Dear Straight Talk: Now that gay marriage is legal again in California, our mom is marrying her fiance in August. They are planning a formal church wedding announced in the newspaper and we are moving into her fiance’s house. Our friends don’t know our mom is gay and we don’t think we can handle the humiliation and embarrassment!
Our mom says most people accept gay couples and we should feel lucky to move into a nicer house with our own bedrooms. We love our mom and her fiance is good to us, but we would rather stay where we are than have everybody tease and humiliate us. There’s a girl at school whose mom married her partner and kids tease her. We’ll be embarrassed to have friends over and sleepovers will be impossible. I’m heading to college in a year, but my sister is only 14 and has to live with this much longer. Please help! — Embarrassed daughter
Taylor, 16, Santa Rosa: All I can say is family comes first. You need to be supportive and happy for your mom. If your friends see that you don’t have a problem with it, they probably won’t either. LOTS of people support gay marriage. Be proud of your family. :D
Carlos, 18, Fairfax, Va.: The first thing you must do is accept that your mom is gay and getting married. It’s clear from your letter that you don’t — and your sister will mimic that. I understand wanting to keep her safe from teasing. I caused some “scandal in the halls” without considering the implications to my sister. So I sat her down and told her what to say to deal with it successfully. Stand together on this — and you be the stronger one. This will teach her how to have a thicker skin. Tell anyone who dares humiliate you that all their closed mindedness will do is hold them back in life.
Nicole, 23, Santa Rosa: Criticism only affects me when I lack comfort in my beliefs and statements. When I speak my truth, nothing can hurt my feelings. Find a way in your heart to understand the reality of love between two same-sex people and negative comments won’t bother you.
Brie, 22, San Francisco: Give your friends a chance! If someone teases you, rise above it. I was teased in high school and now I’m doing better than most of those kids.
Treyvon, 19, Yorba Linda: No sensible person would forego marriage over these concerns. She’s getting married and you need to accept that. Get some perspective: Anybody who would abandon you does not deserve the title of friend (or family, if you emotionally abandon your mother). Nonetheless, your social fears are understandable. Remember this: Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s feeling the fear and doing what’s right anyway.
Molly, 21, Berkeley: That’s awful! If your friends would humiliate and mock you for having gay parents, you need new friends!
Dear Embarrassed: I agree that fully accepting your mother will shift everything. She’s in love, she’s increasing your family’s wealth and security, her partner is good to you, and society has given her the green light. Putting her happiness first will automatically help you tune out negative remarks — which is a big factor in them fizzling out. Tell your close friends before the wedding and get their support (including a pact to protect little sis). Meet with the principal and tell him/her that you expect administrative support, too. If there is bullying, either online or IRL (in real life), report it to the three P’s: parents, principal and police. — Lauren
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