt man noch einiges dazu!
Profile Image for Faye*.
324 reviews96 followers
July 8, 2019
3.5 stars

This was a super quick and also very interesting read. It is written in a very informal and very positive style, and I would recommend it especially for teenagers as it covers the very basics of LGBTQ+ topics and can help young people who are trying to understand themselves and to find their way (to either label or not label themselves, to come out or not etc.). I would also say it’s a good book for parents and teachers to read because it gives them a tool they can use to help their charges along.

"This Book is Gay" is mainly targeted at gays and lesbians even though there is also some snippets on bisexuality and transsexuality. I saw some reviews that critisised this, especially the fact that there was hardly any mention of non-binary genders, asexuality, etc. Yes, that's true (and it would have been much better if the author were not making the assumption that everybody is either male or female and that everybody just wants to have loads of sex). But again, I think this book a) shouts its target audience from its cover page, and b) also covers the basics and it would be a good starting point for anybody who wants to start reading up on being, well, gay. I mean, the book is called “This book is gay” after all, and not “This book is non-binary”... So, I feel like it delivers on what it promises.

Should it have been more inclusive? Yes! Is it still a good book to start a conversation and to get more information from there? I definitely think so.
Profile Image for kory..
1,056 reviews117 followers
August 22, 2021
oh, wow. this is bad.

content/trigger warnings; ableism, t slur, d slur, f slur, biphobia, panphobia, transphobia, aphobia. mentions/discussions of homophobia, transphobia, lesbophobia, biphobia, bullying, abuse, hiv/aids, internalized queerphobia, hate crimes, rape, domestic violence, suicide, drug abuse, religion, sex,

what kind of -phobia and erasure is not in this book? transphobia, aphobia, biphobia. nonbinary erasure, pan (and all non-bi mspec) erasure, aromantic erasure. cis gay men get the focus of this book, followed by cis lesbians, and trans people and bisexual people seem to be poorly considered after thoughts. and literally everyone else is just left out. a notable lack of attention is given to polyamory (the section on open relationships is awful), as well as queer people who aren’t looking for a date or sex. and in addition to all of that, the book is poorly researched and the writing is incredibly cringeworthy. and don’t get me started on the list of “gay icons”.
Profile Image for Kayla Rayne.
101 reviews188 followers
July 13, 2015
Let me start off by saying that a three star rating is still a good rating from my standpoint. Okay, now that that is out there, let's review.

I felt like this was a great book to pick up if you are a little on the clueless end of knowing about LGBT community and other basic information that is typically withheld when discussing sexuality in the massively straight and often times homophobic world. Thankfully, my college program had a great focus on many of the topics discussed in this book so I felt a little more confident in rating the usefulness of the information that it contains. Again, this is a book that will start you off if you already know a fair amount.

One of the things that I really enjoyed about this book was its focus on being true to yourself and not prescribing to labels if that is not what appropriately defines you. For example, there was some information dedicated to those who do not wish to be labeled as gay, lesbian, bi, or transgendered. This book had so much time dedicated to being comfortable with who you are and making sure that you were okay with you doing you. It is always nice to read information that confirms that it is okay to be yourself granted that being yourself doesn't involve hurting others and bringing them down.

Another great focus was on sex education, though I felt this had more focus on sex between two men. There was some information on sex between lesbians and transsexual relationships, but there was a larger focus on two men. However, the bottom line for all of these little lessons is to practice safe sex so, the important message was conveyed. No matter who you are sleeping with, make sure that you are protecting yourself and others from contracting any STDs. There was also some information about HIV that I found very interesting and important to discuss. This was something even my straight and abstinence minded sex-ed teacher did not discuss. This chapter could be a handy guide for those who already have some information on sexual education, but it is not a tell all guide.

The chapter on religions was great as it is something that many people who are religious but also believe in equality might struggle with. I know growing up in the bible belt this has been a constant topic of discussion when it comes to legislation concerning LGBT rights (because some people don't get the separation of church and state thing, I suppose). This was a chapter that I felt could spark some great questions and debate about spirituality and acceptance within religious cultures. I really enjoyed this section.

