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.
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. Continue reading “Great-Grandfather Comes Out As Gay At 95”
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 proud of being gay. But living gay is something we should all celebrate. By Jordan Roth Continue reading “Do we choose to be gay? “
When 52-year-old Fraser Doke underwent a liver transplant in Vancouver last year, he found himself in an uncomfortable position that had nothing to do with his health. The surgery, recommended after he was diagnosed with two tumours on his liver a year before, had gone just fine. But the care he received afterward, at the University of British Columbia Hospital, had not. Continue reading “Coming OUT, Again”
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 as she walks in And the queen of the Silver Dollar, she’s home again
She’s the queen of the SilverDollar, and she rules this smoky kingdom And her sceptre is a wine glass and a bar-stool is her throne And the jesters flock around her and fight to win her favours And see which one will take the queen of the Silver Dollar home.
It was a typical 1970s night at the August Club on Richards Street when I arrived early for the evening’s drag show, probably looking forward to reigning drag diva and co-owner ted northe delivering his signature number, Dr. Hook’s “Queen of the Silver Dollar. Continue reading “Gay rights pioneer ted northe dies at 76”
One Marine’s Dying Wish
By FRANK BRUNI – New York Times
Published: January 4, 2014
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — WE don’t get any say about the kind of world we’re born into — about whether it’s prepared for the likes of us, whether it will open its arms. Hal Faulkner certainly didn’t get the world he deserved. It was needlessly cruel to him, senselessly judgmental. For the most part, he made peace with that. But over the last few months, with cancer spreading fast through his body and time running out, his thoughts turned to one aspect of that landscape that he could perhaps revisit, one wrinkle he might be able to revise, a wrong he had a chance of righting before his death. Continue reading “One Marine’s Dying Wish”
HANDICAPPED VS DISABLED
BY WAYNE DE BLOIS – MARCH 15, 2010
Recently, I heard “Handicapped” from a member – he was referring to the Paralympic Games.
During the last 30 years, Terry Fox and Rick Hansen have changed the course of history. They broke down the barriers and changed societal attitudes for the better toward people with disabilities.
People don’t refer to Terry Fox or Rick Hansen as crippled or handicapped.
We show the world, with great courage as we overcome great adversity, that we are just as capable as the non-disabled or even more so.
Words like Handicapped, Cripple or Mentally Retarded are throwback words from a wholly different and darker time. Continue reading “Handicapped vs Disabled”
ARE YOU GAY, BI-SEXUAL OR QUESTIONING? STRUGGLING WITH YOUR SEXUAL ORIENTATION OR STRUGGLING TO MAINTAIN YOUR STATUS QUO? DO YOU NEED SUPPORT AND WANT TO TALK
Hominum for Men FVC is a confidential support and discussion group for Gay, Bi-sexual and Questioning Men coping with the challenges of being married, separated or single.
We do not practice group therapy but offer members an opportunity to discuss their concerns and share experiences in a safe atmosphere.
For meeting information and location, please call Art – 604-477-9553. If you would like to receive our monthly newsletter, email Art at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit our Facebook group https://facebook.com/groups/hominumformenfvc