25 March 2013

Book Review: Family Pride

Michael Shelton is a therapist/counselor who works with LGBT populations in Philadelphia. The purpose of this book was to provide LGBT families with what they should know about "navigating home, school and safety in their neighborhoods."

I frankly don't know what it was I expected from this book. From its back cover, it says that it "is the first book for queer parents, their families, and allies that emphasize community safety... Michael Shelton offers concrete strategies that LGBT families can use to intervene in and resolve difficult community issues, teach their children resiliency skills, and find safe and respectful programs for them."

That sums up about 5 pages of the book. The rest of the book is really a narrative, case study account of families headed by LGBT persons and same-sex partners. I felt the book was much more a book about LGBT families than a book for LGBT families. That may be overly critical as just knowing that other people exist somewhere that share similar problems and respond to them in many different ways, may be what many LGBT families need.

Of course, I also live in a parallel universe that differs entirely from what he describes of both the LGBT community and the LGBT families so its quite possible this book is exactly what parents need. In some respects, I felt torn particularly by how a family navigates issues related to intolerant families. I guess I'm such a conflict avoidant person, I would not sign my child up to participate in an organized sport or similar type group, if my child or I were to be tormented by bigoted, parochial people.

I myself don't see the value in subjecting myself or my child to that, unless, of course, my child has an objective, personal psychological need to enter into such a suffering type situation to learn something about him- or herself. But even then I might hesitate. This then presents a conundrum. Although I live in a reality where my sexuality is not a predominating factor in my identity (although I am open about my sexuality) and I don't feel animus towards me because of my sexuality, but is that experience shared by my children?

It was this thought conundrum that made me wonder during the reading of this book while I learned more about the experiences of LGBT families in the US.

The version I read was a 320 paperback published by Beacon Press  (January 15, 2013), ISBN-13: 978-0807001974. It is written in English. The lowest price I found online was used at abebooks.com and amazon.com.

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