Gay in America: Portraits

Cover of Gay In AmericaPasfield, Scott. Gay in America: Portraits. New York: Wecome Books, 2011. Hardcover. 222p. $45.00. ISBN: 978-1-59962-104-3.

“If I had realized growing up that there were so many options–that I didn’t haveto be this kind of gay or that kind of gay–had I been able to take comfort in knowingI was not alone in my feelings, it would have made a huge difference in how and when I accepted and learned to love myself.”

This statement from Pasfield in the Huffington Post describes his motivation for traveling 52,000 miles through all 50 states to find the 150 gay men highlighted in these stunning personal portraits. Activists, farmers, professionals, fathers—all these men have one thing in common: they are all openly attracted to other men, sometimes with severe consequences and other times profound rewards.

This book, the first photographic look at gays in their homes, includes an extensive range of age, class, and ethnic
backgrounds from a modern Manhattan apartment to a small town outside Fargo. Both narratives, written by the men themselves, and telling images intimately show Pasfield‘s deep respect for his subjects as he avoids the stereotypes of contemporary gay men and celebrates the diversity of family life in the contemporary gay community. The men in these breathtaking images cover the gamut of emotions–happy and sad, hopeful and accepting—as they tell their stories of life and death, positive in the face of adversity.

Pasfield has accomplished his goal, “to create a book that would change opinions and educate,” by showing these men as neighbors and friends, vital especially for people who live where gays are not typically closeted. This is a must addition for all public and upper-level libraries.

Reviewed by Nel Ward


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