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Straight Talk TNT: Siblings embarrassed about having two moms

By: Lauren Forcella
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Dear Straight Talk: I’m 16 with a 14-year-old sister. Our mom is gay and her partner, “Jenny,” lives with us. We’re products of a marriage when she was young and trying to be straight. We love and accept her and get along with Jenny. However, we don’t want to “advertise” the situation and are reluctant to have friends over. When we do have friends over, we would like to say that Jenny is our mom’s sister who lives with us and call her “Aunt Jenny.” We would also like them to keep their bedroom door closed as their double bed is a dead giveaway. Our mom refuses to play along. She says she is not ashamed of her sexual orientation and will not insult Jenny whom she loves very much. Shouldn’t she consider our feelings and how this could affect what our friends think? ~ C. S. in Vacaville Lennon, 24, Fair Oaks: Eh, are you considering your mother’s feelings? Also, do you really want to live in fear of someone slipping up every time you have friends over? Being nonchalant about your mother’s sexuality will make your friends more likely to do the same. Nate, 16, Toledo, Ohio: My uncle is gay and he and his partner raised a teenage son in Virginia. I often wondered what it was like for the boy. However, when my uncles moved to Toledo, I found nothing embarrassing about them. They are kind and generous and aren’t afraid to talk about their sexuality. I told my friends and they have been extremely accepting. We sometimes even hang out at their house. I believe that the more open you are, the less stressful it will be — and easier for others to be accepting. Jesse, 18, Brockport, N.Y.: I’m straight — and I’m comfortable around gays and lesbians. At 16, it’s hard to “mature up” but this is your life. You’re writing about a huge issue in the world and everyone should know it’s okay to be different. Molly, 19, Berkeley: Pretending to be someone you’re not isn’t the answer. Please understand the great courage it took for your mom to come out. True friends won’t judge you by your mother’s sexual preferences. Winter, 18, Carmichael: A homosexual mother is just as much a mother as a heterosexual one. Anyone bullying you probably needs to feel better about their own family issues. Friends that have a problem with this aren’t the kind of people to spend time with anyway. Be proud that you are one of very few families whose parents are happy together. Katelyn, 16, Huntington Beach: If you don’t want to risk being isolated, don’t invite anyone over. Hang out at your friends’ houses or meet elsewhere. Hannah, 16, Safford, Ariz.: Your friends’ opinions of you shouldn’t change because of your mom’s sexual orientation. If that happens, they aren’t true friends. Rachel, 19, Los Angeles: Asking your mother to hide who she is is disrespectful. Plus, people aren’t dumb. Trying to hide that sort of thing will only make it harder on you in the end. Friends should be accepting of your family — but they can’t be until you are. Dear C. S.: I agree that faking things has a high chance of backfiring and making things worse. I suggest screening friends through casual conversation to discern their belief system. A few friends (and parents of friends) will be repelled, but most won’t. Once you find an accepting friend or two who is comfortable visiting, your embarrassment will recede. If someone bullies you over this, tell your parents and report it to both school authorities and the police. ~Lauren For more discussion, to ask a question, or inquire about being a youth panelist, visit www. straighttalkTNT.com or write to Straight Talk TNT, PO Box 963, Fair Oaks, CA 95628.