Reddit Reddit reviews The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World, Second Edition

We found 16 Reddit comments about The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World, Second Edition. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World, Second Edition
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16 Reddit comments about The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World, Second Edition:

u/mildfury · 7 pointsr/gaybros

I also suffer from mental illness, which I believe the bigotry of my upbringing contributed. I don't blame my sexuality, I blame a heteronormative society. The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs, PhD is an excellent narrative on "overcoming the pain of growing up in a straight man's world." It was recommended by one my therapists. Reading this book was cathartic experience and revealed the shared experience of my own struggle. It was very helpful in starting my journey of overcoming anger and shame.

u/lonelyboy77 · 6 pointsr/askgaybros

The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World, Second Edition

Not sure if this link will work when I post this. I’m new to Reddit. You need to read this book. The author Alan Downs, a psychologist, who is also gay, talks a lot about validation and where we seek validation. I could tell you what I think, but I’d rather you read the book and discover it for yourself.

u/jinkyjormpjomp · 3 pointsr/gay

Read "The Velvet Rage" for one thing.

Shame is something we all deal with -- and not in the obvious ways. The hardest part is that we don't get any emotional validation from our relationships (I mean, we do get compliments, expressions of friendship, affection, and even love... but we never accept it... like when your Mom tells you you're handsome... or if you're driving a friend's fancy car and get compliments; We've built up a facade since youth to hide what we really are, so what other people interact with, befriend, romance, etc... we don't own. It's the "friend's fancy car" and we can't take credit for it. We shrug off the good about us because deep down inside, we're afraid that by exposing our true self to anyone, they'll hate us.) So you're gonna need to come all the way out and start living your life. This is you. You are not flawed, you are worthy of love, and you are the only one whose validation matters in your life.

EDIT: Dude, I'm 33, came out at your age and it's been so much better ever since. So just saying. I did the half in, half out, and I hated it. Now that I can actually own myself, I've finally felt free.

u/turbotaco22 · 3 pointsr/AskGaybrosOver30

Man I'm sorry you're struggling. I went through exactly the same thing here in America. Like you I used to think of my sexuality as a disability. In hindsight that seems fucked up to me now, and really shows how conditioned we are to think that heterosexuality is the only way to be "normal".

Idk if you're a reader, but there's a great book about this exact subject (accepting yourself) called The Velvet Rage. I've seen it recommended before, but I really think it should be required reading for us gays. We all have to go through this process to become healthy emotionally.

It will take time, and personally I'm not finished yet after years of trying. Good friends are important. People that will listen and care about you. Ideally get counseling or therapy from someone who specializes in this if available.

If you can without endangering yourself, try to be "out" as much as you can to your friends, family, and coworkers. Not having to live a mental double life helps.

Whatever you do, don't kill yourself, no matter how hopeless you feel. If you get to that point please go to the hospital. Your situation may seem impossible sometimes, and you will have bad days, but there is always a way forward. Always.

I wish you the best ❤️

The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World, Second Edition

u/scootah · 3 pointsr/subredditoftheday

> consider that every single video game and every single popular story and every single everything on Earth is oriented towards heterosexuals. Every blockbuster film stars a heterosexual romance and every big new book is about a male and female lead tugging at each other's heartstrings.

Alan Downs talked about this extensively in The Velvet Rage - which is an amazingly powerful book. Especially for people who've been involved in queer community issues for a few years. But I'm not sure that the state of neglect toward GLBT audience members that was once so very painfully true, is still the catastrophe it once was. And catastrophisation beyond actual scope seems like it hinders activism more than it helps.

The L Word. Queer as Folk. Philadelphia. Brokeback Mountain. Will and Grace. Modern Family. All fairly popular pop culture things not really oriented towards heteronormative relationships.

The Doctor Who franchise, especially torchwood heavily references GLBT issues - although my favourite is "I speak horse. His name is Susan and he wants you to respect his life choices.

Transamerica and Dirty Sexy Money have some fairly extensive references to transgender characters...

GLBT characters in scifi/fantasy are borderline common place now. A number of fairly successful works have featured GLBT lead characters. Richard Morgans 'The Steel Remains' is awesome and a personal favorite.

