Author Eric Marcus

 

Books by Eric Marcus

Coming Out to Play

Coming Out to Play

co-authored with Robbie Rogers (Penguin Books, 2014)

Championship-winning major league soccer player Robbie Rogers knows better than most that keeping secrets can crush you. For years Robbie lived in paralyzing fear that sharing his would cost him his loved ones and his hard-fought career in professional sports. He could be a professional athlete. Or he could be an out gay man. He couldn't do both. Then at twenty-five, after nearly stepping away from a brilliant career—one that included competing in the Olympics, playing in the U.K. for Leeds United, and winning the MLS Cup—Robbie finally chose to tell the truth, and forever changed the world of sports in the process. This is his story.

"Rogers made history… As the first openly gay male to play a game in a major professional team sport in North America, Rogers' ascension to becoming a pioneer was complete. Rogers' return was symbolic, poetic and seamless all at the same time."
Avi Creditor, Sports Illustrated

"By standing up, coming out and continuing to play the sport he loves, Robbie Rogers has inspired millions of people around the world. He has refused to let fear stop him from living and loving and his story will move you as it has me."
Anderson Cooper

"Robbie Rogers is a courageous man who speaks his truth and lives his life in his truth. We all benefit when someone has the courage to tell their story like Robbie has done. Bravo."
— Maria Shriver

"Robbie Rogers' story is as heroic on the field as it is off."
— Marc Cuban

"Valuable insight into the myriad off-field issues that can affect footballers, and the impact they have on their careers... Reading about those tough experiences will be of benefit to many, players and fans alike."
— Sky Sports

Breaking the Surface

co-authored with Greg Louganis (Random House, 1995)

Breaking the Surface is the #1 New York Times bestselling autobiography of Greg Louganis, the greatest Olympic diver of all time. It is the unflinchingly honest first-person account of a man breaking free of a lifetime of silence and isolation.

Born to a young Samoan father and Northern European mother, and adopted at nine months, Greg began diving at age nine, and at sixteen won a silver medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.  But despite his astonishing athletic skill, Greg struggled with dyslexia, racial prejudice, substance abuse, and anguish over his homosexuality, which he felt compelled to hide along with his HIV status.  Against this background of personal struggles, Greg went on to win double gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.  His triumph at the 1988 Olympics came several months after he tested positive for HIV.

New York Times Review by George Vecsey, March 12, 1995

Icebreaker: The Autobiography of Rudy Galindo

co-authored with Rudy Galindo (Pocket Books, 1997)

All Rudy Galindo ever wanted to do was skate, and to be the best.  From his first confident steps on the ice as an eight year old to a pair of national championships with skating partner Kristi Yamaguchi, it seemed that nothing could stop Rudy's rise to the top—not the fact he was Mexican-American, working class, or gay.

But after the 1990 breakup of his partnership with Kristi and a series of personal tragedies, Rudy was written off as a has-been.  A little too soon.

In Rudy’s gripping and inspiring autobiography, he shares the compelling story of his challenging young life and how he came back at age twenty-six to beat the odds and his personal demons to win the 1996 National Championship.  It was the performance a lifetime that left Rudy and everyone who saw it in tears. 

Is It a Choice? Answers to 300 of the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Gay and Lesbian People

(HarperOne, 1993, 1999, 2005)

Is It A Choice? dispels myths, misunderstandings, and stereotypes with clear, concise, common sense answers to 300 of the most frequently asked questions about gay and lesbian people.  Among the many questions I answer are:

• Is homosexuality a sin?
• What should you do if you think your child is gay or lesbian?
• What did Jesus say about homosexuality?
• What should you tell a child who has a gay uncle or aunt?
• Who plays the husband, and who plays the wife?
• How do gay and lesbian people have sex?

Is It A Choice? has been published in Israel, Japan, Korea, Poland, and Thailand.  

