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The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World | [Alan Downs]

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

The most important issue in a gay man’s life is not “coming out”, but coming to terms with the invalidating past. Despite the progress made in recent years, many gay men still wonder, “Are we better off?” The byproduct of growing up gay in a straight world continues to be the internalization of shame, rejection, and anger - a toxic cocktail that can lead to drug abuse, promiscuity, alcoholism, depression, and suicide.
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Publisher's Summary

The most important issue in a gay man’s life is not “coming out”, but coming to terms with the invalidating past. Despite the progress made in recent years, many gay men still wonder, “Are we better off?” The byproduct of growing up gay in a straight world continues to be the internalization of shame, rejection, and anger - a toxic cocktail that can lead to drug abuse, promiscuity, alcoholism, depression, and suicide.

Drawing on contemporary psychological research, the author’s own journey, and the stories of many of his friends and clients, Velvet Rage addresses the myth of gay pride and outlines three stages to emotional well-being for gay men. The revised and expanded edition covers issues related to gay marriage, a broader range of examples that extend beyond middle-class gay men in America, and expansion of the original discussion on living authentically as a gay man.

©2005, 2006, 2012 Alan Downs (P)2012 HighBridge Company

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (58 )
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4.5 (54 )
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4.3 (54 )
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Performance
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  •  
    M. Matthew Phelps Arlington, VA USA 08-30-12
    M. Matthew Phelps Arlington, VA USA 08-30-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Must read for any gay man"
    Would you listen to The Velvet Rage again? Why?

    There was quite a bit of information presented, and I think listening to it again might help me access more of it.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The inclusion of anecdotes really helped me relate my own life to the issues described in the book.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Chapter 14, where he talked about life skills.


    If you could give The Velvet Rage a new subtitle, what would it be?

    An owner's manual for the gay life.


    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim San Francisco 08-25-13
    Jim San Francisco 08-25-13 Member Since 2013

    Jim Hauck

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    "A Great Perspective that Resonates"
    If you could sum up The Velvet Rage in three words, what would they be?

    This book offers a clear perspective on the life of gay men and the challenges we face dealing with the way our lives feel need to be and how they should be. The perspective really resonates with me and made me sit back and think about how much the shame and expectations of gay life impacted and continue to impact me. Worth every minute of listening pleasure.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Velvet Rage?

    One thing - dont pass up that man who may not be perfect because you pass up the chance to meet an amazing person.


    What about Alan Downs’s performance did you like?

    Very easy to listen to very easy to enjoy.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    Shame impacts everyone.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Durham Arnold's Cove, Newfoundland 07-02-13
    E. Durham Arnold's Cove, Newfoundland 07-02-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Heartwarming and Informative"

    Alan's tone and approach is heartwarming with its message of hope. This message is presented without flourish. This made the content less entertaining but far more personal and moving. I am grateful for the wisdom shared and have already begun to share some of it with my friends. I recommend the book to every gay person wishing to understand more about their emotional world and to everyone else for the same reason. A little understanding can only help and this book has much to share.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jalanc durham, nc United States 04-19-14
    jalanc durham, nc United States 04-19-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Very Profound for Me"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Velvet Rage to be better than the print version?

    Yes - I enjoyed Alan Downs reading his own words. There are subtleties in his voice that add significance.


    What did you like best about this story?

    How much I can relate to the struggle and the potential for growth he offers.


    Have you listened to any of Alan Downs’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't. This is the first.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    Probably the first chapters where he discusses shame, its origins and manifestations etc. I'd never though about my own shame in those terms before. Very helpful!


    Any additional comments?

    Really worth the read, guys.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trent Honolulu, HI, United States 09-25-13
    Trent Honolulu, HI, United States 09-25-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very informative and striking!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Velvet Rage the most enjoyable?

    Really help me to see some of my life more clear!


    What about Alan Downs’s performance did you like?

    His voice is very steady


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Corey Katy, TX, United States 09-05-13
    Corey Katy, TX, United States 09-05-13 Member Since 2013

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Most moving book I have ever read. A+++"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Velvet Rage to be better than the print version?

    Haven't read the printed version but ordered it so I could highlight specific portions. Having both wouldn't be a bad idea.


    What did you like best about this story?

    How closely it related to me.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    YES!!! Although I didn't have the time to I listened as much as possible.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-6 of 6 results
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  • Mr. J. A. Ball
    Spain
    7/13/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Every gay man should read this."
    If you could sum up The Velvet Rage in three words, what would they be?

    Better gay relationships.


    What could Alan Downs have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The resources suggested at the end of the book were not actually available when I went to look on line for them. The pace of the audiobook is a little slow but worth getting through.


    Which character – as performed by Alan Downs – was your favourite?

    N/A


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    There were a few parts that made me cry, laugh and gasp with realisation.


    Any additional comments?

    Very few people other than LGBT grow up being told they are wrong, sick, evil, demonic etc... Coming out as gay is only the beginning of healing the negative self image and inner pain most gay men experience growing up in a straight world. Internalised hate, because we believed the people who condemned us, often leads people to very dark places and destructive behaviours. Not just physically self destructive but emotionally also. The key to doing something about this is dealing with the shame issues around being gay. Not just resolving them but moving through to a new life phase where self acceptance and self love replace all the hurt and hate. This book takes the reader on that journey and I heartily recommend it to any gay/bi men and anyone who wishes to understand them more. I also thank Alan Downs for writing this life changing book which I have not only recommended to all my gay male friends but also discussed and promoted on an LGBT radio station where we were discussing gay shame issues.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Adam
    Colchester, Essex, United Kingdom
    9/25/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting BUT very flawed in presumptuousness"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The demographic Alan Downs celebrates throughout his pages, are very rich A list gay men. He talks about shame, but manages to shame many readers with the 'normality' of their lives that are nothing like his consulting room in Santa Fe! Frustrating generalisations about gay life, no discussion on gender aspects, differences, diversity and though interesting and some good theory, just too insipid and American at times!

    For a British audience and worldwide audience and for many in America, the assumption of the 'prevalence' of the Pink Pound and snobbery is hard to bear at points.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    No ending, but the model though based on CBT is interesting, but seems to get twisted for an American audience. If based on mindfulness, I've listened to far better CBT/ mindfulness based books. Yes a lot of the stereotypes are true and are brave, but it all seems a little glib and boastful.


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes, despite it flaws a good listen, but at moments irksome and hard to identify with. Nevertheless an important book to make your mind up over.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    Kennington, United Kingdom
    5/14/13
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Why didn't I get hold of this years ago"

    Narration was soothing, calming and reassuring. The content made a lot of sense to me and to be honest, it would be fairly useful for a lot of people. It was a book that revealed a lot to me about who I am and how I may have been influenced by childhood differences etc. If you are a counselor or therapist, it would be a good read or listen if you have gay or lesbian clients. While the book focuses on gay men, there are interesting parts that could be applied to pretty much anyone struggling with the dymanics of shame, families and relationships.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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