Openly gay celebrities are barely noteworthy at this point. Being openly gay did wonders for Ellens career and certainly hasn't hurt Neil Patrick Harris. Openly gay musicians have been around for a while in certain genres, but Frank Ocean and Rob Halford are seeing their careers unphased by coming out despite being in typically incredibly homophobic genres. Top tier athletes and former athletes are open and out in a number of sports. Openly trans celebrities like Lana Wachowski and Chas Bono get plenty of positive airtime for their openness.

Things are still incredibly far away from good. But it's been a while since every single bit of pop culture available was heteronormative.

u/dentonite · 2 pointsr/ainbow

For gay men, The Velvet Rage.

Some of the psychology is a little wonky and the perspective is more than a little college-educated/upper-middle-class, but it was a revelation the first time I read it a couple years ago, just for all the "Holy balls I have had this exact feeling and experienced this exact thing" moments.

u/PlaidTO · 2 pointsr/gaybros

Hey man,
I'm sorry you're feeling this way. I'm Serbian-Slovenian, but born in Canada. I have visited Serbia and spent time with my cousins (Ivanjica + Beograd) . I know how conservative and anti-gay the culture is and can only imagine how lonely you must feel. So the first thing I'd say is it's great that you continue to reach out online about the way you're feeling. You've posted a few times about your feelings, even apologizing or indicating you're embarrassed for posting so often, but I think it's the best thing you can be doing for yourself so keep at it.

I'm 28 and privileged to live where I live and am able to be out and open about who I am and who I love. That being said, I've only recently begun to acknowledge my depression and how much being gay has perhaps contributed to that. I grew up in a small town in western Canada which is relatively conservative and didn't realize how much that experience affected me until I left when I was 18 for university across the country to Toronto and could live my life how I wanted instead of how everyone else expected me to be. That's as close as I'll come to saying 'stick it out, it gets better.' But note: it's not a "cliche" if it's actually the truth. But when you're in the thick of it it's impossible to recognize that as anything helpful, so I get it.

I read this book last summer and wish I could have read it when I was 14. If the link doesn't work, it's called "The Velvet Rage" by Alan Downs. It's short, pretty easy read, but holy shit did it change the way I viewed myself, my actions, my feelings. Everything. Can't recommend it enough if you get a hold of a copy or find it online. I understand that having a book like that in your house might be dangerous for you. I recognize my Canadian privilege that I could walk into a bookstore openly and purchase it from the shelf without concern for my own safety.

I started talking with my doctor a few years ago about depression. I pick and bite the skin around my fingers until they are raw and bloody, and twirl my hair and pull it out. It's a form of OCD that's connected to anxiety and depression. I learned about CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) (another user posted a link to it below/above I noticed, so it's not a novel contribution to this discussion) and the takeaway is that you can control your feelings much more than you think you can, it just takes practice and focus. I'm not the best at it yet, but it's a good starting place to learn about your own thought patterns etc. My doctor showed my this site: it's free, I encourage you to check it out.

My doctor also turned me on to mindfulness and yoga. I started doing it at home because I was too nervous to go to a class or something because I felt like I would look like a stupid idiot. So don't let that stop you from trying it at home. If you're in your room for hours on your computer or doing nothing anyway, it's a great thing to do anytime of day to strengthen your mind and body. It sounds hokey, but holy crap do you feel better after. I'm a believer now haha, and have started going to some classes, including a 'hot yoga' session last week which was fun. I started at home on youtube with this 40-minute introduction to yoga video: I've shown a few people this and I've heard feedback that it was stressful, she goes to fast in some spots etc, which I appreciate especially the first time. But if you have to stop the video, go back, etc , especially the first time, do it, and then the second time, the third time, etc it gets much more enjoyable. Here I CAN safely say 'don't worry, it gets better' :P She has tons of other videos that are shorter/longer/specific to certain body parts etc.

