Shawn Thomas Wing
"Unashamed (Coming Out Of The Second Closet) Book Review
(Coming Out Of The Second Closet)”
Author: Shawn Aaron Thomas
Ninety-seven pages with Foreword, Afterword, and Author biography
Review by: Len Rogers StoneWall Society
Many will find “Unashamed” a challenging book, and rightfully so. The author, Shawn Thomas throws his second closet door as he self-describes, wide open. Literally bearing his being, beliefs, and life to all. In that, I feel he opened more than one closet door actually. However, for the sake of focus Shawn has compiled a lot of complex issues into one closet. As Shawn himself says “I bet it is crowded in there.”
This is a thinking person’s book. By that I mean the reader as well as the author. If your goal is to learn and broaden your vision, “Unashamed” is a great place to start. Shawn indeed states theories and names which in many GLBT people invoke a strong negative response. Be aware the reason for this is to gain knowledge of Shawn the person and his closet. Not to recruit, transform, or confuse. While the author does state clearly his beliefs, he does not condemn if you disagree. Nor does he seek to convert.
Shawn does seek to offer insight, and a strong belief that in our differences and diversity lie our true value and beauty. No attempt to shackle the mind or heart with guilt or compulsion to follow is present. By opening himself he shows by example the depth of complexity we all have within us. And even better in that, is his praise of being an individual not a “pawn” make us truly equal.
Many Biblical references are utilized to explain and support Shawn’s views and conclusions. Well after all he is a “Gay Christian”, so one would expect that. As an ex-seminarian and gay/political activist I found myself prone to some knee-jerk reactions. I should also state that I consider myself a recovered Catholic, which has its own set of closet doors. I soon realized the knee-jerks were from early programmed reactions I had been taught. Once that reason had settled upon me I was able to read with a more open mind. Exactly what the author wanted to achieve I believe.
Tackling religion, same-sex marriage, politics and social conceptions all in one well focused book is an achievement in itself. And Shawn does this with much skill. Again some will see only the combatant retort. Hopefully the thinking person will see the author’s real intent. Which I believe to utilize his own life to assist others in resolving personal issues with all topics tackled. Sure his opinions are there and supported. Without them the book would be meaningless. Great risk and courage were present in every word of “Unashamed”.
In part I was able to see the message because I know the man, the artist, and the Christian Shawn Thomas. Shawn and I are both aware we are on opposite sides of the coin in several areas. Yet over the years we have always been able to discuss not argue those points. Why? Simply put if I were asked to show an example of what I believe a Christian to be, I would with no hesitation show Shawn Thomas. He walks the walk and as well talks the talk. He is what he claims. And that is no easy task in any world especially today. As Brian K. Ladd states in the FOREWARD; “In short he is the real deal.” That is the best description of Shawn Thomas the man, artist and now I see author.
I cannot say I agree with everything Shawn states. That is not the point of “Unashamed”. The point is that once you open the first closet door, there are others. Many times I have talked with those recently out and they are just as distraught after as before. I have seen firsthand the discrimination Shawn faces from his own communities, GLBT and religious. I have always been in awe of Shawn’s gentle handling of such occurrences. Again a sign of his ability to demonstrate his beliefs.
For this reader, “Unashamed” is a guide to self acceptance, to accepting others and through that process attaining real equality. To others it will be many things. My hope as a reviewer, friend, and artist’s supporter is that many more see what I see. A man taking risks for the betterment of his fellow human. Not a book to lay aside or dream through. Be challenged, grow, accept, and yes even believe. Shawn has provided some excellent tools and in himself provided an example. Will you take up the challenge?
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