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

Alan Downs
5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)

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Philadelphia Gay News bestseller, 5/11/12
“A groundbreaking examination of the psychology of homosexuality, why it leads to shame over one’s identity and how to overcome it. This book has remarkable staying power.”


Today’s gay man enjoys unprecedented, hard-won social acceptance. Despite this victory, however, serious problems still exist. Substance abuse, depression, suicide, and sex addiction among gay men are at an all-time high, causing many to ask, “Are we really better off?” Drawing on contemporary research, psychologist Alan Downs’s own struggle with shame and anger, and stories from his patients, The Velvet Rage passionately describes the stages of a gay man’s journey out of shame and offers practical and inspired strategies to stop the cycle of avoidance and self-defeating behavior. Updated to reflect the effects of the many recent social, cultural, and political changes, The Velvet Rage is an empowering book that has already changed the public discourse on gay culture and helped shape the identity of an entire generation of gay men.


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5.0 von 5 Sternen Sehr zu empfehlen! 21. Oktober 2014
Von Jerome
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Eines der besten, nein das beste Buch in der Rubrik "Sozialverhalten/Psychologie schwuler Männer".

Es hat mir in vielen Bereichen (Selbstbewusstsein, Partnerschaft, Sexualität) Denkanstöße gegeben.
Dieses Buch sollte zur Grundausrüstung jedes schwulen Haushaltes zählen.
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
5.0 von 5 Sternen A must read. 25. Mai 2014
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
A must read for every gay man; provided you are man enough to face some uncomfortable truths it's a real life-changer
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.5 von 5 Sternen  129 Rezensionen
28 von 28 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Important but flawed 31. August 2014
Von MJ - Veröffentlicht auf
This book, particularly the first third (as other reviewers have noted) and the lengthy second edition add-on (Chapter 14) is a good starting point in understanding the origins and life-long impact of gay shame and how to overcome it. The author's three stage model for how gay men experience/deal with shame (overwhelm, compensation, authenticity) is useful and occasionally eye-opening as are his observations of how shame at each stage can be "foreclosed" on (ignored, buried, etc.) or healthfully resolved. The solid practical advice offered in the aforementioned Chapter 14 ("Skills for Living an Authentic Life), while being tailored to the gay male experience, could be of benefit to a much wider audience.

The main flaw with "The Velvet Rage" -- and it's a stunner -- is that it focuses almost exclusively on only one type of gay man, i.e. the urban, successful, materialistic, attractive, sexually promiscuous, well-traveled, fabulous "powergay". Life examples from the less-than-fabulous, i.e. rural/suburban gay men, unsuccessful or non-materialistic gay men, poor and middle-class gay men, ordinary-looking gay men, gay homebodies, senior gay men, disabled gay men, gay men of color, and many others are almost nowhere to be found, likely because these people appear largely absent from the author's social and professional circles (which he talks about a great deal, almost to the point of bragging at times). Though surely unintentional, this is a terrible oversight for a book that seeks to provide psychological support to a marginalized minority, and I suspect a fair number of gay men reading this book will feel further alienated in some way as a result.

I would still recommend "The Velvet Rage", as it is vitally important for gay men to understand the toxic shame that lies at the core of our personal and collective psychological shadows as well as acquire the psychological tools necessary to make positive changes in our lives. Just don't expect to see your life experiences adequately reflected if you're an average gay Joe.
14 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Really good but something missing 15. März 2013
Von glen - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
I really did enjoy this book and found it to be very insightful and interesting. The only criticism is I would have liked more practical information on how to get rid of the shame that we feel as gay men. The book builds up to it then all of a sudden moves into the phrase " now that we have overcome our shame"..... For me I would have like more techniques and ideas to move past the toxic past that gay men have to go through. That being said I thought the information on handling different emotions/situations section in a relation was very good. Overall I would suggest gay men read this book.
37 von 45 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen promoting the stereotypes 24. November 2012
Von BillUpstateNewYork - Veröffentlicht auf
While the author is thorough in exploring his worldview, it was difficult to relate to. In this world, there are only gay and straight people, strongly defined by their jobs, and at some point "wildly successful" in some sort of capitalist pursuit. I suspect that the author is limiting his worldview to the men who can afford his therapy or would choose to pursue therapy, the cost of which, I'm guessing, excludes variety and the type of person who spend thousands of dollars to pursue the lack of meaning in their own "fabulous" lives. The author also tips his hat the limitations of stereotypes and then dives right in and reinforces every gay stereotype there is. Not being a "fabulous" gay man who has never been wildly successful, it's a stretch for me to find myself, or anything of value on a personal level, in this book.
17 von 20 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen the early parts about the emotional roller coaster of being young and gay are brilliant, but this feels dated by its authors age 19. Juli 2014
Von jafrank - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
This is kind of at the intersection of 2 genres I seldom read: non-fiction about LGBT issues, and popular psychology. The former genre is something I've just never paid much attention to, the latter is something I've actively ignored from my own snobby contempt (I still remember rolling my eyes every afternoon as a kid when my mom would put on Oprah).

