Books for boy making homophobic comments

Gretchen - posted on 02/28/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )

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My 9-yr-old (child of hetero marriage), has made several homophobic comments lately. Despite the fact that one of his best school buddies has two moms, he's made disparaging remarks about gay males.

He's a super reader, and I'd love to find a book featuring gay boys/men. He's too young for romance, or teen self-discovery (hetero or homo), and considers romantic love "yucky."

I'd love a good mystery or adventure featuring gay characters, preferably working along side straight people.

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Rebecca - posted on 03/17/2010

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it's not on homosexuality specifically, but Ursula LeGuin's 'Left Hand of Darkness' has characters whose gender changes ... helps one think through the meaning of gender ...

i also thought 'Middlesex' by Jeffrey Eugenides was a good book on gender, transvestites, transexuals etc.

@Kathleen: thanks for all of those tips; I have read some, but not all...

Kathleen - posted on 06/20/2009

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I can think of a whole load of books, some may not be suitable for your son's reading ability, but others would. I think that Boy Meets Boy, even though it is a fantasia type world, is a good book as it gives young adults an idea of how the ideal world should be, something to strive for, a world without prejudice. I hope that some of these suggestions helps you to find something that your son can relate to.

Flesh and Blood by Michael Cunningham (1995), tells the story of four generations of an American immigrant family and the various ways in which the parents cope with a gay child in the family and the gay child copes with the desire to create a family of his own. It's an ambitious book, epic in scale, and one which reminds us that rightwing fundamentalists aren't the only ones concerned with 'family values'.

Invisible Life by Harris- Raymond and Basil two characters in the black community, and prophetic in dealing with what is now known as gay black men going "on the down low" to fulfill their true sexual desires. That his creations broke new ground became evident to Harris from the reactions of his readers. "What I heard from so many people was, 'I never thought about that; I never thought about the fact that gay people loved, and loved equally, and that they didn't act stereotypical, that they were still our brothers, our sons, our nephews, our fathers, our friends.' That's who I wanted to make Raymond: I wanted to make him ‘Everyman’, [and at the same time] I wanted him to be in touch with his emotions and feelings."

Scudder in Maurice by Forrester [broke new ground]," Mann said, calling Scudder "a refreshingly unapologetic young gay man who was not an effete Oscar Wilde aristocrat, but rather a working class, masculine, ordinary guy." the novel's character brought a certain measure of moral authenticity, being "an example of the working class teaching the privileged class about honesty and authenticity — a bit of a stereotype now, but back then quite extraordinary."

Boy meets Boy by David Levithan- In this hate free world and high school the gay kids and the straight kids all get along just fine; it’s all right for the quarterback to be a cross dresser named Infinite Darlene and the cheerleaders ride Harleys into the pep rally. Still the road to true love is a strange and winding path; as Paul discovers when he meets the boy of his dreams.

Trying Hard to Hear You by Sandra Scoppattone- Faced with the revelation that her best friend is a homosexual, a sixteen-year-old tries to cope with her own and her friends' reactions toward him.

Seven Days at the Hot Corner by Terry Trueman- Varsity baseball player Scott Latimer struggles with his own prejudices and those of others when his best friend reveals that he is gay.

Gretchen - posted on 04/09/2009

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Found another answer to my own question ... City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, is a somewhat formulaic young adult novel. Sort of Percy Jackson meets Twilight, but one of the group of protagonists is a gay teen male! And unlike Dumbledore, it is discussed openly in the book, albeit with the usual teen awkwardness/embarrassment. Straight & gay people working along side one another. While I can't say it's a great book overall, it is engaging and it the first of three in The Mortal Instruments series.

Gretchen - posted on 03/27/2009

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Thanks Kathleen, I had forgotten about Dumbledore! My son's read all of the Harry Potter books multiple times. Next time it comes up, I'll remind him.

Kathleen - posted on 03/27/2009

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I'm a mental health RN and I have worked with children and adolescents for a few years. Horrible as it is, it is very common in tween boys but it does seem to me to be more of an effort to fit in or to test the reactions of others than an internalized view. I don't think it's healthy and it IS a product of our homophobic culture but from what I have seen it passes and doesn't seem to leave lasting problems for the kid that's doing it but then we have all heard of the traumatizing effects of that talk on young gay males. Maybe behave sympathetically toward him and say something like "wow, it must be pretty awkward for you to be around boys that make goofy remarks about gays but don't worry = they'll grow out of it." That way it's more like you're taking him into your confidence because you and he both know he's smarter and nicer than those other boys. Do you know what I mean? In terms of books - who better than Dumbledore as a positive and adventurous gay character working alongside straight people in the Harry Potter books?

Gretchen - posted on 03/19/2009

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Hey Lin, yes we've talked at great length. The homophobic thing is coming from the boys at school. I'm hoping that it's just a 9-yr-old thing along with the "girls are yucky" stage. He doesn't have an issue with any of my gay friends.

Because he's such a reader, he is greatly influenced by the stuff he reads, and I'm always looking for positive male role models regardless of sexual preference.

Lin - posted on 03/17/2009

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Have you talked to him about it, see where he's getting the idea that gay men are yucky?



Maybe it's just me, but I've seen kids be more influenced by people they know and interact with regularly than a book.

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