An observation if I would: you seem like a very intelligent, introspective, analytical and reflective person who writes a lot. You say you have no interest in doing things, yet you continue to post long essay-type postings. So maybe recognize that writing is something you do enjoy doing, that you write very well, and maybe writing is your thing! Do you journal? Do you write fiction on your own? Do you comment on other things around the internet, like news stories, politics etc? Looking back, especially in my teenage years, I read tons of fiction and wrote a lot of short stories and I think that was how I dealt with my queer feelings. It's almost funny thinking back to those stories and how subtly gay themed they were, lots of themes of loneliness, feeling out of place, feeling different, the other, even one story was about a Vietnam war veteran who came home from the war and couldn't deal so he ended his life. My teacher had me read out that one to the entire class. It was clearly a cry for help, and instead of allowing me to wallow in my shame and self-hate, that teacher acknowledge my strong writing with a good grade (making me feel good about myself) and then sharing it with the class forced me to not be alone with my story/feelings. 10/10 teacher, I often wish I could find him now to tell him how much he meant to me. Actually maybe I'll write him a letter this week. You've inspired me!

Also on your writing and introspection etc, I think you'd enjoy philosophy if you're not already into it. I'm not, but my ex got into and it changed the way he interacted with the world and felt about himself, and I can totally see you enjoying it too. I don't have any recommendations, but I'm sure there's a philosophy thread on reddit/other dudes on here can give recommendations. You have no interest in things, I get it, but you continue to reach out, and so I'm hopeful that you're open to trying new things and finding something that you might discover you do like instead of just complaining that you don't care about anything. All you can ask for yourself is to try :)

It sucks when you have no interest in things, especially school, but DONT let that slip because if nothing else, strong grades IS your way out. There is life beyond the world immediately around you, outside of Serbia, outside of Eastern Europe. The world seems so shitty because the shitty people are often the loudest, and doom and gloom is what brings good ratings to the media, so they have incentive to report on the shitty things. I've worked as an HIV/AIDS counselor in a slum in Kenya, helping/working with people who have literally nothing but they somehow keep going with a hope is unbelievable given their circumstances. Recognizing how much you DO have, and being thankful for the smallest things you DO have, rather than focusing on the negatives of how shitty you have it and how you're feeling, is really all you can do until one day you might have something to actually actively feel happy about.

Going back to when I was 14, all I dreamed about was moving across the country to Toronto for university. It was all I had. Everything I did (school, part time work, extra curricular activities, sports (swimming)) was for that. And then I got accepted and moved away from my small-town life, and that joy, that accomplishment from completing that goal, probably saved my life. I lost my way a bit after that, but found it again at 26 when I was accepted to law school, and here I am now :)

Keep reaching out. Speak to a doctor if you can. I did end up going on antidepressants last year after things in my personal life broke down and my other efforts at self-help weren't enough (yoga, mindfulness, exercise (swimming, biking, running) healthy diet (so important omg. I'm a bottom with some IBS issues, fml right?. Fibre, fibre, fibre. But I digress!), social network, healthy hobbies, etc), and it really helped me. This year I recently had a bit of a mental breakdown (I'm still in law school and continue to have some personal issues relating to my ex and anxiety about my future, money, debt, etc) and was forced to re-evaluate everything again and accept that I have depression, it's okay that I have depression, and sometimes you need medical help in the form of medication to get you out of it. There is so much stigma still about mental health, and it's not accessible for so many people, but if you need it you need it. Think of chemical depression like the flu or a lung infection: you treat it with medication if you have to and then you get better over time. There's nothing wrong with getting antidepressants and using them until the rest of your life works itself out so that you have the structures and stability in place that you no longer need that chemical help. I'm not decided if I'll restart SSRIs this year or not (a doc gave me a prescription, I filled it, the pills are in my bag, but I'm still on the fence whether I need them or not. I likely will start them so I don't ruin the rest of my semester, and then see how things go) but yeah, fuck the stigma, sometimes you need it. It's okay to be depressed, there's a good chance it's a chemical imbalance combined with you being gay, but don't let it fuck up your future. Please. The world has lost too many amazing gay men to depression, shame, and anxiety, and even if you don't end your own life, being unable to do something with your clear amount of intellect would be an equal shame.

