High-Risk Homosexual—A Memoir By Edgar Gomez, 304 pgs.

Jan 21, 2022

The title of Edgar Gomez’s first book and memoir High-Risk Homosexual comes from an exchange he had with a doctor from whom he was trying to get a prescription for an HIV-preventative drug. It begins at ground level and ends up encompassing a wide, wide view, of the national—maybe global—gay community.

Gomez portrays the gay man’s obligation to the larger community as something of a metronomic throb. Same with the poverty he has experienced in his life—it’s just always there, pulsing, though much more unpleasantly. Poverty isn’t the focus in High-Risk Homosexual, but Gomez embeds it in your mind more firmly than does any other writer I’ve read recently, and I hope he makes it a focus in the future (as poverty makes itself a focus).

In this memoir, Gomez’s focus is his life as a gay boy, then man, of Nicaraguan descent. A chapter takes place in Nicaragua. His sexual awakening and exploration isn’t particularly unique or eye-opening—it has a young-adult-genre quality, except for how sexually explicit it is.

Gomez is from Orlando, and a gay writer from Orlando is going to explore the 2016 mass killing at the city’s Pulse nightclub. Gomez does so, quite authoritatively, including examining the killer’s background at length—he finds his and the killer’s lives are more similar than the reader might have guessed. –Jim Woster (Soft Skull, softskull.com)

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