Anyway, the basic underlying assumption of this book-- that gay men specifically have a spate of psychological issues which follow them throughout the full duration of their lives, not from being gay, but from everything around being gay, i.e. hiding a part of yourself, the sense of woundedness and insecurity and shame and confusion and really, just intense anger which that hiding brings on, is NOT addressed or remedied or really in anyway even sincerely acknowledged even after most gay men come out of the closet.

What Downs is pointing to in this book is the numerous ways that those dark, deeply embedded emotions can well up throughout a gay man's life (even in the lives of guys who have been out for decades and who have very seemingly happy, successful lives) in ways which are destructive both to himself and to those around him. To be sure, this is a hopelessly essentialist view of gay life (more on that in a bit), yet, speaking as a gay man, I found that the early parts of the book, which describe some of the major emotional swings which young gay men move through, to be frighteningly and I mean FRIGHTENINGLY accurate, especially describing what it's like emotionally for most males up to the time when they completely realize they are gay. There were moments when reading this I physically shuddered being reminded of what it's like to be deeply in denial and profoundly closeted, as much to yourself as to the world around you. The first third of this is going to probably be a deeply insightful but also deeply unfun trip down memory lane for most young gay men who read it.

Unfortunately, the second two parts of the book, which recount the "stages" (it wouldn't be pop psychology without "stages" would it?) which out gay men go through becomes far too narrow a descriptive filter, at least in my opinion. I can maybe, maaaaaybe buy the idea that the psychological experience for most (probably not all) guys being a kid and growing up in the closet at least has a few common emotional themes which you could reasonably generalize about. Maybe. But life is just vastly more complicated than his cute little 3 stage schema, and there are profound cultural and socio-economic pressures which obviously can't really be hinted at in a work like this.

In fact, the socio-economic (really, the generational) issue of this book is probably the strongest mark against it. Downs himself has had a lucrative, deeply successful career, in the corporate world (he's an 80's child, after all), as a therapist and as a writer, even when in the throws of personal tragedy as he reveals in the books kind of obnoxious pseudo-memoirish final chapter.

Downs is a high priced therapist for "powergays;" gay men who have a lot of disposable income to burn, who own multiple houses stocked with nice things and who take regular vacations to exotic locales. This is obviously a cliche, but almost every "story" and example in his book features gay men who are, from the point of view of an educated gay millennial currently struggling to find a career path that will even pay a humane wage, so obscenely well-off as to be almost repulsive, and Downs himself reinforces the idea of this obscene wealth on almost every page. It's almost like he's gloating at the rarefied social circles he travels in and the high powered management and executive types that he treats. Obviously, a lot of that is generational; this book feels like it was written by someone for whom the last 10-15 years of socio-economic history in this country simply never happened to. I can't imagine someone in his position even realizing that many young gay men in this country will probably never be able to afford to purchase a single home, much less multiple ones in sheik locales.

His sheer inability to consider any outside factor in his analysis of what plagues gay men is of course a necessity of the genre he's writing in, but it's also just so incredibly limited and so patently ignorant of how our countries socio-economic insecurity can contribute to individual insecurity, especially for young gay men (who as he smartly points out, aren't generally the most secure people to begin with) is a depressing omission. Parts of his observations are brilliant and scathing, but enough of it seems so utterly out of touch with modern American socio-economics, really with any kind of material consideration for the generation of gay men who are coming up behind him, and who have a litany of economic anxieties to worry about on top of all the dense psychological baggage of being gay, that the book ultimately fails to persuade very much once it gets past "stage 1." Forget finding the gay Oprah, what we need is the gay Karl Marx.
7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen The Book Felt Cheap in Many Ways 26. Dezember 2014
Von john burke - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I'm really surprised by all of the positive reviews. The book came across really cheap to me.....and contrary to it's intention made me feel cheap about my sexuality.

Firstly, the formatting of the book reminded me of 7th grade when I'd increase the size of the font and spacing on my research papers to convince teachers I'd done more work than I had. I'm sure it was the publisher's choice to beef up the book and don't fault the author for it.

Secondly, Downs rights in the first and second person throughout the book. The use of "you" "we" "I" and "us". He explains the usage as a means of creating a warmth and inclusivity to the book. However he goes on to make blanket statements about gay men and experiences growing are fathers were distant and mothers were tolerant and caring. And so on and so forth. I found myself getting annoyed then angry about these constant statements addressed to me, the reader, a gay man. (He was right in the assumptions about as often as my horoscope for the month.) It also strikes me as professionally irresponsible for a clinical psychologist to make generalizations about a sexual preferences....especially to the reader himself.

Thirdly, this read like a self-help book....and it is one I guess....but again a cheap one that felt one dimensional and shallow in it's perspective. Downs create his own structure and "stages" of coming out, labels them with his own terminology then refers back to them thru the course of the book as if they were facts laid down......another quality reminiscent of self help books of the worst kind.

I'll be honest, there are some points about shame and validation that felt incisive and pertinent but need to be extracted through a haze anecdotal evidence and clever masking of the writer's own self interest and limited experience. This is not a book that values thorough research but is a ok first step if therapy isn't an option right now.
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