I'm not a Michelangelo Signorile fan so I wasn't predisposed to like his newest book "Outing Yourself: How to Come Out as Lesbian or Gay to Your Family, Friends, and Co-Workers." But gone is the strident politicization of outing from "Queer in America" and also the whining self-pity exhibited in his op-ed piece in the New York Times on staying negative.
"Outing Yourself" is a clearly written (in fact, it is such an easy read that youngsters should have no trouble with it) step by step practical guide to coming out to everybody. In 14 steps, Signorile takes you from coming out to yourself, to other gay people, to straight friends, family, co-workers and the world. He includes along the way simple exercises, helpful hints and directions so that even people still living at home, or in rural areas, can follow along. He gives good examples of why you should come out as well as how.
Gone is the brashness of "Queer in America"; Signorile accepts the reality that it is not always safe to come out under all circumstances. He provides check lists to tell if you are ready to proceed with each step and provides assurances if you are not.
As the mother of a gay man I was most interested in the section on coming out to parents. Signorile handles this part expertly and even discusses the most difficult situation: what to do when, after you are out, you hit the wall of denial, when your parents just don't want to talk about it.
And finally in the last chapter he reveals the ultimate triumph of being out to everybody: not thinking about it at all and the freedom and peace of mind that brings.
This book is published by Random House and sells for $20.00. It's 172 pages long and in a small enough volume to be discreetly tucked into a briefcase or bookbag.