Every gay person dreams that when he or she comes out, parents will embrace them and ask how they can fight homophobia. For most gay people, that remains a dream. For a lucky few, it comes true.
Friends and Family: True Stories of Gay America's Straight Allies celebrates the lives and contributions of over 40 straight men, women and teenagers who do remarkable things in and for the gay community. From staid New England to the islands of Hawaii -- and every place in between -- many wonderful straight folks "get it." They have not received much fanfare, but their work is awe-inspiring. This is their book.
Quietly, confidently and heroically, they are affecting change in every area of American society, from religion, education and the military to the law, the Boy Scouts, AIDS, cyberspace and transgender issues. The book includes:
o The spiritual work of a rabbi in Ohio, a Mormon couple in Utah, and a Baptist minister in Alaska whose church was dis-fellowshipped, but whose congregation never lost faith.
o The self-professed North Carolina "redneck" who found his mission in life when his son died of AIDS, and a mom who reacted to her son's suicides by setting up a Web site to make sure no gay child ever felt alone again.
o A teacher who risked community censure by placing a gay-positive poster in her classroom, and an educator who got fired from his Christian school for supporting his gay son.
o An attorney who has argued the Hawaii marriage case because he sees it as a simple matter of justice.
o A 95-year-old woman who is the toast of Maine for her thousands of kinds acts, large and small.
o A 14-year-old Eagle Scout leading a national petition drive to get the Boy Scouts to change their anti-gay policies, and a 12-year-old girl who lobbies her Wisconsin legislators in support of her two moms.
o A mother whose gay son was tormented on a military base, and who took her outrage all the way up the chain of command to the Pentagon.
o The former police chief of Portland, Oregon, who marched for gay rights long before he knew his daughter was a lesbian.
o Two North Carolina grandmothers who battled their homophobic senator, Jesse Helms
This was an incredibly intriguing project to undertake, and the results are both inspiring and important -- for gay and straight people alike. Friends and Family is the first book to tell the stories of straight allies who go far beyond "acceptance," and who work hard every day to make the world a safer, saner place for all gays and lesbians.
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