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LGBT+ History Month: My Favourite LGBT+ Read – Steve Slack on ‘Becoming a Man’ by Paul Monette

The theme of this year’s LGBT+ History Month is ‘Poetry, Prose and Plays’. We’ve been celebrating and sharing LGBT+ figures and groups within literature, but we haven’t been able to resist also talking about the fabulous people whose accomplishments extend beyond this sphere. We know how important literature can be (alongside film, music, TV…) for queer representation, and to provide a record of queer lives in history. We’ve asked SAYiT staff to tell us about their favourites.

Steve Slack, CEO, speaking at Sheffield IDAHoBiT 2019

The bookshelves in SAYiT CEO, Steve Slack’s office are crammed full, and if you’re ever stuck for a book to read he’s a fab person to pester for a recommendation. So, Steve was the obvious first choice to share his ‘Favourite LGBT+ Read’.

Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story – Paul Monette (1992)

Paul Monette was a writer and gay activist who himself died of AIDS in 1995.

‘Becoming a Man’ is a beautifully written, multi-layered and moving account of growing up gay in a straight world and the struggles to find yourself; to be true to yourself and eventually ‘come out’. A memoir about empowerment which embodies the sense of relief once you release yourself from the constraints of the closet.

‘I still shiver with a kind of astonished delight when a gay brother or sister tells of that narrow escape from the coffin world of the closet. Yes yes yes, goes a voice in my head, it was just like that for me. When we laugh together and dance in the giddy circle of freedom, we are children for real, at last, because we have finally grown up. And every time we dance, our enemies writhe like the Witch in Oz, melting, melting – the Nazi Popes and all their brocaded minions, the rat-brain politicians, the wacko fundamentalists and their Book of Lies’

Steve said that “I feel such a powerful connection to this book. It also reminds me of the wonderful people we lost to the AIDS crisis and why we need to continue to fight and confront all forms of prejudice and bigotry”

Want to find out more about LGBT+ History Month? Check out SAYiT’s social media. For education resources –

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