There were two things that did bother me about the book, despite its attempt to cover all the info, and that was that it skimmed over pan-sexuality and asexuality. There was brief mention of the two but I felt like it was more of a courtesy mention than an actual attempt at giving enough information. I realize that if this book went into greater detail it might be more difficult for someone who is not informed to digest everything, but I strongly wished there was a little more time dedicated to these two topics. I know that those are the two I know least about and I feel like that is a common issue.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and felt like it gave an informative overview of many LGBT related topics. I think this is an easily digestible piece of literature for those starting out, but if you already feel decently informed about the topics, I would skip this one.

Profile Image for May.
Author 11 books8,596 followers
March 29, 2015

Este libro es Gay es uno de los libros más difíciles que he reseñado en toda mi vida. Estamos ante una especie de manual sobre la comunidad LGTB (que no LGTBIQ) dirigida a jóvenes que quieran saber algo más sobre orientación sexual y género o piensen que quizás pertenezcan a dicha comunidad. Un manual un tanto frívolo y a la vez bueno en determinados aspectos.
Sí, es complicado de explicar. A esto hay que sumarle que personalmente no considero que una persona heterosexual (como yo) sea capaz de transmitir al 100% las cosas negativas que tiene este libro. Pero comparto muchísimas opiniones que he leído de personas que pertenecen a esta comunidad y voy a intentar hacéroslas llegar.
Empiezo por lo que me parece bueno de este manual. Me parece muy bueno que por fin se haya publicado un manual dirigido a un público joven. ¿Cuánta desinformación hay sobre esta comunidad? ¿Cómo te informaste tú de este tema? Yo me informé sola y poco a poco. Es terrible que hoy en día no se hable de la comunidad LGTBIQ en los institutos, colegios... es terrible la desinformación que hay. Pues bien, este manual es un paso adelante en el proceso de informar que tenemos que llevar a cabo con la sociedad.
Otra cosa positiva es que te habla de sexo y otras cosas sin tapujos. Hay dibujos, explicaciones, orientaciones... es un manual muy directo, cercano y que llegará fácilmente a cualquier lector.
Es un manual que probablemente resolverá muchas de las dudas que tienen los jóvenes de hoy en día y que abre un poco los ojos hacia un tema que no está para nada normalizado en nuestra sociedad.
Ahora vayamos con las cosas negativas que tiene Este libro es gay. Empecemos por su título y portada. Un libro que se vende como gay para vender más porque hay muy pocas novelas que traten sobre el tema. Un libro frívolo que pretende normalizar y que "desnormaliza" totalmente con su exterior y su forma de llegar al mercado. Un libro cuyo contenido reza que quiere normalizar pero que no normaliza en ningún momento con lo que nos transmite.
Otra cosa negativa es que Este libro es gay dice que es un libro para toda la comunidad LGTB y realmente se centra en la comunidad gay. Deja a un lado a las lesbianas, transgéneros, transexuales y bisexuales. Sí, tiene 5 páginas explicando qué son y de dónde vienen las lesbianas y la palabra lesbiana en sí, perfecto. Pero todo el resto de la novela está centrada en la comunidad gay. Ojo, me parece maravilloso; pero el autor nos vende la obra como dirigida a todo el colectivo.
No me gusta que esté dirigida a la comunidad LGTB y olvidemos a la I y la Q, Intersexuales y Queers. Prácticamente no se les nombra y además no se incluye sus siglas cuando se nombra a la comunidad.
Creo que Este libro es gay tiene también una parte muy positiva que es el hecho de que nos hace plantearnos qué tipo de educación estamos recibiendo lxs jóvenes cuando desconocemos a una comunidad que es tan normal como cualquier otra y de la que no sabemos casi nada.
Nos hace reflexionar sobre el tema, nos hace plantearnos muchísimas cosas y, sobre todo, no normaliza para nada la comunidad LGTBIQ, sino que juega en un mar de contradicciones del que sacará una buena porción de dinero y ventas.
Profile Image for bokpanda.
81 reviews47 followers
June 23, 2021
DNF after 4 chapters. It was published in 2014 so obv it’s outdated, but it made me so angry I didn’t want to continue reading. This is a great tool tho for teens who’s asking questions about these things.