"Straight answers to gay questions... Timely and welcome, candid and informative, this book will do much to demystify homosexuality, especially if you think you know it all." — Paulette Goodman, former president of the Federation of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)


"Is It a Choice? was very empowering for me.  It's a book I've happily recommended to many gay people and their loved ones." — Greg Louganis, four time Olympic gold-medal diving champion

"Dear Readers: The answers to all the questions you've ever had about homosexuality but were afraid to ask are finally in one book, Is It A Choice?" Dear Abby

Making History: The Struggle for Gay and Lesbian Equal Rights, 1945 to 1990

(HarperCollins, 1992)

Making Gay History: The Half-Century Fight for Lesbian & Gay Equal Rights

(HarperCollins, 2002)

In Making History and its 2002 update, Making Gay History, I use oral history to tell the story of the first half-century of the gay civil rights movement. The rich tapestry that emerges from these books includes the inspiring voices of teenagers and grandparents, journalists and housewives, from the little known Dr. Evelyn Hooker and Morty Manford to former Vice President Al Gore*, Ellen DeGeneres*, and Abigail Van Buren. Together, these many stories bear witness to a time of astonishing change as gay and lesbian people have struggled against prejudice and fought for equal rights under the law.

*Included in Making Gay History.

"One of the definitive works on gay life. Through this collective testimony we may come to understand what it is to be 'the other'; in short, the other part of ourselves." — Studs Terkel

"Make no mistake about it: Making History is far richer entertainment than its academic title might suggest. I picked it up idly and just kept reading until my eyes grew bleary, riveted by its sheer Dostoevskian sweep; the living, breathing, fallible human souls who emerge on every page, their stories interlinking magically to create a saga of conflict and growth spanning half a century. As in the best of novels, there's a little bit of everything along the way: humor, anger, sensuality, poignant self-revelation, and transcendent courage. Eric Marcus not only writes with grace and clarity, but makes it look so easythe ultimate measure of historian and novelist alike." — Armistead Maupin

"Marcus allows these stories of individual identity and courage to shine. Each story is told in a strikingly different language and each is deeply personal and very often poignant." — Chicago Sun-Times

"An ambitious project well realized smooth-reading text that will surely become a cornerstone of gay American studies." — Booklist

"[Making History] is a testament to the courage of individuals who have effected a positive change in our society." — Publishers Weekly

"Rich and often moving at times shocking, but often enlightening and inspiring: oral history at its most potent and rewarding." — Kirkus Reviews

"By letting us hear the testimony of nearly fifty smart, funny, and courageous gay and straight men and women, Marcus dignifies the struggle he set out to document." — Entertainment Weekly

"[Making History] overflows with distinct, articulate voices. The book is perhaps at its most touching (and historically useful) when we read the memoirs of the older, pre-Stonewall generation Marcus's craft is fully evident in the words he gathered." — Boston Globe

"Making History offers us a rich portrait gallery of men and women, both gay and straight, who have participated in the political struggle for lesbian and gay rights since the 1940s. The intimate power of [the subjects'] coming-out stories, matched as they are by the courage of each person's political struggles, can be both inspiring and heart-wrenching." — New York Times Book Review

Columnist Anna Quindlen writes about Morty Manford, his mother Jeanne Manford, and Greg Brock, who are featured in Making History.
New York Times, May 25, 1992

Robert Bauman, Lisa Ben*, Vernon E. "Copy" Berg III, Elizabeth Birch, Martin Block, Kathleen Boatwright, Sara Boesser, Randy Boyd, Greg Brock, Charles Brydon, Hal Call, Tom Cassidy, Scott Cozza, Steven Cozza, Ellen DeGeneres, Herb Donaldson, Kim Farnham, Lois Farnham, Morris Foote, Barbara Gittings, Paulette Goodman, Al Gore, Dr. Evelyn Hooker, Joyce Hunter, Kevin Jennings, Deborah Johnson, Frank Kameny, Jim Kepner, Jim Kolbe, David Kopay, Larry Kramer, Kay Tobin Lahusen, Jeanne Manford, Morty Manford, Dr. Judd Marmor, A. Damien Martin, Rev. Carolyn Mobley, Ann Northrop, Jean O'Leary, Dan Otero, Romaine Patterson, Jeanne Phillips ("Abigail Van Buren"), Paul Phillips*, Pauline Phillips ("Abigail Van Buren"), Holly Puterbaugh, Rae "Sylvia Lee" Rivera, Dr. Zandra Roln, Chuck Rowland, Vito Russo, Barry Sandler, Herb Selwyn, Martha Shelley, Randy Shilts, Barbara Smith, Evander Smith, Megan Smith, Richard Socarides, Bishop John Shelby Spong, Billye Talmadge, Penelope Tzougros, Nancy Walker, Shirley Willer, Neil Woodward

*Pseudonyms

Making History: The Struggle for Gay and Lesbian Equal Rights, 1945 to 1990

(HarperCollins, 1992)

Making Gay History: The Half-Century Fight for Lesbian & Gay Equal Rights

(HarperCollins, 2002)

In Making History and its 2002 update, Making Gay History, I use oral history to tell the story of the first half-century of the gay civil rights movement. The rich tapestry that emerges from these books includes the inspiring voices of teenagers and grandparents, journalists and housewives, from the little known Dr. Evelyn Hooker and Morty Manford to former Vice President Al Gore*, Ellen DeGeneres*, and Abigail Van Buren. Together, these many stories bear witness to a time of astonishing change as gay and lesbian people have struggled against prejudice and fought for equal rights under the law.

