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“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
5 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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Heather was a passionate and informed speaker on the topic of LGBTQ2S parenting. Heather shares her personal and professional experience through family storytelling and is able to connect to the audience in this candid way. Heather provided thoughtful and supportive feedback to parents’ questions and employees shared positive feedback after her informative session.
~Kallie Jackson, CN PRIDE ERG Co-Chair
Canadian National Railways
I am very happy to know that Heather is available to serve as a resource for parents of LGBTQ+ kids, and really to any parents at all. Everyone talks about being "inclusive", but Heather lives it. Heather is able to accept whatever comes her way and use the power of unconditional love and kindness to turn challenges into gifts. We can all learn a lot from Heather.
~Adam Simon, Executive Director
Odyssey Teen Camp
Heather was the calming voice in a world that was otherwise in upheaval. Heather was there to pick me up (although she didn't know it) and she was the best friend in my head helping me process and get through some difficult stuff. I loved that she gave ME permission to process and mourn my story now that it was being rewritten...Heather gave me the time I needed to get to the next step. Heather didn't judge me. I would download a podcast every morning and listen to ther during my walk. Her voice fixed it for me. Her voice soothed my heartache. Her voice helped me get to the next step of processing and her voice helped me move on. Heather helped me have difficult conversations that were based in kindness. She helped me to breathe. And I love her for that.
~Anonymous and thankful
I was searching for resources to be the best supportive mom I could be to my pre-teen (now teen) and found this amazing podcast! It was just what I needed! I knew I needed some guidance from a parent who had experience through a similar journey and Heather was there with perfect content and even talked with me personally through email. The community Heather has built through this podcast and Facebook page has given me the confidence to not be fearful through this journey but rather to embrace it and encourage my teen to be their authentic self!
~ Lauren Bo21
Heather is real, relatable, thoughtful, educated, and inclusive of every teen parent scenario in her talks. I love being able to hear first hand from someone who has gone through the “Valley of Darkness” and come out the other side a better person, informed, and able to help others right where they are.
Your centered, calming voice and demeanor help me to feel more peaceful. I experience you as therapeutic & your journey gives me more hope that we can love [our son] well. Thank you for giving your life away to me through sharing your story and the guests you interview.
I love your raw, real vulnerability. I am brand new on this journey and stumbled accidentally across your podcast on a road trip. I listened for 8 hours of driving and didn’t want to get to my destination because I wanted more. Using your own journey to help and support other parents is so brave and I am grateful to you and your family. Connor is so fortunate to have you ❤️
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