My problems:
1. It’s not very inclusive to trans people, but it might be corrected in their new book “What’s the T?”
2. It basically mocks straight people, saying that if they haven’t questioned their sexuality or identity they’re just lying to them selves and others. Some people don’t need to questioned this, it’s just a fact. Like it’s just a fact that some people are gay or asexuals.
3. I hate the world “preference”. If you’re gay you don’t prefer men, because women was never even an option.
4. It talks about how it’s okay to explore and yes it definitely is, but please also consider the ones who doesn’t have to. We also know without making out and having sex with everything that breaths.
5. They talk about sexual attraction, but I missed aesthetic and romantic attraction. Yeah, asexuals are mentioned, but I couldn’t find a place where they talked about other kind of attractions.
6. Last but not least, I hate the word “identify”. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I hate it. It makes it sound like it was an option. A friend of mine said it’s mostly about “identifying with labels” and I get that, but I still don’t like it. They also say “sexuality is not a choice, but identity is” it’s not. It’s a choice if you want to do anything about it (if you want to transition, or dress a certain way or change your name etc), but it’s not a choice to be who you are. That’s not the same thing.

I think that’s about it. I may try to read it later, but don’t hold your breath. To anyone who doesn’t know shit about being queer this may help you, but consider the things I’ve mentioned.
Profile Image for David.
619 reviews139 followers
February 13, 2021
Too much "I believe that...", "I can argue that...", "I think...". I was expecting less opinion, and more substantive facts. In a section about bullying, the author recommends keeping a journal, with witnesses, dates, etc. Then showing this to an authority-person, because they WILL listen to you. But the next sentence says: If the first person doesn't listen to you... What?? Didn't you JUST say that they WILL listen to you?

I am only 40% done and I rarely DNF a book. But I need to stop. There are constant pop-culture references that occur at points that should be a conclusion statement. These should not be ambiguous, or need you to understand something from England (book origin).

For as much as the book was saying to ignore stereotypes, for example, the book then went on to go through the stereotypes. Maybe the later part of the book gets better, but I came away with more of a negative feeling. Statements about how you might lose your job, but if you just fight, the law is on your side.

The audiobook has a terrible reader. To much individual pronunciation of each word, that makes it not flow well - almost computer/robotic delineation. There is also unnecessary over-inflection on phrases.

I cannot recommend this book.
Profile Image for Romie.
1,094 reviews1,269 followers
April 16, 2017
I really liked this book, even though I think gay men will identify way more than women - well the author is a man so that's kinda why ^^ but overall it's a really funny read, I laughed quite a lot and it was precious to see all the faces that people made around me in the Metro, because it's not like you can't tell what this book is about when you see the cover 🙈
As a bisexual young woman, I thought this book was interesting, but it didn't teach me a lot that I didn't know already. But if you're new to this, if you've just discovered your sexuality, or just wondering, then I think this book can be really helpful.

Around the Year in 52 books 2016.
36. An identity book - a book about a different culture, religion or sexual orientation.
30 reviews13 followers
May 28, 2016
Actual rating: 3.5*

Content: 3/5
The opening of the book explains that it's tried to be as inclusive and intersectional as possible, but there is a disclaimer that it, like anything, isn't perfect and to bear that in mind while reading. That said, this book is pretty gay-cis-male heavy (which Dawson points out sometimes can't helped since all scientific research etc has been geared towards the cis male experience because patriarchy, dammit.) Dawson did bring in a queer female writer to co-write a few parts, which I appreciated. However, as much as it tries to be inclusive, the definitions of bi, trans*, ace are a bit ...simplistic? Or outdated. Something. The parts trying to explain trans I found were too basic, non-binary genders weren't mentioned at all, for example, and some parts were worded like anatomy = gender (nope). The best parts are the stories of 300 LGBTQ* people Dawson interviewed for the project -some have a paragraph, others get 4 or 5 pages to themselves- that by highlighting diverse individuals keep the stereotypes away. And some are just adorable.

Writing/'Reading Experience': 5/5
I read this in a day (which never happens), I think because the writing is so easy and YA-y. It was a lot funnier than I thought it'd be, including the illustrations. The information's well presented and easy to follow and overall 5/5 for the reading experience itself.

Meeting expectations: 4.5/5
I had a few problems with the content of the book, what was missing, how some things were phrased, etc, so I thought about what this book was trying to be. As an intro to the topic, it's pretty good, and I'm very glad it exists. I hope it finds a place in many school libraries (or, God forbid, is used by teachers.) It covers the basics of LGBT* definitions, stereotypes, history, and all the stuff we were taught as if we're straight like safer sex, STIs, etc, plus coming out tips and advice for parents/carers of LGBTQ* children. I think that's what this book was meant to be and it does it well.