*Included in Making Gay History.

"One of the definitive works on gay life. Through this collective testimony we may come to understand what it is to be 'the other'; in short, the other part of ourselves." — Studs Terkel

"Make no mistake about it: Making History is far richer entertainment than its academic title might suggest. I picked it up idly and just kept reading until my eyes grew bleary, riveted by its sheer Dostoevskian sweep; the living, breathing, fallible human souls who emerge on every page, their stories interlinking magically to create a saga of conflict and growth spanning half a century. As in the best of novels, there's a little bit of everything along the way: humor, anger, sensuality, poignant self-revelation, and transcendent courage. Eric Marcus not only writes with grace and clarity, but makes it look so easythe ultimate measure of historian and novelist alike." — Armistead Maupin

"Marcus allows these stories of individual identity and courage to shine. Each story is told in a strikingly different language and each is deeply personal and very often poignant." — Chicago Sun-Times

"An ambitious project well realized smooth-reading text that will surely become a cornerstone of gay American studies." — Booklist

"[Making History] is a testament to the courage of individuals who have effected a positive change in our society." — Publishers Weekly

"Rich and often moving at times shocking, but often enlightening and inspiring: oral history at its most potent and rewarding." — Kirkus Reviews

"By letting us hear the testimony of nearly fifty smart, funny, and courageous gay and straight men and women, Marcus dignifies the struggle he set out to document." — Entertainment Weekly

"[Making History] overflows with distinct, articulate voices. The book is perhaps at its most touching (and historically useful) when we read the memoirs of the older, pre-Stonewall generation Marcus's craft is fully evident in the words he gathered." — Boston Globe

"Making History offers us a rich portrait gallery of men and women, both gay and straight, who have participated in the political struggle for lesbian and gay rights since the 1940s. The intimate power of [the subjects'] coming-out stories, matched as they are by the courage of each person's political struggles, can be both inspiring and heart-wrenching." — New York Times Book Review

Columnist Anna Quindlen writes about Morty Manford, his mother Jeanne Manford, and Greg Brock, who are featured in Making History.
New York Times, May 25, 1992

Robert Bauman, Lisa Ben*, Vernon E. "Copy" Berg III, Elizabeth Birch, Martin Block, Kathleen Boatwright, Sara Boesser, Randy Boyd, Greg Brock, Charles Brydon, Hal Call, Tom Cassidy, Scott Cozza, Steven Cozza, Ellen DeGeneres, Herb Donaldson, Kim Farnham, Lois Farnham, Morris Foote, Barbara Gittings, Paulette Goodman, Al Gore, Dr. Evelyn Hooker, Joyce Hunter, Kevin Jennings, Deborah Johnson, Frank Kameny, Jim Kepner, Jim Kolbe, David Kopay, Larry Kramer, Kay Tobin Lahusen, Jeanne Manford, Morty Manford, Dr. Judd Marmor, A. Damien Martin, Rev. Carolyn Mobley, Ann Northrop, Jean O'Leary, Dan Otero, Romaine Patterson, Jeanne Phillips ("Abigail Van Buren"), Paul Phillips*, Pauline Phillips ("Abigail Van Buren"), Holly Puterbaugh, Rae "Sylvia Lee" Rivera, Dr. Zandra Roln, Chuck Rowland, Vito Russo, Barry Sandler, Herb Selwyn, Martha Shelley, Randy Shilts, Barbara Smith, Evander Smith, Megan Smith, Richard Socarides, Bishop John Shelby Spong, Billye Talmadge, Penelope Tzougros, Nancy Walker, Shirley Willer, Neil Woodward

*Pseudonyms

Pessimisms: Famous (and Not So Famous) Observations, Quotations, Thoughts, and Ruminations on What to Expect When You're Expecting the Worst*

*Previously published as Expect the Worst: You Won't Be Disappointed
(Robson Books, 2005)

Bad things happen to everyone, and Pessimisms provides just the right words of irreverent inspiration to help you laugh at life and all its nasty surprises. Inspired by my profoundly pessimistic late Grandma Ethel, Pessimisms offers wickedly witty observations, quotations, thoughts, and ruminations on people, relationships, politics, family, religion, the state of the world, and more.

