DEAR ABBY: I am a senior male. I understand I may have some beliefs that others find old-fashioned. However, I consciously try to be tolerant of others' feelings and beliefs. That said, my problem is with my younger brother, who is a homosexual. I have always tried to ignore that side of his life and, consequently, we have always had a good relationship. He lives in another state, so we only talk on the telephone.
A couple of months ago while we were talking, the subject of sexuality came up, and I told him I find the fact that he is gay "disgusting." I know it was a poor choice of words. I merely meant to say that I, myself, am and always have been totally heterosexual. I have never had any sexual interest in members of my own sex. I never meant my comment to be judgmental of my brother or anyone else.
I left several messages apologizing for anything I said that he found objectionable. Now, when I try to contact him, he doesn't answer my phone calls.
Abby, I miss my brother. I truly love him, and I don't want to lose all contact with him. If you have any advice for me, please give it to me. I'm desperate and can think of nothing I might be able to do to restore our relationship. Please help me. -- FEELS LIKE A FOOL IN WASHINGTON
DEAR FEELS LIKE: I have never understood why so many straight people spend so much time obsessing about what gay people might be doing behind closed doors. THAT, to me, is disgusting.
I'll be frank. After what you said to your brother, he would have to be a saint to forgive you. He is doing what emotionally healthy people do, erasing a negative influence from his life. You can continue trying to apologize by penning a heartfelt letter of apology and remorse, promising to never use those words again, and sending it to your brother. But if he continues to be unreceptive, you will have to live with it.