Sep 08

Parents of Gay Kids: “Oddly Normal” and More

You’re a caring parent who’s discovered your child is gay and you want to do and say the right things—despite your own shock and/or struggle. Some up-to-date resources for parents of gay kids include the nonfiction book Oddly Normal, a film you can watch for free online or on DVD, and a brand new guidebook.

I. Oddly Normal by John Schwartz (2012)

Journalist Schwartz recounts in Oddly Normal the struggles of his teen son Joe to deal with an emerging awareness of being gay.

One day Schwartz was notified that his son was in the hospital after trying to kill himself. From the book description:

Mustering the courage to come out to his classmates, Joe had delivered a tirade about homophobic and sexist attitudes that was greeted with unease and confusion by his fellow students. Hours later, he took an overdose of pills. After a couple of weeks in the hospital and in the locked ward of a psychiatric treatment center, Joe returned to his family. As he recovered, his parents were dismayed by his school’s inability to address — or reluctance to deal with — Joe’s needs…

In the crucial and early phases of Joe’s development there was not only a decided lack of help but also a significant dose of misdirection from therapists and counselors.

Publishers Weekly: “[A] moving account of a family’s journey to raise and protect their gay son…Equally humorous and heartrending, this memoir reveals just what it takes to raise children who are different in a world still resistant.”

II. LEAD with Love (2011)

Behind this are two clinicians, Jennie Mackenzie, PhD, the film’s director, and David Huebner, PhD, whose research (backed by the National Institute of Mental Health) led to the idea for putting together this engaging documentary.

Watch the trailer below:

“LEAD” (with Love) in all caps? Below, from their website‘s “Information for Parents and Youth,” an explanation of this as an acronym:

L et your affection show
E xpress your pain away from your child
A void rejecting behaviors
D o good before you feel good

Read the related several-page guide for details on how to follow through on LEAD or refer to the one-page “cheat sheet.” Also, of course, check out their list of resources for parents of gay kids.

You can watch the 30-minute-plus film Lead for Love online after completing a mandatory but very brief survey.

As indicated on their site, spreading the word about this project is a main goal.

III. This Is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids: A Question & Answer Guide to Everyday Life (2014)

Authors Dannielle Owens-Reid and Kristin Russo are the co-founders of both Everyone Is Gay and The Parents Project. Lots of information and assistance is available on both sites.

A video intro to their new book:

An excerpt from the glowing recommendation from Mother Magazine: “An excellent read no matter what your child’s sexual orientation or gender identity, the book follows a Q&A format, so parents can quickly skip to the questions and concerns that apply to them.”