Review: Born This Way
From an early age, Paul Vitagliano knew that he liked boys. He dated girls and tried to be like everyone else but he realized that wasn’t his true self. At 19, he realized he was gay. At 30, he went to tell his mother, but she already knew. Paul thought the hardest part of growing up was thinking he was the only person who felt the way he did and not having anyone to talk to about it, so he started the Born This Way project. He wanted gay kids to know that they’re not alone and to realize “Being gay is as normal and natural as being straight.”
Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay by Paul Vitagliano features over 80 gay adults – some well known, others not – telling a little about their experience growing up. Stories range from a paragraph to a page and each includes a photograph of the author as a child. The earliest photo is from 1948 and the latest is from 1998.
As you would expect, the stories are as varied as the authors. Some suffered from bullying, others did not. Some have been disowned by their families while others have been embraced by theirs. They all said things are easier now that they are adults and that they are much happier since they admitted to themselves that they are gay.
I found Born This Way to be a quick and enjoyable read. It’s a great peek into what it’s like to be a gay child – one thing that struck me was how young many of them were when they realized they’re gay. For many of the stories, I wanted more detail so I’m hoping a few of the people featured will write memoirs. Everyone will benefit from reading Born This Way, but gay kids and their families should find comfort in its pages.