This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids

Owens-Reid, Dannielle & Kristin Russo. 2014. This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids: A Question & Answer Guide to Everyday Life. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.

Coming out to parents is a significant event for LGBTQ folks—potentially fraught, often challenging, and sometimes life changing. Parents, too, experience anxiety and confusion at this juncture. Particularly if a parent does not have much prior experience with LGBTQ people, this revelation may be shocking and produce many questions. With youth coming out earlier and earlier, parents need a resource to help them understand and support their children.

This is that resource, and it’s a good one. Organized by topics including disclosure to family and friends, safer sex, and religious beliefs, the authors provide sound advice in an accessible question-and-answer format. Alongside the numerous Q&A portions, anecdotes from parents and children are included that help flesh out and contextualize the advice.

This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids will be helpful for parents, therapists, and educators negotiating the coming out process with LGBTQ youth. The authors are gentle and understanding of emotional responses from parents, with the bulk of the advice centering on patience, reflection, and communication.

Although this resource focuses on sexuality, there is a gender chapter that will help parents differentiate between gender and sexuality and begin to grasp the complexities of trans identities. The word “gay” is used throughout because, as the authors explain, identity terms are tricky and mean different things to different people. This book includes the entire non-heterosexual spectrum.

The authors both came out to their parents in their late teens and have worked with queer youth through an award-winning website (Everyone is Gay) as well as high school and college workshops. This book is recommended by PFLAG as well as family therapist Linda Stone Fish.

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About Charlie McNabb

Archivist, Folklorist, Librarian, Legend Tripper, and Queer Activist
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