DEAR HARRIETTE: My 16-year-old daughter recently came out to me. I was happy, because it seemed like I started seeing a level of happiness in my child that I have not seen since she was 13. The problem is that some of our family members are not as happy. One of her aunts in particular loves to send me articles about how homosexuals are turning the world upside down and persecuting Christians.
We recently went to a family gathering, and she said something blatantly offensive. My daughter was quiet for the rest of the evening. The next day, we got into an argument because she felt like I should have stuck up for her. I was quiet because I did not want to cause a rift in the family. Do you think my daughter was right? Is she right to say that I should have stuck up for her? Any help would be appreciated. -- Between My Daughter and a Hard Place, Grand Rapids, Michigan
DEAR BETWEEN MY DAUGHTER AND A HARD PLACE: Your daughter coming out to you as she works to claim herself fully was likely huge for her. Yes, she needs her parent to defend her, just as you would about anything else. Even if you are conflicted about what it means for your child to be a lesbian, you can fiercely defend her. You should tell the aunt to stop sending you literature. When you next receive it, return it to her. Call the aunt and tell her you do not appreciate the way that she spoke to your daughter. Tell her to back off. And let your daughter know you did that.
Whatever people believe, they do not have the right to denigrate others, especially family members. Tell auntie to keep her opinions to herself.