Book Reviews

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A Positive View of LGBTQ: Embracing Identity and Cultivating Well-Being

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 )

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