Although homosexuals are more visible and accepted in North American society than ever before, homophobia still takes an alarming toll on gay individuals. Gay male adolescents continue to run away from home, abuse drugs, turn to prostitution and attempt suicide in staggering numbers. And mature gay men with fulfilling jobs and comfortable homes still battle for self-esteem, discouraged again and again by negative attitudes and discriminatory acts. Looking at these statistics and his own experience of coming out -- as a middle-aged husband and father of two -- Calgary psychologist Kevin Alderson found himself wondering why some gay men manage to construct overwhelmingly positive self-images while so many others never overcome low self-esteem, or in some cases outright self-hatred.
About the author
Kevin Alderson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Calgary in 1978, followed by a Masters degree in clinical, school and community psychology in 1984. Before commencing doctoral studies, Dr. Alderson married, had two children, and then experienced his own coming out in 1993. The intensity of his struggle to find himself and become authentic was both tumultuous and exhilarating. Motivated by his desire to further understand his experience and that of others, he began a PhD program in counselling psychology at the University of Alberta in 1995. While there, he worked with persons who are HIV-positive and with others experiencing sexual and gender identity issues.