independent

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Book tells how dad came to accept children's sexuality

Margaret Roddy

Published 04/12/2013|05:20

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Senator Mary Moran, Martin McCormick and John Ruddy at the launch of ‘My Son, My Daughter, My Self’ at the Dundalk Outcomers Centre.

There was a time, not very long ago, when the most devastating news Irish parents could get, was that their child was gay. While things may have moved on since then, it is still a difficult journey for families but a new book telling the story of one Dundalk family may make the experience a bit easier.

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Peter and Anne McCormick learned that two of their three children were gay back in 1995, when son Martin and daughter Edel came out at the same time.

'Both parents struggled to come to terms with the news and didn't know where to turn,' says Martin, who has edited a collection of personal stories: 'My Son, My Daughter, My Self' which was launched in Dundalk Outcomers recently.

Peter's reaction was to get more information about the lives his children were facing and he got in touch with Dundalk Outcomers and other support groups. He also began to work on a book, asking family members to contribute stories which he intended to share with a support group he was hoping to set up. There was, however, a poor response and the project never got off the ground.

Peter sadly passed away in 2003 and Edel too died after a long battle with cancer in 2008.

A few years after his father's death, Martin found a file at home which contained all the research which Peter had done for the book, including the title. Following years of procrastination, he decided to complete the project, inviting family, relatives and friends to write stories.

'The book is a long time in the making and I'm delighted to finally complete what my Dad commenced over a decade ago,' says Martin, who came home from Australia for the launch.

'Although things have changed dramatically in Ireland since we came out, there are still lots of individuals around the world struggling to come to terms with their sexuality and being accepted by family and friends and society in general. I hope this book of personal stories will be of benefit to them and the challenges they face, which is what my Dad intended.'

Martin says that the feedback so far has been 'incredibly positive'.

'People are amazed at how open and honest the authors are and they find the stories compelling. The stories are from real people, sharing real feelings, thoughts and vulnerabilities. It is not just a book for parents of and gay people, it is a book for everyone.Whether the book will make it easier for other individuals or families in similar situations, I can only hope it will.'

The book can be purchased online at www.blurb.com/bookstore It costs €8.94 + shipping and all proceeds from sale will be donated to Dundalk Outcomers.

The Argus

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