The new memoir “Refocusing My Family” unmasks Amber Cantorna‘s true story of being raised in the epicenter of Christian family values and how coming out as gay tore that paradigm apart, shunned her from her family, and burdened her with a degree of devastation that nearly took her life. With grace and transparency, Cantorna’s book sheds light on the harm that religious and family rejection reeks on the human soul, and offers to LGBTQ people and their religious families, a better way to love.
In support of her memoir, Amber has embarked on a nationwide speaking and book tour of over 20 cities to spread a message of truth, hope, and survival in the midst of a “new” historical divide between progressive and conservative perspectives.
“‘Refocusing My Family’ is releasing at a critical time in our nation’s history,” Cantorna said. “Now, more than ever, we need the voices of LGBTQ Christians to rise up. “Refocusing My Family” humanizes this hot political topic and brings it down from a theological debate to a very personal level that people can relate to.”
The author added, “The goal in sharing this true and heartbreaking story is to lend strength and hope to others wrestling in the closet of conservative faith communities and call attention to the crucial need for acceptance and inclusion from their family, peers, and loved ones. The suicide statistics related to LGBTQ people that come from rejecting families is over 32x higher than that of their straight peers. Having barely survived these odds, I feel compelled to speak up and expose the truth of my own Focus on the Family upbringing in order to increase awareness and invoke the pressing need to transform our culture and repair the damage being done to LGBTQ people in the name of God.”
Cantorna has found purpose through her struggle.
“I believe that embedded in my identity is a responsibility to be a voice for change, and the time for change is now,” she said.
Cantorna is the founder and president of Beyond, a non-profit organization providing support to LGBTQ people as they navigate their coming out process. She is a sought-after speaker and musician, and blogs at AmberCantorna.com.
“No amount of theological posturing has the power of a story well told, and Amber Cantorna’s ‘Refocusing My Family’ is a beautiful narrative of the journey from torment and shame to authenticity and hope. Wherever you find yourself in the LGBTQ debate, this book will get you thinking about what really matters,” said Rev. Dr. Paula Stone Williams, National Transgender Advocate and Former Editor-at-Large of Christian Standard Magazine.
Statistic: Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are 400% more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. More disturbingly, LGBTQ youth who come from highly rejecting families are 840% more likely to attempt suicide than their LGBTQ peers who report no or low levels of family rejection (The Trevor Project).