DEAR ABBY: I am the proud father of a wonderful 7-year-old boy, "Aiden." His mother, "Emily," and I share custody and have an amicable relationship. I also happen to be gay.
Most of our friends and family are aware of our situation and are kind to all of us. However, Emily's cousin "Lyn" has children Aiden's age who are starting to make anti-gay comments to him -- including teasing and name-calling.
I have spoken to Lyn about this in a gentle and patient manner, but she told me the comments are reflections of her religious beliefs. Have you any advice as to what I can do to stop Aiden from being subjected to this kind of behavior, short of refusing to let him visit them anymore? -- BOTHERED IN BUFFALO
DEAR BOTHERED: I don't know what religion Emily's cousin practices, but I can't think of any that encourages teasing and name-calling among children. Although Aiden is young, he is old enough to understand that some people can be hostile and intolerant of those who are different than they are. Explain that Lyn and her children are "those" kind of people, and it has nothing to do with him personally.
By the way, although you're reluctant to refuse to let your son visit that branch of the family, expose him to them as little as possible, if at all. His mother can visit Cousin Lyn when Aiden is with his daddy.