Straight Jacket


We recommend this…

for gay men, their friends and allies, especially if you or someone you love is struggling with their mental health.

A quick summary

Straight Jacket is a really important and thoughtful look at the shadow side of the gay scene and the impact of societal homophobia, past and present. If you are concerned about your own relationship with drugs, alcohol, sex, or disordered eating as a gay man you will find buckets of empathy here and maybe a way forward. Other LGBTQ+ folk may also strongly relate to this book, and it will also help friends, family and allies. Please be aware it’s frank, sweary and the unvarnished truth.

Content note… includes discussion of addiction, abuse and suicide. Please go gently if it may activate trauma responses in you.

More information below…


Straight Jacket is split into three sections. The first explores homophobia in society. Matthew Todd looks at the messages from society, past and present, which affect gay people of all ages. He examines the feeling of shame and damage caused when a person feels shame for something they are, not something they have done. He particularly looks at childhood and what happens when children and young people first become aware of their sexuality.

It is not that to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is to be inherently flawed, but that society – beginning with our parents – with its rigid rules about sexuality and gender, shames us to the core from the youngest possible age…

In the second section Todd explores how these feelings of shame show up. This section throws the reader into an adult world of sex, addiction, and self-harm. It unpacks life on the gay scene, looking into why and how a significant number of gay men struggle with low self-esteem, addictions and harmful behaviours. There are many personal stories – testimonies of tough times, very low points, and of recoveries.

The final section offers hope and a way forward. Todd outlines what can be done to improve things for gay people in our society. It also speaks directly to those who are struggling and gives practical advice.

We highly recommend Straight Jacket for anyone who is struggling with their relationship to drugs, sex or alcohol on the gay scene. It is also really good for concerned friends, family and allies. We would encourage anyone struggling with these issues to try counselling too. This book could be a starting point or something you could read and discuss with a therapist.

Additional information

Format Paperback
Weight 270 g
Dimensions 196 × 128 × 25 mm
Book Author

ISBN 9780552778404


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