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Dear Abby: Parents face daughter’s gender issue

Dear Abby: A good friend of mine recently found out that his daughter, “Rhonda,” who is over 18, feels she should have been born a boy. “Ronnie” is now living life as a man and plans to change genders completely.

My friend and his wife are finding it difficult to deal with. He doesn’t understand why she can’t just be gay, which he would be fine with. Could you suggest resources such as organizations that help families deal with gender change and all that it entails?

– Wants to Be Supportive

Dear Wants to Be Supportive: I know an excellent LGBT organization that has been mentioned before in my column. It’s called Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG. The largest increase in new people reaching out to PFLAG is now among transgenders and their families.

Ronnie can’t “just be gay” because the issue isn’t sexual orientation; it is Ronnie’s gender identity. PFLAG can help explain this to Ronnie’s father, and he should visit pflag.org for guidance.

Stay with him or leave?

Dear Abby: I have been with “John” for 18 years. We married while he was in prison. I know that I have outgrown him, but I’m scared to say it’s over in case I realize later that we should be together. Over the years, we have both cheated and hurt each other.

I don’t know what I’m holding on to with him, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone else to choose from. I’m not afraid to be alone, but this makes me confused and depressed. Please help.

– Stuck in Des Moines

Dear Stuck: If the reason you haven’t left John is that there’s no one else around to choose from, it’s understandable that you’re depressed. The status quo isn’t fair to either of you. So you can fix your marriage or leave. The better option would be for you and John to have counseling, but if it doesn’t work, it might be better to separate. The reason there is no one else out there may be that you’re unavailable.

Doesn’t want hostess gifts

Dear Abby: Call me ungrateful, but I am very uncomfortable receiving gifts and have been remarking to that effect. How can I get longtime friends to stop bringing hostess gifts? Why do women do this and men not feel so compelled?

– Ungracious in Florida

Dear Ungracious: Women usually bring hostess gifts because they were raised to believe it is the gracious thing to do. (“Don’t come empty-handed.”) Since “remarking” hasn’t gotten your message across, you will have to be more direct with your friends. Tell them that when they visit, you would prefer that they bring only themselves and nothing more. Then explain that you’re at a point where you have enough “things” and do not need or want more.