Dear Margo: When You’re Homophobic — Quietly

Sad but true: I disapprove of homosexuality. Should I hide my views? Margo Howard’s advice

When You’re Homophobic — Quietly

Dear Margo: I am a 19-year-old college student. Though not politically correct, I disapprove of homosexuality. Most people don’t know I feel this way. I have no problem with gay people. I have a few close friends and many more acquaintances who are gay, and I support gay adoption, gays in the military, hate crime legislation, etc. But in all honesty I do think it is wrong. I am religious, and I disapprove, but I keep my beliefs quiet because I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. I know my views are irrational, but pretty much all religious faith is irrational.

Recently, another student and I met, and while we didn’t instantly become best friends, we ended up on a friendly footing. She is taking a French class that she’s not doing great in, so I, being fluent in French, offered help. The assignment was to take on a political issue facing America today; she chose homosexuality. More specifically, she wrote that there’s nothing wrong with homosexuality, and those who believe otherwise are small-minded bigots.

I was naturally a bit uncomfortable, but didn’t say anything. She, however, wanted to engage me in a discussion about how my religion influenced my views on homosexuality. I tried to be brief, but she kept digging. Finally, I told her basically what I told you. She blew up and started ranting about how “people like you” are ruining America and Christianity is just an excuse to be hateful, etc. She also told our mutual friends that I am a bigot who hates gays. I think she was far out of line. Was I in the wrong here? If so, what should I have said? –CN

Dear C: This is interesting because it is somewhat convoluted. You say your views are irrational, that religion is, as well, and you don’t make a habit of being vocal about your views. You have gay friends and acquaintances, so you are not a practicing bigot. The fellow student you were trying to help asked your views and then went nuts when you obliged her — in what you say was an abbreviated form. Because you knew where she was coming from, you could have fudged, but instead you were intellectually honest and, given the situation, courageous.

I think your defense with your friends is to point out that your instinctive friendships have trumped your religious views, and to remind them that you have never chosen to discuss this. I find the young woman immature and confrontational, and I also get the idea that, in time, you will lose the views you have now because you know there is something wrong with them. –Margo, progressively

A Lost Love, Five Years Later

Dear Margo: A co-worker and I had a long-distance three-year relationship — he was in London, and I was in the U.S. It was awesome because he would be here for a week each month. I could focus on my career and family, and yet we had a wonderful time. In 2005, we both decided, for family reasons, he needed to stay in London, and I in Virginia. So I took care of my mom, who had Alzheimer’s, he took care of his family, and we stayed in touch as friends — but intermittently.

He is not a great communicator, but he has now expressed the desire to regroup. I will be honest: I have missed him, but I have no desire to rekindle something that has him in London and me here. I plan to be upfront with him when he arrives, but don’t know if I should insist he stay in a hotel until we sort things out. Or is that silly, as adults who truly loved each other? He truly was special. –Need Your Thoughts Soon!

Dear Need: You are both adults, and I detect a great deal of feeling on both sides. Bag the hotel. If you two cannot arrive at a plan to bridge the distances to your mutual satisfaction, I think the rekindling interlude would still be a definite plus. And I have the idea that his wish to “regroup” suggests he may have a plan. I hope so. –Margo, hopefully

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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


Every Thursday and Friday, you can find “Dear Margo” and her latest words of wisdom on wowOwow

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105 comments so far.

  1. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    All prejudice is borne of ignorance and there is no worse ignorance than ignorance borne of religious conviction.  There are those who still believe in the Curse of Ham.  And in some mean old man in the sky who deemed some less than others.  They call him god. I call him some mean old man in the sky that some created in order to feel superior to others. Particularly those who they, not god, cursed.  And still curse.  I have no use for this mean old man in the sky or for those who believe in him.  Simply because of millions who have been victimized and vilified and sent off  to burning stakes and concentration camps at the hands of those who believe in him. and who believed they were doing so because that is what he wanted.

    I have yet to meet anyone of religious conviction who didn’t fall prey to the fallacy of believing that the guarantee of heaven lay in the condemning of everyoene else to hell.  My observation has been that they are the ones who are headed for hell. Not the ones they are condemning.

    I have met some who managed to move from the blind faith of religious conviction to the absolute faith in god rather thean the teachings of man and I have found that the best way to avoid going hell is to avoid those who are headed there.  So I avoid those who use religion to condemn others simply because I have found that they would be wiser to look in the mirror and condemn themselves instead. 
    I think people get lost in the discourse about homosexuality by confusing the sinner with the sin so to speak.  The same could be said about heterosexuality. 

    • avatar Lila says:

      Snooks, re: “religious” people or “believers” who condemn others, or burn them at the stake, etc: I think they are not really believers. And I think their behavior is more about fear and power than about faith.

      Would Jesus (according to how he is portrayed in the Gospels) ever burn anyone at the stake? Did he condemn prostitutes or the poor, or even the Roman soldiers occupying his land? The only people he was recorded as having been angry at, or criticizing, were the hypocritical Pharisees and the predatory moneychangers at the temple.

