Emphasizes communication and unconditional love

Coming out can be fraught with difficulty for both parents and child.  However, Wesley C. Davidson, a straight mother of a gay adult son, and blogger on gay rights issues, and Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D., a gay Manhattan psychiatrist make coming out and its aftermath easier to understand in When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know (Sterling; $14.95; June 2016 ISBN: 9781454919360) that provides a road map so families can better navigate this rocky emotional terrain.

Davidson and Tobkes help parents untangle their own feelings, identify and overcome barriers to acceptance.  In each chapter, Dr. Tobkes gives useful action plans and conversation starters for parents so they can come to terms with their child’s coming out.


The topics covered in this book are denial, guilt, fear, anger, shame, loss, to arrive at acceptance.  Davidson uses her own experience as a lead-in to the issue discussed in each chapter. Filled with interviews with straight parents who’ve “been there,” those parents give tips on how to overcome issues that they once grappled with.  Similarly, LGBT adults share other stories on what worked or didn’t work in their relationships with their parents and how they overcame parallel issues to gain self-acceptance.  The interviewees of When Your Child Is Gay represent a cross-section of America with different ethnicities and locales.

The Foreword is written by gay Princeton student Cason Crane.  He raised money for a suicide hotline of The Trevor Project for LGBT persons by climbing The Seven Summits (The Rainbow Summit Project).

With the voices of a psychiatrist, straight parents and LGBT children chiming in, When Your Child Is Gay is a positive, progressive guide to raising healthy, well-adjusted children.


  • I wish I had this book when I found out my son was gay! Authors Davidson and Tobkes provide useful tips to help parents adjust to their child’s sexual orientation. Straight parents and LGBT kids also share how they coped with the issues that surface around coming out.

    Maureen Salamon, Journalist
  • The book that countless straight parents are waiting for! Author and mother Wesley Davidson, as well as other parents, provide caring advice about the challenges that straight parents face raising gender-non-conforming children. Co-author gay psychiatrist Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D. brings comfort and insight as well as practical tips to parents who need a helping hand.

    Larry Robins, Straight Ally