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Straight Parents Gay Children: Inspiring Families to Live Honestly and with Greater Understanding Paperback – May 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Thunder's Mouth Press; 2nd edition (May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560252294
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560252290
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,439,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

From Booklist

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 24 customer reviews
I believe this book to be very helpful for parents of gays.
Brian Allan Little
I purchased this book 5 years ago when my son came out to me, and found it to be the most helpful resource.
Beverly B. West
The book helps us get over our hang-ups, but it overdoes it a bit.
RBradbury451

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have concluded my search. I have spent the last 18 months looking for a book to give my parents to help them come to terms with my homosexuality. Every other book I read had something if not many things wrong with it. This text addresses every concern a parent could have...including the religious ones without getting too bogged down in biblical translation and interpretation. Straight Parents Gay Children says all the thing things that would be too preachy for me to say myself. An excellent resource!
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By John Rice on August 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Robert Bernstein's account of the development of P-Flag is emtional and inspiring. His book helps parents of gay children to learn about what gay means and how to accept their children. One flaw in this book is that all the examples he uses are men and women who have achieved high status as pretty much defined by society. Most of them are in "marriages", long-term relationships. All of this makes them look "just like" straight people. This position is only one of many taken by gay people and gay organizations. I wondered as I read this book where I fit in. None of those gay people were like me and I did not share many of their views. So where does that put gay people like myself in Bernstein's perspective? The book seems to whitewash much of the gay world. Bernstein does not seem to be in touch with the youth programs. As a volunteer in one of those programs, I can tesitfy that none of the teens in our project reflect the kind of gay people he described. That criticism aside, Bernstein's book attempts to fight bigotry and help straight parents climb the mountain, as one parent put it to dealing with their own issues and reaching out to their children in love.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
Our son came out at age 18. When I worked up the courage, 4 months later, to attend my first PFLAG meeting (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), the support of people who have already been there was wonderful. This was the first book they recommended, and it made a huge difference in my ability to bring order to my thoughts (and my conflicted heart), and not just to accept but to embrace my son's courage and honesty. The book deals compassionately with parents' fears regarding potential violence to our children and the tragedy of AIDS and social prejudice. More importantly, it inspires and en-courages parents not just to continue loving our children, which is the easy part, but to become comfortable as advocates for our fine children (who happen to be GLBT) to whatever degree makes sense in our lives. I highly recommend this book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I just read this book, and it certainly answered a lot of my questions about my child's homosexuality, and why his sexual orientation comes from neither bad upbringing or perversion. This would be a good book for anyone who cares about their gay loved one.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read this book when I was preparing to come out to my parents, and then gave it to them. Found it to be very useful
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By DJS on March 4, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finishing reading this book. It was a good read but it is more or less for parents to read. Don't get me wrong, I learned some things: what parents go through, some things on society, history of p-flag, and such but it was not all that I hoped this book would be.
The author uses lots of high profile people as examples in this book so it was hard for someone like me to figure out just where I stand in life. As it will probably be for parents to place their child among these people who are exampled.
Most of the themes in this book are more adult rather than young teens to young adult.
It is a good attempt to give an overview of the "gay" world but it was not what I expected.
I would recomend this book for parents of gay children who want to learn more about the life style, history, p-flag, ect.
But not to learn about their children. The only way to do that is to ask them yourself.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Christopher M. MacNeil on March 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
And that's the problem with this book, if it's not read within its parameters. Robert A. Bernstein, inspired to write his book after his teenage daughter came out as a lesbian, has some wonderful examples of parental support of gay, lesbian, bi and transgendered children, and support for parents is the reason for the book. And the history of the parental group (P-FLAG) of such children is intriguing and informative. Certainly, just as gay and lesbian children need the support of their families, so their parents need their unique support systems. Unfortunately, parents who reject not only their childrens' "alternate" lifestyles but their children in whole, aren't likely to read Bernstein's book simply because they probably don't want to understand what they disdain for whatever reason. The real-life parent-child relationships posited here are wonderful, and it would be truly magnificent if all parent-child relationships could be as they are here. Additionally, the children in this book are older, not necessarily pre- and teenagers, thus exluding the parents of these age-specific issues. Further, many of the children cited here are usually on track toward personal and professional fulfillment, quite likely partly because of their parents' support. Unfortunately, a great many others, if not more, have either been fully abandoned by their parents and family or, if they haven't, don't have what could qualify as anything nearing a healthy relationship with their parents. By its title, Bernstein's novel is directed toward parents, and certainly they need support just as much as their children. But to conclude that all gay and lesbian children have their families' unconditional love and support would be a tragic mistake.Read more ›
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