“This book will save lives.”
— Gerrard Conley, author of Boy Erased

Rejected by his Catholic parents after coming out as gay, Peter Gajdics sought help from a psychiatrist for his crippling depression. What followed was six years spent in a doctor-led “conversion therapy” that nearly killed him. The Inheritance of Shame is Gajdics’ incredible tale of triumph after trauma.

* SHORTLISTED FOR THE RAND SHILTS AWARD FOR GAY NONFICTION (2018)

* SILVER MEDAL, INDEPENDENT BOOK PUBLISHER AWARD FOR LBGT (2018)


$16.99 PRINT / $13.99 EBOOK


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Peter Gajdics (pronounced "Guy-ditch") is an award-winning writer whose essays, short memoir and poetry have appeared in, among others, The Advocate, New York Tyrant, The Gay and Lesbian Review / Worldwide, Cosmonauts Avenue, and Opium. Raised in Vancouver, Canada, to immigrant parents from Europe, Gajdics knew from an early age that he was gay, but, for myriad reasons, that truth only seemed to cause him pain. In his early 20s, while struggling with an overwhelming sense of shame, Gajdics turned to a local psychiatrist for help. Within months he found himself embroiled in a bizarre sort of conversion therapy that attempted to "cure" him of his homosexuality. The Inheritance of Shame documents Gajdics' six-year journey through, and eventually out of, this therapy; the legal battle with his former psychiatrist; his complicated family history; and his attempts to reclaim his life — and, most especially, his truth. Gajdics is a recipient of a writers grant from Canada Council for the Arts, a fellowship from The Summer Literary Seminars, and an alumni of Lambda Literary Foundation’s “Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices.”

Peter’s experience and his remarkable book have put him front and center in Canada’s efforts to criminalize conversion therapy nationwide. You can keep up with the author at inheritanceofshame.com, catch up with him on Twitter @HungarianWriter, or check out what he’s been saying in the media.

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In the News


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PRAISE FOR THE BOOk

“Deeply moving.”
— The Advocate

“Reflective but passionate, Gajdics takes the reader on an exploration beyond the what of his experience as a young, conflicted gay man and deeply into the chasm of his search to discover who he was... This exploration is a hero’s journey in which any reader, gay or straight, can find inspiration.”
— Lambda Literary Foundation

“Raw and unflinching: a powerful argument against conversion therapy as well as the healing power of memoir.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“In a book that celebrates and embodies the power of the medium of writing in a pure way, Gajdics uses the written word to heal from trauma, to reconcile with his parents, to unearth their own suffering in WWII, and as an unforgettable call for compassion. His passionate writing makes the book not only an intriguing read but an important one in the literary and political realms.”
— Foreword Reviews

“The Inheritance of Shame is a profound journey to self-destruction, self-acceptance, and finally a reckoning with the dangers of shame and silence. This is a memoir that is hard to read, but one that must absolutely be read.”
— KQED book review

“Peter Gajdics carries us along effortlessly on his incredible struggle with family rejection, loss of self and ultimate recovery from the deep wounds inflicted by anti-gay ‘therapy.’ At this time of immense suffering for LGBTQ+ youth around the world, his emergence from shame should give hope for healing to all victims of this destructive practice.”
— Jason Marsden, Executive Director, Matthew Shepard Foundation

“The Inheritance of Shame provides an in-depth account of the triumph of one man’s sanity over a psychotherapy system designed to eradicate personhood. Particularly moving were passages of Gajdics’ fondness for the very therapist who abused him, a kind of Stockholm syndrome most survivors of conversion therapy have experienced. A necessary, incredibly nuanced portrait of a survivor, The Inheritance of Shame will change lives.”
— Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased

“The Inheritance of Shame is a harrowing, enraging, triumphant, and necessary book. This is a story that should never have happened, but because the horrors of homophobia continue in this country and around the world, we need the testimony of people with the courage of Peter Gajdics.”
— Ellen Bass, co-author of The Courage to Heal

“Peter Gajdics’ multi-faceted memoir offers help for abuse survivors and those who care about them. He provides inside perspective on the many effects of childhood sexual abuse, including the way societal, religious, and familial homophobia and denial became internalized and made a young man vulnerable to a destructive ‘therapeutic’ cult. His healing speaks to the power and fortitude of the human spirit. The Inheritance of Shame is both about damage and healing. This is a work of love.”
— Mike Lew, author of Victims No Longer: The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse

“The Inheritance of Shame is a testament to one family’s ability to survive oppression in its many forms... Through unrelenting prose, his words provide a home for his orphaned father, tortured mother, and most importantly, his own identity that others wanted to drug, demonize, and destroy.”
— Kate Gray, author of Carry the Sky

“Cults come in many forms and unfortunately those who want to be normal sometimes become victims of these cults. The book focuses on the triumph of the human spirit and shows how everyone may be different in some ways but no one is born to be what others think they should be. At the end, be yourself and be happier is the theme of the book.”
— Bev Sellars, bestselling author of They Called Me Number One

“A shocking, crystal-clear, unsettling book. The Inheritance of Shame is both a necessary and devastating memoir about the trauma of conversion therapy and the homophobia that persists to this day.”
— Daniel Zomparelli, author of Everything is Awful and You’re a Terrible Person

“I couldn’t put this book down.”
— Claire Slack, Educator


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FIND OUT MORE AT INHERITANCEOFSHAME.COM