The Non-Nonsense Guide to Sexual Diversity

Title: The Non-Nonsense Guide to Sexual Diversity 2nd Edition
Author: Vanessa Baird
Publisher: New Internationalist, Toronto
Year: 2007
Available from: Amazon.Com and

The queer world can be a very complex, strange world for straight people, as well as for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identified people who do not have many connections in the queer community. Vanessa Baird’s guide is also a good reference for queers who are very familiar with the diversity in the community.

A few areas covered in the guide include the following:

• Discussion of sexual diversity and the queer rights movement in numerous countries of the world. Urbanization has helped queer people in some developing countries feel they can be a little more open.

• Queer history in major world cultures and societies. Queer history tends to be concealed, so people need to dig to find queer history. A thumb-nail sketch of queer history includes Greek and Roman periods, Islam, native American peoples, Africa, and Asia.

• Western roots of homophobia are traced to fourth century when homosexuality was made illegal and declared a sin. How same-gender sexual activities were treated over centuries, and around world are described. At times, queer people have been persecuted as a threat to countries, imprisoned, sent to death camps, and executed.

• Family and more national levels of political trends impacting on queer people are described.

• The views on sexual minorities held by the major world religions.

• Possible scientific explanations of sexual orientation and different attempts to “cure” homosexuality are provided.

• Trans-identified and intersex people may be the least understood of all sexual minorities. The trans and intersex chapter could be one of the most important chapters.

The Non-Nonsense Guide to Sexual Diversity is a short book. The book has under 160 pages, including the appendix and the bibliography. A short book is more likely to be read, because the size of the book does not intimidate people. The beauty of this book is how much information is provided in so few pages.

The book will make a good Christmas or birthday gift for a young queer person, a person who is coming out, and a person who has a queer family member. Teachers, social workers, counsellors, psychologists, nurses, and physicians may find the book is a very handy resource.