Cover Image: To be a Gay Man

To be a Gay Man

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To Be a Gay Man by Will Young is part autobiography and part advice for other people growing up gay in a straight world.
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Will Young highlights so much gay shame in this book = in parts an autobiography but also a self help book too.  It is an important book, not just for the gay community but for everyone.  We live in a world where everyone is equal - no matter what their sexuality. I wish there wasn't any prejudice and that more people will learn.
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A very honest read, I think a few people could do with reading this. Quite an honest insight into his world. 

Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.
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As someone who has always been impressed by Will Young and his willingness to share his personal struggles, I was interested to read this book, even though it wouldn't be one normally top of my reading list.  I am very glad I read it - a relatively quick read, it is an honest and heartfelt exploration of the issue of gay shame, seen through the lens of Will's own life, and definitely made me think.. Heart wrenching at times, but with some definite moments of humour, I am grateful for Will's honesty and the opportunity to reflect on an important issue.
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Many thanks to Netgalley, Random House UK and Ebury for this book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Will's incredibly honest, heartfelt and moving story of his experiences as a gay man. I hope lots of people read this book, I loved it.
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I requested this book because although I do not like the talent show type of programmes that brought Will Young to prominence from what I have seen of Will on TV he came across as a very professional personable young man and I was very interested to read more about his life.  However, I would not say that this is an autobiography per say more his discovering and coming to terms with his sexuality and the ‘gay shame’ he felt, or was pressured to feel by certain sectors of society and the media.  He was very honest in writing about the dark times in his life and how he had to ‘drag himself’ to keep going at some points, his addiction and time spent in a psychiatric unit.  His writing style is very accessible and the way he wrote about his feelings of guilt and shame I am sure will resonate with a lot of people.  That said I would not like people to think that this is a gloomy book, in fact some of the anecdotes in the book are very funny, but it is also an important book that describes perfectly how people’s actions can have long lasting effects on others.  I found this an insightful, well written and easy read.
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Authentic, Brave, Emotional, Honest, Essential Reading.

Will Young broke into mass public consiousness on Pop Idol. Since then I have seen his blossoming career in, not just pop music, but on stage in many shows like Cabaret, Strictly Ballroom and more and in films like Mrs Henderson Presents. where he also shines and in some pretty brave and frank interviews. He’s taken this braveness to a whole new level and gone much further and delved much more into the his inner feelings on life. Whether you are within the LGBTQ community, which is of course the primary reach of this book to raise awareness of mental health, or not, this is inspiring, informative and there is something that anyone can grasp onto and take away with them.
He also has a new album out called – Lexicon.

Thank you to Penguin Random House and E-bury Publishing publicists for accepting my request to review.
Follow down for the synopsis, review and essential links to mental health charities, as noted within this book. Please find my full review below:

Full Review
The book opens, practically with a smile. Who can resist reading about a crisp autumnal morning, even if there is a rude awakening by Nellie, Will Young’s daschund who wakes him up and goes on to the podcast he and Chris Sweeney have founded, called the Homo-Sapien’s Podcast.

Will Young talks candidly about the online communities that go about Gay-Shaming. I’m heterosexual myself, but accept everyone and it’s absolutely emotional and shocking to the core. I am impressed that Will Young has got the courage to tell the world about what he found. In this book there’s definitely a certain amount of strength of character.

He then goes onto talk very personally about his family and relationship with his dad and the bullying within the education system and how he reckons LGBTQ is still not addressed properly. What is good, is he backs it up with facts, using The Trevor Project in the USA and Stonewall in the UK for examples and for research into his basis. It makes this a stronger book for it. It’s a real mix of facts, figures, his personal experiences and opinions.

He also addresses the layers of being gay, which may be evident if you have a friend who is in the LGBTQ community or are within it yourself. He also backtracks in time and talks about what it was like in the 1980’s, drawing upon Freddie Mercury and also the detrimental effect parts of religion has had. He also talks of the effects of AIDS in-relation to some of the “public notices” put out and the effects and then even further in time on the government’s “Section 28”, which is more in the present times.
He does touch on theatre and film, but more in-terms of role models, or rather lack of role models who are gay and what that would mean to him and also how the stereotyping when writing a role for a gay character and talks of some actors at a particular time.

You can practically feel the pain leaping off the page as he talks about his prep-school years. He’s also honest about the growing-up and the sexuality side of that time of life and the opening up to a friend.
There are also moments I’m pretty sure some people would bury, never to be repeated again, but this is enlightening and courageous as he talks about regrets and also the shame he has felt and what he has had to deal with.

He touches on Pop Idol and gaining confidence and although he talks a bit about sex, it isn’t in any crude way at all and has a point, but then do does absolutely everything that is written. Everyone can take something away from this book, learn something new or have something clarified or relate to it on all sorts of levels.

He also touches upon the sense of community he does feel and also a bit about volunteer charitable works he is involved in, which, again shows another slice of his life.

Don’t get this wrong. This isn’t a “poor me” type of book. I’ve seen those and this definitely is not one of them. This is very different to those. It’s inspiring and raising awareness and is thought-provoking in a non-pretentious way, which is impressive. He also doesn’t appear to shy away from anything, but tells it how it is for him and it feels honest.

Later, the book moves into his mental health and having a breakdown and PTSD and how it came about and how he seeked help and how he felt. It goes further than that and on closer inspection, there are more parts that are thought-provoking and perhaps some people will also be able to gain, not just knowledge about Will Young, but also certain things that could apply to their lives and that could just assist someone that little bit, but it isn’t a self-help book as such though. He delves into the conditions of drealisation and depersonalisation that he has and going into therapy.

