Between The Covers I Nov. 6, 2014

By Terry Schlichenmeyer, Nov. 6, 2014.

This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids by Dannielle Owens-Reid and Kristin Russo. Chronicle Books, 2014 | $18.95.

When your child told you he’s gay, it came as a bit of a shock even though you kinda knew already. As he was telling you, though, he was nervous, you were nervous, but the conversation went well.

You love your gay son (or daughter), but you have about a thousand questions. So, maybe the next thing to do is to read This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids by Dannielle Owens-Reid and Kristin Russo.

Who would’ve thought that two little words — “I’m gay” — would cause so much confusion? That’s what you’ve felt ever since your child came out to you and here you’ll be reassured that’s “completely normal.” Working through this journey will undoubtedly be something new — but then again, aren’t there always a lot of firsts in parenthood?

It’s possible that this may be new to your child, too. He may’ve only recently understood that he’s gay and talking about it “can sometimes be scary!” Patience is key here, as is having a home environment that’s accepting.

And yes, you can gently (and calmly) ask respectful questions; you are, in fact, encouraged to do so. It’s the only way you can understand your child better.

Knowing that your child is gay is not license to broadcast it, however. Telling others largely depends on many factors and situations, and it’s really up the feelings of you and your child.

Again, communication is important so you’re both clear on who to tell, and when. It’s also important to understand that this is a process for loved ones, as well as for you, and that you’ll need to “give some room” for their responses.

Expect changes in your child, but remember that he’s still the same kid. Know your child’s rights in schools, in restrooms and in bullying issues. Talk to your child about sex, and be firm on house rules — especially for sleepovers. Keep a close eye out for any signs of depression or suicide. Be patient, strive for understanding, and talk, talk, talk. And when it comes to your faith, remember this: “Nearly every religion hinges on love” and you love your child. Isn’t that what matters?

Maybe you knew. Or maybe the news had you totally gobsmacked. Either way, you’ve got questions and This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids has answers.

Springing from the website created by co-authors Dannielle Owens-Reid and Kristin Russo (, this book offers succinct advice, sensible comfort and a glossary of terms that the authors encourage parents to know.

I appreciate that it’s comprehensive and not overwritten, and that it’s browse-able and not necessarily meant for cover-to-cover reading. That’s helpful, because the questions you may ask now are “very different from the questions you may have a year from now.”

If your child has just come out, or if you suspect he might, then this book may be the best information you can have.

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