      And yet, “Christians” throughout history and even today misuse their religion as a tool of exclusion, oppression, fearmongering and power. If they really believed in a divine Christ, how could they dare to use their religion that way? Ergo – I think they are just cynics and hypocrites, and not believers at all.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        Snooks: Exactly. I love these people (love = can’t stand), who so cheerfully “love the sinner” and “hate the sin.” “OH I LOVE YOU BRO, IT’S JUST TOO BAD THAT YOU’RE GAY, ‘CAUSE IN GOD’S EYES (SINCE I PERSONALLY SPEAK FOR HIM) THAT’S A SIN. BUT YOU’RE STILL MY BOO!” This is like taking a kid to an amusement park and constantly telling him “just wait until your father gets home—you’re gonna get it. Now do you want to ride the roller coaster or the Ferris Wheel?”

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        Personally I have always wondered why Abraham was wandering around in the desert and I must assume he was cast there and then when he still didn’t get the message god decided to toss a big black rock at him and missed but Abraham built a temple around the rock and god assumed Abraham had gotten the message and decided Abraham deserved a second chance. No doubt carved into a mountain somewhere in the desert now are the words “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice, forget it.” I suspect god is about to toss another big black rock.

        Beware the gods and goddesses and gurus. Particularly those who claim to be the gurus of the gods and goddesses.

  2. avatar NevadaFriend says:

    At my age, 70, I’ve heard all the pros and cons of this subject. My faith tells me that God created us all and I take that to mean little people, conjoined twins, people with harelips, giants, bearded women, people with 7 toes on each foot, people born without arms and legs. Boy, you get started on a list like this and you realize that there’s a lot more imperfections that people are born with than this. In biblical times people wouldn’t have known how to understand these things, and a lot of other things also. They thought the earth was the center of the universe and that the earth was flat, if you recall. Of course, we know so much more now that it boggles the mind. I advise everyone who doesn’t understand homosexuality to take a biology course, 101 should be enough. We have hormones and all sorts of things going on inside us, some we can see and feel and others that we don’t. Every woman, for sure, knows the experiences of hormones but I guess people still don’t understand. Homosexuals don’t just wake up one morning and say, “I’m going to be gay.” My advice is education, education, education. Gays should be able to marry and have good lives just like the rest of us. It’s not a “preference” and above all it isn’t a “sin.”

  3. avatar Jennifer juniper says:

    More apologists I see. And as usual all in the defence of religion. LW1 has a mind-set that perpetuates the inequality that gays experience on a daily basis. I don’t particular care that he’s ‘quiet’ about it. He describes himself as ‘religious’. So it’s not out of order to presume that perhaps he goes to church weekly, that he contributes monetarily to such organisations that continue to fight against gay people having the same rights as everyone else. No – he doesn’t need to be ranted at, but he does need to told he’s wrong. And he is. And if he has any sense he WILL grow out of those beliefs with time. And BTW – I notice support for gay marriage wasn’t included in list for gay rights. You can bet your bottom dollar that there is some line that he draws in terms of his prejudice and gay rights.

  4. avatar Magicmare says:

    I’m at odds with my daughter. 
    My daughter and son-in-law have had pit bull dogs they rescued from the street for 3 years. Recently the dogs have killed (tore into) the family German Shepherd.  Excuse offered?  “The German Shepherd must have had a seizure so they attacked him.”  Then the older cat was suddenly found dead – no prior symptoms.  “Oh.. he probably died of old age.”  Next, the older  but  healthy wolf mix dog hemhorraged and died.  Again the excuse was ‘probably’ “Old age.” Then this week the dogs openly killed their happy young cat.  The excuse offered?  “Oh.. they were UPSET because we emptied the house in the move.”
    Recently their dream of adopting a newborn baby came true and he’s arrived. I am sick at heart because I truly FEAR for the baby.   My daughter and son-in-law are resisting making the painful decision to relocate or put down the dogs. Nobody is sure which dogs or if all are involved.
    I’m terrified for my new infant grandson.  Meanwhile, they seem to seek opinons that will let them KEEP those dogs. I do understand the awful pain of giving up a pet but compared to a child’s LIFE?  Should I continue to fight for my grandson’s welfare?  Even if it means alienating myself from them and a grandson I love very much?   I can’t stomach what fates are being tempted here.   I am angry, frustrated and totally afraid for my grandson’s safety. 

    • avatar Diagoras says:

      Magicmare, of course you should! But before you go nuclear by calling social services or a lawyer to fight for custody of the baby, you could try suggesting to your daughter that the dog be placed with someone with dog training experience, maybe special experience with rehabilitating aggressive dogs. What they probably fear most is that the dog will be put to death, but there are groups who try to rehab dogs or place them in “foster” homes where the people taking care of them have had special instruction in how to train dogs, etc. Suggest to her that perhaps these dogs need a specialized kind of care that only professionals can provide. You are right that the baby should come first, but if you can get your daughter and son-in-law to give up the dogs voluntarily it will be easier on everyone, including you.