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Garner, Abigail

GARNER, Abigail

PERSONAL:

Female; daughter of Lee (father) and Barbara (mother). Education: Graduated from Wellesley College.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Families Like Mine, LLC, 1730 New Brighton Blvd., PMB 175, Minneapolis, MN 55413. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Author, consultant, and activist. Consultant and lecturer on gay family issues with organizations, colleges, businesses, and counseling services. Host of Fresh Fruit on KFAI radio. Served on board of directors of Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter of Parents, Friends, and Families of Lesbians and Gays; coordinator, Twin Cities chapter of Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere. Has appeared as an advocacy expert on American Broadcasting Company, Central News Network, and National Public Radio. Correspondent for OutQ News.

MEMBER:

National Writers Union, Authors Guild, National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Community Hero Award, Minnesota Rainbow Families; Rose Rees Peace Award, National Council of Jewish Women, Minneapolis Section; two-time winner, Best Column award, Minnesota Magazine and Publications Association; Excellence in Journalism Award, Opinion/Editorial, National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, for "Don't Protect Me: Give Me Your Respect"; Twin Cities International Citizen Award, 1992; Minnesota writer's career initiative grant, The Loft, 2004.

WRITINGS:

Families like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It like It Is, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor to periodicals, including This Way Out and Newsweek.

SIDELIGHTS:

When Abigail Garner was five years old, her father, Lee, came out as a gay man. It was a traumatic time for her, and for the entire family, especially in the social climate of the late 1970s, which was less tolerant of gays and lesbians than later periods would be. Her mother and father were strongly bound by friendship and commitment to their children, however, and persevered through the difficulties of a family with one acknowledged gay parent. They became, along with Lee's longtime partner, "three parents in a nontraditional family proudly supporting the daughter they all had a hand in raising," explained Bette Sack in MPLS-St. Paul Magazine.

As an activist, Garner works to ensure equality for LGBT—lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered—families and communities. Garner lectures and writes on the complex issues facing LGBT families and individuals, and conducts workshops for businesses, colleges, and conferences. She has appeared on National Public Radio, ABC, and CNN to discuss LGBT issues. Garner's Web site serves as a source of information for LGBT families throughout the world. Garner maintains an active presence in advocacy and information groups such as Parents, Friends, and Families of Lesbians and Gays and Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere.

In Families like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It like It Is, Garner relates the family stories of more than fifty men and women who grew up in gay families. She also tells her own story about growing up with a gay parent. She describes the fear and concern she felt for her father, the anti-gay comments she constantly heard, and her own anxiety at admitting that her father was gay. According to Sack, Garner "refutes at least two myths—one, that kids from gay families grow up irreparably damaged and, two, that kids of gay families 'turn out just like everyone else.'" Garner offers "a smart and impassioned argument that 'normal' is beside the point," commented Regina Marler in Advocate. Booklist reviewer Whitney Scott remarked that Families like Mine is "compellingly written" and "should quickly become a mainstay resource." A Publishers Weekly critic noted, "Many people will find this a helpful book."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Garner, Abigail, Families like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It like It Is, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.

PERIODICALS

Advocate, July 20, 2004, Regina Marler, review of Families like Mine, p. 51.

Booklist, April 1, 2004, Whitney Scott, review of Families like Mine, p. 1335.

MPLS-St. Paul Magazine, August, 2004, Bette Sack, review of Families like Mine, p. 54.

Publishers Weekly, February 16, 2004, review of Families like Mine, p. 160.

ONLINE

Families like Mine Web site,http://www.familieslikemine.com/ (September 14, 2004).*

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