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Not So Normal cover

  • eBook Edition
    • 978-1-03-918467-1
    • epub, pdf files
  • Paperback Edition
    • 978-1-03-918465-7
    • 6.0 x 9.0 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 396 pages
  • Hardcover Edition
    • 978-1-03-918466-4
    • 6.0 x 9.0 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 396 pages
  • Keywords
    • Personal memoir,
    • LGBTQIA+,
    • Gay rights,
    • Alberta boomer,
    • Calgary,
    • Gay rights in Canada,
    • Gay boomer memoir

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Not So Normal
Memoirs of a Gay Boomer From Wild Rose Country
by Tom Symington

Growing up in post-World War II Alberta in a stable, loving home, Tom Symington didn’t feel that he was “different.” Evading early pressures of romance and sexual exploration, repressing instances of name-calling (“femmy”), and hostility from schoolmates, Tom was almost able to believe in a world that valued the rights and freedoms of all citizens. From Calgary to Sierra Leone to France, this candid, heartbreaking memoir braids the evolution of gay rights in Canada with the life journey of one individual. Following high school, as Tom entered university and became a teacher, he was forced to reconcile his sexual orientation with the prevailing social and legal environment in Alberta, Canada, and the world beyond. As decades passed, “femmy” merged with “gay,” “queer,” and “LGBTQ+ community” in a rallying movement and an enduring struggle towards pride and self-acceptance against the current of societal expectations and discriminatory legislation. Not So Normal is as much a coming-of-age odyssey and a celebration of selfhood as it is a grave reminder that there is still much work to be done in the realm of human rights, and an urgent call to action to recentre love in our increasingly diverse and divisive world.

Tom Symington photo

Tom Symington grew up, attended university, and became a secondary school teacher in Alberta (Wild Rose Country). He went on to travel, volunteer, work, and study in Sierra Leone, Europe, the United States, and Québec, earning a Diplome d'études professionnelles (DEP) en céramique and becoming a translator after completing a Graduate Diploma in Translation at McGill University. Tom is an active member of the Columbia Lake Stewardship Society and a supporter of the growing Columbia Valley Community Foundation. As a former CUSO volunteer/teacher, he continues to support the organisation and its ideals, and as a former volunteer and board member with the AIDS Calgary Awareness Association, he supports an endowment fund at the Calgary Foundation: Equal in Dignity and Rights. Tom lives with his partner Gerry George on Columbia Lake in the East Kootenays, British Columbia.


Tom Symington

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