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Dad’s girlfriend doesn’t like gays

By |2007-03-08T09:00:00-05:00March 8th, 2007|Opinions|

Q: I don’t even know how to start this, so I’ll just jump in and hope you understand and can help. My mom died when I was 5, and my dad raised me. My dad and I are very close. When I was in high school, I came out to him. I know that it was hard on him, but he has supported me since day one. I am very proud of my dad for many reasons; his love and support have meant so much to me. He has always gone to my events, even LGBT events. He doesn’t hide who I am to anyone and always acts proud of me. I am now in college and don’t live with him, but we still are close.

About five months ago, my dad told me that he had started dating. I was very happy for him. I think that it is good for him and I told him so. I have always encouraged him to date, but up until I left for college, he said that he was happy with his life as it was. I guess that my leaving for college left an empty spot in his life. So, I’m glad that he is trying to fill it.
What is not good is that he has recently become involved with a woman who has made it clear, from the very day that I met her (two months ago when I was home for the weekend) that she doesn’t approve of who I am. I’ve been home two times since then. This woman doesn’t live with my dad, but it is obvious to me that they have had a sleepover, or two. I don’t think that she has said anything to my dad bad about me, he would have told me or he probably wouldn’t like her for it and wouldn’t be in his life right now.
It’s not that she says anything to me; it’s just that she lets me know of her disapproval in so many ways, like her body language, her not looking me in the eyes, and never really speaks to me directly. Once, when she and I were watching TV, an obvious gay character came on, she got up and walked out of the room, looking disgusted.
I did find several of my gay magazines in the trash when I came home last weekend. They were in my room on my dresser. I know that dad wouldn’t have thrown them out! He would even buy them for me, if I asked him too. He never disrespects my room or privacy.
Do you think that I should tell dad about this? I didn’t tell him about the magazines being in the trash. I’m not trying to boot this woman out of dad’s life; quite the opposite. I want him to have someone, but I just hate the idea of having a stepmother who I can’t have a decent relationship with. What would you do if you were me?

A: If I were you, I might mention to my dad – without anger or accusations towards anyone – that I found my magazines in the trash, and just wondered why they had been thrown out. If he acts as though he doesn’t know, then I’d just drop it. This may alert and start him looking into this woman’s attitude towards me. Other than that, I’d continue just being who I am, and I would be pleasant towards this woman when I was home from school.
It is important to allow him to discover her attitude towards you on his own, if possible. My guess is, if she is truly not open to your sexual orientation, she’ll not be able to hide it that long from your dad. She’s only been in the picture for a short time. Give it a while to play out. Who knows, by being kind and open to her, she may start a journey towards acceptance of you and gay people. This world surely could use one more person for gay rights!

Have a problem? Send your letters to: “Dear Jody,” C/O Between the Lines, 20793 Farmington Road, Suite 25, Farmington, MI 48336. Or, e-mail: JodyValley@hotmail.com

{TAGLINE Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. The “Dear Jody” column appears weekly.}

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.