Books for Parents, Supporters and Caregivers of Sexual Minority Youth

A semi-comprehensive bibliography of books about and for sexual minority youth

All books listed here can be purchased from by following the links. Those showing a "look inside" arrow include excerpts that can be read from the Amazon web pages - just follow the links to the main Amazon page for the book.

Support for Parents of the Newly Out

Is It A Choice? Answers to 300 Most Asked Questions About Gay And Lesbian People by Eric Marcus. This book is a godsend to parents whose children have just come out to them. Many report that it "seems like it was written just for me," in the words of one reader. It's a great starting point, especially if you've just gotten the news and have a ton of questions.
Loving Someone Gay by Don Clark, Ph.D. is easily the best single book I can recommend. Sensitively written by a gay psychologist who has worked with gay people as well as their parents and family for many years, this book is guaranteed to bring many a tear of recognition to your eyes with its many heart-felt stories and examples. If you buy no other book, this should be the one. Originally written over thirty years ago, it has been through many editions and is still in print after all these years - enduring testimony to its timeless value.
My Child Is Gay by Bryce McDougall, editor. This is a collection of stories written by parents about the experiences they faced in coming to terms with the revelation that they had a gay son or daughter. As one parent put it, "It brought me great comfort to know other parents went through the same kinds of feelings I did. I cried and yes laughed a little with each new story." A terrific companion to Loving Someone Gay (see book above).
Beyond Acceptance by Griffin, Wirth and Wirth. This is a book that will help to understand the experiences your child is having in dealing with the world. It's about as good as it gets for not having been there yourself. It will also help you understand what you can do to help make the world a better place for your child.
Straight Parents, Gay Children by Robert A. Bernstein, is by the parent of a lesbian, who describes in great detail, and a very open and honest manner, his thought-processes as he went through the various stages of grief, shock, anger, acceptance and advocacy in understanding his own daughter. It will help you appreciate what you can expect as the parent of a gay child.
Joining The Tribe: Growing Up Gay And Lesbian in the 90's by Linnea A. Due, is a book that can really help a parent understand what it is for a gay youth to be coming out in contemporary society. Recommended highly to help you get inside your child's mind.
Lesbian and Gay Youth: Care and Counseling by Caitlin Ryan and Donna Futterman is the book that the high schools would use as a manual for health education and the counseling of gay youth if they really cared. But they don't, so it's up to you as a parent, counselor or other caregiver. It's chock full of practical advice for the caregivers of gay youth, whether parents, counselors or psychologists.

Books About Gays and Religion

Stranger At The Gate by Rev. Mel White. This is the deeply moving autobiography of a man who, as a speechwriter and film maker for most of the great luminaries of the evangelical movement, struggled with his own homosexuality until he had a powerful spiritual experience that taught him that God loved him in spite of his being gay.
The New Testament and Homosexuality by Robin Scroggs is a title that bounces around seminaries and schools of divinity a lot - because it is probably the most thorough treatment of its subject that is still in print. It's one that is suitable for the serious Bible student, but is accessible to the general reader as well. Many report that it has demonstrated to them that popular interpretations of New Testament scriptures relating to homosexuality are simply incorrect, and the Bible isn't unfriendly to gays at all.
What The Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel Helminiak, Ph.D., is a book whose title accurately describes the contents: written for those concerned about Biblical scripture that would seem to condemn homosexuality, Helminiak, a Biblical scholar himself, shows clearly that, of widely quoted scriptures (particularly in Romans and Leviticus), the usual interpretations are simply wrong!
Openly Gay, Openly Christian: How The Bible Is Really Gay Friendly by Rev. Samuel Kader. This book is for you if you're having trouble accepting your child's being gay and Christian at the same time. Many people have had their faith shored up and saved by this book.
The Church And The Homosexual by John J. McNeil, is a book for you to give your minister or any theologian who finds himself dealing with gay people. A book of thoroughgoing scholarship, it has turned around the attitude of many a minister and student of theology. Written in an easily accessible style, yet well-documented and thoroughly researched, it has stood the test of serious scholarly review and criticism for years.

Books Suitable for Children In Families With Gay Youth

The Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein is one of the very rare resources useful for explaining the gay experience to younger children, ages five through eight. Based loosely on the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale, it is lushly illustrated and follows the antics of "Elmer" the sissy duckling, and what he goes through at school and on the playground. An excellent resource for answering young children that are asking questions you find difficult to explain. Useful as well for teaching sensitivity to young children who have a tendency to bully playmates.

