Dead Boys Can't Dance is a ground-breaking exploration of the double taboos of homosexuality and suicide and their effect on males from fourteen to twenty-five. North American society has been reluctant to recognize that there is a link between the social stigmatization of homosexuality and the high level of suicide attempts by adolescent boys who are homosexual or are identified as homosexual by their peers. By examining first-person accounts from teenage boys and young men, Michel Dorais and Simon Lajeunesse shed light on why some of them attempt to take their own lives.
Dorais and Lajeunesse analyse the adverse ways being stigmatized as homosexual affects personality and behaviour, discerning four types of reaction: the 'perfect boy,' whose perfectionism and asexuality are an attempt to minimize the difference between how he is perceived and what he is supposed to be; the 'chameleon,' who attempts to keep everyone from suspecting his secret but constantly feels like an impostor; the 'token fag,' who serves as a scapegoat to his peers, especially at school, and suffers a consequent rejection and lack of self-esteem; and the 'rebel,' who actively rejects any stigma based on his sexual orientation and non-conformity. They show that those who are heterosexual but suspected of being homosexual are most at risk of suicide and make recommendations for suicide prevention.
--- from the publisher
"This book should be part of every high school's curriculum! The book
proves, if more proof were needed, that homophobia is a serious social
problem and that we must act if we are to save young lives." Voir [translation]
"This book shows that the social evil of suicide cannot be reduced to individual psychology. Drawing on interviews, Durkheim's approach to suicide, which takes into account the individual's degree of social integration, and Erving Goffman's concept of stigmatization, Dorais and Lajeunesse propose an insightful typology of young homosexuals. Their call for preventive measures sounds an urgent alarm that deserves to be heard." Louis Cornellier, Le Devoir [translation]