How do you begin to describe your feelings when you discover your son is gay? Mother of two Cathy Falconer felt her world had just fallen apart when her younger son first told her of his sexuality in 2000. She was consumed with fear and ignorance of this new situation. These negative reactions motivated her to enrol for a Masters degree at the University of Ulster to undertake research into how other parents reacted to the news that their child was gay. Her eventual thesis, Mothers Reactions to Gay Sons – An Exploratory Study, is the basis for this publication.What affects children affects their parents and, as the mothers in this study testified, emotions such as fear, worry, anger, guilt, sadness and loss can surface very quickly, leaving parents feeling very confused, isolated and searching for support.
Cathy proposes a new model to describe how mothers coped with their experiences - the STAR (Search, Tolerance, Acceptance and Readjustment) Model. This model shines through each mothers own story and offers an insight into the journey from disclosure to acceptance and beyond. Cathy hopes her work will contribute to reducing the stigma and prejudices which linger in our society, and help gay people to take up their rightful place where GAY will be the acronym for Good As You.
This study reads as original, interesting and important. It should be taken further... as a basis for useful and necessary work in the community, schools, etc.
Dr Colin Feltham, Senior Lecturer, Counselling Development Unit, Sheffield Hallam University
The original study is having an impact in the scientific world and this publication takes the work back into the community whence it came.
Dr Mary Jenkins, Lecturer in Psychology, University of Ulster
ISBN 0 946451 84 2
Published July 2005, softback, 90pp, 210mm (tall) x 148mm