Read More About Pessimisms...

The Male Couple's Guide: Finding a Man, Making a Home, Building a Life

(HarperCollins, 1988, 1992, 1999)

The Male Couple's Guide was the first comprehensive book to address relationship questions for gay men with compassion, common sense, and humor (if I say so myself!). Now sorely out of date, the book's focus is on finding the right partner and building a life together, covering issues ranging from learning how to communicate effectively and coping with coming out issues to negotiating where to hang the pictures without hanging each other.

Together Forever: Gay and Lesbian Couples Share Their Secrets for Lasting Happiness

(Anchor Books, 1998)

Most people long for a lasting love relationship. The forty gay and lesbian couples whose true-life success stories appear in Together Forever have found it. Their experiences, presented in what reviewers called an intimate and inspiring book, offer lessons to us all.

"A complex tapestry of love, desire, and friendship that is as stirring as it is heartwarming, as invigorating as it is moving... written with an incisive eye for detail and an ear for the quirky phrase and insight."
— Michael Bronski, Amazon.com

Meeting:
I said to myself, "That's it." I don't know what "it" was, but there was just something that was apparent to me right then...it was just a very deep sense of recognition that something was there that you had looked for all of your life. And it was there when you least expected it. — Anyda, 86

Difference:
The icing on the cake was after we had sex, after this very lovely experience with Curt, he said, "Do you want milk and cookies?" And I thought, He's like a big girl, you know? And we're sharing vanilla wafers and milk in bed. And I finally got it at that point. That leather coat, the jeans, everything, it was just a fashion statement. — Brian, 35

Monogamy:
...I really believed in non-monogamy as an ideal... I still think if we worked really hard on making non-monogamy work, we could probably do it, but I can probably learn Chinese, too. Look, I'm a vegetarian, but I still have a leather couch. No one's perfect. — Lindsy, 52

The Secret to a Happy Relationship:
I feel that it's the same secret between a gay couple or a lesbian couple as a heterosexual couple. It's sharing. It's giving a little, taking a little. Because if everything is going to be only about me, me, me, it's not going to be a good relationship. — Stewart, 44

What If? Answers to Questions About What It Means to Be Gay and Lesbian*

*Previously published as What If Someone I Know Is Gay?
(Simon Pulse, 2007, 2013)

No question goes unanswered in this easily-accessible book about gay people and LGBT issues. All the basics and not-so-basics are covered in more than one hundred questions. Whether you're curious about your own sexual orientation or looking to understand and support someone close to you, this book contains just about all the answers you're looking for. Although primarily targeted at teens and young adults, What If? also includes a chapter especially for parents, as well as a resource-rich appendix.

2013 Booklist Review of What If? by Michael Cart
In this revised volume, Marcus' intelligent guide to what it means to be gay and lesbian remains an indispensable introduction to an occasionally thorny subject. Though much of the material here will be familiar to readers of the 2007 edition, there is enough new content to warrant purchase of this updated version with its slightly new title. As before, the material is divided topically; for example, "Friends and Family," "Sex," "School," and so on. And the thoughtful answers to many of the questions (e.g., "How do people react when they find out a friend is gay?"; "My two moms had a commitment ceremony. Is that the same thing as getting married?") are enriched by the inclusion of anecdotal material derived from his own experience or from interviews with teens and caring adults. In addition to new material about transgender people, gay marriage, religion, and education, the chapter on resources has been substantially updated and expanded. Whether old or new, the content of Marcus' Q&A guide remains lucid, fair, and laudably commonsensical.

*The full answers to these questions can be found in the book.

