As we’ve written before, the capacity to bend in life’s storms without breaking is an important virtue, which is cultivated not by coddling a “cloistered virtue” but by testing and using these psychic “muscles,” is essential to mental and physical wellness. Also known as resilience, this capacity is a characteristic of queer older adults who have experienced many losses, struggles and insults, as documented by the Institute of Medicine.
Now journalist and author John-Manuel Andriote is undertaking to chronicle and translate the history and science of sexual minority men’s resilience in a book contracted to Rowman and Littlefield. With the working title Sacred Band: How Building Resilient Gay Men Saves Lives and Strengthens Society the book, according to Andriote, “will be the first and only ‘post-AIDS’ commercial book to draw on emergent research and the real-life stories of gay men–including my own–to present a bold and inspiring message: Gay men have a powerful source of health, resilience, strength, and pride available to us by claiming for ourselves what I call ‘gay America’s heroic legacy.'”
Andriote has previously written Victory Deferred: How AIDS Changed Gay Life in America. As he recalls, “‘Larry Kramer, our best-known AIDS activist, told me in an interview, ‘Singlehandedly, we changed the image of gay people from limp-wristed fairies to guerilla warriors.’ Coming out of my experience as a journalist reporting on AIDS for so long, and as someone who found out in 2005 that I am HIV-positive, I’m extremely interested in the subject of resilience.”
His hopes are that many audience will find the book useful: “Parents, pastors, teachers and counselors will learn how they can assist gay boys to grow into healthy gay men. College professors and their students will find a showcase of emergent research on gay men’s health that is so new it hasn’t until now made its way out of scientific journals into a commercial book.”
In addition, he envisions the book’s usefulness in HIV/AIDS education as “a valuable resource for HIV educators and policymakers, offering in one volume the most up-to-date thinking about how best to protect gay men’s health–and avoid HIV–through what are called ‘strength-based’ or ‘resilience-based’ interventions. In the book I’ll examine the connections between resilience and our physical and mental health.”
As a freelance writer working with a small advance on royalties from the publisher, Andriote is seeking the support of gay communities through crowd-sourcing funding: https://pubslush.com/project/2041