THE VELVET RAGE is about the difficulty of overcoming
the duality inherent in gay men raised in America.
It traces how we are not afforded the normal childhoods
we deserve because of stymieing an important aspect of
ourselves, and how that 'shut-down' manifests itself throughout life.
There is some truly wonderful work here, dealing with the self-hate
and denial that most every gay man has dealt with. As
mentioned in the intro, it is exclusively targeted at gay men and
their unique journey, although the story certainly has merit
and applications for lesbians and even straight men, as it deals
with the search for identity and authenticity.
There are Three Stages to coming to terms with self, and they
are brilliantly labeled and discussed by Downs (who has
been dealing with gay men as patients in therapy for
some time, as well as being gay himself.)
One of the best insights has to do with the issues of
shame and invalidation, which are beautifully explored.
Much of why homophobia and down-low activities
exist is covered in these insights (if not explicitly
I hate to mention it, but I fear I must. This book is
chock-full of typos and grammar problems. If, like
me, that really grinds you, please don't let it dissuade
you from trudging on. After several frustrations and
nearly putting the book down, I kept at it because the
material is so wonderful, and I was very glad I did.
It's worth it.
(As an aside; if the publishers need an editor for the
next edition, I would give my services at a reduced rate!)