Book review: Straight Jacket: How To Be Gay And Happy

IN THE watershed 1970 film The Boys In The Band, a character remarks, “Show me a happy homosexual and I’ll show you a gay corpse.”

Matthew Todd

Bantam Press, £16.99;

ebook, £9.99

These sardonic words reverberate through Matthew Todd’s sobering assessment of the mental health crisis impacting the LGBT community, which the author candidly refracts through the prism of his self-destructive behaviour before and during his editorship of gay lifestyle magazine, Attitude.

Straight Jacket is a cri de coeur for a rainbow flag generation living under a dark cloud of self-loathing and body dysmorphia, for which Todd accepts some blame by promoting images of gym-toned perfection on Attitude’s front cover.

Clambering through dense paragraphs of expert opinion reaps rewards, including shocking accounts of bullying at school and young people committing suicide to escape their torment. 

In these moments of unvarnished, heartbreaking truth, Todd’s call to arms strikes a moving chord.


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