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San Diego State University

SafeZones Book Recommendations

 

Achtenberg, R. Preserving and Protecting the Families of Lesbians and Gay Men. San Francisco: National Center for Lesbian Rights, 1990.
This book targets same-sex couples in the process of looking to adopt or foster children. Essentially a guide for same-sex parents, this book further explores the hardships their children may face such as bullying and teasing. 

Alther, L. Kinflicks. Virago Press, 1976
This fictional work attempts to illustrate what it was like to come-of-age in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Kinflicks focuses on the life of Ginny Babcock as she struggles to establish her identity. Adopting the values, lifestyles, sexual orientations, and politics of every individual she meets, Ginny’s journey serves as a commentary on the limitations placed on women at this time.

Barret, R. L., & B. E Robinson. Gay Fathers: Encouraging the Hearts of Gay Fathers and Their Families. Lexington: Lexington Books, 1990.
This book is the product of both research and the personal testimony of gay fathers. The book addresses many of the difficulties gay men experience as parents. Some of the topics covered are: coming out to one’s children, father-child relationships, the complexities of adoption, and custody obstacles.

Beck, K. and A. Speckhard. Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy SEAL’s Journey to Coming Out Transgender. Advances Press, 2013.
This book is about the author’s journey from Chris Beck to Kristin Beck. A U.S. Navy SEAL for thirteen tours and a total of twenty years, this is a story about Beck’s path to self-actualization and allowing her true self to shine through despite her struggles with PTSD, family rejection, and society’s expectations for the man they thought they knew.


Beemyn, B. and M. Eliason. Queer Studies: A Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Anthology. New York: New York University Press, 1996.
This anthology includes the works of many queer studies scholars and serves as a readable introduction to queer theory. Some of the topics covered include: political activism as it is informed by queer theory, the effects of post-modernism on one’s identity, and the potential implications of sexual relationships that are presently viewed as taboo, such as s/m.


Benkov, L. Reinventing the Family: The Emerging Story of Lesbian and Gay Parents. New York: Crown, 1994.
This book reevaluates “family values” by challenging the views held by dominant culture. Reinventing the Family looks at the many joys and hardships gay men and lesbians experience on their journeys through parenthood. This book serves as a guide for gay men and lesbians wishing to raise healthy children despite the prevalence of homophobia.


Bergling, T. Chasing Adonis : Gay Men and the Pursuit of Perfection. New York: Harrington Park P, 2006.
This book uses survey-based research to explore the theme of attraction. It looks at why gay men find other men attractive and problematizes the objectification of the male body by gay culture. Topics include: body image, steroid use, pornography, fitness, internet sex partners, strip clubs, et cetera.

Birch, P. The Indulgences of Isabelle. United Kingdom: Nexus. 2008
This book is an erotic account of Isabelle’s life as a student at Oxford. She is open about her lesbian identity but further prefers a more private sex life. The Indulgences of Isabelle explores the main character’s struggle to navigate her obsession with dominance, the legacy of her haunting past, and the people in her life looking to take advantage of her. 

Boedecker, A. L. The Transgender Guidebook: Keys to a Successful Transition. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011.
This book is a self-help resource for transsexuals. The Transgender Guidebook covers everything from transition planning to life after transition. This is also a helpful guide to parents, friends, allies, teachers, and other concerned with the experiences of trans* individuals.

Borhek, M. V. My Son Eric. New York: Pilgrim Press, 1984.

This book is the author’s personal account of her journey as a mother learning to accept her son’s sexual orientation. Borhek takes the reader through her process as she questions Christianity but ultimately continues to practice her faith.

Boyd N. A. Wide-Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965. Berkeley,CA: University of California Press, 2003.
This book illustrates the history of queer San Francisco from the turn of the century, when gay and lesbian bars began to emerge, to 1965, a year marked by a police raid at a drag event. Using state and local records, Boyd argues that early police actions prompted necessary debates around rights and justice. The legacy of which is evident today in San Francisco’s vibrant, queer culture.

Bozett, F. W. Gay and Lesbian Parents. New York: Praeger, 1987.This series of articles addresses many of the issues that gay and lesbian individuals face while parenting. It further addresses some of the obstacles and/or hardships the children of gay and lesbian parents may endure. Gay and Lesbian Parents explores adoption and foster care, families with stepparents, and gay or lesbian parents living in heterosexual unions. The book also provides legal and counseling information.

