The book I’m reviewing today is more than 11 years old. Further; it focuses on past events ending in the 1990s. In the grand scheme of things, I generally like to review newer works. Today’s subject though is timeless: coming out. Since everybody’s situation is different, time period has little to do with the subject, believe it or not. I know some of you are thinking things along the lines of “it’s easier now than it was in 1950″ or “it’s more accepted now than it was when I came out in 1972″ but the reality is that, for the individual who is coming out, it’s rarely ever easy.
The book is, A Woman Like That: Lesbian And Bisexual Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories is a collection of essays, all from women, all established writers, all about their personal coming out stories. It was compiled and edited by Joan Larkin. Larkin is a well known out lesbian poet and playwright. She has published several volumes of her own work and also some anthologies of the work of others under various themes.
31 lesbian and bisexual women tell their personal coming out stories here. All of them are writers so, as expected, they tell their tales well. Each essay stands on its own. You can read them in snippets, one at a time or in chunks. You decide. Some of their stories are heart wrenching (non accepting families, being committed to a mental institution), some are incredibly funny. Yes, some are slightly erotic. That is, after all, how some among us figure it all out. In many, despite the passage of time, you will likely see yourself and how it was for you when you came out.
Though I feel it would be interesting to just about everyone – at least in the “L” and parts of the “B” portions of our LGBT community, I recommend this book for queer teenagers especially. I think there’s a lot they can get out of the stories of 31 of their predecessors.