Intolerance emerges as obstacle to friendship

Published 8:12 am Wednesday, November 3, 2021

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DEAR ABBY: My 23-year-old daughter is dating a transgender woman, “Holly.” My family is accepting, and we love Holly. However, she has been met with varying levels of acceptance from some of our friends.
Recently, one of them, “Gina,” invited our family to an upcoming poolside barbecue at their home. Gina’s mother (who lives with them) told my daughter she should bring her girlfriend. Normally, Holly would not accompany us, as she works odd hours, but she happened to have this day off.
Gina and her mother are accepting, nonjudgmental people. Gina’s husband is not. I don’t like him, but I tolerate him for Gina’s sake. My main concern was Holly’s safety and well-being, but she wanted to come despite knowing what he’s like. When I called Gina to make sure he wouldn’t make trouble, she told me she didn’t think it would be a problem, but she would give him a heads-up. She called me right back afterward, extremely apologetic, saying he reacted very badly, and she didn’t think it was a good idea to bring Holly.
I think she was more than a little naive about her husband’s ability to accept Holly, but I know it’s not her fault and I’m not upset with her. However, I am left with an awkward situation. My daughter wants to stay home with Holly now, which I’m fine with. I told Gina weeks ago that I would attend her party. But now I feel like I am betraying my daughter and Holly, and I’m not looking forward to being around Gina’s husband at all. I honestly am not sure what the right thing to do here is. Any advice would be welcome. — PROGRESSIVE MOM IN THE SOUTH

DEAR MOM: The right thing to do would be to follow your heart. In this sad situation, that would be conveying your regrets to Gina and, in the future, seeing her apart from her husband, who you can’t stand anyway.
DEAR ABBY: My son recently found out he has a school-age son. I’ll call the boy “Billy.” Billy has stayed overnight with me and gone on several outings. Billy’s mom has another child who is slightly older. During our last visit, Billy’s half-brother asked me if he could come next time. I responded with, “We’ll see.”
When I spoke to my husband about it, he said, “You don’t want to start something.” I agree with him. I have no responsibility toward the other sibling. I enjoy being with Billy, but I’m concerned about the animosity his half-brother might feel toward Billy, because he has to travel with his mother when Billy visits. — BILLY’S GRANDMA

DEAR BILLY’s GRANDMA: I strongly disagree with your husband’s advice. If you see Billy and habitually exclude his half-brother, you WILL “start something,” and the something you start will be hurt feelings and a troubled relationship between those siblings. If you can’t find it in your heart to sometimes include the other boy and treat them both with love and kindness, don’t see either of them.
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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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