Bozett, F. W. Homosexuality and the Family. New York: Haworth, 1989
This book challenges the notion that gay and lesbian individuals are anti-family by looking at the effects of homosexuality on individuals within a family and the family as a whole. The testimony includes that from parents of gay children, children of lesbian mothers, wives of gay men, and gay fathers.

Brown, R. M. Rubyfruit Jungle. Bantam, 1983
This book is about growing up as a lesbian in the U.S.A. The main character, Molly, is adopted at a young age by a very poor family looking for a better life for their daughter. Faced with continuous challenges, including homophobia, Molly eventually decides to move to New York and claim the life she envisions for herself.

Clark, D. H and D. Clark. As We Are. Minneapolis: Alyson Publications, 1988.
This book urges readers to reflect upon the collective identity of gay individuals. It promotes the significance of community and encourages individuals to find a sense of self that is not defined by the views of the dominant culture, but rather one that is self-defined.

Clark, D. Loving Someone Gay. Millbrae: Celestial Arts. 1977.
This book is directed largely toward straight individuals that may have loved ones, coworkers, or friends that identify within the queer community. The book is written in accessible language and is intended to be used to foster communication and understanding between straight individuals and their queer acquaintances. Clark strives to move beyond tolerance by promoting love and acceptance.

D'Angelo, A., S. D. Collingsworth, M. Esposito, and G. Hermelin. Inspiration for LGBT Students & Their Allies. Arkad Press, 2002.

This multimedia collection was produced by LGBT youth and allies for LGBT youth and allies. Inspiration for LGBT Students & Their Allies uses essays, stories, photos, and poems to captivate, inspire, and motivate young readers. The central purpose of the book is to trigger self-confidence by reminding readers that “it is okay to be who you are.” 

Dilley, P. Queer Man on Campus : A History of Non-Heterosexual College Men 1945-2000. New York: Routledge, 2002.

This book attempts to encapsulate the many identities of non-heterosexual, male, college students. Using historical research and interviews, Dilley argues against the rather essentialist theory that the development of the gay identity is a linear one. He ultimately contends that the men he interviewed were just as different from each other as they were from heterosexual men.

Duncan, W., D. Coolidge, and L.D. Wardle. Marriage and Same-Sex Unions: A Debate. West Point, CT: Praeger,  2003
This book looks to inform readers of the many arguments both for and against state recognition of same-sex marriages. Marriage and Same-Sex Unions: A Debate is an attempt to open this discussion, illustrate the potential for a sophisticated argument, and highlight the high level of debate that is possible on both sides of the issue.

Eichberg, R. Coming Out: An Act of Love. Plume Books, 1991
This book takes men and women through a step by step guide to coming out. Coming Out aims to help readers learn to accept their homosexuality and deal with the reactions of others. Eichberg uses his perspective as a psychotherapist to help readers recognize how their self-perception and relationships with others may be altered as they navigate their sexual orientation.

Faderman, L., and S. Timmons. Gay L.A.: A History of Social Vagrants, Hollywood Rejects, and Lipstick Lesbians. Perseus Publishing, 2006.

Los Angeles has offered a special home for LGBT persons and this book chronicles its unique history. Faderman and Timmons illustrate how both geography and economic opportunity created a city that was more gay-friendly than any other city in America. Exploring Native American “two-spirit” identities as well as cross-dressing frontier women, Gay L.A. offers a rather detailed history of the City of Angels.

Fleisher, J. Living Two Lives: Married to a Man & In Love with a Woman. New York City: Alyson Books, 2005
In this book, Fleisher draws on her personal experience to produce a guide for women attempting to come out despite being in a heterosexual marriage. Some themes include: coming out later in life, coming out without a partner, coming out to your children, and the many challenges and rewards that come with stepfamilies.

Gallo, M. M. Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Birth of the Lesbian Rights Movement. Avalon Publishing Group , 2006.
This book chronicles the history of Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), an organization created in response to unjust treatment of the homosexual population during the McCarthy era and known for being the world’s first organization centered around lesbian visibility. Different Daughters takes a look at the women that fought the church and the state tirelessly in order to change the outward perception and self-perception of lesbians and the lesbian community.

"Gay and Lesbian Concerns -- Self-Help Books on Sexual Identity and Coming Out." The Guide to Self-Help Books. 2 Nov. 2008 . http://www.books4selfhelp.com/gay-lesbian.htm
In this book, heterosexuality is framed as a social construct. Katz argues that homosexuality and hetersexuality are often viewed as timeless distinctions but are, in fact, rather recent phenomenons. Expanding on the works of Freud, Baldwin, Frieden, and Foucault, The Invention of Heterosexuality problematizes the prevalence of heterosexuality, as a concept, on scientific literature and pop culture. This Website is a resource targeted at individuals coming out or struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity. This site promotes many self-help and self-improvement books and articles and features a self-esteem blog. Mostly emphasizing gay and lesbian issues, this Website also addresses obstacles faced by bisexual and trans* individuals.

