I really like your column and the advice you give, so I hope you can help me. I come from a close-knit family and my father’s quite important in our town, which is in the Midwest. For a long time I have sensed I’m different from other girls my age (I’m sixteen). I do my best to camouflage the difference in my looks by wearing more feminine clothes than I really like and keeping my hair long and wearing makeup and jewelry. Recently I developed a crush on another girl — not the first I’ve had, but the most serious as this girl actually likes me back. We’ve secretly engaged in sexual behavior and both of us feel like we’re falling in love and want to be able to express ourselves and our feelings openly. The problem is that I come from a religious Christian family that does not approve of gays. My mother would have a heart attack if she found out, and my father would want me to have conversion therapy. I’d rather not go there, but I also can’t go on living a lie. Can you please tell me what to do.
All the best,
Secretly Gay Girl
Dear Secretly Gay,
This is a dilemma many young people go through and will continue to go through until the nation, as a whole, becomes more accepting of people with differences in sexual orientation. To be open and honest is always the best option, but not if it causes pain or discomfort to you personally. What I mean is: there is nothing wrong with holding your secret to yourself until you leave home as an independent adult, which, in your case, is most likely in two years. How your parents react is their business — they can excoriate you or respond with surprising gentleness, but in the end you are the one responsible for yourself, your body and your choices, which means you’re the one who gets to decide whether or not to tell parents who may not be understanding about your sexual preferences. I would venture to say your parents wouldn’t be thrilled if they found out about your girlfriend, so why put yourself and her through a hellacious time? If your parents were even the slightest bit flexible, maybe. But it doesn’t sound as if they are, so my best advice is to avoid the pain of confrontation, and keep your private life to yourself for now.
Good luck and thanks for reading my column,
REACTIONS TO ONLY DAUGHTER WORRIED ABOUT MOM
Dear Only Daughter,
My advice is that you should work on your relationship with your poor lonely mom. If you spent more time with her, you’d be better equipped to monitor her schedule and keep her out of trouble. And for what it’s worth, I certainly wouldn’t let her go alone to Paris with that guy who could easily give her a little push that would kill her. Bad idea. You need to take charge, before it’s too late. Sincerely,
– Linda W, Omaha, NE
Dear Only Daughter,
Save your mother from predators before it’s too late! Get her a new lawyer and possibly a new life. You didn’t say anything about the rest of your family, but your mom with all her wealth needs to be taken on trips and surrounded by friends, relatives, kids and grand-kids. Maybe you should set her up on a dating site like SeniorMatch. But make sure her money’s taken care of first.
– Jay S., San Diego
Submit your question to Knowles Knows here.
Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.