If you're expecting a perfectly inclusive, intersectional, nuanced book about the entirety of the gender and sexuality spectrums, this isn't it (and good luck finding one), but I think it's a pretty solid place to start for younger LGBTQ* people, straight/cis people, parents and carers with no or little previous knowledge.
Profile Image for Andrea Belfiori.
125 reviews970 followers
May 25, 2018
Premetto che questo libro non è un romanzo, ma una vera e propria guida per le persone appartenenti alla comunità LGBT* ma anche per chi vuole conoscere questo mondo dall'esterno. E nel suo essere una guida secondo me fa tutto bene: è esaustiva perché riporta tanti fatti, tante testimonianze e tante informazioni utili; è educativa perché affronta argomenti quali il genere, la sessualità e il rispetto; ed è pure molto divertente e ironica in vari momenti. Secondo me è un libro che qualsiasi adolescente LGBT* dovrebbe leggere e che dovrebbe essere presente in ogni biblioteca scolastica (anche se è davvero molto esplicito, ma siamo nel 2018 ed è l'ora che il sesso smetta di essere un taboo). Non è da 5 stelle semplicemente perché non è un capolavoro della letteratura, ma è un libro molto importante e soprattutto EDUCATIVO. Perfino io che ormai ho superato l'adolescenza da quel dì ho scoperto cose che non sapevo. In definitiva assolutamente consigliato ad un pubblico giovane, mentre i più grandi magari non lo troveranno così interessante (anche se lo troveranno sicuramente spassoso in alcuni punti). PS: è un libro che si concentra di più sui ragazzi gay, quindi per ragazze lesbiche e persone trans potrebbe essere un po' meno completo.
Profile Image for Kathrine Pachniuk.
111 reviews192 followers
August 13, 2020
I think this is a really important book - or rather I hope this sets an important trend in non-fiction books introducing kids (and adults) to other sexual orientations that straight with humor and wit. I hope to see more like it in the near future about more non-normal (normal being the social norm) orientations and lifestyles. That would be wicked.
Be aware that James was white, gay and cisgender [at the time this was written] and that shows but she also states that just about first thing. She does include transgender and mentions a few other sexual orientations.
I definitely think there should be more info about other genders and identities like this but frankly it just makes more sense to have indeed more books and not expect it all from one book. You can't cram everyone into 300 pages.
I think it's a quite brilliant introduction, not just to gay kids but for everybody. I believe educating ourselves is step one to a better society.
Profile Image for Iamshadow.
149 reviews28 followers
March 14, 2018
So, pretty much, don't read this? I started out reading it and thought, wow, this has not aged well, and then I read the verso, which said the date of publication was... four years ago. Which was pretty much when my internal voice went, 'Oh... no. This is going to get worse, isn't it?'. Spolier: it did.

Did not finish. Really exclusionary of pretty much anyone but cis gay males, pretty much every quote on bisexuality is about not liking labels or actually identifying as something OTHER than bi, either because of being being mislabeled or discriminated against (page 27-28), gender essentialist 'lesbians like vaginas' 'gay men like... big hairy men with big willies' 'penis? check! ...gay men are.. male'(page 51), 'lesbians like vaginas' (page 67), transphobic (so many pages), 'intersex is not so much an identity, as you can't really choose it' (page 37), conflates homophobia and transphobia as basically the same thing without mentioning the transphobia rampant in the broader queer community (pages 72-92). Noped out after genuine anti-semitism on page 111 'Not being funny, but these guys (Jewish people) kinda started it' (about religious homophobia).

To eliminate any confusion bout the author's name, the author came out as transgender after publication, so the first name on the cover is one that shares the initial J with the author's preferred name, Juno. My reaction to discovering this development was thinking that I really hope Juno works through the utterly pervasive transphobia that is inescapable in this work. Carrying that is toxic. But the fact that the author has come out as transgender doesn't make this work any less transphobic. In fact, it's worse, because it makes it harder to argue the damage this book can do when it's coming from a now-out transgender person, something I will be doing with my library system shortly.

