Straight Expectations by Peggie Cryden

IMG_9068Ever since they were young, Peggy Cryden noticed her children’s gender expression did not correspond with society’s expectations of their biological gender. In this moving and honest memoir, Peggy details the experiences and challenges of raising both a gay son and a gay, transgender son and shares her family’s journey of adversity and growth, which has helped inform her work as a psychotherapist.

Each chapter explores a particular year in the family’s life, following the children from birth to adulthood and through their numerous experiences including coming out, depression, hate crime, relationships, school and various aspects to do with transitioning (legal, physical, medical, social) as well as their appearances in the media as a family. This book is insightful, charming and thought-provoking, and through levity and humour, offers a positive approach to parenting outside of convention.

I wanted to read something different, after reading some excellent fiction recently, and thought a memoir would make a nice change.

This book was fascinating. The author begins with her own childhood. She was adopted as a baby and grew up with a distant father and a mother with mental health issues. Her childhood was difficult and unconventional. Later in the book, we see how this affected her, and how in spite of her early role models, she grew up to become a caring and strong mother to her children.
Her children went through their own tough times, with gender dysphoria, bullying, an eating disorder and struggles with depression. They are lucky to have such a wonderful and strong mother, who supported them through all this. Her account of her eldest child’s transition from girl to boy and how they coped with it as a family, and her youngest son’s struggle with an eating disorder and his sexuality, was fascinating.
I hope that this book will bring hope to families going through similar issues, and better understanding to others as to what it is like for these families.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: