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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Groovy Giveaway: Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay

Courtesy of Quirk Books, this week I'm giving away a copy of Paul Vitagliano's book, Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay, which is a collection of over 100 childhood photographs accompanied by personal stories of those who grew up LGBTQ. Based on the popular blog of the same name, Born This Way is a celebration of growing up gay, childhood, and community history and awareness.

Among the diverse entries are contributions from Congressman Barney Frank, Erasure's Andy Bell, Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, composer Marc Shaiman, radio host Frank DeCaro, blogger Perez Hilton, and drag superstar Jackie Beat.

And here to tell you more about his book is Mr. Vitagliano himself:

What inspired you to create the Born This Way blog? And how did the book evolve from this?
The original idea and concept came to me in 2009, and first I envisioned it in book form. But I decided to get it all online via the blog in early 2011 after the wrenching news of all the gay teen suicides in late 2010. I think we all had moments of thinking, "How can I do something - anything - to help these kids?" After the blog exploded very quickly, it caught the eye of literary agents and publishers, and now it's come full circle with Quirk Books.

What is one of your favorite stories in the book?
I think Clinton's story is one of my favorites because although it has some very funny moments, it also perfectly describes some of the awkward embarrassment we go through with how our families deal with gay kids. And as he writes, "wanting to disappear" from the things that make us different. I'm sure glad he didn't disappear though because he grew up to be a fabulous performer and activist! And a good friend.

You also have another blog, My First Gay Crush. Who was your first gay crush?
My first gay crush was David Cassidy on The Partridge Family and it was hardcore! I would buy any and every teen magazine with his photo in it as I had a scrapbook dedicated to him. Even at age eight, I just thought he was the most beautiful human being on the planet! Though at the time I couldn't quite figure out why or what that meant.

What's next for Paul Vitagliano?
I'd like to see future volumes of the book get started, and I'd love to get on the road to speak to kids at middle and high schools. I'm also working on a documentary for my club Dragstrip 66, which just ended on our 20th Anniversary on January 12. I'm very proud of its legacy and the palpable impact it had on the Los Angeles gay community. And I have a few ideas for some new club events I'd like to launch, along with DJing whenever I can.

You can check out Paul's blog at You can also follow him on Facebook.

To enter to win this Groovy Giveaway, email your name, address and who you think Clinton grew up to be (hint: I featured one of his videos in October) to Winners must have a US mailing address, and entries close at midnight on Thursday, January 17 (CST).

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