Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Daughter's Changing Gender Identity Baffles Her Family

DEAR ABBY: A good friend of mine recently found out his daughter, "Rhonda" (who is over 18), feels she should have been born a boy. "Ronnie" is now living life as a man and plans to change genders completely.

To say the least, my friend and his wife are finding it difficult to deal with. He doesn't understand why she can't just be gay, which he would be fine with. I want to give them emotional support while at the same time supporting Ronnie, but I'm having a hard time relating to their feelings.

Could you provide some resources for them, such as organizations that help families deal with gender changing and all that it entails? -- WANTS TO BE SUPPORTIVE

DEAR WANTS TO BE SUPPORTIVE: I know an excellent LGBT organization that has been mentioned before in my column. It's called Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). The largest increase in new individuals reaching out to PFLAG is now among trans people and their family members.

Ronnie can't "just be gay" because the issue isn't sexual orientation; it is Ronnie's gender identity. PFLAG can help to explain this to Ronnie's father, and he should visit pflag.org for guidance.