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Book cover of Something to Tell You: The Road Families Travel When a Child Is Gay

Something to Tell You: The Road Families Travel When a Child Is Gay

by Gilbert Herdt, Bruce Koff, Paul Beeman

Publisher: Columbia University Press
Pages: 192
Paperback
ISBN: 9780231104395






Available to Buy

Overview of Something to Tell You: The Road Families Travel When a Child Is Gay

Even now, at the end of the twentieth century, many still have difficulty standing up and saying, "I am the parent of a gay child." Something to Tell You recounts the stories of families whose lives have been touched by the discovery that a child is lesbian or gay -- how it affects and influences people's perceptions of their children and even changes the self-image of parents themselves.

Focusing on fifty average families -- not people seen in clinics or therapy -- the authors found a consistent pattern of change: first negative, then positive. Sometimes the news led parents and siblings to form stronger bonds with the child, with each other, and with other relatives and friends. In many cases, their child's partner and partner's family grew to assume an important role in their own lives. In some cases, parents and siblings discovered new meaning in their lives through speaking out or joining PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and becoming part of the struggle for lesbian and gay rights. The authors found that families committed to staying together are typically able to overcome the powerful obstacles imposed by society.

Something to Tell You also shows the lasting and sometimes tragic consequences for families who falter in the process of integration. Unwilling to accept their child's sexuality, some parents sought to blame each other, and all too often their own relationships unraveled as a result. Others who failed to tell close friends sometimes lost those friends through keeping secrets. Parents who neglected to form bonds with their child's partner fostered climates of alienation that persisted for years.

A richly diverse collection of family stories, Something to Tell You is a book that will help break down widespread prejudice and put an end to destructive cultural myths. It affirms families' highest aspirations toward active love for their gay children, showing the steps to take toward new levels of support, solidarity, and love.

Columbia University Press

Synopsis of Something to Tell You: The Road Families Travel When a Child Is Gay

An internationally known anthropologist and an eminent social worker/psychotherapist show how families can thrive and actually grow through the creation of more honest relationships when a son or daughter comes out.

Paul Beeman

An extremely helpful book for parents and family members as they discover a child to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning. We wish we might have read it eleven years ago when our kids came out.

About the Author, Gilbert Herdt

Gilbert Herdt is director of the Human Sexualities Program at San Francisco State University. The author of a number of books on gay men and lesbians, including Same Sex, Different Cultures: Exploring Gay and Lesbian Lives and, with Andrew Boxer, Children of Horizons: How Gay Teens Are Leading a New Way Out of the Closet, he is also the editor of numerous volumes including Gay Culture in America.

Bruce Koff is the former executive director of Horizons Community Services, the largest social service agency for gay men and lesbians in the Midwest. He is currently on the faculty of the Chicago Center for Family Health of the University of Chicago and maintains a private psychotherapy practice specializing in work with gay men, lesbians, and their families.

Reviews of Something to Tell You: The Road Families Travel When a Child Is Gay

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Editorials

Caitlin Ryan

An invaluable resource for parents, family members, and mental health providers. Based on the results of a groundbreaking study, it offers a roadmap of personal experience and hope for families, together with clinical insight and guidance for social workers, psychologists, and other mental health providers who are helping families cope with a childĀ“s coming out. A must read for every parent of a lesbian, gay, or bisexual child and anyone who works with them.

Paul Beeman

An extremely helpful book for parents and family members as they discover a child to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning. We wish we might have read it eleven years ago when our kids came out.

Susan Stewart

The parent of a gay, lesbian, or bisexual child will find this a valuable resource in helping families cope with a child's coming out. Family accounts and experiences, joined with scholarly study and guidance, provide a model for families to work through. This work would be useful in any public library.

Journal of Feminist Family Therapy

On the one hand, the book is a carefully researched and scholarly work that will appeal to researchers, policymakers, mental health professionals, and service providers. On the other, it is a highly readable, enjoyable, and informative work for families of gay sons or lesbian daughters.

Booknews

Basing their work on a survey of 50 families, Koff (family health, U. of Chicago) and Herdt (human sexuality, San Francisco State U.) explore parental reactions to children's coming out of the closet. They find that some patterns of reaction led to stronger relations that allowed families to overcome strong societal pressures while others led to total family dissolution. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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