What one gay dad taught his daughter about life and love


First aired on Metro Morning (17/613)

Growing up with gay parents isn't as uncommon as it once was. Back in the 1980s, particularly in small towns, gay parents were pretty much unheard of -- which is why Alison Wearing's story is so unique. She was raised by a gay father 30 years ago in Peterborough, Ont., and has turned her experience into a memoir, Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter.

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Wearing discovered her father was gay when she was 12. "I had some questions to my mother. Why did Dad spend so much time away? Why did he have to have an apartment in Toronto?" After much prompting, her mother finally caved and told her the truth -- and Wearing didn't react well. "I was devastated. I knew it was bad news," she said to Metro Morning host Matt Galloway. "It meant the worst playground insult that you could hurl. It meant the most embarrassing thing that a boy could be. Those were the only associations I had with that word."

Over time, Wearing came around and realized her father's sexual orientation was something to accept and celebrate. After coming out, her father became a better, more authentic version of himself -- and as a result, a better father. "There was a period in my life where I felt sorry for people who had straight dads because they seemed so conventional and dull and decidedly unflamboyant. And my father, he was just so delightful. He was the most fun dad in the neighbourhood."

Wearing loved him for that, and learned a lot from him as a result. He inspired authenticity and creativity in his daughter; Wearing is now a writer and a playwright (Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter is also a stage show) and has a family of her own. "He modelled for me what it is to come into yourself, despite what the world expects you to be," she said. "That inspired me to do the same."

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