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A Positive View of LGBTQ: Embracing Identity and Cultivating Well-Being
Riggle, Ellen D.B. and Sharon S. Rostosky
Rowman & Littlefield / Softcover / 2014-02-01 / 1442212829
Same-sex Relationships
price: $21.95 (may be subject to change)
176 pages
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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 well-being 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.

Reviews and Endorsements:

A standout in a sea of polemical studies, this title combines personal accounts, critical psychology, and counseling models to develop a positive, benefits-based analysis of gay culture. Riggle (gender & women’s studies, political science, Univ. of Kentucky) and Rostosky (psychology, Univ. of Kentucky) surveyed over 1000 LGBTQ-identified people across the United States (as well as some in Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand) to develop a narrative picture reinforcing the positive aspects of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or queer. Organized into eight themes, this book uses personal anecdotes and quotations to convey, among other things, what it might look like to live an authentic LGBTQ life, maintain healthy relationships, live as a model for others, work for change, and identify in solidarity with the larger queer community. Accompanying each theme is a brief, scholarly summary of the topic, along with reflections and exercises for the reader. VERDICT A welcome tonal change in queer literature, this is useful for those not only just coming out but also who have been out for a long time and need support in finding positive meaning in their lives.
— Library Journal, Starred Review

Strength, benefits, well-being—these are words some would not readily associate with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer community. In fact, the word “community” itself may not come readily to mind, but as Riggle and Rostosky argue, the media omit and overlook many affirming aspects of a large majority of LGBTQ lives. Authoritative narratives and first-person accounts identify and explore eight positive commonalities, such as how LGBTQ individuals live authentically with increased insight and have strong emotional connections within and beyond families of choice, making this volume, complete with exercises and activities, a refutation of negative stereotypes. Readers will appreciate the authors’ discussion of the too frequently dismissed phenomena of how prejudicial treatment can inspire one to embrace life with “greater understanding,” empathy, and compassion, enabling individuals to heal and nurture themselves and others. End notes and resource and reference listings conclude a useful and valuable resource.
— Booklist

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.
— Adelante Magazine

I'm deeply impressed with this book. The eight themes provide new ways of exploring LGBT issues, and the personal stories offer context for the themes. The power of this work lies in the combination of the illuminated themes though the voices and the related exercises at the end of each chapter. This is an engaging book for many audiences including educators and trainers, community organizers, and, of course, LGBTQ people and our families.


— Dr. Ronni Sanlo, professor in Higher Education and Educational Leadership at the California State University Fullerton

Contents:

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


About the Authors:

Ellen D.B. Riggle is a 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 well-being of LGBTQ individuals and same-sex couples. Her articles have appeared in leading professional journals and she is co-editor 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 well-being 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

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