Diana Finfrock Farrar weaves her unexpected story into a book that tells the story of Texas’ diverse LGBT community
Diana Finfrock Farrar was a happily married suburban wife and mother of three.
Today, she says, she’s the same person, except she’s married to a woman, has written a book and has become what she describes as “an unlikely advocate” for the LGBT community.
“Post divorce, I fell in love with my best friend,” Diana explained. “I had never been attracted to women before.”
Diana met Charlotte in church. They had children at about the same time, were friends for 20 years and both divorced at about the same time.
“Our emotional bond post divorce began evolving into something,” Diana said. She called the period after their divorces a scary time, each having lost relationships two decades long.
Over the next two years, the friendship between the two women developed into an attraction. But neither said anything to the other, both worrying, Diana said, “What if I’m wrong?”
Charlotte said something first about her changing feelings. but Diana said she doesn’t even remember where or when she said it. Even as their relationship developed, Diana said, she never saw it coming.
In 2010, they went to Canada and got married.
Having both been married before, they understood the legal and social benefits of marriage. They knew in this case, when they got back to Texas, they’d receive none of those benefits. But it was still important to them to get married.
“We were doing it for us,” Diana said, adding that she and Charlotte wanted to show each other how committed they were to their relationship.
“We focused on just us,” Diana said.
For a year, they told no one they had gotten married. When they finally decided to tell family, it was quite an undertaking.
Diana has three children. Charlotte has two. Each woman has four siblings. Some were out of town and they wanted to talk to each one in person.
Diana said every family member was accepting. One said, “I don’t understand this well, but I love you.”
Diana knew she’d have the support of her brother, Channel 5 meteorologist David Finfrock — he and his wife met through their best friend, who is gay.
She described David as “not a jumping up and down sort of guy,” but he did jump toward her and hug her. They had recently lost their mother and Diana was the only unmarried sibling.
“He was glad we were happy,” she said of her brother. “David was hurting for me because I was alone.”
Once family knew they were married, Diana and Charlotte started living more openly. In 2012 they took the next step and told their friends, most of whom they knew from church and most of them who knew the two women as married to men.
The next step in becoming an unlikely advocate, Diana said, was writing her book. The Door of the Heart is a tapestry of stories of characters based on her, people she knows and a composite of many other people intended to paint a picture of the LGBT community she has come to know.
Diana said she was sitting in church one Sunday morning and she and Charlotte had been talking about ideas for a book about the LGBT community. “Everything in that worship service told me, ‘You have a story to tell,” she recalled. “Charlotte leaned over and said, ‘I feel it too.’”
“I can’t be part of a Christian faith being used as a weapon,” she said. “If we profess to be Christians, we need to be disciples in all ways.”
Diana wrote the book in real time from March 2013 to March 2014. During that time, events like the Supreme Court’s Windsor and Prop 8 decisions were issued. When she began writing, only nine states had marriage equality. By the time she finished, 17 states had rulings declaring their marriage laws unconstitutional.
“[The Texas trial court ruling] had just occurred when I sent the book to the publisher,” she said.
Diana called writing the book a life changing experience. She learned to live more openly and show people, “We’re not scary,” she said and lives her life trying to make a difference.
Diana has gone to Austin on advocacy days and marched in parades. She’s spoken at PFLAG groups and in churches. It’s an important part of progress toward equality, she believes.
“By not speaking out against injustice,” Diana said, “we’re complicit. That’s what I hope every reader gets.”
Diana has already heard from people how her book had changed some lives. She said she heard from someone in Austin who told how, when her best friend’s brother came out, the mother threw the son out of the house. They gave the mom the book. The son’s allowed back home now, and they’re working on repairing and rebuilding their relationship.
Diana said she hopes her book continues to change lives.
“It’s definitely changed ours,” she said.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 22, 2015.