The Advocate July/Aug 2022
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Gay Catholics, Suicidal Moms, and the Polymorphous Perversity of Madonna’s Big Toe

Riding Fury Home by Chana Wilson (Seal Press, $17)

In 1958, when Chana Wilson was 7, her mother held a rifle to own her head and pulled the trigger. The gun jammed and she was taken away to a mental hospital. It would be decades later — after the author cares for her heavily medicated and often suicidal mother — that she learns what caused her mother so much pain. She was a lesbian and had been undergoing psychiatric treatment aimed at curing her homosexuality. Now, 40 years later, Wilson's book looks back at her mother's trajectory from that psych patient to an out lesbian int he '70s heyday of the women's movement, as well as Wilson's own coming-out and how that disclosure strengthened their bond in the subsequent years. Wilson paints a vivid picture of how homophobia and mental illness dovetailed in the pre-Stonewall era and how salvation came in many forms for lesbians in the age of Aquarius, and it offers a complex tale of lesbian life and our sometimes convulted emotional baggage found even in the modern era. A must-read for any queer woman. (  Diane Anderson-Minshall


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