Passages of Pride: Lesbian and Youth Come of Age


About the book

In this landmark study, journalist Kurt Chandler follows Derek, Amy, Dan, Troy, Michele, and Tara – six Minneapolis-St. Paul teenagers who speak eloquently of the challenges of realizing at an early age that they were different, of learning how to hide, of facing depression and suicidal tendencies, and, ultimately, of coming out and making their separate peace at home, at school, and on their own.

There are insights from experts from New York’s Hetrick-Martin institute, Los Angeles’s Project 10, and Minneapolis’s District 202 Teen Center, as well as the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research, P-FLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), and the American Psychiatric Association.

Their findings are often sobering: A 1986 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Task Force on Youth Suicide stated that “gay youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people.” The National Advocacy Coalition on Youth and Sexual Orientation found that 86 percent of secondary-school students said they would be upset if they were labeled gay or lesbian. The Seattle Commission for Lesbians and Gays reported that 75 percent of those surveyed had been physically or verbally assaulted.

Praise for: Shaving Lessons

“Interviews with six St. Paul teenagers are supplemented with profiles of other teens as they confront sometimes triumphantly, sometimes tragically the challenges of coming out to themselves and the world.”
Library Journal

“Chandler uses real-life experiences to illuminate three phases of homosexual life: becoming aware of one’s homosexuality, coming out, and becoming part of the local gay/lesbian community. He focuses on six young gays and lesbians as each goes through the various phases: for example, we learn about Derek and the “science of living in the closet” in the book’s section about awareness, and about Tara’s discovery that there’s “nothing wrong with being queer” in the section about community. Interspersed among these personal stories are chapters tagged “sidebars” and “codas” in which Chandler discusses topics such as resiliency, coming out, and a son’s liberation (a particularly moving coda). The book does a wonderful job of identifying and relating a spectrum of gay and lesbian life experiences, but because it’s written somewhat like a sociological tract, it will be of most interest to mature older teens (and adults).”
Charles Harmon, author

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