Nuanced and poignant, heartrending and funny, Michelle Theall's thoughtful memoir is a universal story about our quest for unconditional love from our parents, our children, and most importantly, from ourselves.Nuanced and poignant, heartrending and funny, Michelle Theall's thoughtful memoir is a universal story about our quest for unconditional love from our parents, our children, and most important, from ourselves. Even when society, friends, the legal system, and the Pope himself swing toward acceptance of the once unacceptable, Michelle Theall still waits for the one blessing that has always mattered to her the most: her mother's. Michelle grew up in the conservative Texas Bible Belt, bullied by her classmates and abandoned by her evangelical best friend before she'd ever even held a girl's hand. She was often at odds with her volatile, overly dramatic, and depressed mother, who had strict ideas about how girls should act. Yet they both clung tightly to their devout Catholic faith--the unifying grace that all but shattered their relationship when Michelle finally admitted she was gay. Years later at age forty-two, Michelle has made delicate peace with her mother and is living her life openly with her partner of ten years and their adopted son in the liberal haven of Boulder, Colorado. But when her four-year-old's Catholic school decides to expel all children of gay parents, Michelle tiptoes into a controversy that exposes her to long-buried shame, which leads to a public battle with the Church and a private one with her parents. In the end she realizes that in order to be a good mother, she may have to be a bad daughter. Michelle writes with wry wit and bald honesty about her life, seamlessly weaving her past and her present into a touching commentary on all the love, pain, and redemption that families inspire. Teaching the Cat to Sit makes us each reflect on our sense of humanity, our connection to religion, and our struggles to accept ourselves--and each other--as we are.
Author Helen Boyd is a happily married woman whose husband enjoys sharing her wardrobe - and she has written the first book on transgendered men to focus on their relationships. Traditionally known as cross-dressers, transvestites, or drag queens, men like Helen's husband are a diverse lot who don't always conform to stereotype. Helen addresses every imaginable question concerning the probable and improbable reasons for behavior that still baffle not only "mental health professionals" but the practitioners themselves; the taxonomy of the transgendered and the distinct but overlapping societies of each group; coming out; bisexuality, and homophobia.
In stunning essays written especially for this collection, twenty-nine noted gay writers recount their true coming out stories, intensely personal histories of that primal process by which men come to terms with their desire for other men. Here are accounts of revealing one's sexual identity to parents, siblings, friends, co-workers and, in one notable instance, to a stockbroker. Men tell of their first sexual encounters from their preteens to their thirties, with childhood friends who rejected or tenderly embraced them, with professors, with neighbors, with a Broadway star. These are poignant, sometimes unexpectedly funny tales of romance and heartbreak, repression and liberation, rape and first love defining moments that shaped their authors' lives. Arranged chronologically from Manhattan in the Forties to San Francisco in the Nineties, these essays ultimately form a documentary of changing social and sexual mores in the United States--a literary, biographical, sociological and historical tour de force.
Renowned litigator Roberta Kaplan knew from the beginning that it was the perfect case to bring down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer had been together as a couple, in sickness and in health, for more than forty years--enduring society's homophobia as well as Spyer's near total paralysis from multiple sclerosis. Although the couple was finally able to marry, when Spyer died the federal government refused to recognize their marriage, forcing Windsor to pay a huge estate tax bill.
In this gripping, definitive account of one of our nation's most significant civil rights victories--named a Ms. Magazine Top 10 Feminist Book of 2015 and a National Law Journal Top 10 Supreme Court Aficionado Book of 2015--Kaplan describes meeting Windsor and their journey together to defeat DOMA. She shares the behind-the-scenes highs and lows, the excitement and the worries, and provides intriguing insights into her historic argument before the Supreme Court. A critical and previously untold part of the narrative is Kaplan's own personal story, including her struggle for self-acceptance in order to create a loving family of her own.
Then Comes Marriage tells this quintessentially American story with honesty, humor, and heart. It is the momentous yet intimate account of a thrilling victory for equality under the law for all Americans, gay or straight.
In 1992, the voters of Colorado passed a ballot initiative amending the state constitution to prevent the state or any local government from adopting any law or policy that protected a person with a homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation from discrimination. This amendment was immediately challenged in the courts as a denial of equal protection of the laws under the United States Constitution. This litigation ultimately led to a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court invalidating the Colorado ballot initiative. Suzanne Goldberg, an attorney involved in the case from the beginning on behalf of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Lisa Keen, a journalist who covered the initiative campaign and litigation, tell the story of this case, providing an inside view of this complex and important litigation.
