A Tell-All Memoir Exposes a Hidden Life and Hard-learned Lessons
Southern. Black. Gay. Fatherless. Air Force Veteran. Ordained Methodist Minister. Master of hiding in plain sight. Cedrick Bridgeforth knows what it means to hold, hide, and wrestle with all of these identities. For years Cedrick had taken great pains to shield his full truth from the world. Then one day, at the height of his career, his entire universe came crashing down.
Equal parts preacher, poet, confessor, and consummate storyteller, Alabama Grandson chronicles Cedrick’s hard-fought journey to come to terms with the hidden and sometimes conflicting parts of himself. Bookended by poignant letters to his grandmother, Cedrick vulnerably depicts the suffering caused by denying his truth:
You were the most influential person in my life. Yet as much as I admired and appreciated you, I did not trust you enough to say to you: “I am gay.”
Written over three decades after his grandmother’s death and at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, Alabama Grandson asks as many questions as it answers.
In a time where many feel lost, alone, or afraid—and where social media makes us think that everyone has it better, bigger, or brighter—Chasing Normal is a humorous and poignant memoir about learning to embrace yourself, along with the messy life you lived that made you who you are today.
As a kid growing up in Indiana surrounded by cornfields and deep poverty, with two emotional terrorists for parents, all Craig Greiwe ever wanted was to be normal. In his youth, he lived under the stairs in Dickensian misery. Once he managed to make it to college, things got about as weird as might be expected for a teenager who grew up reading The 1978 World Book Encyclopedia for kicks. From an emotional breakdown at the top of a mountain at one school to setting off a chain of events that nearly blew apart Columbia Law School a few years after that, his life was anything but normal.
At twenty-three, Felice Cohen was, like other recent college grads, hesitant about entering the real world, with the added stress of coming out in the early nineties. Focused on how to land a full-time position as a writer, falling in love was the last thing on her mind.
But fall in love she did. With her boss, a woman thirty-four years older.
Felice and Sarah embarked on a high-stakes, year-long love affair. Addicted to the high of first love, Felice was enthralled by Sarah's attention and content to hide their love in the shadows. Sarah, meanwhile, threw caution to the wind, risking her comfortably established life that included a prestigious job and long-term girlfriend. Though not perfect, it was enough.
Robert Graves has spent his life dealing with chronic clinical depression and bipolar disorder. I, Rob Graves offers a candid and poignant story about his life as a gay man suffering from these mental health issues and a genetic disposition for substance abuse-which morphed into an anonymous sex addiction during the height of the AIDS Epidemic. Graves chronicles his personal story, illustrating the dangers of misdiagnosis and treatment noncompliance, but rather than teach or preach any specific cure, his memoir lets the reader decide whether the life choices described are right or wrong for their own life path. He shares the journey he took to come to terms with his homosexuality and overcome tremendous health odds-through years of therapy, medication management, and learning the arts of forgiveness and acceptance-to find success and peace with himself and thrive in the present. He aims to provide an inspirational example of breaking the cycle of mental health stigmas and addiction, both in the gay community and the community at large.
Defying expectations of a woman growing up in Arizona in the 1960s, Patricia Grayhall fled Phoenix at nineteen for the vibrant streets of San Francisco, determined to finally come out as a lesbian after years of trying to be a “normal” girl. Her dream of becoming a physician drew her back to college, and then on to medical school in conservative Salt Lake City.
Though Patricia enjoyed a supportive friendship with a male colleague, she longed for an equal, loving relationship with a woman. But her graduate medical training in Boston, with its emotional demands, long hours, lack of sleep, and social isolation, compounded by the free-wheeling sexual revolution of the 1970s, made finding that special relationship difficult. Often disappointed but never defeated, Patricia—armed with wit and determination—battled on against sexism in her male-dominated profession and against discrimination in a still largely homophobic nation, plunging herself into a life that was never boring and certainly never without passion.
Through the lens of her work with the Innocence Movement and her client Leigh Stubbs—a woman denied a fair trial in 2000 largely due to her sexual orientation—innocence litigator, activist, and founder of the West Virginia Innocence Project Valena Beety examines the failures in America's criminal legal system and the reforms necessary to eliminate wrongful convictions—particularly with regards to women, the queer community, and people of color...
When Valena Beety first became a federal prosecutor, her goal was to protect victims, especially women, from cycles of violence. What she discovered was that not only did prosecutions often fail to help victims, they frequently relied on false information, forensic fraud, and police and prosecutor misconduct.