Ask Amy: Parent pressures gay son to change

November 18, 2013

DEAR AMY: I recently discovered that my son, who is 17, is a homosexual. We are part of a church group and I fear that if people in that group find out they will make fun of me for having a gay child.

He won’t listen to reason, and he will not stop being gay. I feel as if he is doing this just to get back at me for forgetting his birthday for the past three years — I have a busy work schedule.

Please help him make the right choice in life by not being gay. He won’t listen to me, so maybe he will listen to you. -- Feeling Betrayed

DEAR BETRAYED: You could teach your son an important lesson by changing your own sexuality to show him how easy it is. Try it for the next year or so: Stop being a heterosexual to demonstrate to your son that a person’s sexuality is a matter of choice — to be dictated by one’s parents, the parents’ church and social pressure.

I assume that my suggestion will evoke a reaction that your sexuality is at the core of who you are. The same is true for your son. He has a right to be accepted by his parents for being exactly who he is.

When you “forget” a child’s birthday, you are basically negating him as a person. It is as if you are saying that you have forgotten his presence in the world. How very sad for him.

Pressuring your son to change his sexuality is wrong. If you cannot learn to accept him as he is, it might be safest for him to live elsewhere.

A group that could help you and your family figure out how to navigate this is Pflag.org. This organization is founded for parents, families, friends and allies of LGBT people, and has helped countless families through this challenge. Please research and connect with a local chapter.

DEAR AMY: I am a responsible dog owner in every possible way.

Even though I have a great job that pays well, I have extreme social anxiety and take meds for depression and anxiety. One of the joys in my life is walking my dogs. About six months ago, I was walking my dogs in the neighborhood and one of them went potty in someone’s yard. I promptly picked it up.

The woman who lives there came out and asked me not to let my dogs go on her lawn. I held up my bag and told her I picked it up. She said she didn’t care and that I should walk out in the street or across the street so my dogs don’t go on her lawn. I was stunned. Without thinking, I said, “You’re crazy.” She called me a pejorative.

Now I have extreme anxiety taking my dogs for a walk. Is it normal for people to get angry when a dog goes in their yard, even if the owner picks it up? -- More Anxious Than Ever

DEAR ANXIOUS: Like you, I love dogs, but I do not enjoy watching someone else’s dog go “potty” on my lawn, even if it is cleaned up. It just seems disrespectful, and I think it is completely within bounds for a homeowner to ask you to try to keep your dog off the lawn. Your response to a question (“You’re crazy”) was disrespectful.

Work with your therapist on how to rebound from this setback. You should try to recover in small stages, including rehearsing how to respond appropriately to people. Most ideal would be for you to find another dog lover who could join you for occasional walks and companionable (human) support.

DEAR AMY: Your advice to “Crushed” could have been off.

When my brother was getting married, I thought his fiancee’s brother was cute. When I approached my brother about him, he told me “he’s not your type, plus that would be awkward if you broke his heart.” Interestingly, his fiancee told her brother the same thing about me.

Fortunately, our mothers intervened and fixed us up. We’ve been married 40 years. -- Very Crushed

DEAR CRUSHED: Mothers knew best. Good for you!

Amy’s column appears seven days a week at www.washingtonpost.com/advice. Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

by the Chicago Tribune

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