Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Landmark 1983 Book 'A Secret I Can't Tell' About LGBTQ Families, Now Updated and Reissued

In 2020 the United States Supreme Court ruled that 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination based on sex. But now, Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay/Trans” law, and another 300+ virulently discriminatory bills have made 2022 the worst year ever for legislative attacks on LGBTQ people.

This moment of progress and assaults on LGBTQ rights looks a lot like another time in our not-to-distant past: In 1977 a county ordinance was passed in Florida which banned discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodation based on sexual orientation. After Anita Bryant’s successful “Save Our Children” campaign which demonized gays and lesbians, the law was overturned, and it launched a wave of repeals of civil rights for gays and lesbians in other states.

Incensed by Save Our Children’s hateful slogan, “Homosexuals cannot reproduce, so they must recruit,” author Joe Gantz decided to attack head-on the rhetoric that gays and lesbians were a danger to children. He located five same-sex headed households in different parts of the nation, embedded with them for a week, and from 1979–1983 interviewed these lesbian and gay parents and their children about what effects the fear-mongering and anti-gay pressures had on them.

The resulting foundational book, A SECRET I CAN’T TELL: THE FIRST GENERATION OF CHILDREN FROM OPENLY GAY AND LESBIAN HOMES by Joe Gantz, updated in 2022 with new interviews from some of the children (now adults in their 50s) and a new foreword by Scott Gatz, founder and CEO of Q.Digital, tracks the effects of keeping their parents’ relationships a secret in a time when it was dangerous to be out, particularly as a gay or lesbian parent. The book shows that parents also struggled coming out to their children without any community or legal support