When Kristin Russo came out at the age of 17, her Catholic mother withdrew – for a short spell, anyway. Like many parents of gay kids, Rose Russo was struggling to reconcile her daughter's sexuality with her own religious life. She spoke with her priest, who advised her that "under no circumstances should she close her door to her daughter or anyone else important in her life", Russo remembers her mother recounting.
It helped, but Rose was still grasping for perspective.
In the autumn of 2010, within a matter of weeks, four American teens between the ages of 13 and 18 killed themselves after enduring harassment from peers for being gay.
But it is also for a "new breed of parent", as Russo puts it: those who are so eager to be accepting that they fail to recognise the difference of their child's experience. "These parents are so cool with their kid being gay that they don't ask any questions, either because they think it would betray that they are indeed struggling, or because they think they don't have any.
It is different to walk down the street as a queer person than it is to walk down the street as a straight person. Personal stories are sprinkled throughout, from kids and parents everywhere on the experience spectrum – gay, bisexual, transgender, religious, bullied, the parent who always knew, the kid who threw everyone for a loop.
I think there is a real danger in saying no one is different."The book consists of a big, blunt Q&A: "How should I handle sleepovers? It is such a necessary resource, it is hard to believe it didn't already exist.
After a while, she sought advice from a few gay people she found through family and friends."My mum would just corner lesbians and just be like: 'I don't understand, how did you do this, are you having kids?
' She would ask them a hundred questions, and that was her only information about how my life might turn out," Russo says.