Cryden, Peggy. “Straight Expectations: The Story of a Family in Transition”, Jessica Kingsley, 2017.
We have watched how the definition of family has changed in the last few years and how it keeps changing. Peggy Cryden is a mother who noticed early on that her children’s gender expressions did not correspond with society’s expectations of their biological gender. In this sensitive memoir, we see with brutal honesty how Peggy Cryden struggled with the experiences and challenges of raising both a gay son and a gay, transgender son. She shares her family’s journey of adversity and growth (and it helped her professionally in her work as a psychotherapist).
In each chapter, we explore a particular year in the family’s life as we follow the children from birth to adulthood and through their numerous experiences of coming out, depression, hate crimes, relationships, school and various aspects of transitioning (legal, physical, medical, social) as well as their appearances in the media as a family. We learn of aspects of life that are new to us and new to the concept of family. It is a provocative meditation on reality and the story is told with insight and humor thus making this an unforgettable read. It is also a new look at parenting that is out of the conventional ways that we think about it and should be read by everyone who brings children into this world.