Book Review: This Book is Gay – James (now Juno) Dawson

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‘This is a manual for everyone – no matter your gender or sexaul preference’

When I saw this book at a YA lit fair I was intrigued. The bright and beautiful cover attracted me and then I read the cover. I thought this would be a novel about someone who is gay but this is something much better. I would even go as far to say this is one of the best books of a generation. This Book is Gay is a book which covers a lot of ground that the author thought was missing after teaching PSHE (health class for my American readers) but not just from one opinion, there are stories from so many different people all with different experiences.

When this was published, James Dawson was a gay man, in the time since James has announced that his real self is Juno, a transgender woman and I celebrated along with the rest of twitter. None of that matters because the writing is funny, interesting and highly educational btu in a way you feel like you’re chatting to a friend. I only mention this incase people are confused when trying to find ‘James’ on Twitter later.

I don’t believe in someone being 100% gay or 100% straight. It seems to me, even more so after reading this, that there are so many different parts of the spectrum that slapping an either/or label on everyone is just stupid. I’ve never had a girlfriend but I feel that I’m the person who falls in love with someone because of who they are, not because of what’s in their pants. I fell in love with a male, I’m going to marry him at some point but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good looking female. If people want to label me after that, then so be it.

The book has both serious and funny chapters throughout as well as some brilliant illustrations. Some of the chapters include; Stereotypes are poo, Where to meet people like you, Nesting, Hats, The ins and outs of gay sex and Welcome to the members club. There is even a bit for parents and carers, lists of charities and organisations and notable gay and LGBTQ celebs and allies (named: A guide to recognising your gay saints). There is so much in here and I learnt so much I will just shout my love for it from the rooftops!

I 100% feel that this book should be given out at all schools as an important tool for learning and accepting LGBTQ youth. Dawson is right, there isn’t enough sex education for young  LGBTQ people. I thought long and hard after reading and we didn’t cover safe sex for anyone who wasn’t straight which, frankly, is just ridiculous. How can you just ignore the needs of people just because they’re not ‘the norm?’, they can still get STI’s like anyone else? They still have questions and worries like anyone else. If I was in charge of a school I’d make sure everyone was given a copy and there were copies in the library too. This is superbly written and has a lot of great info from a variety of people, not just Juno herself.

There have been arguments that there isn’t as much information for the Lesbian community. I can see the points people have made but I do feel there is a good amount of content in here, after all there are only so many pages here. The part about lesbian sex is a little thin, and maybe that’s what people are upset about and I can understand that. Other than that though, I feel like this is a good and inclusive guide.

Of course I’m going to give this book 5 stars *****. I was truly inspired by Dawson, her writing, her style and the way that the book itself was put together. I think everyone should read this, because everyone will learn something from it. A truly phonomenal book, not one to be missed.

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