Friend finds gen­der flu­id­ity a hard con­cept to swal­low

The Washington Times Daily - - LIFE - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN AN­DREWS MCMEEL SYN­DI­CA­TION

DEAR ABBY: I have a long­time friend I see al­most every day. She’s an awe­some friend. Her chil­dren are adults. One of them is gay; the other is a trans­gen­der male. I re­spect her for sup­port­ing her chil­dren, learn­ing ev­ery­thing there is to know about the LGBT com­mu­nity and seek­ing so­cial change on their be­half.

The con­flict lies in the fact that my re­li­gious be­liefs and per­sonal feel­ings are at odds with the no­tion of gen­der flu­id­ity. I think the con­cept is nuts. I have com­pas­sion, how­ever, for peo­ple who suf­fer with their iden­tity in any form. I also be­lieve in equal rights.

I do sup­port my friend, who sup­ports her kids, but I feel like a fraud when she and her friends talk about gen­der neu­tral­ity and vent their in­dig­na­tion that some­one called some­one else by the wrong pro­noun. I act equally of­fended, but the truth is, I don’t be­lieve in these ideas or this cause.

I don’t want to lose an im­por­tant friend. I want her to feel sup­ported — but I’m ly­ing. Please help. My con­science is both­er­ing me. — FEEL­ING LIKE A PHONY

DEAR “PHONY”: Would you feel the same way about a friend who is di­vorced, if your re­li­gion didn’t sanc­tion it? I’ll bet you wouldn’t. The same is true for this long­time friend.

Gen­der flu­id­ity may be a new con­cept for you, but it is very real. If you feel like a hyp­ocrite fak­ing in­dig­na­tion dur­ing some of these con­ver­sa­tions, why not use them as an op­por­tu­nity to be ed­u­cated? Lis­ten. Ask ques­tions. Say, “I don’t know enough about this, but be­cause I love you, I need to learn more about it.”

You can be a trans ally with­out be­com­ing an ac­tivist. PFLAG has a user-friendly re­source, “Guide to Be­ing a Trans Ally,” that you may find in­ter­est­ing and help­ful. Find it at pflag.org/guideto­bein­ga­transally.

DEAR ABBY: An 8-year-old boy in my daugh­ter’s class re­cently passed away. She’s only in sec­ond grade, so I wouldn’t ex­pect her to fully grasp the mean­ing of death, but she un­der­stands it per­fectly and is not up­set one bit. Mul­ti­ple times she has ac­knowl­edged the fact that her class­mate is no longer present, and is ac­tu­ally some­what cheer­ful about it. My hus­band and I are very wor­ried. Is this nor­mal be­hav­ior? — CON­CERNED MOTHER

DEAR CON­CERNED: Chil­dren are often more re­silient than they are given credit for. If your daugh­ter wasn’t par­tic­u­larly close to the child who died, his death may not have af­fected her deeply. Some chil­dren do not mourn the way adults do, and you should not ex­pect her to.

Grief coun­selors may have spo­ken to the stu­dents about it, or they may have been given other op­por­tu­ni­ties to air their feel­ings. Be­cause you are con­cerned, dis­cuss this with her teacher, but I don’t think you have any­thing to be wor­ried about.

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