HCPL’s Celebrity Reader: Gay Bell discusses Inside Out by Mark Tewksbury

gay bellMark Tewksbury’s Inside Out: Straight Talk from a Gay Jock is an autobiography of a swimmer who is a three-time Olympic medalist, a seven-time world record holder and member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

I wasn’t sure at first if I’d like the book at first. I thought the details of male-to-male sexuality were going to be a bit much! However, once he started describing how he was bullied at school because of it, I was compelled to read on. He tells how the bullies affected him and how he problem solved by seeking out allies.

inside outMark has a good memory for the details of his extraordinary life and an ability to articulate the contradictions. For example, after he won the Olympic gold he made his living as a speaker for corporations. However, he always had to sign a contract that he wouldn’t put the corporation in an embarrassing position which made him fearful of coming out as a gay man. After he lost a speaking contract, he found other work on CTV’s Canada AM and did a lot of organizing with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and for Montreal Gay Games.

Gay people wanting to know about our history might be interested in this book. So might relatives of a gay man; those who’d like to be an ally of a queer person as well as people who take an interest in the politics of the IOC and the Federation of Gay Games.

Pride Week is happening in Peterborough from Sept. 12 to 19th. This year’s theme is sports. On Saturday the 19th everyone is welcome at the Pre-Parade Brunch at 11am hosted by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). It will be held at George Street United Church, 534 George St North in Peterborough. The Parade starts across the street at City Hall at 1:30 pm and goes to Millennium Park from 3-6pm with youth activities, food, a beer garden, DJ music and info booths.

Gay Bell is Chair of County Swimming Pool Initiative, a committee working towards getting a Recreation Centre and Indoor Pool for the residents of Haliburton County.

*Originally published on September 8th, 2015 in the Haliburton Echo.

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