Are You Guys Brothers?
About the Book
Same-sex intimacy, particularly between males, can be a challenge to maintain for gay and bisexual men, and extremely threatening to heterosexual men. Are You Guys Brothers?, a question asked of male couples throughout the world, is a very personal and candid look at the topic through the lens of an immensely happy and successful 32-year relationship. Brian McNaught and Ray Struble, both Irish Catholic, Midwestern children of seven, met in Boston in their twenties as one was beginning a career as a "gay activist" and the other was entering the world of commercial banking. Their love became the envy of their families and friends, marked by open communication, good humor, patience, and spirituality. They would need all four to navigate the mine-filled waters of childhood sexual abuse, alcoholism, intense religious and political opposition, dramatically-disparate incomes, a sexually-open relationship, aging, erectile dysfunction, and an often unsupportive and frequently dysfunctional gay community. Today, they are officially married, and the "gay activist" is now educating his spouse's former Wall Street colleagues on gay issues in offices around the world. This book is funny, deeply moving, and highly instructive, of particular interest to gay men and women who seek guidance in building and maintaining their relationships, and to heterosexual men and women worldwide who want to better understand not only gay people but also how to get past the roadblocks to intimacy in their own relationships.
Questions and Answers on:
I like the title. Do you really get asked if you and Ray are brothers?
We get asked if we're twins! Every gay and lesbian couple I know gets asked if they're siblings, even those that are interracial.
Who is your main audience?
Ray and I are the main audience. I wanted to capture in print for us the joy and beauty of our incredible life together. I hope that everyone — gay, bisexual, and straight — finds the book of good use, because I feel that we're all hungry for stories from others that affirm, challenge, and inspire our life partnerships. I also wanted to help some people understand that marriage for gay people is not about sex nor about one person playing the husband and the other person playing the wife in a desperate charade of heterosexual privilege. It's about two people finding, nourishing, and committing to love despite the lack of support and often outright hostility from many churches, most states, some family members, and even an annoying few in the gay community. It's an inconvenient love at this time in history, but it is a most rewarding one. At least, it is for us.
Will everyone eventually have access to gay marriage?
Not everyone, unless they're willing to move, but I believe that most countries with western and Latin cultures will sanction marriage for gay men and women in my expected lifetime.
You don't pull any punches about bad behavior in the gay and lesbian community.
Actually, I do. The inappropriate behavior of many gay men and lesbian women has been ignored or accommodated by the leaders and thinkers of the gay community, including myself, for far too long. We are all walking wounded people but we're not victims and our mutual love and concern for one another, and for those who follow us, should prompt some painful truth-telling. The preoccupation of so many gay men with youth, body image, and sexual gratification is immature and dangerous. The use of alcohol and drugs to escape reality, and the cavalier attitude about HIV infection is suicidal. Lesbians who live reactively in anger to male privilege by being hostile to men and to bisexual women are equally immature and boring. None of it is physically, emotionally, or spiritually healthy, and all of it prevents intimacy.
How does Ray feel about the book?
Ray loves the book. He's very, very excited about it. If I was him, I would be too. He comes across as a living saint, which, of course, I think he is.
How can we ask more questions and get more information about your work?
Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
After a career of advising gay men on how to live their lives, in books like On Being Gay and Now That I'm Out, What Do I Do?, McNaught turns inward with this gracious memoir about his decades with husband Ray Struble (they met in Boston in 1976, married in Canada in 2003). Its candor is always refreshing, sometimes startling: he's remarkably open about the scant role sex now plays in his loving relationship with Struble, for health reasons, and defiant in recounting his enduring friendship with imprisoned priest Paul Shanley, convicted of raping a youth after the now-adult man who accused him claimed he had recovered repressed memories. That honesty is all the more reason to relish McNaught's bravura in setting himself up as a role model for gay Americans: the how-to advice of his earlier writing is backed up by real experience, some of it grievously painful, much of it hard-learned, all of it leading to his fulfillment as a contented gay man settling into a serene seventh decade.
– by Richard Labonte, November 17, 2008, Q Syndicate
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