A Positive View of LGBTQ starts a new conversation about the strengths and benefits of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGTBQ) identities. Positive LGBTQ identities are affirmed through inspiring firsthand accounts. Focusing on how LGTBQ-identified individuals can cultivate a sense of wellbeing and a personal identity that allows them to flourish in all areas of life, the authors explore a variety of themes. Through personal stories from people with a variety of backgrounds and gender and sexual identities, readers will learn more about expressing gender and sexuality; creating strong and intimate relationships; exploring unique perspectives on empathy, compassion, and social justice; belonging to communities and acting as role models and mentors; and, enjoying the benefits of living an authentic life. Providing exercises in each chapter, the book offers those who identify as LGBTQ and those who support and love them, as well as those seeking to better understand them, an opportunity to explore and appreciate these identities.
Ellen D.B. Riggle is professor of gender and women's studies and political science at the University of Kentucky. She is co-founder of PrismResearch.org, a research group and website focused on issues impacting the wellbeing of LGBTQ individuals and same-sex couples. Her articles have appeared in leading professional journals and she is coeditor of Sexual Identity in the Workplace: Issues and Services and Gays and Lesbians in the Democratic Process: Public Policy, Political Representation and Public Opinion. Sharon S. Rostosky is a licensed psychologist and a professor of counseling psychology at the University of Kentucky. She is co-founder of PrismResearch.org. She has published over 50 academic journal articles and book chapters, including many that focus on the wellbeing of LGBTQ individuals, same-sex couples, and their families. In 2010, she was the recipient of the Society of Counseling Psychology's Social Justice Award. The authors maintain a website at www.PrismResearch.org
Acknowledgments 1. An Introduction "There are so many positive things about my identity." Asking an Important Question Multiple Identities and Labels Minority Stress, Coping, and Resilience Social Context of Minority Stress A Meaningful Life Overview of the Book 2. Authenticity "I can be myself and be more authentic with others." Discovering Our Authentic Self Living an Authentic Life Our Authentic Style Congruent Identity A Caution My Inheritance: 34-Year-Old Gay Man from Indiana Exercises and Activities for Reflection and Practice 3. Self-Awareness, Personal Insight, and Growth "Deepening my insight into myself has led to positive developments in my life." Self-Awareness Personal Insight Personal Growth Questioning Assumptions (and Authority) Spiritual Growth What Is Right for Me? 35-year-old "Transsexual Transman" from England Exercises and Activities for Reflection and Practice 4. Freedom to Create New Rules "I live beyond the binaries." Breaking the Rules and Creating New Ones Queering the Rules New Relationship Scripts The Positive "No Label" An Open Identity: 25-Year-Old "Queer Bisexual" from New Jersey Exercises and Activities for Reflection and Practice 5. Stronger Emotional Connections with Others "Sharing my true self brings me closer to the people I love." Sharing Brings Us Closer Connecting with Others Family of Origin Positive Relationships with Our Kids Chosen Family Familiarity with My Partner Investing in Relationships: 49-year-old "Transsexual" from California, Married for 16 Years Exercises and Activities for Reflection and Practice 6. Freedom to Explore Relationships and Sexuality "I can love who I want and create a satisfying relationship." New Relationship Rules A New Family Style Equal Partners Exploring Sexual Expression Same-Sex (Same-Gender) Sexual Understanding Attraction to the Person Opportunity to Explore: 45-year-old Bisexual from Pennsylvania Exercises and Activities for Reflection and Practice 7. Compassion and Empathy "If I had turned out straight, I doubt I would be the compassionate person I am today." Shared Experiences with Prejudice Gay Men Understanding Their Privilege A Unique Perspective Open to the Experiences of Others My Eyes Opened: 60-Year-Old White, Southern, Gay Man from Virginia Exercises and Activities for Reflection and Practice 8. Mentors, Role Models, and Activists "I want to go beyond myself and make a difference." Mentoring and Being a Role Model The Model Couple (Modeling Relationships) Activists for LGBTQ Rights Social Justice for All A Mentor and a Role Model: 55-Year-Old Lesbian from Arizona Exercises and Activities for Reflection and Practice 9. Belonging to an LGBTQ Community "It's a great community to be a part of." Support and Social Networks Five Different Communities to Choose From Finding Strength in a Diverse Community One Big Family: 50-year-old "Lesbian, Queer, Dyke" Living in Illinois Exercises and Activities for Reflection and Practice 10. A Positive View "This is a very positive part of who I am." A Queer Sense of Humor A Sense of Optimism Many Cultures and Multiple Identities Final Thoughts Notes Suggested Resources References Index About the Authors