How to Be Gay

Gay Manual coverIs it a Choice? Answers to 300 of the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Gays and Lesbians

The Unofficial Gay Manual: Living the Lifestyle, Or At Least Appearing To
DiLallo and Krumholtz

Homophobia : How We All Pay the Price
Blumenfeld (ed.)

Submitter: These books are not inherently awful – they’re just way too old to be on a public library shelf! I laughed out loud when I stumbled across The Unofficial Gay Manual with it’s over-the-top early 90’s cover. “Living the lifestyle” has changed just a tiny bit since 1994.

The other two books I’ve included have aged fairly well, but they’re still outdated. References to “if President Clinton makes good on his promise to lift the ban on lesbians and gays in the military” or a section on finding alternatives to marriage because it wasn’t legal make the book inaccurate and misleading. The presence of the AIDS crisis looms over all of these early ’90s books in an overwhelming way that similar modern books don’t share.

Holly: I love the cover of The Official Gay Manual so, so much! The oversized, high-waisted fashion, the click bait style article titles, and especially the subtitle. These were all good choices for libraries in the 1990s, but they’re all desperate for an update. But please – do update them! On a side note, I’m dying to know which “16 CDs every gay man should own.”

Homophobia cover

Homophobia contents

Is it a Choice? cover




  1. I’m wondering about the CDs too. If my local system ever had the book, they don’t anymore, so I’m left wondering.

  2. Somehow, I’ve lived my entire queer life without seeing The Unofficial Gay Manual – mon Dieu seigneur! It’s almost 25 years old and it’s a pre-internet cultural antique. I don’t know what the 16 essential CDs are, but I think the HomoANSCR classification scheme allows for “BARBRA” and “NOT_BARBRA,” so… There is a much more recent edition of the Marcus book (What if: answers to questions about what it means to be gay and lesbian – c2013 – 9781442482982). It’s amazing to realize we’ve progressed far enough that queer titles from the early ’90s *can* be weeded…and there’s a vast array of new material to choose from. Let’s. Go. Shopping.

  3. It’s WONDERFUL these books are out of date! Look at how much has improved in the past twenty years 🙂

  4. Oh wow. We have a couple of these books at home. I may have to skim through them for the laughs and memories. Definitively very outdated for a public library.

  5. Although the other two were meant seriously, the first one is almost certainly a spoof along the lines of ‘The Preppy Handbook’. We don’t know how it was cataloged but it should have been classified as ‘humor’.
    I also agree that all three of these books are badly outdated. They have a place in a historical collection on LGBTQ but certainly not in a public library collection.

  6. I always like to check if any ALBs are in our system and apparently “Is It A Choice” does have a more – modern – edition. As in it was reprinted in 2005. I can’t find anything newer than that.

    The 2005 edition probably should be weeded too seeing how it’s 13 years old.

  7. I wanna know how to break up with a psycho killer! Talk about burying the lead…

  8. I went on a date in the mid-’90s with a guy who kept dashing off all of this really painful jokes. (There was no second date for a wide variety of reasons.) About six months later, at a friend’s house, I saw a library copy of the Unofficial Gay Manual and started leafing through it. And sure enough, every single supposedly-witty joke was right from those pages. *sigh*

  9. I’m gay, and I would love to get my hands on these books! Not because they’d be useful to me, but because they’d be an interesting look into gay life at a time when I was a small child.

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