In summary - this book would have been revolutionary ten or fifteen years ago, because nothing like this existed. It still would have been toxic. Time and correct terminology has moved on, but at its core, this would have always been a work that placed more emphasis on trying to be crude and cool to appeal to young people, which is a tragic mistake. Anything that tries this hard is never going to be cool in the eyes of a teenager. Add to that the spadefuls of misinformation, glossing over of history and hate crimes, erasure, exclusion, and casual super gross misogyny for the sake of jokes ('Lesbians like vaginas. They don't even want blokes watching. I KNOW, how INCONSIDERATE.' - page 67), and this is a book that doesn't even come close to matching the promise of its beautiful, bold, inclusive, balanced cover.
Profile Image for Garrison.
32 reviews14 followers
August 1, 2018
Even though I always had the internet, I think that to have had this book in 7th grade when I started to admit to myself that I was gay would've felt similar to how Alec and Geena's characters in Beetlejuice feel upon finding the "Handbook for the Recently Deceased."
I blazed through it, probably because it felt like the pretty, packaged LGBTQ* education I never got in school. As James Dawson points out, there is a horrifying degree of institutional homophobia present even in the most progressive education systems - in my very liberal Los Angeles middle school & high school, any sex ed I ever experienced was completely heterosexual (babymaking).
"This Book Is Gay" is a straightforward and funny breakdown of all things LGBTQ* (understanding sexuality/gender, LGBT "sexyfuntime," fighting bigotry/religion, finding support/community, dating apps, LGBT icons, etc). Some of it was old news for me personally, but I still learned quite a bit and had a great time. Recommend to anyone.
Profile Image for Anna.
1,503 reviews251 followers
February 26, 2021
This book is trash. Avoid at all costs. The information is wrong and incredibly harmful. The definitions aren't correct and this is a supremely problematic book to be giving to queer teens.
Profile Image for Alex Nonymous.
Author 23 books422 followers
March 25, 2021
Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of This Book is Gay in exchange for an honest review.

If you're a cis white gay man or lesbian woman, this book might be really useful for you. If not, don't be fooled by claims that this guide is meant for all LGBTQ+ folk, because it's just not.

I'm sure This Book Is Gay came from a good place, but I don't get how this was supposedly updated to be more informed and modern because a lot of language use was really weird. I read an ARC so some phrases may change, but a lot of the descriptions and definitions felt simplified to the point of being detrimental. For example, trans people are described as "wanting to be" the opposite gender (Juno herself is trans so I'm sure the intent was there, but treating being trans as a want and choice was a weird decision), readers are told that in a broad sense, bisexuality means liking both men and women when in an actual broad sense, it means liking more than one gender, and nonbinary people are treated as an increasing trend of people deciding to reject the gender binary. Asexuality is basically only referenced in the definition section and two definitions are provided, the standard lack of sexual interest one and one the book frames as the more modern definition involving a refusal to define one's sexual orientation. I'm not ace so I'm not the most informed there, but I've never heard that second definition used so it was weird it was framed as more modern than the main definition.

A lot of the tips surrounding and references to queer folk are only really applicable to white readers (for example there's a whole section on stereotypes and lingo and I'm pretty sure there wasn't a single term not commonly used in white queer communities) and most of the book in general just assumes that the reader is opposite-sex attracted despite this being marketed as for all queer folk.
Profile Image for Mike.
Author 72 books1,649 followers
March 20, 2015
Tuve la oportunidad de leer Este libro es gay hace algún tiempo, aunque entonces no sabía qué título tenía y no me había dado cuenta hasta hace unos días de que se trataba de este libro. Y no, no me gustó. Con el jugo que podía habérsele sacado al tema, el resultado podría haber sido mucho mejor, pero no ha sido así. Tengo dos problemas principales con este libro: el primero, que me parece bastante inútil, y el segundo, que lo veo muy oportunista. Pero será mejor que vayamos por partes.

Reseña completa: http://www.alaspapel.com/2015/03/este...
Profile Image for Cassie.
5 reviews
May 10, 2019
Although I enjoyed some of this book, it had many faults. It was NOT very inclusive for asexual, pansexual, or even bisexual people. Oh and non binary genders? Pfffft forget about them. This book had a great tone , and was entertaining , but it was filled with casual cissexism and incorrect definitions. I think it was worth the read, but I wouldn't exactly recommend it.
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