Alison Wearing describes her childhood growing up in Peterborough in the 1970's as carefree. Her dad baked croissants and sang Gilbert and Sullivan, and her mom ran marathons and played virtuoso piano. From the outside, they fit the template of a happy nuclear family of the time. Then, their family took an unconventional turn.
When Alison was 12, she learned that her father was gay. Her dad began the process of coming out at the same time as he continued to be a loving parent to his three children. Meanwhile, the world around him was shifting as the movement to establish gay rights began to gather force in Canada.
Alison writes about these events in her memoir, Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter: Growing Up with a Gay Dad. Along with her memories, her father Joe Wearing has contributed diary entries and letters from the years of his coming out.
Shelagh sat down with Alison and Joe to talk about Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter, what it was like to be on both sides of Joe's coming-out, how the social and cultural reality for gay people in Canada has changed since the 1970s, and how Alison's memoir has affected their family. We hope you enjoy this extended version of that very candid and moving conversation.