DEAR ABBY: I'm a 26-year-old who is about to come out as transgender. I was born a male and will be transitioning into a female. My family doesn't know yet, and I have been debating for the past couple of years how to tell them.
My parents divorced when I was 2, and had a rocky relationship until recently. They both are now remarried and living happy lives. Can you please tell me how to tell them that I am a transgender woman? I would love to bring both of them together and talk, just the three of us, but I don't know if that would be the best option. What do I do? -- TRANSGENDER IN ARIZONA
DEAR TRANSGENDER: Regardless of whether your parents have remarried, they are still your mom and dad. If you have something that needs to be discussed with them, you should absolutely bring them together to talk privately about it. It would be the best way to give them the news.
Because you're looking for the words to explain what you're planning to tell them, contact PFLAG for suggestions. It is an organization that has been helping gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals to come out for many years. To contact it, go to pflag.org.
DEAR ABBY: I have an amazing grandmother who has five daughters, one son, and more than 30 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She has been widowed for 10 years. She lives on her own after a short second marriage that ended quickly in divorce. Her only companions now are her dog and her fellow residents in an independent living home for seniors.
Gran is able to drive, but chose not to buy a car, so on my only day off, I feel guilty if I don't take her to the places she needs to go for the week. She says I'm the only one in our large family she can rely on. Most of us live fairly close by, but I'm who she calls for emergencies, to take her to the hospital or simply the grocery store.
I love her and jump to help because I would hate to see anything happen to her. But what can I do, Abby? I feel like I'm having to make up for what others are not doing for their mother and grandmother. -- CARING GRANDDAUGHTER IN KENTUCKY
DEAR GRANDDAUGHTER: Your feelings are accurate; what's happening is unfair to you. I suggest that you discuss this with your parents, aunts, uncle and cousins and see if perhaps each family unit would be willing to help your grandmother with these errands on a rotational basis -- say a week a month. There are so many of you that it wouldn't be onerous.
DEAR ABBY: Please help me. I have a friend who douses herself with perfume. I am extremely allergic to the smell of perfume. The last time she got into my car, I nearly passed out. Without throwing her out of my car, what is the right approach? -- NAUSEATED UP NORTH
DEAR NAUSEATED: The right approach would be to head this friend off at the pass. The next time you know you will be providing the transportation, explain IN ADVANCE how perfume affects you and ask her not to wear any. And if she "forgets," tell her the minute you get a whiff that she'll have to call a taxi.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)