For young people struggling with issues around their sexuality, 'coming out' to their families, schools and communities can be traumatic. The alarming statistics for youth suicide, risk-taking behaviours and mental health concerns reflect the alienation and harassment felt by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered young people as they wrestle in isolation with the difficulties of 'being different'. They need families, schools and communities to provide support, understanding and affirmation; and to be their allies against homophobia.
Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli has compiled a valuable guide for all those whose lives are affected by a young person coming out. In this work, she includes first-hand accounts from families, schools and communities across different socioeconomic levels, diverse regions and many cultural backgrounds.
She also provides vital suggestions and advice for those at the coalface of this issue - parents of young people who need to come out, high-school teachers and community leaders - as well as effective responses and strategies for dealing with homophobia in any environment.
Dr Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli is internationally recognised for her publications on gender, ethnicity and sexuality. She is Senior Lecturer in the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University; Honorary Lifelong Patron of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Gays and Lesbians) Victoria; and author of Girls' Talk and Boys' Stuff.