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Coffeetown Press Releases One Gay American: a Coming-of-Age Memoir by Dennis Milam Bensie
One Gay American is a memoir by theatrical wigmaker Dennis Milam Bensie about growing up gay in small-town America., 9/06/2012 - Seattle, WA.—Coffeetown Press is delighted to announce the release of One Gay American ($13.95, 242 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-153-8), a memoir by theatrical wigmaker Dennis Milam Bensie about growing up gay in small-town America.

The Advocate voted Bensie’s first memoir, Shorn: Toys to Men, “One of the Best Overlooked Books of 2011.” The New York Journal of Books called Shorn: “Bracingly honest.” The Library Journal recommended it as “particularly topical in these days of bullying stories and gay teens committing suicide.”

Dennis Milam Bensie is One Gay American. Born in the 1960s and raised with traditional values in Robinson, Illinois, Bensie desperately wanted romance, a beautiful wedding, and a baby to carry on the family name. He denied his sexuality and married a woman at nineteen years old, but fantasized of weddings where he could be the bride. The newlyweds “adopted” a Cabbage Patch Doll and ironically witnessed a Cabbage Patch Doll wedding (a successful fundraiser staged by a local women’s club) where the dolls were granted the type of grand ceremony off-limits to gay couples.

In search of his identity as a gay man, Bensie divorced his wife and stumbled through missteps and lessons that still sting his generation: defending against bullies, “disappointing” his parents, and looking for love in gay bars, bath houses and restrooms. He helped his straight friends plan their dream weddings and mourned his gay friends dying of AIDS. Although true love has not yet come his way, Bensie has learned to love himself.

One Gay American draws parallels to gay history, decade by decade, with newspaper headlines and quotations. Bensie is the gay neighbor that you either love or hate. Either way, he’s got a lot to say and says it with no apologies.

Says Bensie, “I never thought of myself as a gay activist, but I have been inspired in the last ten years by the gains made for the civil rights of the LGBT community. The media continues to open the closet door wider and wider. Diversity has become more celebrated in America, but there is still a long ways to go. The media also reminds us that some gay kids are being pushed to take their own lives ... just like I wanted to do thirty years ago. I wrote One Gay American for all the kids who may get confused and lost in the rhetoric of the anti-gay politics (especially this election year). Many of them will relate to my story. They must stay strong and keep building the LGBT legacy.”

Dennis Milam Bensie grew up in Robinson, Illinois. He holds a degree in Theater Costume Design from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and completed an apprenticeship in theatrical wig construction at Los Angeles Opera. Bensie was the Wardrobe and Wig Master at Intiman Theatre in Seattle for twenty seasons. You can find Bensie on the Web at

One Gay American is available in e-book and paperback editions at select Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores as well as,,, and Amazon Japan. Bookstores and libraries can order through Ingram or Baker & Taylor or by contacting Libraries can also order through Midwest Library Service or Follett Library Resources.

ABOUT Coffeetown Press—Based in Seattle, Washington, Coffeetown Press has been publishing the finest fiction and nonfiction since 2005.

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