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institutional homophobia

Book Review: Family Pride by Michael Shelton

By Amazon, Books & Authors, Gigs & Shows, ReviewsNo Comments
Family Pride Michael Shelton Book Cover Family Pride by Michael Shelton is written like a research article and has an extensive list reference list. Shelton highlights early on that there is a lack of representation of ethic minorities and economically disadvantaged LGBT families in the research. The book is clearly structured and styled as an educational textbook. No definition of an LGBT family is made or attempted; probably because LGBT families are so diverse in their make up and scope. Just like ‘straight’ families.

Shelton interviewed some LGBT parents and even some of their children from across America for this book. I would have enjoyed reading more of these interviews; particularly around their coping strategies for dealing with homophobia, perceived hertrosexism and subtle prejudices. I would have enjoyed reading about these LGBT families hopes for the future.

Family Pride starts with an introduction, explaining the history of gay rights movement and the extreme rightwing (anti-gay) response to this agenda. How the progress of gay rights movement has had an unintended backlash on LGBT families and put many of them in the spotlight in their communities.

I should point out, at this point, that this book is completely Americanised and lacks any international perspective. However many of the issues faced by LGBT families in America will apply to LGBT families in the UK.

Then Family Pride gives a comprehensive review of the issues LGBT families face including:

  • Internalised homophobia.
  • Stages of coming out as an LGBT to children, families and the community.
  • The facade of the perfect family.
  • Issues in schools such as the other same-sex parent not being recognised and bullying of the children by other children (and potentially some of the school staff).
  • Access and engagement with physical and mental health services.
  • The ability to access and enjoy leisure activities (including the all American Summer Camps).
  • Religious Institutions.
  • and the Police & Legal System.

In the conclusion there’s a small section dedicated to how to improve attitudes and acceptance of LGBT families, which will enable better community integration and to give LGBT families a sense of belonging.

Overall Family Pride has good, evidenced-based content. The writing style could have been more engaging and I felt that Shelton over-explained his point at times. This book is ideal for Students or Practitioners in the disciplines of Social Work, Nursing, Mental Health, Youth Work, Housing, the Police, Prison Officers and other public service institutions. It will give Students and Practitioners an awareness of the issues LGBT families face with accessing and engaging with institutions in a way that is dignified, respected and valued.

Family Pride by Michael Shelton is available to buy on Amazon.

I recently interviewed two LGBT parents for The Gay UK; so you might like to read FEATURE: Coming Out to The Kids – Paul’s Story and FEATURE: Coming Out to The Kids – Linda’s Story.

Review soon,



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Changes to The Pink List (2013)

By Gay, History, ThinkingNo Comments

Pink List 2013 Logo

The Independent on Sunday has been producing their annual Pink List since 2000. The Pink List is a list of influential gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans gay people in the UK. Each year The Independent assembles a panel of Judges, opens up for nominations from the public and then decides who to award the 100 places to and in which order.

This year’s Pink List 2013 has been published and with some interesting changes. No longer is it enough to be gay and a well known public figure whose a role model to gay youth. This year people on the list have to have contributed or made a difference in some way.

The Independent on Sunday have created two separate lists in addition to the main pink list; one for National Treasures and one for Politicians. On the National Treasures list is the likes of Russell T Davies, Paul O’Grady, Sir Elton John, Stephen Fry, Sir Ian McKellen and John Barrowman. On the Politicians list is various Westminster Peeps.

I am disappointed by the creation of these separate lists for National Treasures and Politicians. I think it is enough to be gay and a role model, so I’d have kept the one Pink List. I’d have just put people who have contributed more in the last year higher up on the list.

I would have extended the list to accomodate the increasing number gay people coming out. It shows that we are out there in numbers and contributing to society. For easy reading, I would have split the list into parts: 1-10, 11-30, 31-50, 51-100 and 101+.

The Pink List has always missed out people that are not in the media spotlight. I think the Pink List could be massively improved by including these people who are contributing a great deal to their local communities and society as a whole. These ‘ordinary’ LGBT people are doing amazing things. Such as those Workers/Volunteers for The Albert Kennedy Trust & George House Trust, Students who’ve set up LGBT Societies in Universities and Employees that set up or run LGBT forums within their employers organisations.

The Pink List should include out LGBT parents. Its very difficult to be an out LGBT parent. Many LGBT parents worry about the impact of their sexuality/gender identity on their children, in terms of some schools institutional homophobia and bullying by other children. I discovered this through two interviews with LGBT parents for a feature article for The Gay UK. The first interview was with Paul and the other with Linda.

Finally, I think there should be a list of influential straight people who support gay rights. The gay marriage bill would have never been passed into law, if it wasn’t for the many straight people who voted in favour of the bill.

Blog soon,



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