Dear Abby: We have a niece who spent 12 years in Hollywood trying to become an actress. The only job she ever managed to land was a TV commercial that showed only her hands. After spending tens of thousands of dollars and having five different agents, she finally gave up and moved back to Kansas.
She has now written a play in which she is the producer, director and sole actor. She has rented a venue and now expects all her friends and family to pay $50 each to come and watch her perform. We feel this is nothing more than a hobby of hers and question the level of talent and entertainment that will be presented. We rarely attend even the best of Broadway plays, but now feel obligated to go to keep peace in the family. How can we get out of this without causing resentment?
Not a Fan in the Midwest
Dear Not a Fan: Shame on you. This production (for better or for worse) is the culmination of 12 years of effort on your niece’s part — not to mention her heart’s desire. If you care at all about her, SPEND the 50 bucks and invest an hour or so of your time in her production. Her level of talent may surprise you. But if it doesn’t, at least you will know you did the right thing for the sake of the family.
Dear Abby: I have a beautiful, smart, empathetic, funny, amazing daughter. When she was very young, I thought she may be gay. On the off chance she was, I tried to let her know, without letting on that I thought she might be, that I would support a child of mine if that were the case. Over the years she had occasional boyfriends, so I thought maybe I was mistaken.
She has been without a boyfriend for the past five years now. She is fiercely feminist and has many lesbian friends. I had been kicking around the idea of asking her if she is bi, then finally asked her two weeks ago. Without batting an eye she said yes; she thought it was kind of obvious. I then asked why she never came out to me, since she knew I would accept it with open arms. Her response was one I did not expect, but was valid and should be the norm. She said, “Mom, heterosexuals don’t announce that they are heterosexual, so why should I announce my status?”
I am glad she was never afraid of my reaction. Perhaps raising children with respect for all lives can help people in the LGBTQ community to no longer feel a need to “come out,” because their orientation is a fact of life they are born with (like the color of their hair, the pigment in their eyes, etc.). It is important to provide a safe haven for your child and to teach and model inclusion.
Loving Mom in the Northwest
Dear Mom: I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for an upper of a letter, which I am printing on National Coming Out Day. This is the annual day of awareness encouraging LGBTQ individuals to acknowledge who they are IF they feel the need to. You and your daughter are lucky to have each other. “Loving mom,” indeed.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.