Cover Image: The 2000s Made Me Gay

The 2000s Made Me Gay

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed the nostalgia from this collection of essays. I think the best audience is millennials, but one doesn't necessary have to identify as gay or queer to enjoy this read. This collection reminded me of Tumblr in my high school years. It was a place where people were able to find some solace or connection over fandoms, pop culture. Especially for identities that may not have been fully accepted at the time or accepted by themselves even (relatable). The coming to age nature of accepting/exploring your identity is really special, and I'm just glad something like this exists -- lighthearted, but valuable, humorous and not taking themselves too seriously. It's a fun read of re-experiencing some similar memories, and I really enjoyed reading it.
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I loved this! It was fun and nostalgic. I loved all the 2000s references and it really reminded me of my childhood/teenage years. Really enjoyed :)
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SO FUNNY. This book is amazing. It’s been a long time since I read such a good collection of essays. It portrayed exactly how it was to grow up in the 2000s. Loved it!
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A great book of essays! I enjoyed Perry’s direct, funny writing style. I was also intrigued by the insights she drew about being gay from 2000s popular culture—from the more obvious (Dumbledore) to the more original (banter boy).
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Good read. I should have read the description more closely because the title made me think this would be much more pop-culture oriented. But still interesting.
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Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.

I was not blown away by this book of essays but enjoyed the nostalgic value. 3.5 stars.
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This is a funny and relatable memoir, particularly for millennial's. It was well-written and entertaining. Would recommend!
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"The 2000s Made Me Gay" is a unique collection of essays intertwining the memoirs of Grace Perry with applications of queer theory to mainstream 2000s pop culture. Perry is eloquent, but this book taught me that I'm straighter or perhaps a lot more demisexual than I realized, making it clear that this book was not for me.

Although it was hard for me to relate to the content of this book beyond Perry's pop culture analyses, I thoroughly enjoyed the Chicago references down to the "Lincoln Park Zoo summer camp" tee.
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This book is personal and insightful and I applaud Perry for putting it all out there. It's not often one reads such an honest history of the difficulties of realizing one's sexuality in a family/culture that doesn't really support anything 'outside the norm.'
However, I was expecting some more discussions about pop culture than what is actually included. It's entirely on me for not reading exactly what the book was about, but I let the fact that pop culture is so prominent in the title lead me to believe that it would be a bit more important to the essays. It does play a part, but it's more about the events in Perry's life and relating them (in hindsight) to significant pop culture elements than it is about pop culture itself. 
Still insightful, personal, and enlightening, but just not exactly what was advertised.

Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Griffin for the read!
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This is the absolute best pop culture essay collection that I’ve read in ages. It’s not even close. 

If you came of age in the early 2000s, Perry’s essays are an exceptionally observant and hilarious nostalgia trip, fraught with wry observations, personal meaning, and some delightfully prosaic side eye. 

Perry hits on all the pop cultural high water marks of the era—Mean Girls, The OC, Fearless, The Office, just to name a few—giving us the good, the bad, and the ugly of what each one meant for all of us, and especially for the LQBTQ community. 

I found so much of what Perry mused on to be relatable even as a cis straight woman, and also found a lot of good lessons in allyship here. But it’s Perry’s observations on teenage awkwardness, early heartbreak,and the discovery of one’s true self that makes this book feel like a big warm hug (albeit one that also makes you scream-laugh even while reading it in public).

As a fellow runner, I especially loved Perry’s writing on the cult of cross country and the rest of the weirdness that is high school and college racing. 

Mostly though, reading this just made me happy. 

Oh...and what a GREAT cover!
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Reading this collection of essays was particularly poignant for me. Grace and I are contemporaries - I think I'm a few years older - and so many of the things she discusses in her book really resonated with me. I was also a brand new adult in the 2000s when I first had a crush on a girl. At the time, there were precious few pop culture resources  to reference - the only I knew were Will & Grace and the L Word. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way saying that folks today "have it easy." It wasn't until a SCOTUS case in 2020 that LGBT folks were safe from being fired for being gay in all 50 states and it wasn't until 2017 that same-sex parent adoption was legal in all 50 states.  But I do think it's wonderful that "kids these days" have so many different and nuanced representations to references. 

Beyond being a thoughtful and meaningful discussion of gay representation, pop culture, and the journey of identity, this collection of essays is so incredibly well written. Grace Perry has written for The Onion, Reductress, Buzzfeed, and a bunch of other publications, so her writing is super accessible. If you're someone who shies away from nonfiction or memoir, or if the "essays" in the title made you sweat, never fear - you will binge this book hard. She's also just really fucking funny. And there's just an extra special nostalgia boost to reading about pop culture moments from the past.

