Andrew Solomon's story
Thoughts from Andrew

Son Chapter I

As the gay child of straight parents, I had a "horizontal identity"—a condition that I shared with a peer group but not with my family of origin. I discovered that there are many such identities; parents are constantly struggling with children who are alien to them in some profound way. Though individual differences can be isolating, the fact of difference is nearly universal.

Almost any characteristic can be experienced as an identity or an illness, and it is our human limitation not to be able to hold both points of view in mind at once. If we strive to do so, however, we may discover that while individual differences are lonely, the fact of difference is common to most of humanity. The families I studied ended up grateful for lives they would have done anything to avoid.

There is no such thing as reproduction. When two people decide to have a baby, they engage in an act of production, and the widespread use of the word…

Difference unites us. While each of these experiences can isolate those who are affected, together they compose an aggregate of millions whose struggles…

When I was two, Time magazine wrote, "Even in purely nonreligious terms, homosexuality represents a misuse of the sexual faculty. It is a pathetic…

I hate the loss of diversity in the world, even though I sometimes get a little worn-out by being that diversity. I don't wish for anyone in particular…

Everyone is flawed and strange; most people are valiant, too. The reasonable corollary to the queer experience is that everyone has a defect, that everyone…

Social progress is making disabling conditions easier to live with just as medical progress is eliminating them. There is something tragic about this…

If, as Foucault argued, "life is what is capable of error," and error itself is" at the root of what makes human thought and its history,"…

All kinds of attributes make one less able. Illiteracy and poverty are disabilities, and so are stupidity, obesity, and boringness. Extreme age and extreme…

When parents say, "I wish my child did not have autism," what they're really saying is "I wish the autistic child I have did not exist,…

If you banish the dragons, you banish the heroes and we become attached to the heroic strain in our lives. We choose our own lives. It is not simply that…

Rumi said that the light enters you at the bandaged place. Most of the families I met ended up grateful for experiences they would have done anything…

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