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THE INHERITANCE OF SHAME by Peter Gajdics. The Inheritance of Shame details the six years author Peter Gajdics spent in a bizarre form of conversion therapy that attempted to “cure” him of his homosexuality. Kept with other patients in a cult-like home in British Columbia, Canada, Gajdics was under the authority of a dominating, rogue psychiatrist who controlled his patients, in part, by creating and exploiting a false sense of family. Told over a period of decades, the book shows us the damaging repercussions of conversion therapy and reminds us that resilience, compassion, and the courage to speak the truth exist within us all. The author exposes the wounds of his youth and how the therapy he sought out to heal them caused even graver harm. “Remembering this brings me peace,” concludes Canadian writer Gajdics in his debut memoir, which lays bare the psychological fallout from personal trauma most everyone close to him urged him to forget. The youngest child raised in a strict Catholic household, at age 6 he was sexually abused by a stranger in a school bathroom. Though Gajdics was plagued by nightmares and panic attacks, his mother’s stoicism and father’s domineering demeanor prevented him from sharing his trauma. Prior to immigrating to Canada, both his Eastern European parents had survived the ravages of World War II at great cost: the author’s mother spent 34 months in labor and death camps, and his father lost his family early on; both looked to pass onto their children an unquestioning faith and silence as coping mechanisms. As he grew up, the author’s pain and guilt resulting from the abuse and its repression were only compounded as he realized he was gay. Turning to sex as a means of escape, Gajdics was soon ostracized by his family and left Vancouver to pursue writing. In 1989, seeking to quell his inner turmoil, Gajdics had the misfortune of being referred to Dr. Alfonzo, a crackpot clinician who believed he would “revolutionize the field of psychiatry by being the first psychiatrist to find a cure for homosexuality.” Much of the power of the author’s courageous account derives from his unsparing depiction of the years of horrifyingly degrading “primal therapy” that rendered him “an emotional bulimic,” his body “an earthquake” he felt “trapped inside,” as Alfonzo stripped him of his autonomy with an unorthodox, toxic mix of psychotropic drugs. Writing through his slow recovery not only led to Gajdics’ self-acceptance, but also helped his parents to open up about the atrocities of their childhoods as well. Raw and unflinching: a powerful argument against conversion therapy as well as for the healing power of memoir.

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Great-Grandfather Comes Out As Gay At 95 A great-grandfather has come out as gay at the age of 95, saying there are “certain things I want the world to know”. American Holocaust survivor Roman Blank has two children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild, but last year finally gave up the secret he had been holding for decades. Now he is the subject of the documentary ‘On My Way Out’, directed by his grandson Brandon Gross. In a YouTube interview Mr. Blank described the moment. He told the blogger Davey Wavey: “I just told them plain, that I was born, and was all my life, gay. And I told them the whole tragedy of my life, and they understood what happened to me. Can you imagine, 90 years, to be in the closet?” Mr Blank and his wife Ruth have been together for some 60 years and the blogger said that while “they undoubtedly loved each other in a deep way”, “you also feel for” Mrs Blank. According to Mr Gross, she learned of her husband’s secret after giving birth to their second child, the director’s mother. Davey asked whether Mr. Blank now wanted to find a companion, and what his type was. He said: “I don’t look at the face, I look at the heart. Somebody to lean against, somebody who feels the heart ticking, and nobody can do that unless you let them. “I’ll be very honest about it. I really don’t need any either physical or mental connections. But I want to. I want to go to sleep, have somebody close to me, not for any other reason, but to be sure that someone cares. “For you, it’s easy to find. For me, I’m too old already. Who needs an old junk?” And he asked his interlocutor: “What do you think of me? Do I have the right to come out at that age?” Davey replied: “It’s your life, and I don’t know all of your experiences, but it seems to me that it’s never too late to be your true self.”

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Gay rights pioneer ted northe dies at 76 By Kevin Dale McKeown Published Mon, Mar 31, 2014 7:18 pm EDT Queen of the Silver Dollar She arrives in all her splendour every night at nine o’clock And her chariot is a cross-town bus that stops right down the block The ol’ piano minstrel plays a song … Continue reading

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Do we choose to be gay?  By Jordan Roth – the Advocate Do we choose to be gay? Yes and no. We may not choose to be attracted to people of the same sex, but we can choose to hide that attraction or live openly as gay and lesbian people. There’s no reason to be … Continue reading

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Coming OUT, Again

  LGBT Baby Boomers find themselves fighting homophobia, again The challenges facing aging gay, lesbian and trans seniors Emma Teitel June 30, 2014 Twitter Facebook Google+ Share LinkedIn Reddit Email Twitter Facebook Google+ Share LinkedIn Reddit Email 0 When 52-year-old Fraser Doke underwent a liver transplant in Vancouver last year, he found himself in an … Continue reading