Regardless of your age or orientation, I highly recommend checking out this collection of essays. Thank you so much to NetGalley, St. Martin Press, and the author for early access to this book in exchange for my honest review.
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I had high hopes for The 2000s Made Me Gay but some of the chapters felt a little too slow and unfocused for me. When reading someone's personal story, it's always a risk that you won't actually connect with the writer, and I think that's what happened for me. Ultimately, not the fault of the writer but I am just not the right reader for this book. 

3/5 Stars

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, Griffin for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Out of the gate, this book hit me right in the feels. I’m a bisexual born in the Midwest one year earlier than the author and I’ve binged Grey’s Anatomy as an adult AND have an older brother with brain cancer. I, too, had a male best friend in high school and we came out to each other sophomore year in college. (Are grace & I the same person?) This entire book was pure nostalgia for me. I absolutely loved it. It’s one of those books you don’t need to zoom through, either (even though I did). It’d be a nice nightstand book- falling back into a classic 00’s MTV show for 20mins before bed. But, as simple as this flashback concept is, there’s some real depth to this book as Perry reflects on the progress we saw & felt in the early 2000’s while acknowledging what lacked and how far we had to go. I’d basically recommend this book to all my college friends, anyone who came “of age” in the late 90’s & early 00’s, pop culture fans of the same era, and any queers and ally’s. It’s a beautiful, quick, funny, intimate book.
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In The 2000s Made Me Gay, Grace Perry explores 2000s youth pop-culture while discussing her own experience discovering her queerness in the context of the heteronormative clusterf*** that was the early aughts. Also explored: the big shifts in LGBTQIA+ rights, culture, and media portrayal over the last 20ish years.  

Pop culture explored in this book include Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl," Disney Channel movies, The Real World, Lindsay Lohan, The O.C., the L Word, Harry Potter, Glee, Taylor Swift, and so on.  But Perry's essays on these topics aren't just about the content of the pop culture itself.  Rather, Perry is talking about a time in which celebrities were pushed to make public statements (and media campaigns) to come out, internalized homophobia, and the impact of lack of representation on identity development. 

Perry is a few years younger than me (she was born in 89, me in 85) and most of the pop culture conversation here centers around television.  Though Perry and I probably could have shared an iPod based on her music references, I was very much of the Dawson's Creek generation, and spent most of my college years and early 20s either abroad or without a TV, so there were whole essays where I missed the references (and now I'm thinking that maybe I should binge-watch the OC?)

Even though not every reference hit for me, the commentary was funny, thoughtful, informative, and thought-provoking.
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Ah. The early aughts. I was in high school, wearing the “cool” clothes purchased from a secondary retailer, and still wasn’t cool. The shows I never missed were The X-Files, JAG, and SVU, and my music tastes were as varied as they were trash. We had dial up internet, and everything changed in 2001 during my sophomore year of college.

This book is full of memories for me, and so many things hit right on point now that I look at my history through a revisionist perspective. These essays cover everything from Buffy to The L Word and now that I know I’m queer, a lot of what the author talks about, I felt but didn’t have context, language, or understanding to reflect inward and figure things out. This book of essays brought back a lot of fond (and some cringeworthy memories) and it made me look at my past through a revisionist lens. I gotta say, SO MANY THINGS make sense now.

It was a fun trip down memory lane. I even laughed out loud a couple of times while reading at work. I wonder what my coworker thought when I left it up on the screen a few times to run to the back. It’s out tomorrow if you wanna trek down memory lane and have some laughs as well as community with someone who understands your pop culture references.
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Review: The 2000s Made Me Gay
Hilarious and thoughtful debut from Grace Perry
Grace Perry doesn’t actually think the 2000s made her gay; but the title was a lot shorter and potentially more relatable than “The 2000s Are to Blame for the Specific Kind of Gay Person I Am Today,” an alternative Perry mentions in the book’s introduction.
A witty and intriguing debut, Perry’s essay collection, The 2000s Made Me Gay, is more than meets the eye. At a glance, it seems to be a farcical look at early aughts pop culture and the queer representation – or lack thereof – it possessed. But a further dive into the essays collected in this book reveals a critical examination of the popular culture that many millenials grew up with, recognizing and identifying problematic themes as well as explaining potential reasoning for these themes.
Perry goes further, though, recognizing that although we can – and have – moved away from these problematic representations, we can also appreciate them for what they meant to us at the time and why we have so much nostalgia for them. Instead of completely disregarding our past, Perry allows for the consideration of remembering the time fondly while also seeing it through a critical lens of better representation for the LGBTQ+ community.
Split into twelve essays, Perry covers many of the most nostalgic parts of millennial teen culture: the Harry Potter series, Mean Girls, Katy Perry’s I Kissed a Girl, Disney Channel, Gossip Girl, and Taylor Swift all feature in this wonderful, perceptive, and captivating look at how the aughts shaped the millennial generation.
So, maybe the 2000s didn’t actually make anyone gay, but they certainly defined what it meant to be a teenager at the start of this century.
St. Martin’s Griffin // 256 pages // Essay, Memoir, LGBTQ+
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In the days of yore, when I was a teenager, being out of the closet was still a wary place to be. There weren't nearly as many gay role models, organizations, or allies. (There still aren't enough, but that's a gripe for another time and place.) Grace Perry had to search for queerness in the margins, for Katy Perry and Lindsay Lohan to guide her into the ambiguity of sexuality - and look for herself in an era of pop culture that certainly didn't cater to a diverse audience. With equal parts joy and horror, this is a nostalgia packed bunch of essays that will greet you like a warm, slightly uncomfortable hug, and bring to light just how heteronormative your teen years were... and just how short a time period its been since then. 