Gottlieb, A. R. Side by Side: On Having a Gay or Lesbian Sibling. New York: Harrington Park Press, 2004.
This book is a collection of 18 accounts written by the siblings of gays and lesbians. Each testimony examines the profound and unique impact, positive and/or negative, that is the result of having gay sibling(s).

Girshick, L. B. Transgender Voices: Beyond Women and Men. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England, 2008.
This books is the result of 150 interviews of sex and gender variant individuals offering perspectives on topics such as coming out, relationships, sexual orientation, “passing” as as a preferred gender, homophobia, and bullying. Transgender Voices challenges the idea of a gender binary as it aims to validate the diverse and unique ways each individual experiences gender.

Gray, M. L. In Your Face: Stories from the Lives of Queer Youth. New York: Harrington Park Press, 1999.
This book is a collection of accounts from gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. In Your Face brings necessary attention to queer youth as it problematizes the demographic’s invisibility by both queer culture and straight culture due to ageism.

Handel, L. Now That You’re Out of the Closet, What About the Rest of the House? Source Books, 2000.

In this guide to queer dating, queer sex, intolerance, and self-esteem, Handel draws on her personal experiences as a former partner in a heterosexual marriage, a mother of two, and an “out”, lesbian woman. Now That You’re Out of the Closet  claims that “coming out” is only the first step of a long journey for gay and lesbian individuals.

Hayward, N. Now That You Know: What Every Parent Should Know About Homosexuality. San Diego: Harcourt, 1998.
Designed to bring comfort to the parents of homosexual sons and daughters, this book has been used by parents and children alike. Now That You Know teaches readers what to expect after a child comes out to his/her parent(s)/guardian(s).

Hunter, N., S. Michaelson, and B. Thomas. The Rights of Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexuals, and Transgender Persons. Southern Illinois University Press, 1992
This book has seen many editions since the 1992 version. Created by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the The Rights of Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexuals, and Transgender Persons explicitly reveals the protections and rights that are particularly relevant to the LGBT community when it comes to freedom of speech, employment, freedom of association, housing, the military, family, and HIV/AIDS status.

Hunter, S. Coming Out and Disclosures: LGBT Persons across the Life Span. The Hawthorne Press Inc., 2007.
This book is intended to serve as a guide for individuals enduring the process of “coming out.” Coming out and Disclosures aids LGBT individuals in navigating their disclosure and how to anticipate the reactions their parents, family members, and acquaintances may have to their admissions.

Kahn A. The Many Faces of Gay: Activists Who Are Changing the Nation. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1997
This book is the compilation of interviews with 60 gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans* individuals in the New York City area. The Many Faces of Gay is a series of biographies that record the coming out stories of the interviewees with a particular focus on activism.

Katz, J. N. The Invention of Heterosexuality. New York City: Plume Books, 1966.

In this book, heterosexuality is framed as a social construct. Katz argues that homosexuality and hetersexuality are often viewed as timeless distinctions but are, in fact, rather recent phenomenons. Expanding on the works of Freud, Baldwin, Frieden, and Foucault, The Invention of Heterosexuality problematizes the prevalence of heterosexuality, as a concept, on scientific literature and pop culture.


Keen, L. Out Law: What LGBT Youth Should Know about Their Legal Rights. Michigan: Beacon Press, 2007.
The increasing visibility of LGBT youth has been accompanied by many legal issues related to freedom of expression, sexual harassment, medical care, the right to privacy, et cetera. Out Law presents the local, state, and federal laws that tend to impact LGBT youth. Keen further identifies school officials as having the responsibility to advocate on behalf of their LGBT students.

King, D. Blending Genders: Social Aspects of Cross-Dressing and Sex-Changing. New York: Routledge, 1996.
This book looks at how individuals that gender bend and gender blend are perceived by and treated in medicine, in literature, by the press, and over telephone sex lines. It further looks at the growing prominence of gender bending individuals in the years leading up to this book’s publication.

Kramer, L. The Tragedy of Today's Gays. New York: Tarcher, 2005.
The Tragedy of Today’s Gays urges the homosexual community to re-politicize itself. Kramer argues that in a time when too many gay men are infected with HIV, dying of AIDS, and struggling with drugs, the gay community is tasked with speaking out and taking responsibility for itself.

