NEVER BLEND IN is an accessible book about achieving personal authenticity, a groundbreaking and vital book of exclusive celebrity and deeply personal non-celebrity interviews, which is aimed primarily at a young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning audience. The book, however, is also of value to educators, parents, family and mental health professionals seeking insight into the LGBTQ experience.
Role models from education, entertainment, law enforcement, medical and emergency services, politics, religion and sports have participated in this much needed discourse to illuminate the reader’s journey of self-discovery and to illustrate that living a life unlimited by labels will lead to personal, professional and spiritual fulfilment.
These candid stories and wise words are a powerful toolkit to encourage, inspire, uplift and give hope to those who need it most; those who may feel disenfranchised or who may lack self-belief.
Inspired by the life of Harvey Milk and with a foreword by his nephew Stuart Milk, this book includes original and insightful interviews with actors Alan Cumming OBE (Cabaret, Spy Kids, The Good Wife), Stephen Fry (Peter’s Friends, Wilde), Anthony Rapp (Rent), Colton Ford (The Lair), Marcus Patrick (My Wife & Kids, CSI: Miami, Passions and Dancing With The Stars), Scotch Ellis Loring (Frasier, Malcolm in the Middle, 24, Alias, Touched by An Angel) and Adele Anderson (Fascinating Aida); key equality advocates, educators and influencers of policy Sue Sanders (Schools Out), Charles Robbins(CEO, The Trevor Project), Stephen Williams MP,Jack MacKenroth (Project Runway, Queens of Drag: NYC), Rabbi Denise Eger, Lt. Dan Choi and veteran human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell; filmmakerParvez Sharma (A Jihad for Love); musicians Darren Hayes (Savage Garden) and Levi Kreis (Tony Award winner for “Best Featured Actor in a Musical” for his role as Jerry Lee Lewis in the Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet) ; sporting greats, NBA star, John Amaechi (author of Man in the Middle) and Olympic swimmer Bruce Hayes; transgender trailblazers Calpernia Addams, the Rev David E. Weekley (author of In from the Wilderness) and Jamison Green (author of Becoming a Visible Man); Mental Health professionals, Gladeana McMahon, Antoine Spiteri and Dr. John Shafer; writers Tom Robb Smith (Child 44, The Secret Speech), Leslea Newman (A Letter to Harvey Milk),Linda Goldman (Coming Out, Coming In), Michael Musto (The Village Voice); Del Shores (Sordid Lives) and Stephanie Silberstein (Shades of Gay); representatives from organizations including The Trevor Project, The Harvey Milk Foundation,PFLAG, FireFLAG, The Gay Police Association andSchools Out and colleagues of Harvey Milk; Anne Kronenberg, Daniel Nicoletta and Tom Ammiano.
These stories of living authentically, with dignity and unlimited by labels will help readers to understand how self esteem determines the path they choose and that life need not be a self fulfilling prophecy when they improve self-concept, drive out fear and embrace new challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, eliminate self imposed limitations and cease dependence on others to provide validity.
Harvey Milk’s legacy is the growing number of proud lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals who refuse to live their lives limited by the judgment of others.
The various voices in this book candidly and sincerely share their wisdom and belief that we can be an important part of society without blending in; that we can live with 100% authenticity, unlimited by labels; that we shouldn’t be expected to compromise our identity to find acceptance and everyone, regardless of sexuality or gender identity, has a right to fully live.
There is practical advice and guidance from the LGBT community on how life need not be a self-fulfilling prophecy and that by recognizing that our “truth” has been shaped through our relationships, our environment and our experiences, we can begin to change our perceptions, heighten our self-esteem and move toward our personal and professional goals with clear vision and purpose….
About the Author
Since graduating from The Institute of Education, University of London, David has gone on to train with LEAP, as a mediator, and is a qualified facilitator for The Pacific Institute.
He is a writer and speaker on social inequality issues and is a key player in the Equal Love Campaign UK.
David is currently promoting a youtube campaign “Give ‘em Hope” and is asking individuals, couples and groups to make and share videos telling about the benefits of living with personal authenticity.
As Director of NBI Associates, David devises and delivers engaging, enjoyable and interactive workshops utilizing Cognitive Behavioural and Performing Arts strategies for individual, corporate and academic clients.
He has shared a platform with Stuart Milk and Peter Tatchell and is a supporter of 17-24-30, The Trevor Project, Schools Out and The Harvey Milk Foundation.
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID ABOUT Never Blend In: The Legacy of Harvey Milk
Anthony Spiteri, BS, MSc, PhD (Psychology)
Role models are described as those individuals who we ‘aspire to’ and who provide strong and achievable targets that we can emulate in pursuit of our career or personal aims. This book breaks down the common stereotypes of gay people and unveils a more realistic perspective, chronicling the success of many gay role models that others aspire to.
In “Never Blend In” David Watters has brought together a number of role models in one publication featuring successful gay artists, scientists and entrepreneurs, who share their experiences and take you on their journey. These are men and women with whom you can relate, whose stories will inspire and motivate you and leave you ready to move forward, both personally and professionally.
Be inspired by the successful members of the gay community; real men and women. Read about the challenges they faced along the way, what helped to keep them going, and what it takes to make a small business, a life, a success.
