Coming Out, Coming In: Nurturing the Well-Being and Inclusion of Gay Youth in Mainstream Society

Print More


Linda Goldman
Routledge/Taylor & Francis
339 pages. $29.95 paperback.

Linda Goldman’s passionate advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth permeates this comprehensive guide, which envisions “a widening range of contemporary ways of being.” This new social order cannot emerge until we end the prejudice that places LGBT youth at high risk for suicide, homelessness and isolation, she says.

A therapist and teacher of graduate courses on working with LGBT youth, Goldman is also the mother of a gay child. She knows the apprehensive teenager needing acceptance and the shocked parent discovering her child is gay. Her first section helps readers understand and support LGBT youth – 68 percent to 90 percent of whom reportedly experience harassment. Compelling accounts feature young people and their families who cope with “coming out.” After dispelling myths such as homosexuality being a choice, Goldman catalogs recent trends toward acceptance, such as changing policy on gays in the military. Today’s teenagers herald the “post-gay” generation that finds it “profoundly uncool to be seen as anti-gay.”

A second section offers interventions to support the “healthy outlook” of LGBT young people, including counseling techniques, self-expression, gay-straight alliances and safe school environments. A third section focuses on “coming in”: integrating LGBT families into communities. Chapters on parenting LGBT children and being LGBT parents cover marriage equality and legal barriers. Supportive organizations and businesses are profiled.

An attractive layout with photographs, youth art and writing, numerous headings, bullet points and quotes makes information easy to locate. Resource lists for all ages include books, curricula, videos, magazines, pamphlets, exhibits and organizations. Unfortunately, many listed books were published in the 1990s or earlier; not enough resources cover advances in areas such as AIDS treatment, laws and gay marriage. Few recent “post-gay” young adult novels are mentioned.

Although short on specifics about the B and T in LGBT (bisexual and transgender), this handbook targets everyone in the “coming out/coming in” process: parents, families, friends, caring adults, activists, politicians, support groups, community agencies, advocacy organizations, church groups, school boards, educators, physicians, therapists, counselors, social workers and LGBT youth themselves. (212) 216-7800,