Nov 06 2013
A New Jersey couple is suing their mayor Chris Christie over a ban on so-called “gay conversion” therapy because they claim it violates their first amendment right to try to “cure” their 15 year old son of being homosexual. New Jersey is one of several states, including California, which banned the therapy that is today widely viewed as abusive and coercive.
But the parents at stake may well sincerely believe they are doing what is best for their son. Having children whose identities significantly differ from their parents challenges many deeply held notions, whether those identities arise from sexual orientation or disabilities.
Author Andrew Solomon, who spent years exploring such parent-child relationships, wrote a book entitled Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity. In it, he relates his own experience of growing up gay with straight parents and goes on to see the multiple challenges facing parents of children who are deaf, dwarfs, autistic, or even criminals. The book is filled with nuance and compassion and when it was first released a year ago, won half a dozen book awards and was selected as best book by numerous top publications. The book is now just out in paperback.
GUEST: Andrew Solomon, author of the New York Times bestselling book The Noonday Demon: Am Atlas of Depression which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is also a lecturer at Cornell University and a special adviser on LGBT affairs at Yale University. His latest book, released in 2012 is entitled Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity