Thu, Apr 18, 2019 - Page 14 News List

Book review: ‘Double Dads One Teen’

This memoir is a colorful chronicle of coming out and living with pride in the US and Taiwan, across two generations of a queer family

By Davina Tham  /  Staff reporter

The Chen-Hayes’ rituals for Kalani range from the ordinary — home-cooked dinners every day — to the extraordinary, culminating in a “First Gay Teen Day” coming-of-age ceremony on Kalani’s 13th birthday that brought together loved ones to celebrate them. (Kalani identifies as queer, pansexual and non-binary, and uses the pronouns “they” and “them.”)

Stuart describes himself with Lance as an “out-of-the-closet, gay, mixed-race, dual-national, bilingual couple.” Standing at the intersection of many marginalized identities, the Chen-Hayes are fierce protectors of equality for themselves and others like them. This book serves as a chronicle of their activism, including the growth of LGBTQ activism in Taiwan from the mid-1990s, up to and including Lance’s activism for the national referendum concerning LGBTQ issues last November.

That Taiwanese angle will be made more prominent in the Chinese-language version of the book, authored by Lance and slated for release here next year. I look forward to reading more about Lance’s perspective on growing up gay in Taiwan, and how this society has progressed in protecting LGBTQ rights and equality.

Double Dads One Teen references several LGBTQ-sensitive pop culture products, including The Wedding Banquet, but also age-appropriate television shows, books and magazines that the Chen-Hayes shared with Kalani, serving as a reminder of the importance of diverse and inclusive cultural representation.

There is little doubt in my mind that this book itself is a welcome entry to that canon of literature for LGBTQ families.

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