The courageous and levelheaded Straight Parents, Gay Children
, Armistead Maupin comments, "shows the parents of gay children how to stop merely tolerating their kids and start being their heroes." Robert A. Bernstein made this essential move to "heroism" himself after his daughter Bobbi came out to him and her stepmother in the mid-1980s, when she was 19. Soon after, they attended a meeting of P-FLAG (Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays) at a nearby church, and Bernstein realized that he had joined a small but powerful group of people unable to support the continued oppression of their gay loved ones. Bernstein brings together stirring quotes (even from such unlikely sources as the late Senator Barry Goldwater) and inspiring stories, like those of Jane Spahr, the first openly gay minister to be called as a pastor of the Presbyterian church (and later denied the post) and of Dr. Roscoe Thorne, a former lumberjack and weightlifter who spoke to a packed room at a military hearing set up to discharge his son from the navy despite his brilliant career as a "Top Gun" pilot. A useful book for therapists, clergy, and educators, and an essential resource for parents of gay and bisexual children. --Regina Marler
Bernstein, father of a lesbian daughter, writes of parents' pain and confusion when they learn their children are gay. He realistically describes the initial feelings of grief and disgust almost universal among such parents, who, after all, have always considered homosexuality to be wrong and alien. In specific chapters, he also addresses the experiences of growing up gay in a straight world, the movement toward gay rights, the fight by accepting parents for tolerance for their children, celebrities with gay children, and myths about homosexuality, and he offers a survival guide for parents who have just learned they have a gay child. Especially valuable is the chapter "Parents Speak Out," which tells the personal stories of families who are incorporating gay children into their familial identity. Bernstein's tone is personal, his advice is sound, and he gives much play to the support organization Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG). A valuable addition to psychological self-help collections. Charles Harmon
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.