“Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter: Growing Up With a Gay Dad,” by Allison Wearing is an excellent autobiographical book that offers an insider’s view into what it was like for the author to learn that her father was gay when she was in early adolescence, and how she wrestled with this fact through her mid-20s.
The book is well-written, and quite humorous at times, without making light of the struggle each family member went through as they came to terms with the father’s homosexuality. Wearing presents the story from her view point, recollecting her earliest memories through to age 50. She then, quite valuably, presents her father’s perspective using entries from his own journals, letters, and newspaper articles. These submissions, written during the early 1970s, would have been written by the father in his early 40s when he had accepted his sexual orientation, came to term with the consequences, and was living as an openly gay man for the first time. The author concludes the book by including a short section that offers her mother’s perspective.
The book illustrates how we can simultaneously hold conflicting perspectives about a situation: compassion for the author, compassion for her father, and compassion for her mother. The book offers a valuable lesson in perspective-taking. I recommend it to my clients exploring this concept, with the topic of sexual orientation as the story behind the perspective-taking exercise.
I also recommend the book to clients who are exploring their own, or a family member’s, sexual orientation because it offers a rare behind-the-scenes introduction to the history of “coming out” in Canada, and what the world was like in Toronto, Ontario for gay men in the early 1980s. It offers a compassionate biographical perspective for what was entailed in coming to terms and ultimately accepting one’s sexual orientation as a homosexual male.
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Dr. Patricia Turner, Registered Psychologist, Calgary, Alberta