Family Outing by Chastity Bono & Billy Fitzpatrick
1998 Little, Brown & Company
Review by Mountman
First ;off I want to say that this book is NOT a 'Mommie/Daddy Dearest' book. So if that is the kind of reading you want don't buy this one. But if you or someone you know is coming out or has a family member that is gay then this is the book for you.
In reading Family Outing, I was taken back to my own first experiences of coming out (that was in 1975). Not only do you get a glimpse into the life of Chastity and what it was like to grow up as the child of Sonny and Cher, but also what it was like for her to come out to them, to herself and to the world. She shares her experiences of coming out and also the experiences of several other families. This book was appropriately named. You get the perspective of not only the gay person themselves but the perspectives of other family members.
I would recommend this book to anyone that is coming out, has a family member/friend that is coming out or as part of a class that teaches diversity training. This book puts names to the faces of the targets of homophobia.
Quoted from the Jacket: "This is an eloquent account of the pain that young gay and lesbian people experience, and how love and courage can lead them and their families to overcome homophobia. It is impossible for any sensible person to read this book and still hold to the notion that the young people who deal with this terrible prejudice do so voluntarily by 'choosing' their sexual orientation." -Congressman Barney Frank
One of the biggest things that brought some light to my mind it the fact that there is internalized homophobia. As a Gay person there were times in my coming out process that I had to learn to deal with. Growing up, knowing that I was different but could not except the negative things I had heard about gay people... "Gay people are child molesters."... I knew that this wasn't me so I was confused as to what I was.
Chastity gives stats from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's 1989 Task Force on Youth Suicide - 500,000 young people attempt suicide annually... 30% of completed youth suicides are by gay youths. 26% of young gays and lesbians are forced to leave home due to their sexual orientation. When is this going to stop????? How is this going to stop???? By sharing the information in this book and others like it!
Chastity uses many different coming out stories, some positive and some negitive. There is one family that were very active members of their church. When they found out that their son was gay, they went to their church for support. Well, read the book to find out just how supportive they were.
In closing, whether you are just coming out or have been out for years, read this book. As Chastity says, coming out is a family affair and is an ongoing life process.
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