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 email@example.com. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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