Wesley Cullen Davidson, a freelance journalist, used to be a generalist, writing for such publications as Adoptive Families, American Baby, Good Housekeeping, about health and parenting.
But she decided to write a book about parenting a gay child when she couldn’t find a book that would give her resolution tips on how to overcome her unsettling feelings when she learned her son James was gay in 1996.
Wesley wanted answers. She found them when she co-wrote When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know. It deals with the issues that parents face raising LGBTQ children.
In this user-friendly book, Davidson not only lends her own experience but also those of other straight parents who grappled with the same issues she had to come to terms with: denial, fear, guilt, anger, shame, loss, so they could arrive at acceptance. Those case studies and interviews give parents the needed guidance they seek from “those who have been there.” As she did for straight parents, Davidson also interviews LGBTQ adults of different ethnicities throughout the United States as well as Canada to discover what worked or didn’t work in their relationships with their parents.
In each chapter, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D, in a section called “The Doctor Is In,” offers his expertise on how to resolve that particular issue. He gives useful action plans and conversation starters, written in layman terms, for the overwhelmed so parents can continue to parent while coming to terms with issues that may prevent them from accepting their child and unconditionally loving him/her.
Sample of First Chapter
The yin- yang, the mother’s perspective and the psychiatrist’s clinical evaluation of each issue are evident in each chapter. One such chapter is Denial to Discovery, which Dr. Tobkes, who teaches at New York Presbyterian, confirms is the most common reaction of parents to their child’s coming out.
Here is a quote of the perspective of denial: “If denial were what I was initially feeling, with its tentacles of overwhelming issues, it was nowhere as strong as what my son was feeling. The collateral damage of denial can be so overwhelming that it mirrors the symptoms of clinical post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “
Dr. Tobkes’s evaluation: “Upon finding out that a child is gay, many parents are unable to assimilate this new data into their previously constructed notion of their child’s identity and future life plan. They are unable to reconcile their child’s homosexuality with heterosexual notions that have probably existed in their minds since conception.”
His suggestions at the end of “The Doctor Is In,” in Chapter 1 for resolving denial are summarized as: “Although denial is a defense mechanism that can sometimes be healthy and adaptive, when facing with the realization that you child is gay, denial is only a hindrance in beginning the process of acceptance. The most important step for working through your denial involves having direct and honest conversations with your child and other family members, reaching out to friends and community supports for additional guidance, and in certain cases, seeking help from a trained professional.”
Necessity is the Mother Of Invention
From a generalist to a niche writer, Wesley has concentrated almost exclusively on the LGBTQ community, specifically on advising straight parents of gay children, as she does in her blog: http://www.straightparentgaykid.blogspot.com. Wesley helps parents better parent and raise happy, well-adjusted adults. She currently contributes to an n online blog for Psychology Today and used to write for gaynewspulse.com and gayagenda.com.