Starting with the background of the initiative, the authors tell us about the debates over strategy, the court proceedings, and the impact of each stage of the litigation on the parties involved. The authors explore the meaning of legal protection for gay people and the arguments for and against the Colorado initiative.
This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the development of civil rights protections for gay people and the evolution of what it means to be gay in contemporary American society and politics. In addition, it is a rich story well told, and will be of interest to the general reader and scholars working on issues of civil rights, majority-minority relations, and the meaning of equal rights in a democratic society.
Suzanne Goldberg is an attorney with the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. Lisa Keen is Senior Editor at the Washington Blade newspaper.
Out of Denial is the memoir of a closeted gay married man who grew up in the conformist Fifties and got stuck in a maze of denial. It shows the toll this takes on him and those he loves, his struggle to break free and his eventual recovery of a lost boy and submerged self. With frankness, humor and hope, this story celebrates the odyssey of coming out and the release of new energy for love, friendship, spirituality and creativity. From the Foreword: "Some people talk of the need to save their souls. My soul saved me. This book is the story of that rescue."
"Faeries," photographer Keri Pickett's latest project, welcomes us into a secluded community in the wooded Minnesota sanctuary of Kawashaway, home of the self-proclaimed "radical faeries," a name chosen by a group of mostly gay men to express pride and solidarity in their differences. Here, in this idyllic, remote setting, an annual retreat takes place: a week of camp fires, communal bonding, and gender bending.
Pickett's photographs span six years of these summer gatherings, at which people from across the country join together as friends and family. This group forms a circle of souls, individuals seeking to find their place in a culture that seems to prize individuality but frequently distrusts those who are different. As the book relates through interviews with participants of the gatherings, the faerie community provides for much more than a frolic in the woods. It has become a stabilizing support network--a new radical means of extended family.
Pickett's elegant black-and-white images are intimate records of the spiritual exploration and the unique closeness found far away from everyday life. Her photographs convey comfort and comedy, solace and joy, exuberance and contemplation. The surprising sight of men in drag against the backdrop of a forest lends the volume an unusual visual drama. She captures the poignant gesture of an embrace, the naturalness and beauty of naked bodies, and a gleefully chaotic abundance of fancy frocks. Through these details "Faeries" reveals the cautious and joyful evolution of a community with members across the United States.
An extended text, transcribed and edited from conversations with members of the faeries, accompanies thephotographs. In their own words, they discuss friendship, the process of coming out, magic, religion, and ritual. The voices speak of self-discovery, personal growth, and a sought-after sense of safety--themes gracefully and effectively echoed by Pickett's classically beautiful and often humorous photographs.
Colm Toibin knows the languages of the outsider, the secret keeper, the gay man or woman. He knows the covert and overt language of homosexuality in literature. In Love in a Dark Time, he also describes the solace of finding like-minded companions through reading.Toibin examines the life and work of some of the greatest and most influential writers of the past two centuries, figures whose homosexuality remained hidden or oblique for much of their lives, either by choice or necessity. The larger world couldn't know about their sexuality, but in their private lives, and in the spirit of their work, the laws of desire defined their expression.This is an intimate encounter with Mann, Baldwin, Bishop, and with the contemporary poets Thom Gunn and Mark Doty. Through their work, Toibin is able to come to terms with his own inner desires -- his interest in secret erotic energy, his admiration for courageous figures, and his abiding fascination with sadness and tragedy. Toibin looks both at writers forced to disguise their true experience on the page and at readers who find solace and sexual identity by reading between the lines.
Out of the Ordinary is a truly unique anthology, a groundbreaking collection of essays by the grown children of lesbian, gay, and transgender parents. Ranging from humorous to poignant, the essays touch on some of the most important and complicated issues facing them: dealing with a parent's sexuality while developing an identity of one's own; overcoming homophobia at school and at family or social gatherings; and defining the modern family. In a time when traditional family structure has undergone radical change, Out of the Ordinary is an important look at the meaning of love, family, and relationships, and will speak to anyone who has lived or is interested in non-traditional families.
With a foreword by Margarethe Cammermeyer, Ph.D., author of Serving in Silence, and a preface by columnist and author Dan Savage, Out of the Ordinary also includes a resource guide of organizations that offer support for the hundreds of thousands of gay, lesbian, and transgender parents and their children. As the demographic increases, this book becomes an invaluable tool for learning, understanding, and acceptance.