Different Daughters: A Book by Mothers of Lesbians

Overview


Coming out to mom is a lesbian rite of passage. In Different Daughters, thirty mothers of lesbians come together to trace their journeys towards acceptance of their daughters. Facing their fears and confusion, prejudice and misunderstandings, they speak honesty and bravely about the difficulties and joys of life with their "different daughters."

Writing about families, community, religion, grandchildren, bisexuality, transgender issues, and coming out, the authors of Different ...

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Different Daughters: A Book by Mothers of Lesbians

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Overview


Coming out to mom is a lesbian rite of passage. In Different Daughters, thirty mothers of lesbians come together to trace their journeys towards acceptance of their daughters. Facing their fears and confusion, prejudice and misunderstandings, they speak honesty and bravely about the difficulties and joys of life with their "different daughters."

Writing about families, community, religion, grandchildren, bisexuality, transgender issues, and coming out, the authors of Different Daughters raise questions shared by all mothers: How can we accept our children for who they are? How can we love our children even when they are different from us?

This updated and expanded third edition of Louise Rafkin's landmark anthology includes new stories by mothers of bisexual women and young lesbians, a sister of a lesbian, and the brave testimony of one mother whose lesbian daughter is in the process of redefining her gender.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Every lesbian should have two copies of Different Daughters, one for herself and one for her mom..."
Lambda Book Report

"This book will help your mom understand. Give it to her."
—Betty DeGeneres

"Over and over, the women reiterate their love for their children, their refusal to cut them off, and their determination to maintain a mother-daughter bond."
New Directions for Women

"A successful, human and dignified statement..."
—Sarah Schulman

Lambda Book Report
Every Lesbian should have two copies of Different Daughters, one for herself and one for her mom...
Library Journal
Largely due to the influence of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, the last 12 years have seen several books dealing with the relationship between parents and their gay/lesbian offspring. Most recent is Carolyn Welch Griffin and others' Beyond Acceptance: parents of lesbians and gays talk about their experiences ( LJ 5/1/86). In a well-intentioned attempt to add to this literature, Muller, the mother of a gay son, has conducted interviews with 61 lesbians and gay men, and 10 parents in the Chicago area, to tell the story of relationships between adult children who are ``out'' and their parents. Although she acknowledges that her findings ``do not necessarily draw a larger picture,'' she attempts to generalize from them. Though she gives an appendix of graphs and tables, the methodology is unsound; and the book is poorly organized. As its subtitle explains, Different Daughters is a collection of stories solicited from mothers of lesbians. Depicting a spectrum of racial, class, and religious backgrounds, the essays range in length, depth, and insight. Those transcribed from interviews are marked to denote them from the written pieces. The honest voices of these women are clear as they come to terms with their offsprings' lifestyles, providing a valuable perspective for others dealing with these complex issues. James E. Van Buskirk, Acad. of Art Coll. Lib., San Francisco
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573441278
  • Publisher: Cleis Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Edition description: 3RD, REVISED & EXPANDED
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 162
  • Sales rank: 1,112,419
  • Product dimensions: 4.98 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author


Louise Rafkin is the author of Other People’s Dirt and the editor of Different Mothers. She has been a commentator for NPR's All Things Considered and has written for Out Magazine. Her articles and essays appear frequently in the New York Times, Health Magazine, and Metropolitan Home. She lives in Oakland, CA.
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Read an Excerpt


"In hindsight, I can see that though I may have initially thought I was writing Different Daughters for other women, this book was crucial to my own journey toward familial acceptance. It was simple: I wanted my mother to love and accept me, and I started from the top, addressing what I thought was the most difficult block to that goal. Now I see my lesbianism more as a part of my life, part of the package of who I am and why my mother and I get along and, only rarely, why we don’t. It hasn’t always been an easy to full acceptance, yet through our struggles we have grown to love each other more deeply and, most importantly, really know each other. I am forever grateful to my mother for her bravery and for simply sticking it out and doing the work of changing.

Still, though we’ve taken huge strides, individually and collectively, there is work to be done, even in areas of my own life, which has taken some unexpected turns. My partner of six years died suddenly last year. On top of the unbelievable and overwhelming pain of this loss, I now find myself in a battle with members of her family over her life—our life. Although during her life they acknowledge our relationship, in her death they have chosen to denounce our partnership. Painfully, our commitment will most probably be debated by a cour jury. WE lesbians have won some battles, but on many levels we are still unprotected and vulnerable to a system that doesn’t yet legally recognize our love.

I hope someday there will no longer be a need for this book. Until that time arrives, I am happy that my optimistically undertaken, youthful project may help those seeking comfort and understanding. I continue to believe that love over-comes prejudice, that love us the most important thing we either give or receive, and—finally—that love makes love.”

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Table of Contents


Introduction to the Third Edition
A Merry-Go-Round - Fran Harris
From a Trunk to a Soapbox: An Update - Fran "Harris" Salen
A Place at the Table - Mary Dugan
Choices and Surprises - Leticia Wiley
From Hermit Crabs to Hampsters - Hazel Brickman
A Tradition of Strength - Doris Thompson
Movement and Change - Lois Young-Tulin
After the Initial Shock - Rhoda Rafkin
After Different Daughtere: An Update—and Again! - Rhoda and Ruth
"Bi" Understanding - Marsha Buck
The Silt of a River - Jane Allen
Our Separate Lives - Ginger and Katheryn
Of Prejudice and Acceptance - Maria Garcia
The Odd Man Out - Deborah
Yom Kippur - Ann "Landau" Dawson
No Magic Wand - Jane Ferguson
A Very Public Statement - Rheba Fontenot
Ways of Knowing and Not Knowing - Pauline Johnson
A Fashion Crisis - Alice Wong
Another King of Different - Raquel J.
A Second Chance - Darlene Palmer
Towards a Bright Future - Laura
"Winnetka Matron Testifies for Gay Rights" - Dorothy A. Tollifson
Like Daughter, Like Mother - Jean Cameron
A Two-Way Street - Grace
Here, and There - Juanita Rios
"Girlfriends!" - Erin Findlay
Taming the Devils Within - Diane Rae
Finding My Way Through the Woods - Margaret Smith
Purple Balloons on Market Street - Constance Shepard Jolly
Let's Talk About...Lesbian Sexuality?! - Lee Price
A Sister's Story - Sue Fingerhut
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