McNaught, B. Now That I'm Out What Do I Do? Stonewall Inn Editions, 1998.
This book is a series of essays intended to help gay and lesbian individuals navigate the issues that persist even after coming out. Now That I’m Out What Do I Do? serves as a resource for individuals looking for guidance in matters pertaining to family, relationships, community, and love in general.

Murdoch, J., and D. Price. Courting Justice : Gay Men and Lesbians V. The Supreme Court. New York: Basic Books, 2002.
Between 1958 and 2000, twenty-five men and two women have had their cases make it to the Supreme Court to decide whether equal protection should apply to non-heterosexual individuals in the United States of America. This book chronicles the Supreme Court rulings and the implications they have on the gay civil rights movement.

Pullen, C. Documenting Gay Men: Identity and Performance in Reality Television and Documentary Film. Boston: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2007.
This book looks at how reality television and documentaries featuring homosexual men such as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Real World, and Survivor, have portrayed gay men as change agents and creative producers. It further evaluates the implications of this increase in visibility.

Rimmerman, C. A., K. D. Wald, and C. Wilcox. The Politics of Gay Rights. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
The Politics of Gay Rights is a collection of essays written by activists and scholars. The authors explore the heated politics of the gay and lesbian rights movement. Some themes include: Christian opposition, public policy, open military service, the AIDS crisis, and anti-discrimination laws. The final chapters discuss the implications of queer visibility in congress, courts, state governments, and local governments.

Savin-Williams, R. Mom, Dad, I’m Gay: How Families Negotiate Coming Out. American Psychological Association, 2001
The result of 150 interviews of queer teens, this book outlines the wide range of reactions families have to their children’s disclosures. Reacting to trends implying that the coming out experience is often influenced by gender, Savin-Williams discusses mother-daughter, mother-son, father-daughter, and father-son dynamics separately.

Seeley, J. The Transgender Companion (Male to Female): The Complete Guide to Becoming the Woman you Want to Be. New York: CreateSpace, 2007.
This book is written by a transexual woman and is intended to help guide the trans* women through her transition by offering comprehensive steps and advice.

Serano, J. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Seal Press, 2007.
Written by transsexual activist Julia Serano, this book attempts to dispel many misconceptions about transsexuality. Whipping Girl documents Serano’s pre- and post-transition experiences, focusing largely on society’s ideas about and dismissiveness towards femininity.

Signorile, M. Outing Yourself: How to Come Out as Lesbian or Gay to Your Family, Friends, and Coworkers. Fireside, 1996.
This book is a useful guide for individuals that are questioning their sexuality, struggling with coming out, or that have recently come out. Outing Yourself is a fourteen-step program that includes everything from exercises to anger checks. It also provides relatable accounts from other lesbians and gay men.

Stevens, T., and K. Wunder. How To Be A Happy Lesbian: A Coming Out Guide. Amazing Dreams Publishing, 2003.
This book is a readable guide for young lesbians wishing to make it in a homophobic world. Stevens and Wunder use humor and sincerity to help queer women through their journey coming out.

Thompson, M. Gay Soul: Finding the Heart of Gay Spirit and Nature with Sixteen Writers. San Francisco: HarperCollins. 1990.
This book is a collection of interviews featuring accomplished, gay, male leaders. Each interviewee was asked to speak to the spiritual potential of the gay experience. From this prompt, themes such as third gender (Two-Spirit) and reincarnation emerged.

Tobias, A. The Best Little Boy in the World Grows Up. New York: Random House Publishing, 1993.
This book is the memoir of bestselling finance author, Andrew Tobias, and sequel to The Best Little Boy in the World (originally written under the pseudonym John Reid). Tobias writes predominantly about his emotional relationships and the progress made from 1973 to 1993 for the gay community, from his perspective.

Swan, W. Handbook of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Administration and Policy. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2004.
This book documents the obstacles faced and the accomplishments achieved by the LGBT civil rights movement. This book chronicles state, national, and international policies, administration, and community specific issues. Handbook of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Administration and Policy documents this history with the hope that it will inform readers of the necessary steps to take towards addressing these issues.

Weston, K. Families We Choose: Lesbians, Gays, Kinship. New York: Columbia University, 1991.
This book explores how gay men and lesbians view the idea of family by looking at their ideas of love, friendship, and biology. Weston uses this book to work off of her claim that gay and lesbian families cannot be understood apart from heterosexual families.