cover image Family of Origin, Family of Choice: Stories of Queer Christians

Family of Origin, Family of Choice: Stories of Queer Christians

Katie Hays and Susan A. Chiasson. Eerdmans, (162p) $19.99 ISBN 978-0-8028-7857-1

Hays (We Were Spiritual Refugees), pastor at the Galileo Christian Church in Fort Worth, Tex., teams up with parishioner and social scientist Chiasson for this illuminating anthology of oral histories that focus on how queer Christians who worship at Galileo have navigated relationships with their families. The entries represent a range of sexual orientations and gender identities, as well as different strategies for handling aspects of familial relationships, including unconditional love, tentative truce, and estrangement. For example, one parishioner feels relieved when his coming out means “finally articulating what everybody knew” and he returns to church after many years. For another, being the mother to a gender-fluid child causes “fissures in her marriage and family life,” but it also leads her to finally find clarity. One of the book’s strengths are the accounts of several families that include adult LGBTQ children, their partners, and affirming parents who all offer perspectives on building bridges and setting boundaries with their extended families—in some cases helping relatives better understand their children’s identities, in others drawing boundaries to protect a child from harm. The book offers no blanket prescriptions, instead sharing personal stories that demonstrate the hurdles and opportunities provided by what are often difficult relationships. Christian readers who are LGBTQ, or those with a friend or family member who is, will find hope, comfort, and solidarity here. (Apr.)