Dear Margo: I belong to an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) group at my university. I understand that kids my age have it a lot easier than homosexuals did, say, 20 years ago. I do, however, have a problem — still — with people who take it upon themselves to try to “change” me, as if changing me were necessary or even possible. I’ve been told there are therapists who could “turn things around,” and even that praying could make me straight. Well, I am happy the way I am and, of course, do not believe anyone or anything can change the proclivities with which you are born.
If I wanted to be rude, I could cite for these people the number of clergymen and politicians who are not out, who support homophobia and who are then caught publicly in a same-sex encounter. I have tried very hard not to do this. Is there something I might say when people (uninvited) tell me that my sexuality is all a matter of my choosing and deciding? — Michelangelo
Dear Mike: I, like you, have about had it with people who have “decided” that homosexuality is a choice or an “alternative lifestyle.” This thinking is flat-out ignorant of both science and human nature. I think a fairly gentle way to make your point would be to ask, “So tell me. How old were you when you decided to be straight?” Or: “Can you imagine there’s anything that could turn you into a homosexual?” If either of those responses does not settle their hash (for you young ‘uns, that’s an old expression meaning “close them down”), then I don’t think these people are worth dealing with. –Margo, realistically
Just Cluck No
Dear Margo: My husband is the youngest of six, and two of his sisters rule the roost in the family. They take over planning every holiday, every party, every shower. I don’t mind this, but my husband and I are expected to help pay for these parties, showers, etc. We are told when to show up, what to bring and how much we owe for helping to host … even though we have no input about what parties get planned, dates or times, and sometimes we haven’t even been able to attend. Part of me sees this as “taxation without representation,” and part of me is just glad someone else does the work. We have always given the money because it seemed best to keep the peace.
However, his family is now demanding that we host Christmas, since they have all done it for many years. Since I am an introvert, not a planner or an entertainer, the thought alone brings me to tears. But the reality is this: We live in a 1,200 square-foot townhouse, and the family is 25 people. While I appreciate that his sisters have hosted holidays for a long time, his sisters do not work and have wealthy husbands. We are the least financially equipped to do this. In fact, having this type of gathering would mean forgoing gifts for other family and friends. We explained the situation and bowed out this year, but I fear at some point we will be expected to host. How do I impress upon these people that unless our circumstances change drastically, we will never be hosting Christmas? — Exhausted in Advance
Dear Ex: Tell the hens, I mean the sisters-in-law who rule the roost, that it has become such a tradition that they handle the family events that it would be a shame to lose their golden touch. Tell them of your tiny house, your introversion, your lack of expertise, the stress of your job, your temperamental oven and anything else you can think of. In other words, just say no. Happy hols. –Margo, defensively
Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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