This book illustrates the breadth and creativity of gays everywhere. It is a pioneering work and the success stories of inspirational gay role models from a wide variety of backgrounds should be made available in every library, every school. These are men and women you can aspire to but who have all shown just what it takes to become a role model – determination, courage and an unwavering desire to succeed.
“Never Blend In” brings you some amazing candidates all of whom have succeeded in very different ways. They each have inspiring stories to tell about their achievements and future ambitions, yet I noticed they all had one thing in common they were passionate about what they did.
So in reality gays are still struggling for acceptance and to reach the top of the ladder. However, I think for the gay who enters the celebrity arena or who decides to do his/her own thing – they no longer have to do it at the expense of their happiness- they can do things on their own terms. For many it will provide them with the work/ life balance that wasn’t available for them in the past. It’s vital we have gays in big business and we need more gays to be there. I think companies need to realise they can’t operate without gays. But they do need to provide the very thing we all tend to take for granted – the basic right of being given the same opportunities and earning power as str8 men. We are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, lovers, friends. We are like you.
DR JOHN R. SHAFER, Director of the Counseling Center and Professor at Franklin College of Indiana, President, Shafer Consulting Services
The book NEVER BLEND IN is a provocative look into the lives of successful people who live in a world where the odds are stacked against us. It is important to give hope to the younger generation with diverse sexual orientations to see that we can be happy, healthy, and successful players in this game we call life. I hope by telling my story in this book, I can, in some small way, make life easier for those who march to the beat of a different drum. I am a rebel with a cause…you can either march with me, or step out of my way.
I am excited to order several copies of your book and share them with friends and family as gifts. Any idea when it might be published? I may try to use it with one of my classes that I teach at my college on the psychology of diversity.
I am excited about using your book in several ways…in my college classes…my volunteer work with The Indianapolis Youth Group…a support group for GLBTQ kids…many of whom have attempted suicide…and with patients in my private practice.
Gladeana McMahon, As one of the leading personal development and transformational coaches in the UK, Gladeana was instrumental in founding the Association for Coachingfor which she now holds the positions of Life Fellow and Vice President. She is also a Fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, The Institute of Management Studies and The Royal Society of Arts. Gladeana is widely published with some 17 popular and academic books on Coaching and Counselling.
The Book that David Watters is proposing is long overdue as there is little written on the topic of LGBT issues. Positive role models are important to individuals whether they be LGBT individuals talking about their experiences or the family and friends of such individuals who can model acceptance and positive affirmation. Therapists are likely to be interested in such a book in a bid to understand the specific needs of those who identify as LGBT considering the best ways to work with such individuals and/or their families. Academics are likely to find the book useful in considering issues around diversity and, of course, the general public will also benefit as a book of this sort educates the reader. This book will also help LGBT individuals to understand their situation and consider how to develop a deep and meaningful sense of self-worth. It will also help such individuals understand how best to help those around them to understand their situation as much as it will educate family and friends.
NEVER BLEND IN, and the efforts of writer David Watters, is a brilliant collection and resource of openly LGBT and successful role models across the globe. The value to all, especially for the younger generation, is paramount. The presentation of individuals who are successful, determined, active and visible in our communities will undoubtedly inspire all who read this collection, to do better, become a better person, and strive for greatness in their lives and that of others.
The LGBT community has often been portrayed in a less than favorable light – NEVER BLEND IN rips that inaccurate veil off, and offers a face and portrait of today’s LGBT community, its leaders, history, accomplishments and potential.
– Herb Sosa, Editor|Publisher – Ambiente Magazine
President – Unity Coalition|Coalicion Unida
Can you tell me why this book is important?
People in the GLBT community come in all walks of life from all around the world. This book demonstrates the GLBT community is becoming more visible and will continue to live and grow in society. We will not turn our backs or run away from making our world brighter for many generations in the GLBT to come.
Who might buy it?
This is an outstanding book for ALL people, not just for the GLBT folks. It’s a great way to get a personal view of each person within these pages and see how they live and handle issues common in the GLBT community. We exist in all occupations and are a part of regular society, so what better way to get to know us and see for yourself that we aren’t as different as some would like to think.
What difference it might make?
It will show other GLBT folks that you can go into any profession you desire and not be ashamed of following your dreams because of your sexuality. Also, it has the ability to open the eyes for those who are not too familiar with the GLBT community and see firsthand that we can all live together harmoniously doing what is right for each of us.
This book could simply be the difference between life and death to someone coming to terms with their sexuality. At it’s most basic level it’s a chronological record of how society has used and abused the LGB community throughout the years. Yet it has so much more to offer, the genuine highs and lows which could be an inspiration to anyone struggling to come to terms with themselves, be it chronic illness or sexuality.
Being able to use role models and have them as blueprints of what our lives may produce is a great gift. Having extraordinary individuals who may be recognized by their celebrity status or inspiring lives of ordinary people who could not simply blend in exposed on the pages of this work is a valuable tool, mainly to those of young age. I do believe that anyone who looks for inspiring life experiences as well as educators and parents could benefit from this book by realizing that each of us possess unmeasurable potential to flourish to the best of our abilities when not undermined by prejudices.
“The biggest misconception I had in my youth was that everyone thought like me, success comes in many flavors”
James Michael McCracken
That one chap in a secluded town or a bloke living in the midst of a megacity who feels different from everyone around him and one day he stumbles upon a book that he can’t put down, that’s who could benefit
John Allen Bethea