Dad #1, Dad #2: A Queerspawn View from the Closet
Natalie Perry, author, artist, and LGBTQ family advocate, was only 12 years old when her dad came out to her family. They were living in Boise, Idaho and due to her dad’s position as the former Chief Judge of the Idaho State Court of Appeals, he never came out publicly.
Dad #1, Dad #2 chronicles the highs and lows of growing up in a closeted gay family. While Natalie’s family kept their secret for 2 decades, they have now all agreed to share their story in the hope of starting conversations on how to accept families that some still do not understand.
Darrel, Dad #1: It has been said in many ways and settings over history, “If not me, who? If not now, when?” and “Evil will prevail if good men stand by and do nothing.”
When Natalie mentioned wanting to write a book about being raised in a closeted gay environment and the challenges that having such a secret can create for the children, with the hopes of reaching out and helping others, I could not have been more proud. Realizing that for her to tell her story she would also have to, in some small way, tell the family’s story, I remained totally supportive of her. The effects of societal “norms”, political and peer pressure and the need for children to feel love and acceptance only add to the struggle already faced. It need not be true, however, once those same people understand the damage their words and actions unnecessarily cause these children. To that end, helping end the discrimination, one mind and one heart at a time; to save the life and future of one child, makes our “coming out” again and again and again, worth it for me.
Jerry, Dad #2: I met Natalie when she was 12 years old. She touched my heart then and continues to do so to this day. I received the most precious gift, two lovely daughters, when I married Darrel. I also received a dear friend, the girls’ mother, Jo. I am so proud of Natalie for sharing her story with others. As a gay man, I struggled at times when I was younger. I am happy to see that things have changed; people across the world realize people are people, love is love and all any of us really want in is to be accepted, understood, valued, and most of all be loved unconditionally. In our family we call that the no matter what kind of love! When I was young I looked to books to help me figure out my thoughts and feelings; to understand what was going on inside my head and my heart. Without access to stories I would have been lost and who knows where I could have ended up. I am hopeful that Natalie’s book will be the story that will inspire children and family members who find themselves on the same path. Keeping family intact is very important and it can be done. Darrel and Jo made Katie and Natalie the top priority at all times. The girls and I are very lucky to have had them at the helm. If Natalie’s story helps one child, one parent, one family then her book is a success.
Jo, Mom: From the start of this book with confusion and love, to the ending pages with its clear message of love and hope, my daughter’s memoir of growing up in a closeted gay family shares our story. Poignant, often funny, always loving, our family is living proof that families today can no longer be defined by traditional societal norms. Our family is unconventional; it’s true, but so full of love. I hope our story will be inspirational to others who may be going through a similar experience. Love is love!
Katie, Older Sister: I’ve seen the difference knowing our family has made in the lives of those around us, changing minds, and sometimes preconceived notions, of what it means to be a gay family, opening doors for productive and positive conversations. When I hear someone tell me that knowing us has changed how they think about gay people I know the purpose my sister’s book will have. It will hopefully reach a much broader audience than we could ever hope to meet in our lifetime but have the same impact. I’m so proud to share our family’s story and of my sister for writing it with such pure intention.