Friends Family: True Stories of Gay Americas Straight Allies

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Review: Dan Woog's inspiring and in some cases astonishing stories of heterosexual activists will banish for a few hours those images of homophobes closing in with pitchforks that television coverage of gay issues so often conjures. Most of the friendly crusaders in Friends and Family have conversion stories, moments when they were shaken from their complacency or prejudice, such as 80-year-old Frannie Peabody, who returned from her grandson's funeral in 1984 and helped found the AIDS Project of Portland, Maine. Tom Potter, the former chief of police in Portland, Oregon, announced at his swearing-in ceremony his commitment to fighting racism, sexism, and homophobia; his daughter, also a cop, had come out to him shortly before. Rabbi David Horowitz, whose daughter is a lesbian, keeps 17 gay-related pamphlets on his desk, just in case people want to talk about the issue. Described by one gay activist as "the mother of all moms," Carolyn Wagner sprang to her son's defense after he was beaten in the street, eventually suing the school he had attended and forcing policy changes. Not only have these people helped advance gay rights and visibility but their involvement with the movement has in many instances helped them as well, they argue, providing a focus--a mission--they may not otherwise have found. --Regina Marler

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Title: Friends Family: True Stories of Gay Americas...
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