Straight From The Heart
Straight From The Heart
When they met, Rod Jackson was a topflight model and Bob Paris was a pro bodybuilder, soon to be crowned "Mr. Universe." Remarkably handsome and personable, they had much in common: both stood poised on the threshold of super-fame; both yearned for an enduring romantic relationship...and both were gay.
Rod Jackson and Bob Paris fell head over heels in love. STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART is their story, told in their own words. It is the first book to chronicle how two gay men not only came out of the closet, but came to grips with their love---the love that traditionally "dares not speak its name." Bob and Rod went one step further; they "dared" to speak its name, loudly, clearly, and courageously when they were married in a Unitarian service in 1989.
In this inspiring dual memoir, both men movingly recall growing up gay in a frequently homophobic society. Again, their lives resonate with uncanny similarities: both were raised in the rural midwest by abusive alcoholic fathers; as gay teenagers, both faced fear and loneliness while struggling to accept their sexuality...and both cam of age with dignity.
At first, Bob and Rod weathered the everyday problems that besiege any couple, but the need to live a lie---then a fact of gay life---threatened to undermine their relationship.
With characteristic candor, they tell how an unscup0ulous reporter outed one of them...how that incident led them to come out jointly at risk of professional ruin and personal ostracism...how they had to circumvent rampant bias simply to find a church and a minister who would wed them...how their wedding catapulted them into the midst of a sensational media storm...how friends and family reacted; who were the genuine well-wishers; who offered blessings, then never came to the wedding.
With admirable honesty they reveal what it is like to be involved in a gay relationship and marriage: their day-to-day struggles and joys...how they face the pressure of social intolerance, including the painful reality of parental denial...and how the entire experience has transformed them from closeted physical fitness icons into outspoken, tireless advocates for gay rights.
Today, Bob and Rod lecture on gay rights issues in numerous college and media appearances, and their video for young gays and lesbians has been distributed to high school guidance counselors nationwide. Despite some closed doors, they are still active in fitness, and Bob's two books on the subject, BEYOND BUILT and FLAWLESS, have been highly successful. The couple are also featured in "duo" a bestselling photo essay.
An important addition to the existing literature on love and marriage, STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART will inspire all gay people who seek stable, loving, and affirmative relationships.