By Jody Valley
Continue being yourself
Q: I love reading your column and appreciate your thoughtful, understanding and wise advice. Which is why I am writing you.
I have a good friend of about 14 years, who is, I think, homophobic. In her defense, when she met me I was straight. But about 8 years ago, I came out to her and everyone. Everyone has been very accepting so I am fortunate that way.
This particular friend, I will call her “Sue,” and I are extremely close. We talk several times a day about everything. She is like a part of my family, and I am like a part of her family. We have gone through a lot together.
Four years ago, I got free tickets to see Melissa Etheridge. I invited Sue along with my other close friends. Everyone had a great time! However, my friend got hit on a few times by some lesbians. That upset my friend more than I thought it would. She quickly replied, “I don’t lay that way.” Since that day, she has used that phrase at least a dozen times. Mind you, she says it in such a way that “laying that way,” being a lesbian, is such a negative thing. I find it insulting the way she says it and I have told her so.
I know that I am her first friend that is a lesbian. Mind you, she is my first Mexican friend. I sometimes use those parallels. For instance, she tells people that I am her “sister.” I have said to her, “if someone would mistake me for Mexican (which would probably never happen as I have blonde hair/blue eyes) and I responded, “Hell no,” how would that make you feel? I realize that isn’t the best analogy, but it is the only one I can think of.
So, here is my dilemma today. I got free tickets to the screening of “Imagine Me and You” (about a girl who is supposed to get married but falls in love with another girl) for tonight. I am single right now, mind you. An ex of mine will be there with her girlfriend along with a good friend and her girlfriend. This ex and I still keep in touch. However, it is still awkward for me to be around her and her girlfriend. I was hoping a friend of mine would come with me. I asked all of my close friends, including Sue, to come. My other friends can’t make it because of their small children, etc. However, if they were able to come, they would and would have a great time. Sue has made it clear that she won’t go with me. She can, obviously, make it (no prior commitments) because she wants to meet for drinks beforehand. I told her, “I’m not sure if I am going, so no thanks.”
I think this all comes down to her being homophobic. Whether she is afraid she is going to be mistaken for a lesbian or the fact that she would be “uncomfortable” still shows me how far she needs to come. I can’t argue with someone not wanting to go somewhere because they would be “uncomfortable,” but I think that I need to take a step back from this friendship. Not end it, mind you. But pull back emotionally, because regarding the lesbian issue, I find myself being hurt.
Please let me know what your thoughts are on this and what you think I should do. I have already decided to tell her that it is unfortunate that she won’t go see a movie with me because it has a “gay theme.” I am also going to tell her I am hurt and disappointed in her. But, again, I think I need to stop investing so much time in this friendship. Mind you, I need to do that anyway because I would like to start dating. But I am talking emotionally. I don’t think she will ever come around.
Thank you for all the help you give.
A: I think that you have handled this situation with Sue very well. You have been very open with her, kind, and tried to get her to understand how you feel. If I were you, I’d continue the honesty and tell her that you need to emotionally move back from her because of the hurt, as a way of taking care of yourself and honoring yourself. It is time for you to move on to others who will be accepting of who you are. Take care!