DEAR ABBY: I am a 35-year-old lesbian. I have a wonderful partner and we have an amazing 10-year-old son. My problem is, we seem to offend people when we refer to ourselves as a "family." I have had people correct me, sometimes even suggesting that I refer to my family as "my friend and my son" or "my friend and her son" (depending on who they think is the biological mother).
Abby, this woman is more than my friend. She's my partner, my life mate, my support and my co-parent. We try to be sensitive to people's beliefs and not call each other "wife" or refer to our union as a "marriage," but how far do we have to take this? We are a family. Our son calls us both "Mom."
We aren't "in your face" with our lifestyle, but to deny our partnership is to deny our son his family. We generally refer to each other as "my partner," which I think is an inoffensive term, but even that can send some people into a snit.
How should we handle people who want to redefine us? Why is it so hard for them to acknowledge that, untraditional though we may be, we are a family? -- TRYING NOT TO OFFEND IN TEXAS
DEAR TRYING NOT TO OFFEND: Forgive me if this seems negative, but some people are so rooted in their fundamentalist ideology that they cannot and will not change. Please don't waste your time or breath trying to reach or teach them. The way to handle people who want to force you into their mold is to avoid them. Try it. You'll be a lot happier, and so will they.