Good luck, dude.

u/overthethreshold · 2 pointsr/bisexual

It's something I'm still working on myself. Indeed, it kept me in the closet until I was 48 years old and it's kept me from pursuing any relationships even after coming out. The first step, of course, is recognizing where those feeling are coming from. After that... Well, like I said, I'm still working on that part. Having friends in the LGBT community helps a lot. So far it hasn't been enough for me, though, so I'm considering changing counselors. My counselor has been tremendously helpful to me in helping me cope with anxiety and depression. However, she's rather hopelessly naive when it comes to anything LGBT related.

You might check on the book The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World. Personally, I found the author was a bit over the top in places, interpreting absolutely everything through a lens of shame. Nevertheless, it was eye opening and helpful.

u/mrallsunday · 2 pointsr/gaybros

I am going through a similar process and am still healing. Be gentle with yourself. Rest. Learn to forgive. Know that healing takes time and that there is a beginning, a middle, and an end. There is an end. You are alive, you will survive.

Some active things to do to heal that I've found useful.

  • Choose which of your friends to talk to and tell about this carefully. Talk to ones who don't silver-line the relationship and tell you to heal. Don't talk to toxic friends. There are no absolutes in healing.
  • Read self-help books. How To Survive The Loss of a Love and The Velvet Rage both have helped me.
  • Meditate. Use Headspace. Lie down and listen to meditation for healing after a breakup
  • Journal for as long as you have feelings in your head. Get them down. Make sure to include both positive and negative thoughts. Stop journaling when it feels like you aren't writing down anything new.
u/chi_nate · 2 pointsr/askgaybros

The book The Velvet Rage talks about this topic in a not very faltering light. The author Alan Downs' premise is that many gay men are over driven in other aspects of their lives to make up for the (often unconscious) shame they feel about their sexuality.

I personally don't think I would be as financially ambitious if I were straight. I basically had to really get me shit together to get out of the conservative place I grew up. The Velvet Rage is worth a read but in my openion it's a bit dated and may not be as applicable to gay men who grew up after the year 2000.

u/daxmillion · 2 pointsr/gaybros

Pick up and read [The Velvet Rage] ( It can be a bit one dimensional at times, but it does a brilliant job of describing the different 'phases' gay men go through as their personalities evolve. At the very least it will help you navigate your friendship a bit better.

u/umpteenth_ · 1 pointr/askgaybros

If you're talking about stuff to read regarding self-acceptance, I've seen The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World recommended a lot.

For LGBT history, I'd recommend the documentaries Before Stonewall and "After Stonewall." The latter used to be available for free on YouTube, but it has been taken down now.

u/lancemonkey · 1 pointr/books

The Velvet Rage. It's specifically for gaymos, but it revealed a lot about why I do some of the things I do. I re-read it every few years.

u/bidwood · 1 pointr/askgaybros

A lot of us end up obsessed with external validation and need to keep 'achieving' to feel good enough - to silence the inner shame.

u/litigant-in-person · 0 pointsr/LegalAdviceUK

Okay so basically, this could easily be a form of sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace - your best bet is to write a formal grievance and complaint to your manager about the co-worker, explaining what has been said about you.

However, there's not much legally you can do in this situation - it's not one that you'd call the Police for (unless he was telling your friends and family), and it's not something you'd really go to a Solicitor for. It's an internal employment issue.

>Since I was involuntarily outed I lost my dignity to an extent in the workplace and many people now treat me differently - not just because of implied homophobia but also because they cannot respect someone who was outed like that (i.e. a weakness).

I think you're overthinking this. I'm LGBT, for the record. Yes, people will change as they readjust to their new understanding of who you are, but it has nothing to do with not respecting you because of your sexuality.

What I might suggest is that it is in fact you who feels like you are not worth being respected, because of your sexuality or the method in which you've been outed. Your co-worker is an arsehole, there's no question about that, however, your own issues around self-identity are making this seem worse than it is.

You are the victim of gossip and you are projecting your insecurities onto them, you are (understandably) hypersensitive to what's going on - and that's okay normal - but you need to realistically take a breath, put in a formal complaint to the organisation, and just let things die down; and they will. In a few weeks, after the gossip has moved onto something else, nobody will care.

You might want to seek counselling for your issues to help deal with them - both overcoming the trauma of being outed against your will and the identity issues you otherwise have. I would also suggest having a read through The Velvet Rage to help understand yourself more in the wider context of being LGBT.