Dear Jody


Mom embarrassed by gay kid

Q: Do you think it is OK for me to come out to my mom's friends, even though she doesn't want me to? My mom and I are in a big fight because my girlfriend and I were out eating and we came across one of mom's (and our family's) friends. I grew up spending a lot of time at this woman's house. So when she and her husband stopped at our table, I introduced "Sherry" as my partner. Mom's friend acted pretty shocked. Later mom said she had told her friend I was dating a man.

Mom says she feels betrayed by me because she thinks I am trying to embarrass her. I think I have a right to be open and honest with anyone I come in contact with, and if mom doesn't want to be embarrassed than she should tell her friends about me or at least not lie to them about who I am. I think this will be a continual problem because we live in a medium-sized town, and I am bound to run into some of the people we both know. I am surprised it didn't happen before now. Do you think I am obligated to hide who I am just to save my mom from embarrassment?

Not Wanting In Mom's Closet

A: I don't believe it is necessary that you take on your mother's or anyone else's shame. It is appropriate for you to introduce your partner in the same manner that you would introduce anyone whom you are in a relationship with. Your mother needs to deal with her shame. You might want to suggest she contact PFLAG to talk with other parents who have dealt with this issue and help her sort through her feelings. Talk to your mother (without anger) about not staying in the closet for her; it's her issue to figure out how she wants to deal with your right in being "out" in the world.

Am I a lesbian?

Q: This is so embarrassing, and I don't know where else to turn, so I decided it would be safe to write to you. First, let me give you a little background: I am 21 years old, female and currently going to college. I have always felt like a misfit and never really had any close friends. I have never been interested in boys, but I am not really sure if I am gay. The only way I know to find out for sure is to get laid by a girl, but I can't seem to get a date or get anyone interested in me. I go to the bar by myself all the time and often buy the girls their drinks and ask them to dance. But nobody seems interested in me for very long - even though I am obviously very attainable. I am not the best looking girl, but I am not butt-ugly either. Many times there seems to be a lot of possible girls, but I don't know how to break in. What do I need to do to attract girls so I can find out who I really am?

Sexuality Limbo

A: My guess is that you are scaring women you meet because you probably seem to be pretty desperate. From your description, the women you meet may feel like a piece of meat, not someone you want to know. It's like they are part of your experiment - being used to find out who you are. For the time being I would give up trying to get laid and, instead, try making friends. See if there is a LGBT organization on campus that you could join and get involved in it. Look online at http://www.pridesource.com to see if there are any other groups meeting in your area that would be of interest to you. If you haven't already, order the Lesbian Connection by contacting Elsie Publishing Institute, P.O. Box 811, East Lansing, MI 48826-0811; you will get to read about other lesbians in the Michigan area. You will also get What Helen Heard, which lets you know about activities going on in different areas of the state. Look for people you have things in common with, develop friendships and don't look just to get laid; when the time is right, it will happen. I suggest that you seek some counseling to help you develop relationships.

P.S. If you plan to get laid, hopefully, you'll choose women. Not girls.

Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. The "Dear Jody" column appears weekly. To reach Jody, send an e-mail to DearJodyValley@hotmail.com. Letters may be edited.

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