He details what he found in another book, other elements that, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, your sexual orientation, that could be beneficial to people as he describes Perfectionism etc and how that is for him, but really you can transplant your own life, if you are a perfectionist etc. At the end, head to the Appendix. It is very responsibly and thoughtfully got CBT Techniques  and then in the second Appendix there is Help and Support contacts.

Will Young writes about how he wanted to connect with himself. The book, I think has enough within it that there will be people who could potentially find it so helpful not to feel alone. The fact that is an extensive list of charities too that specialise in LGBTQ is fabulous. No one should be alone and please, if you are having any issues with mental health or anything, please know that there is support out there. I have listed just a couple from the list Will Young has in his book. They are there for the LGBTQ community and this includes families too.

Links to Support and Mental Health Teams

LGBTQ Foundation
Provides as wide range of services to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-people.
https://lgbt.foundation/          Tel: 03453 303030

Mermaids
Charity Supporting young trans people as well as their families.
https://www.mermaidsuk.org.uk    Tel: 0808 801 0400

Mind Out
LGBTQ+ mental health service
https://www.mindout.org.uk    Tel: 01273 234839
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Felt like a self help with lots of therapy wording. Sadly I think this book was released before his brother died. Hope it hasn’t set him back. Was an ok read made better only because I like him. But then I’m a heterosexual woman so can’t relate to what his life has been like.
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A fascinating insight into Will Young's life chronicling the highs and lows he has faced. A fascinating read!
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Having seen an interview with Will and Uli from Gays the Word, where Will discussed how it was about his working through of his own gay shame, I was intrigued to read this book. My first thought is that this book will be very important because it is likely to reach a large and hopefully wide audience, some of whom would either never read books on gay shame such as those listed at the end of the book, nor would they have any idea that shame could be such an issue for LGBT people. In that regard, I think he has done an excellent job, its an honest, intelligent exploration of his life's experiences and the impact upon his mental health. He is honest about experiencing social anxiety, realising he was gay at school but being terrified of people finding out and of the awful incidences of homophobia abuse he has experienced in his life on the streets and in the tabloids and from a certain Radio One DJ. He is very honest about how the impact of shame or homophobia led to depression which meant that at times did not behave well. I found it hard to like him at those times especially when he decided that he needed to hide behind having a girlfriend without thinking about her feelings at all or when he tries to equate homophobia with racism but I appreciated his honesty. His writing style is quite intellectual which I found strange and at times stilted, probably because I'm used to a more emotional and empathic (even self-empathic) therapeutic writing style, which its why its not a 5 star book for me. As I've already said though, this is an important book and very much not like a usual celebrity autobiography. In fact its not that at all but a useful book for anyone who wants to better understand the experience of this gay man. 

With thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Will Young has always been a favourite of mine and this book is the perfect example of why.

By sharing his own experiences of life as a gay man with such complete honesty, Will has written a book that will speak to, and comfort, so many. 

Witty, emotive and down-right brilliant.

Plus the cover image is FAB-U-LOUS.
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Absolutely fantastic read, it didn’t feel just like a biography it felt like a mindfulness and self-help book too, Will is so open and honest about his journey and he is so inspiring, this book just confirms that even more for me, to share so much about yourself with others so that people can learn and help champion positive change is just awe inspiring. Fantastic book I’d encourage everyone to read.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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Great book. Half biography, half self help book. He talks about the struggles he had with being shamed. Important read I feel.
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A very honest account from Will Young, mostly focusing on his life as a gay man but also life in the public eye.   I’m a fan, he’s talented and it’s such a shame he’s had to put up with issues around his sexuality in his career.

Well written and easy to read, I would recommend this.

Thanks to NetGalley for my review copy.
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The book is very much focused on gay shame, I was expecting a more autobiographical style book. Instead in parts it reads almost as an over indulgent self help book. It was certainly an interesting read as a straight women, to learn about the struggles of being a gay man but ultimately I couldn't relate. That is however more likely my flaw rather than the books.
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This was really not what I expected. There is very little  about Will's life except  for  the fact he's gay and how he's come to terms with it. I am a big Will Young  fan but we learnt nothing  about his music or family. It's almost a self help book for gay people . Nicely written and informative.
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Will Young has written an inspiring autobiography and plea for kindness. He talks honestly about his struggles with his identity and the abuse and challenges he has dealt with. He introjected so many ideas in his childhood that made his (admittedly privileged) upbringing harder to deal with. Will seems to be a work in progress and it is a privilege to read his story.
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A really excellent book from Will Young. 
In it he chronicles growing up gay, fighting against the stigma of being gay and how eventually coming to terms with happiness and acceptance.
The book is so well written and very emotive.
We see the man we thought we knew from X Factor and from films.
It touches on the fact that at times he was at his darkest and he literally had to pull himself up.
He is very frank and hopes that with this book he can show others in the same situations that you can overcomes prejudice, breaking taboos.
An excellent book.
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I've already read Will Young's autobiography but this book centres on how his sexuality relates to his identity. It's a good read though quite short. I definitely think it will be helpful for people looking for courage to come out. The only issue I had with it is that there's a few appendix's at the back so on kindle the book ends at 80% with no warning.
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Will Young talks candidly about growing up gay. He talks about school life, how children calls others gay as if it's wrong or something to be ashamed off. He talks about life in the 80's and Aids known as the 'gay plague'. Its a very open story of his life as a gay man

I found this book to be an eye opener, things I probably would say without thinking of the impact a few words can have on a person. 

It's the 21st century and being gay still has issues and story's like this need to be told and need to be said.
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