As our country struggles to accept its gay and lesbian citizens, the debate for gay civil rights often focuses on the issue of choice, with the majority of Americans believing that to be gay is a choice, one that’s embraced for its lifestyle. This belief ignores the presence and experience of one segment of the gay and lesbian population: its youth. In Joining The Tribe, journalist Linnea Due travels America to create a portrait of gay and lesbian teenagers as an endangered and vulnerable community whose diversity, courage, and resiliency will inspire gay and straight readers alike. By vividly documenting the lives of gay and lesbian teenagers, Due shows that homosexuality is not about choice. It’s about fights in the schoolyard, whispers in the locker room, cruel classmates, and oblivious or abusive parents. Most gay and lesbian youth endure severe humiliation and isolation for being gay, resulting in depression and low self-esteem for most, and suicide for some. Combining in-depth interviews with social analysis, Due reveals the realities gay and lesbian teenagers face, often without the support of family, peer groups, or adult gay and lesbian networks. With stories from across America, Due meets kids from a range of backgrounds and families, with some in the closet, some out, most somewhere-in-between, all struggling to grow into adulthood. By turns heartbreaking and infuriating, Joining The Tribe shows how against overwhelming odds, gay and lesbian teenagers continue to survive and bounce back, ready to join their brothers and sisters in gay America’s fight for freedom and respect.
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