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by Abigail Van Buren

Response to Gender Identity Clouds Family Get-Togethers

DEAR ABBY: We are expecting our first child after many years of struggling with infertility. We are overjoyed, to say the least.

I have a wonderful parent who used to be my father but who now identifies as a woman I'll call "Grace." She's a supportive, loving, wonderful parent, and always was.

The problem is, the rest of the family has yet to see her transition. They are aware of what has happened, but are not comfortable with it. One family member keeps insisting that Grace is not transgender, just "confused." She says that if she ever saw Grace dressed as a woman, she would laugh.

When it comes to a celebration for our bundle of joy, how do I handle this? I can't imagine having the celebration without Grace, and I wouldn't dream of asking her to dress as a male because I know how uncomfortable she would be. But I'm afraid if she attends, none of the other family will come because they are so uncomfortable. -- TRANSPARENT IN NEVADA

DEAR TRANSPARENT: Grace is not "confused." People do not change their gender identity on a lark. The transition is time-consuming and difficult. Grace deserves to be treated with compassion and common courtesy. Make this clear to your family members. If you feel that one or more of them would be so rude as to ridicule your parent, strike them from your guest list.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Holidays & Celebrations