Tomorrow, Nov. 10th, I have my first book reading and signing of ON BEING A GAY PARENT! Since the first time I talked openly, and publicly, about being a gay dad at the SOLO Conference at Kanuga Retreat Center (Labor Day Weekend 2007), a group largely composed of "non-coupled" women and men, I have had other opportunities to talk about being a gay dad. I'll call these other speaking engagements and opportunities, "warm-up acts." After all, I was a thespian in high school, and always will be in life.
But reading from the book ON BEING A GAY PARENT, in a context in which I have little to no control of who will be in the audience is a little bit more daunting, yet I am up for the challenge...and the ride on the roller coaster. The roller coaster is the "ups and downs" that I experience when no one is around me, wondering "What have I just done?" in writing the book and having it published for the world to read and know "our story" as a family. In my reading from various websites and blog sites, I have no illusions of how hostile some people will be in response to what I am promoting in this book: the normality of being a parent of two great children who just happens to be gay. These will be "down" moments. But I also have no illusions that there will be other interested, caring, and supportive folks who are glad to know that this book is finally out, and that I am finally "out" as a dad who happens to be gay. These will be the "up"moments.
For example, at the Durham Art Guild opening reception for area artists a few weeks ago, Dean and I met another dad who is gay who, upon hearing about my book, smiled broadly and said, "I've been looking for this book for a long time! Where have you been?" As another dad who is gay with three "teenage" children, he has gone into bookstores and libraries, but has never found a book that speaks to what it means to be a dad who is gay, or a mom who is a lesbian, without it being a social scientific text book or fictionalized novel, in which the names have been changed to protect every one's identity.
In order to keep a sense of balance, this is what I am remembering: In a sense, with the publication of this book I am inviting other dads and moms who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, along with family and friends, as well as those who are curious and anxious about being out themselves, to come and talk and listen to each other's stories in a new venue!
Here's my hope, and will be my line constantly in all my readings: what I am promoting is not gay parenting, or lesbian, bisexual or transgender parenting over or against something I'll call "straight parenting": what I want to promote is good parenting, regardless of one's sexual orientation. While some people in society will get over-heated because of the "gay" part of the title of the book, they simply need to read on in the book and understand that I am simply promoting being a parent, to the best of our abilities--which changes constantly, depending on the circumstances, both ours and our children! Our being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender comes in "second" if not further back in the list of priorities when one is actively engaged in the art and act of parenting, which is our primary duty and joy as parents, no matter how young or old our children are. When one of our children are sick, in trouble, in over their heads with relationship "issues", feeling sad and depressed, needing a cheer-leader at a sports event, a happy audience member at a school play, consciousness of one's sexual orientation does not necessarily come to mind as a parent, but being a caring and proud parent does. Once they were born, I am, forever more, Adrianne and Parker's dad...and Dean is forever more their gay "nanny." And of this fact and truth, I am happy!
An open invitation: whether you are an enthusiastic supporter of this book and the author, or have some problems with the premise of the book, please come to one of the book readings and signings, and let's have a healthy conversation during the question and answer periods! I look forward to seeing you tomorrow, and the days, weeks, and months to come!
The first reading is tomorrow, at 2 P.M., at Border's in Chapel Hill, NC, just off of Hwy. 15-501! See you there and then!
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