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Dear Abby: Tomboy’s unhappiness may be start of gender change

Dear Abby: I just had a big fight with my best friend. Her name is “Alex.” There was a lot of cursing.

The argument was about her wanting to be transgender. I didn’t agree with it, and she got mad at me. Alex is a tomboy. Today she cut her hair short – too short for my taste – and she keeps complaining about how she hates being a girl. She hates her period and is afraid of having breasts. It has started to annoy me. A lot.

Alex and I have been friends since kindergarten, and I’m scared our friendship may end. I don’t know if all this sounds childish, but please help. I don’t want to lose my best friend.

– Vegas Girl

Dear Vegas Girl: If you really want to keep Alex as your best friend, go online and start researching what it means to be transgender. She may hate her female characteristics because she feels trapped in the wrong body.

Being transgender is much more complicated than cutting one’s hair and being a tomboy. What’s going on with your friend isn’t a frivolous decision. Alex is going to need understanding and emotional support during this process, and if you can’t stand beside her, you WILL lose your best friend.

Rediscovering church

Dear Abby: I was raised in the Christian faith by my pastor parents. As I reached my early teens, I realized that those beliefs didn’t really fit, and I gradually stopped attending church. I stayed away all through college. My time away only solidified that, in terms of belief, Christianity wasn’t for me.

After I graduated this year, I realized I missed the community and ritual of the faith and the church. There are a number of churches in my area, but I feel guilty attending one when I don’t believe in the same things as the other members. My family always taught me to be considerate of the beliefs of the people around me, and it seems dishonest to go to a service and listen to prayers my heart doesn’t embrace.

I’d still like to attend church. Have you any suggestions for what might be a good course of action? Should I go to church or stay home?

– Unorthodox in Ohio

Dear Unorthodox: You don’t have to stay home. Instead, explore a denomination that has no dogma or creed. One in particular, Unitarian Universalism, has been mentioned before in this column.

Unitarian Universalists believe in the dignity and worth of every human being, and encourage and support others in following their personal spiritual paths. If you would like more information, visit www.uua.org.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren. Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 60069.