Family Secrets

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As a clinical psychologist, Jean Baker had always considered herself open-minded and tolerant, but found she wasn’t prepared for the revelation that her only two children were both gay. Family Secrets is an inspirational story of how she and her family learned to accept one another and overcome their internalized fears and prejudices as well as how they coped with a much greater challenge in their personal lives—HIV/AIDS.

Family Secrets is more than a parenting memoir, however. It is a guide that draws upon research and scientific findings to capsize the myths and stereotypes that contribute to societal homophobia. It offers important insight into the developmental needs of gay children, and it discusses the issues faced by gay and lesbian youth and their families.

Offering practical suggestions about how parents and schools can help gay, lesbian, and bisexual children grow up to be productive, psychologically healthy adults, Family Secrets discusses the effects of social prejudice and stigma on the social and emotional development of sexual minorities. As long as homophobia is running rampant in American society, gay children are going to be reluctant or afraid to confide in their parents, and parents will have trouble understanding and accepting homosexuality in their children. To end the secrecy and build open and healthy environments for all children and adolescents, this book discusses:

  • tactics for reducing homophobia in non-gay youths
  • promoting tolerance and understanding of sexual minorities at home and in school
  • the effects an AIDS death has on families
  • “coming out” about HIV/AIDS
  • discussing homosexuality with your children, regardless of whether or not they are gay or lesbian
  • sexual orientation and the interaction of biology with experience

    Because Family Secrets is written from the viewpoint of a parent/psychologist, it offers insights into the developmental needs of gay and lesbian children in a way that no other book has done. School counselors, psychologists, marriage and family counselors, teachers, school administrators, and the parents and siblings of gays and lesbians will all benefit from reading this honest, helpful, and encouraging book.

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Editorial Reviews

Baker, a psychologist in private practice, tells of her struggle to accept both of her sons' gay lifestyles and cope with her younger son's death from AIDS. Offering more than a memoir, she draws on recent research to destroy myths that contribute to homophobia, discusses the developmental needs of gay children, and looks at issues faced by gay and lesbian youth and their families. She presents strategies for discussing homosexuality with children and promoting tolerance for sexual minorities at home and school. Paper edition (1-56023-915-8), $14.95. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
An inspirational story...Offers important insight into the developmental needs of gay children.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789002488
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Series: Haworth Gay and Lesbian Studies
  • Pages: 258
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents


  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Love Overcomes
  • Chapter 2. Childhood
  • Chapter 3. Adolescence
  • Chapter 4. A Son Comes Out
  • Chapter 5. Coming of Age
  • Chapter 6. Columbia Years: 1981–1984
  • Chapter 7. Mother’s Coming Out
  • Chapter 8. Becoming a Writer
  • Chapter 9. The Verdict
  • Chapter 10. After the Verdict
  • Chapter 11. Another Verdict
  • Chapter 12. Forewarnings
  • Chapter 13. Strange Interlude
  • Chapter 14. Final Days
  • Chapter 15. Grief, Loss, and AIDS
  • Chapter 16. Memories and the Right to Die
  • Chapter 17. Homosexuality: Facts, Fallacies, Feelings
  • References
  • Index
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