FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Troy Johnson
troy at sdcitybeat.com
Troy Johnson, music editor for San Diego CityBeat, has sold his first book to New York City’s Arcade Publishing–set for a June 2008 release date. Arcade has put out books by Samuel Beckett, Bertolt Brecht, John Irving, Jon Papernick and Malcolm X, among others. Titled “Family Outing”, Johnson’s book is a memoir about growing up with a gay parent in the Reagan ’80s.
“Back then, there was little to no degree of ‘cool’ associated with homos,” Johnson says. “Judging by what I heard from the media and even family members, it was hard not to believe I was being raised by a woman who had gotten caught in the psychological wood-chipper and come out a pervert. There was a time when I actually thought my mother might want to give me a hand job. Crazy and delusional, but true.”
Johnson decided to write the memoir because of what he saw as a lack of honest, unfiltered accounts from kids who were actually raised by a gay parent during that era.
“All of the books I found on my ‘unique family’ were feel-good psychobabble about ’embracing your differences’ and crap like that. Sure, that’s nice, but how many teenagers really speak like that? How many are that noble? I was a self-absorbed, superficial me-me-me organism who absolutely resented my mother’s sexuality. And most kids of gay parents I’ve talked with were pretty pissed off for a very long time.
“I’ve been listening to countless politicians debate the effects of gay parenting. So I figured it was time for someone to tell it from the first-hand perspective. What a kid of a gay—or at least THIS kid of a gay—felt about the whole situation, from the time of my mother’s outing to the time when I realized I was a real asshole and a massive bigot.”
The twist is that Family Outing is written as a dark comedy (chapter titles include “God Hates Fags,” “Mommy’s Little Metrosexual” and “Coital Overcompensation”). Now a “card carrying friend of gay,” Johnson found a bit of humor in his years as a homophobe. He lampoons religious leaders, politicians and–especially–himself as he goes through his own sexual coming of age.
“Originally, I wanted to write a heavy-hearted, serious book that would make Oprah’s studio audience cry,” he says. “I started to do just that, and it was tripe. So I did what I know how to do best–find a little humor in what, at the time, felt like hell.”
And, yes, Johnson’s mother is fully supportive of the book.