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for advance access to this title!
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Grace does an amazing job reviewing the pop culture through the 2000s and how It affected millennials growing up with that context as their only representation. Being just a couple of years younger than Grace I related to so much for the topics she brought up! 
I laughed out loud and was like “yesss” through much of it! I loved this book!
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This book was quirky and funny. Unfortunately I am not old enough to understand all of the references so those parts dragged for me, but if I was the age of this author and could relate this book would definitely be 5/5.
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“Perhaps, thinking of pop culture as escapism isn’t the right framing at all. Maybe it’s actually vacationism, or retreatism, or getting – the – fuck – away – for – a – whileism. And like most getaways , we usually bring some kind of souvenir back with us.”

I felt equal parts called out and validated by this book and really, that’s all you need to know to pick it up. If you grew up smack dab in the middle of the height of popular culture—the early 2000s—chances are, you can at least relate to half of the essays in this book. If you’re also part of the LGBTQIAP+ community and only realised in hindsight that the way you thought about Serena van der Woodsen wasn’t because you wanted to be her but because you wanted to be with her, then I can guarantee that this collection will become your gay bible. Grace Perry discusses pop culture that shaped us every step of our tweenhood, from Mean Girls and Harry Potter to Disney Channel Original movies and anthems like I Kissed a Girl and doesn’t hold back when it comes to eliciting just how frighteningly damaging some representations have been in her journey to coming out as gay.

Perry is blunt and funny in her examination of the early 2000s gay heroes—it’s equally nostalgic and uplifting to reminisce about the gay heroes we created back in the day before casual queerness and actual on-screen representation became more regular (still not enough, but we’re getting there!). From dissecting Lindsay Lohan’s “fall from grace” and the media’s lesbophobia (as well as Lohan’s later dismissal of her wlw relationship) to the very difficult topic of Harry Potter, its transphobic creator and the queerbaiting of releasing the news about Albus Dumbledore being queer without any hints in the actual novels, this book sure knows how to pack a punch, expose stereotypes and highlight how much we are influenced by depictions of queer characters, especially by those that aren’t all too positive.

Though I have my favourites from these essays, the ones that really stuck with me were those that highlighted how much internalised homophobia is a systemic issue. Detailing the queerbaiting that went on with the release of Katy Perry’s earth-shaking I Kissed a Girl made me remember my own youth and how I used to scream those lyrics way before realising I was part of the LGBTQIAP+ community. Similarly, it was incredibly enlightening to read Perry’s analysis of Mean Girls, a movie that has become a classic and remains iconic with its witty humour, and realise that a lot of movies that shaped who we are actually had some of the worst representation of gay characters. Perry also addresses the way in which teens infused these narratives with queer subtext to feel seen and boy, if that didn’t hit home.

Beyond the analysis of texts Perry offers, I also really loved the tidbits we got about her own journey because they read so similar to my own—and probably a bunch of other millennials’—experience. Perry’s move from someone who dresses as a tomboy to someone who kisses her girl friends but is totally not gay, to someone who supports the LGBTQIAP+ community but totes isn’t part of it herself, to discovering her own identity…it was a rollercoaster that I’m sure many can relate to.

All in all, I strongly urge every millennial (or human being who still uses pop culture references from the 2000s—you are the backbone of society, my friends) that wants to reminisce about their 2000s experience to pick up this book—Grace Perry’s collection of essays is equal parts reflective and a call to do better in the representation of the LGBTQIAP+ community. A timely piece of literature that you won’t want to miss out on!
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