Living the Rainbow
By Hans M. Hirschi
Review by Skip Sheffield
In his gripping triptych, Hans M. Hirschi presents three very different and deeply moving portraits of gay family life. While each is a complete story in its own right, all three share common themes, exploring the devastating impact of death, the deep wounds left by abuse, the damage wreaked by homophobia, and, ultimately, the power of love to overcome and heal.
Living The Rainbow: A Gay Family Tryptych is comprised of Hans M. Hirschi's bestselling novels "Family Ties", "Jonathan's Hope" and "The Opera House".
What can readers learn from the adventures in your stories?
I don’t write to teach lessons. I often use stories to question beliefs. In the “The Opera House”, I explore how death can test faith. “Jonathan’s Hope” examines trust issues and “Family Ties” tackles monogamy. What I hope my novels do is ask questions and present possible solutions.
Are the stories autobiographical?
They are, somewhat. They deal with issues that are constantly on my mind as a gay father. I wrote “Family Ties” while my husband and I were pregnant. The prospect of fatherhood was constantly on my mind. Would I be a good father? What would people say seeing two dads with a child? “Jonathan’s Hope” probes, among other things, the age difference between the two main characters. I am twelve years older than my husband.
Is that a problem?
Not now but when I retire at 70, my husband will only be 58. When he’s 70, I’ll be 82. I’m sure we’ll work things out, but it scares me that I may not be there for him at some point. Or that he may have to care for me. The ending of “Jonathan’s Hope” is a glimpse at how that might look like, and it is bittersweet.
What binds all three stories together?
Love, hope and a message that gay families are just like any other family.
Do shows like Modern Family accurately reflect today’s gay families?
While they have done wonders for people’s conceptions of LGBT families, they tend to portray us as camp, butch or neurotic. They rely on stereotypes for laughs.
What is the biggest difference between nuclear and LGBT families?
LGBT parents tend to be a bit older and wiser. We plan long and hard for our children.
What unique challenges do LGBT parents face?
Homophobia is always showing its ugly face when you least expect it. It started for us right from the beginning. Homophobia from social services kept us from fostering and adopting. We ended up building our family through surrogacy and that has led to other forms of homophobia. More than once, we’ve been accused of buying our child.
What does the world need to know about modern LGBT families?
We’re as exciting and dull as the rest of them. My son’s diapers smell as badly as any other baby’s. We worry the same and we’re as willing to sacrifice ourselves for our kids as any other parent.
Your worry is reflected in the last novel in the trilogy, “The Opera House”.
The story explores the loss of a child, something I believe most parents contemplate in one way or another. I wrote it after my son’s birth. The fear of losing him was really difficult at times. Those first months, I’d listen to every breath he’d take. Any silence would alarm me. I was so afraid of SIDS.
What’s next for you?
I’ve just started a new novel. It is going to be about a man’s journey and travels. I have no idea where it’s going to take me; what the man is going to experience or what trials and tribulations may be ahead. My writing is very fluid and extremely unconscious. I let my fingers do the typing and marvel at the words that come to life on the computer screen. Every now and then, I gasp at the unexpected plot turns, wondering how on earth I’m going to fix the problem I just created.
“Living The Rainbow: A Gay Family Triptych” is available now, digitally and as a softcover boxed set, on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble (Nook), and at selected local bookstores.
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