How it Feels to Have a Gay or Lesbian Parent: a book by kids for kids of all ages By Judith Snow Harrington Park Press, distributed by Turnaround Pounds 8.99 www.turnaround-uk.com
We know that many children of almost any school age use homophobic language, which they often don't fully understand, to abuse and bully children who are even slightly apart from the mainstream culture. It's not surprising, then, that children of gay and lesbian parents can find school life difficult. That certainly comes out in this collection of stories.
It's also evident that for many of the children here, the sexuality of one of their parents led to divorce, which is at least as disturbing as whether or not their mum or dad is gay.
Perhaps the most insightful story is that of Nicole, who at 31 is still trying to come to terms with a major issue in her life. "Whether or not to be 'out' as the daughter of a lesbian has been an ongoing struggle. Partly because of the real risks, people lose their children, their jobs, and their lives," (she gives notes substantiating each of these) "and partially because of the fear that my mother inadvertently bequeathed to me by remaining vigilantly 'in the closet' while I was growing up."
The book is intended for children in similar families and, although it's American, the messages are valid, and will be useful for teachers and counsellors.