John-Manuel Andriote on Gay Men’s Resilience

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:

About Thomas Lawrence Long

Associate professor-in-residence, School of Nursing, University of Connecticut; editor and writing coach
This entry was posted in Education, HIV/AIDS, LGBT Health. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to John-Manuel Andriote on Gay Men’s Resilience

  1. Thank you for this terrific overview of the issues I’ll address in my new book. Gay men know a LOT about resilience. We have to simply to survive the bullying, insults, rejections, and taunts that may be directed at us even by our own family. I will show in the book–through firsthand stories of resilient gay men and with behavioral research–that we have a long history of resilience and survival against so many odds. I hope to inspire in young gay men, and support those whose roles involve raising gay boys to be healthy men, by sharing these stories and research. I want to show that by claiming our powerful legacy of men and women who dared to be true to themselves, who defied those who would oppress them to be happy and proud, we have access to a powerful legacy that can support us and help us live up to our full potential. I want to point out that although the official crowdfunding campaign ended at the beginning of July, I am still seeking financial support for the project from interested individuals and organizations (particularly philanthropic organizations that support LGBT projects). Please feel free to contact me at

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