Books Suitable For Gay Youth


Am I Blue? Coming Out From The Silence edited by Marion Dane Bauer. Originally published in 1994, this classic colletion of short stories is still current in its themes and the issues it presents. Offers insightful answers to problems facing gay and lesbian youth, presenting them in an entertaining manner. A great collection and a wonderful read. It's a terrific introduction to gay youth literature.
Deliver Us From Evie by M. E. Kerr, is a classic novel about a lesbian teen who faces the intolerance of a rejecting Christian farm family in the Midwestern U.S. It's a lesbian love story that doesn't end in the usual disaster - no car crashes, no sin, no victims. It is just a fast-paced story that is gripping in its emotional appeal to young lesbians. A classic originally published in 1994.
Rainbow Boys by Robert Sanchez is an important new novel that touches on the problems (and in many cases, solutions) to the problems that young gay men face in coming out in today's society. Yet the novel is well drawn, and it will pull the reader into the lives and drama of the characters' dilemmas. It's a great read, not just for gay youth but straight youth as well, who are supportive and want to understand how their gay friends are forced to deal with life.
Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden is one of the great classics of gay youth literature (originally published in 1982). Sweetly sensitive, yet realistic, it helps young lesbians understand and reaffirm their feelings and reinforce their self-worth. This book got great reviews when it was first released, and its value and deep appeal has stood the test of time - one of those rare books that remains so popular it is still in print twenty years after it was first published.
Substitute For Love by Karen Kallmaker. This book about a young lesbian, closeted to herself as well as the world, discovering love in her first real romance to another young woman. It talks about the struggles that discovery will inevitably cause. It was nominated for several awards, and rightly so - destined to become a classic in its own right.
Metes and Bounds by Jay Quinn, is an unusual novel about a young gay country boy from the midwest who discovers himself amidst the world of surfers and sea, construction sites and surfing piers in North Carolina. Told in the first person, like someone living it would really tell it, it's a story that gay men can really identify with - and that makes it particularly gripping for young gay men.
At Swim, Two Boys: A Novel by Jamie O'Neil was a book subject to a great deal of controversial hype when it was first published, but the hype was surprisingly well deserved. This book is a historical novel, of two Irish teens discovering themselves and their love for each other on the beaches of Ireland in 1915, set against the background of the violence and disruption of the Easter Uprising of Dublin in that year.
Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley, is a very unusual novel. Written in a dreamy, almost detached style, it is the story of two teens struggling to painfully acknowledge their homosexuality as they hang on to their love for each other while their families and their lives fall apart around them. The book asks questions that encourage deep thinking about issues such as religion, child abuse, family and societal tolerance.


Free Your Mind by Ellen Bass and Kate Kaufman. This book is a "how to" manual for gay teens - how to live a life free of being victimized by the hatred, fear and harassment. It's written specifically to help gay teens over the rough spots - and helping them to build a support network for themselves. Probably the best self-help book you can give your gay middle- or high-schooler.
The Shared Heart: Portraits And Stories Celebrating Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young People by Adam Mastoon is a book that will truly inspire. The photographs are causually posed - with the subjects looking right at you. And their stories will help boost the pride and self-esteem of gay and lesbian youth everywhere. A very reassuring book that parents will enjoy too.
Together Forever: Lesbian and Gay Couples Share Their Secrets For Lasting Happiness by Eric Marcus is a terrific book for college-age youth, for encouraging them to form monogamous relationships, and helping them to do so.
Lesbian Couples: A Guide to Creating Healthy Relationships by Marilee Clunis, Ph.D. and G. Dorsey Green, Ph.D. At last! A book that focuses specifically on building healthy relationships between lesbian partners. This is suitable for college-age lesbians, and is great for helping lesbian daughters form and maintain satisfying and lasting relationships.
Now That I'm Out, What Do I Do? by Brian McNaught is a great introduction to the gay community for gay youth. Suitable for high-school aged teens and college aged youth. It helps them prepare them for some of the less healthy aspects of the gay community, and coming out with thier dignity, health and self-esteem intact. Valuable especially for young gay men going off to college or leaving home for the first time.

Books For The Children of Same-Sex Parents

Is Your Family Like Mine? by Louis Abramchik, This is a great book for explaining to children the reality surrounding same-sex parenting couples. It is a book that introduces to children that it is love that makes a family, and that it doesn't matter if a child has two parents of the same sex - gay and lesbian couples report that their children keep coming back to it again and again, and find it very comforting. Ages nine through twelve.
Daddy's Roommate by Michael Wilhoite, is a book that was controversial when it first came out, but it is really a very sweet story of a young boy learning what his father's roommate is really all about. Very useful for explaining the situation to children aged four through eight.
Best, Best Colors by Hoffman, Henriquez and Vega, this is a wonderful book for gently and sensitively introducing children to the ugly reality of hate crimes, related both to race and sexual orientation. This book is especially useful for gay or lesbian couples who are racial or ethnic minorities, or who are raising such a child. It affirms that it is love that makes a family, not bloodlines or societal acceptance. Appropriate for ages four through eight.
Lucy Goes To The Country by Joe Kennedy and John Canemaker. It is a sweet story of the misadventures of Lucy the Cat who goes to the country every weekend with her family - which happens to be a family of two gay men. It teaches the normality of gay couples. Ages four through eight.


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copyright © 2002, Scott Bidstrup
revised 5/15/02