How do I talk to my children about gay people?
There's no particular time in the life of a child when you have to bring up the subject of gay people. It's likely to come up naturally if your child has a gay aunt or uncle or if there's something on television or in the news that catches a child's interest or sparks their curiosity. The challenge you're likely to face is how to respond to the comment or question in an age-appropriate way. For example, I can remember like yesterday the panic in my sister's voice when I told her that my partner and I were having a commitment ceremony. "What," my sister asked, "am I going to say to Rachel?" Rachel (my sister's daughter, who this book happens to be dedicated to) was eight years old at the time and my sister had never talked to Rachel about the fact that Uncle Eric and Uncle Barney were gay and a couple

My eleven-year-old son told me he thinks he's gay. Isn't that too young for him to know? What should I say?
I know people who figured out they were gay before they had a word for itguys who recall having serious crushes on boys at age five, and if you look back you might recall having crushes on people of the opposite sex that early, too. And these days, kids are far more likely to have a word for their feelings than when I was growing up. So it's no longer surprising for me when I get an e-mail from an eleven year old asking me how she can talk to her parents about being gay.

If your child is telling you he's gay, believe himhe's the best expert on this subjectand don't try to persuade him otherwise. If it turns out that he's not gay, he'll let you know when he figures that out. The key is to avoid giving any indication that you're upset or confused. You're the parent and what a child is looking for in this circumstance is reassurance. Save your upset or confusion for a discussion with your spouse and/or a counselor

My child is getting called names at school because he/she is perceived to be gay. What can I do?
You can start by doing what you ought to do any time a child is teased or bullied: let him know you love him and that he doesn't deserve to be treated this way. Virtually no child, gay or straight, gets through school without being picked on for one reason or another, so you can rest assuredunfortunatelythat you and your child are not alone.

You probably can't help but wonder if the reason your child is being teased is because he is in fact gay. But if he hasn't chosen this momentwhen he's feeling particularly vulnerableto come out to you, then don't force the issue. Avoiding that question lets him know that the teasing is wrong whether he's gay or not

My brother/sister is gay. Will they be a bad influence on my children?
No. If anything, your brother or sister can be a good influence. Chances are, having a gay aunt or uncle will help your child to be open-minded and accepting of difference. I like to think that that's been the experience of my niece and two nephews. Having grown up with my partner and me as their uncles, they seem unselfconscious about the subject of gay people and my niece has become something of an expert. And that's not a recent occurrence.

When my niece was all of thirteen, she called to ask me if I could take her to a huge gay rights march that was planned for Washington, DC, in 2000. I hadn't planned to go, but I couldn't say no to my niece, who, during the parade, very gamely fielded questions from a group of older lesbians who were curious to know why she wanted to be at the march. Rachel explained that she thought it was important to stand up and be counted in the fight for equal rights.

More Questions you'll find in What If?
• I think my daughter/son may be gay. Should I ask?
• What can I do to protect gay children against discrimination?
• Are there anti-bullying resources you can recommend?
• How do I talk to other parents about my gay child?
• Is it okay for my kids to play with kids who have gay parents?

Why Suicide? Questions and Answers About Suicide, Suicide Prevention, and Coping with the Suicide of Someone You Know

(HarperOne, 1996, 2010)

For more information, please visit www.whysuicide.com and my blog www.whysuicideblog.com

No matter what the circumstances, those of us who are touched at some point in life by suicide are left with difficult, disturbing, and seemingly unanswerable questions.
Whether you're struggling in the aftermath of a loved one's suicide, worried about a depressed child's risk, or concerned about your own feelings of not wanting to live, Why Suicide? offers thoughtful and straight-forward answers to scores of these questions about this complex and painful issue.

"A must-read book for anyone whose life has been touched by suicide. It's compassionate, informative, and heartfelt. Do yourself a favor and start the healing with this splendid book!" — Dear Abby

"This is exactly the book I searched for, but did not find, after my sister took her life nearly twenty years ago. What Eric Marcus knows so well is that for those of us left grieving, suicide is an emotional cataclysm whose shock waves pummel us with too many questions, questions that multiply too quickly and too painfully, often for years to follow. Those questions, and their possible answers, are the backbone of this plainspoken, kind, consoling book woven together with the reflections of people who, like the author, have endured this particularly cruel and lonely kind of heartbreak. What survivors of suicide need most of all is a wise comrade, not a counselor. Eric Marcus is that very comrade."
— Julia Glass, National Book Award winning author of I See You Everywhere, Three Junes, and The Widower's Tale

"I opened this book and said, 'Where was this when I needed it?!'"
— Judy Collins

"A marvelous addition to suicidology collections as well as a solid choice for bibliotherapy; it should find a place in every public library collection."
— Library Journal

"It would have been such a comfort to have read this book after I lost my husband Edgar to suicide." — Joan Rivers

"This book is a must have." — Surviving Suicide, a publication of the American Association of Suicidology