Loving Someone Gay


This book has its own story to tell, actually many stories. It has been burned, banned and blessed. With each new edition and each passing year the burning and banning has diminished, the blessings have increased. Because of it I have received thank-you notes and stories of how it was found and used from people near where I live and work and from people in far distant places, sometimes letters that were smuggled out of a country at some risk to be mailed by a friend in another country.

Its beginnings were simple. I wrote the first edition in 1975 because there were too many lies being told about gay men and lesbians, many of them by supposed mental health professionals making a living passing along negative folklore that was causing unnecessary pain and trauma. Though I had been writing for years and had a literary agent, it did not seem possible to get a positive response from any of the established publishers. One senior editor who was considered an important person in the world of publishing took the trouble to send me a letter by way of my agent scolding me for my professional irresponsibility since everyone knew that these poor homosexuals were seriously sick people who needed intense psychiatric care, possibly institutional care. It was what too many educated people thought they knew. We gay men and lesbians were sinful, sick and illegal. Traces of that ancient ignorance can be seen still today among people in high and mighty places in the world. But the world definitely is learning and much more able to see us as we are than was true in 1975.

Its beginnings were simple. I wrote the first edition in 1975 because there were too many lies being told about gay men and lesbians, many of them by supposed mental health professionals making a living passing along negative folklore that was causing unnecessary pain and trauma. Though I had been writing for years and had a literary agent, it did not seem possible to get a positive response from any of the established publishers. One senior editor who was considered an important person in the world of publishing took the trouble to send me a letter by way of my agent scolding me for my professional irresponsibility since everyone knew that these poor homosexuals were seriously sick people who needed intense psychiatric care, possibly institutional care. It was what too many educated people thought they knew. We gay men and lesbians were sinful, sick and illegal. Traces of that ancient ignorance can be seen still today among people in high and mighty places in the world. But the world definitely is learning and much more able to see us as we are than was true in 1975.

Finally, in 1976, a woman who had become a friend while she was editing a textbook that I wrote had moved to California and taken a job in a company that was branching out from printing decorative posters to publishing books. With her persuasion they were willing to take a chance and publish 5000 copies provided that they broke even on the venture. The book's publication date was set for January 1977. The publisher was delighted to find that, through world of mouth, a second printing had to be ordered before the official publication date. Three months later there was a bidding contest between two mass-market publishers for rights to publish it in small paperback form in 1978. New American Library won that right and later passed it on to Bantam Books.

The other good news was that a former beauty queen and singer, Anita Bryant, making a living advertising Florida frozen orange juice, had a religious revelation and took it upon herself to spearhead a Save Our Children national campaign. Children were to be saved from homosexual teachers and all the other homosexuals who, of course, were out to influence and recruit decent, wholesome children and turn them into homosexuals. Her witch hunt made headline news daily. Such were the times.

Though I am much more introverted than extroverted, Loving Someone Gay was out there and the media needed to hear from the other side. I had been in a happy heterosexual marriage, had two children, had a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, had been a tenured university professor, had a sense of humor and was capable of speaking understandable English. There it was. I was wanted for more television programs, radio programs and newspaper interviews than I could afford in time. I understood it as a responsibility since the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force could not possibly have afforded the media coverage that I was being offered. That publicity spread the word of the book. I learned what it was like to get hate mail and threats. I also learned what it was like to speak of an invisible audience of millions.

Ten years later we gay people were dealing with issues of sickness and health, loved ones dying and heroic efforts to help one another in every way. It was the peak of the AIDS epidemic for us. The company that had originally published Loving Someone Gay had been sold several times and was now publishing many books. The editors asked me to write a new edition that would address the changed world. I did a standard updating revision and added a section in the front of the book directly speaking to the AIDS epidemic and the challenges that confronted us emotionally, spiritually and otherwise.

Another ten years later our world had changed again, of course. I was reminded that some of the people reading the book had not yet been born when the first edition was published and although only two foreign language editions had been published (because the publisher was directly approached by a publisher in Israel and one in Poland) the book was finding its international audience. So for the third edition I stripped the book down to its bare bones and completely rewrote it, trying to save what had been most helpful to people while adding topics and scope that would speak both to a more international audience and to a new and different young audience as well. And, most recently, in 2005 I cut material from the third edition, added new material to a new decade and a new century for the fourth edition.

There has been interest expressed recently in publishing the book in other languages now, including Chinese, Japanese and Spanish, though as of this writing none of these possibilities are definite.

Meanwhile, the Hebrew printing of the second edition is available through P. Mor Publishers, P. O. Box 6741, Tel-Aviv, Israel and the 1995 Polish printing of the second edition is available in Poland through Wydawnictwo Da Capo. English language first and second editions may be found through second hand book dealers but be aware that these earlier editions are quite different from the current third edition.

The current English language fourth edition, Celestial Arts Press, 2005 is available through booksellers anywhere that English language books are sold. For an autographed copy of the fourth edition, please send a check or money order for USD $20.95 ($16.95 plus $4 postage and handling) made payable to Don Clark, Ph.D. Mail your order to Dr. Don Clark, c/o LSG Publications, 879 Fourteenth Street, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA.