Entertainment » Books

Street Dreams

by Emelina Minero
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Mar 5, 2012
Street Dreams

I was 19, home from college during winter break and sitting on my bedroom floor, terrified and crying. I was calling friend after friend, trying to get the courage to come out to my family.

When I heard my siblings say they were going to leave to meet up with their friends, I knew my window of opportunity to come out to my whole family was closing. I stood up, opened my bedroom door, my face stained with tears, and I walked into the kitchen. My idea of coming out with celebratory rainbow cake, confetti and balloons didn't happen as planned. Instead, I was frozen with fear and shame, crying with my head down and I barely choked out, "I'm a lesbian."

Coming out can be a terrifying experience. Will we be disowned or treated differently? Will we lose friends? When you've been in the closet for however long, you build this growing fear that opening yourself up to others will harm you.

"I'm gay." It sounds so simple, yet it's difficult to say when you're first coming out.

"Street Dreams" by Tama Wise captures that deep-rooted fear associated with coming out, but it not only highlights the fear; it also highlights the journey that Tyson took to reach self-acceptance.

Wise takes us into the mind of Tyson, an 18-year-old Maori in South Auckland, New Zealand as he explores his identity: his Maori identity, his self-imposed identity as man of the house, his identity in relation to poverty, his identity relating to street hip hop culture and his identity revolving around his sexuality.

At its core, "Street Dreams" is about overcoming and not playing victim to our circumstances. It explores the theme of dreams and desires and we watch Tyson realize his dreams and act on his desires.

Making yourself vulnerable and opening yourself up to others isn't always easy, but it's what Tyson needs to do to not only gain acceptance from others, but to also gain acceptance from himself.

"Street Dreams" is a great coming out and coming of age story that I would not only recommend to gay men struggling with coming out, but also to anyone who wants to live a life without fear and shame.

Street Dreams
Tama Wise
Bold Stroke Books, Inc., 2012
$13.95

Emelina Minero writes for Curve Magazine. She also runs two online communities: Community Bucket List, which helps people to achieve their goals and live their passions and the Love Warrior Community, which helps people to cultivate self-love and body acceptance.


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