DEAR ABBY: I noticed that my 16-year-old daughter wasn't her usual self. So I questioned her one night and asked if there was anything bothering her, or if she was worried about something. She started crying and told me she is gay.
I responded by crying with her and asking her if she was sure. She said she was. I told her she is still my daughter and I love her very much, but that I can't help hoping she's just confused and that as time goes on, she might see that this is not who she really is. I'm trying my best to accept it, but it is difficult at times.
Please help me understand if my feelings are normal. -- CONFUSED PARENT IN TEXAS
DEAR CONFUSED: Your feelings are normal. Most parents have plans and dreams for their children, and your child has turned out differently than you expected. I admire your daughter for her courage and honesty in telling you about her orientation, and I admire you for making it safe for her to do so.
Your next step is to contact PFLAG. I have mentioned this organization many times before in my column. It offers support groups, educational outreach and more to families and friends of gay, lesbian, intersexual and transgendered family members. The Web site is www.pflag.org and the telephone number is (202) 467-8180. Please don't wait to contact them. They will welcome you with open arms.