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Transforming the Conversation

Hi, my name is Heather Hester. Welcome to Chrysalis Mama.

You have probably landed on this page because your child or a loved one (grandchild? niece? friend?) has recently come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or another sexual orientation or gender identity and you are looking for resources and tools. I know the joys and challenges of parenting an LGBTQ child.

Or, maybe you’re here because your company or organization is looking for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) speakers or consulting. I can help you with that!

Don’t panic. Take a deep breath. You are in the right place. I’ve been where you are. I’ve felt the shock, the joy, the terror, the growth, the unconditional love, the fierce mama bear response. It’s A LOT! And, it can be challenging to find support, guidance, resources, and education. That’s why I’m here.

Chrysalis Mama is the product of our family’s journey with depression, anxiety, and embracing our son, who, among many wonderful traits, is gay. It is my desire to pass on valuable information and offer support to those who are on a similar journey of loving and raising an LGBTQ+ child.

My mission is to transform the conversation around embracing, education, empowering, and loving LGBTQIA+ adolescents, teenagers, and young adults.

You may be asking – how do we change this conversation? I believe it starts within each one of us, blossoms within our families, and then grows within our communities and beyond. My principles are simple yet effective – To embrace, educate, empower, and love.

I am grateful for this opportunity to connect with parents, allies, advocates, and all who are, among all of their many wonderful traits, LGBTQ!

Nestled in this site you will find:


Do you have a child, teen, or young adult who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or another sexual orientation or gender identity?

Do you feel alone in your effort to support them on their journey or navigate your own?

Do you want to learn how to make your work environment more inclusive and well-informed?

Using a combination of solo episodes on in-depth topics and interviews with fascinating guests. Just Breathe: Parenting Your LGBTQ+ Teen helps calm you, educate you, inspire you, and support you on this beautifully unpredictable journey.


Covering topics ranging from the LGBTQ+ coming out process to mental health to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in corporate spaces - the Chrysalis Mama blog is a space to learn, grow, and become empowered.

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Protect Lgbtq+ Youth Resources for Parents | Chrysalis Mama

June 06, 20225 min read

“Depending on your degree of shock, you may be seeking support, educational materials, crisis hotlines, or all of the above. Take a moment right now to take a deep breath and know that you are not alone.” - Heather Hester

6 Must-read Books for Parents of LGBTQ+ Youth

Has your child just come out to you as gay (or lesbian or bisexual or transgender or non-binary or queer)? We know just Parents of LGBTQ know and feel that moments, Regardless of whether they are 13 or 30, they are likely searching for information. Depending on your degree of shock, you may be seeking support, educational materials, crisis hotlines, or all of the above. Take a moment right now to take a deep breath and know that you are not alone.

So books are definitely my go-to resource and even after five-plus years on our journey and there are a few that I reference over and over again.

#1 Mom, I’m Gay

by Susan Cottrell

When Connor first came out to us I was terrified he was going to hell having been brought up in a conservative Christian home. I needed answers to that question first before I tackled anything else, and Susan Cottrell’s “Mom, I’m Gay” literally saved me. It’s a very tough time for gay moms.

Susan is so relatable. Because she shares the story of her daughter coming out and ultimately being asked to make a decision between her church and her daughter (spoiler alert, she chose her daughter!). Her gentle yet clear guidance transitions beautifully to a straightforward study and explanation of the “clobber verses.” Be forewarned that this is eye-opening and may inspire further research (it did for me!). So it will help you move forward on your journey with relief knowing, no, your child is not going to hell.

So this is a must-read for anyone who has religious concerns. Fair warning, it may have you rethinking your spirituality…in the best way possible!

#2 This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids

Dannielle Owens Reid & Kristin Russo

This was the second Book for Parents of LGBTQ. I read it when Connor first came out, and it is still at the top of my list of recommended reading on the subject.

It is a perfect primer and does a lovely job of prepping the reader for the next level of information coming their way. It is in a question-and-answer format so you can skip around to find answers to your most pressing questions first. And then circle back to the rest of the awesome information.

Remember, it may not be a question now, but if it’s in this book. I promise it will be a question at some point! Reid and Russon do a phenomenal job of educating parents during those first few months.

#3 How to They/Them

Stuart Getty

How to They/Them is a more recent find. The saying “the only constant is change” applies to language too.

Language evolves, and this little gem helps us understand nonbinary pronouns. The world of gender fluidity is something those of us who are GenX and older seem to struggle with.

Even better? It’s a visual guide! I invite you to grab this handy reference and go through it more than once. I had several “a-ha” moments as I read it! Knowing how to use pronouns respectfully. And knowing how to ask confirmation or clarification questions along the way – is such an incredible tool for any parent and/or ally. You will get the things to read Books for Parents of LGBTQ.

#4 Raising LGBTQ Allies

Chris Tompkins

I had the honor of interviewing Chris Tompkins on my podcast just days after finishing his book  and all I can say is, wow! 

His book, Raising LGBTQ Allies, is #4 on my must-read list with a subtitle of “A Parent’s Guide to Changing the Messages from the Playground.” Broken into three parts - Awareness, Willingness, Change - Chris weaves his story and valuable lessons in an engaging and educational way. He answers important questions like “how do we talk to our kids?’ and “please help me understand the language!” Most importantly he shares hope. 

This one of those books that you will go back to again and again to reference. My copy is tabbed and highlighted with notes written throughout! 

#5 Raising My Rainbow – Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son

Lori Duron

I came across this book while gathering research for my own book and loved it for so many reasons. Because of Author Lori Duron isn’t kidding about “adventures” – in addition to laughing and crying as I read, I learned so much!

I love this book for anyone who is raising a gender-creative child. It is a beautiful testament to guiding the passions and interests of your child in a very supportive, nurturing way AND the very definition of unconditional love.

#6 The Savvy Ally

Jeannie Gainsburg

This is one of my absolute faves and one I refer to over and over again. This easy-to-understand guidebook is filled with practical tips, relevant information, techniques, and actions for being an ally to LGBTQ+ communities.

Now in it's second edition, this will become a book you refer to over and over.

BONUS - The Language of LGBTQIA+

Heather Hester

I had to add my newly published e-book, The Language of LGBTQIA+. To my knowledge, this is the most complete collection of definitions, explanations of how to use words and phrases, and the “why” of words and phrases that should NEVER be used. 

In additional to being comprehensive, it is engaging and direct, lending it to be a favorite resource!

Check it out HERE!

Interested in more book suggestions or other helpful resources?

Head on over to my website and browse through my extensive list. I am constantly adding to and refreshing it so it is also valuable as a bookmark for support.

Must Read BooksResourcesBooks to Read LGBTQIA+ Teens and Young AdultsPridesupport LGBTQIA+ Gender Inclusivity
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