DEAR ABBY: This is for "A Mother Who Cares a Lot," who asked, "What do you say when your daughter tells you she has turned into a lesbian?" I have some advice for her.
You hug your daughter and say: "I'm so glad you told me. Your dad and I want you to know we love you. We realize that coming out is difficult, and we'll do whatever we can to help."
Your daughter has not "turned into" anything. She is what she is and has been since she was born.
Your protestations that you are "respectable people" who "raised her properly" suggest underlying ignorance and homophobia, which is probably what led to her trying to meet your expectations by marrying. She has evidently realized she could no longer maintain this pretense.
You say you "try to be loving and kind." Well, try harder. Did you love your child when she was an infant? A toddler? A young girl? Well, she's still your child. And she needs that love now more than ever, to help her face others whose reactions will be similar to your own. She "is" what you created. She has grown up, and now it's time for you to do the same. -- PARENTS OF STRAIGHT AND GAY CHILDREN, GLENVILLE, N.Y.
DEAR PARENTS: That's excellent advice, and bless you for offering it. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I understand the emotion involved in the "coming out" process because I, too, am the mother of a lesbian. The daughter of "Mother Who Cares" didn't "turn into" a lesbian but, of course, was always gay, and unwilling or unable to acknowledge it.
This is a wonderful opportunity for those loving parents to stand by their daughter and to accept and respect her for having the courage to live the life she was born to. What kind of parents are we if we protect and nurture our children, encourage them to be honest with themselves and follow their dreams, only to reject them when they do?
"Mother" didn't mention whether she is their only child. If so, this is their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to prove their unconditional love. "Mother" should learn about homosexuality, talk with her daughter about her feelings, express her own feelings, and use this experience to bond the family closer together. -- WOULDN'T CHANGE A THING, TUMWATER, WASH.
DEAR WOULDN'T: More terrific advice. Thank you for telling it like it is. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Thank you for the mention of PFLAG in your recent column. PFLAG does a great job providing helpful information for parents struggling with the coming-out of a son or daughter.
My daughter was married and realized it was not to be. She preferred her own gender. She has a doctorate in education, and is very lovable and outgoing.
Respectability has nothing to do with it. I believe she was born this way and didn't have a choice.
If that mother really cares, she would not dwell on herself and grandchildren. Kids do not "owe" their parents grandchildren any more than they owe them a life lived to meet their preconceived specifications or dreams. -- A MOTHER WHO LOVES HER DAUGHTER, TAMPA, FLA.
DEAR MOTHER: That's laying it on the line. If there is one thing I hope this column has shown "Mother Who Cares a Lot," it's that she's not nearly as isolated as she thinks she is. If she's able to open her mind and her heart, she'll discover she has lots of company -- all waiting to support her.
Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.
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