DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m a gay guy from a pretty liberal family. My parents let my two older sisters get their ears pierced when they were really young; however, when I ask my parents if I can get my ears pierced, they change the conversation or shrug it off. I’ve really wanted my ears pierced for a few years now, and I can’t help but notice the double standard. It seems totally unfair that my sisters were allowed to, but I’m not. What should I do? -- Double Standard
DEAR DOUBLE STANDARD: Ask your parents to have a family meeting with you. Tell them you have something important that you want to discuss with them. As you begin, thank them for being supportive of you as you grow into the person you are meant to be. If they have been welcoming of your sexuality, thank them for that. Next, explain that you want to talk about your desire to get your ears pierced. Point out that it is common for both males and females to pierce their ears these days, and you have wanted to get yours pierced for several years. Ask them what their apprehension is. If they deflect, work to hold the conversation on topic. Tell them that you notice that they change the subject whenever you bring it up. Further, you know that they allowed your sisters to pierce their ears when they were young.
They may be reluctant based on either conscious or unconscious worries about you being labeled as gay -- even though you already claim that identity. Maybe this is the entry point to talk more deeply about who you are and what you want for your life. Encourage them to talk openly with you. Your journey is just beginning. You can bring them along if they are willing.