DEAR AMY: I am a mom to two girls (11 and 14). When my oldest was in middle school, I learned quickly about some of our generational differences, especially as it relates to identifying as LGBTQ. Now, kids seem to come out at an even younger age. That makes me happy, but it creates a parenting challenge. When she was an adolescent, my oldest gave me her list of friends for a sleepover. One girl was openly lesbian (12 or 13 years old). Of course, this child was welcome into our home. We had hosted her a few times before. At that time we decided that if this child was coming to our house, it would be a hangout only for everyone (no sleepover). That seemed appropriate, as we wouldn't invite boys who were sexually attracted to girls to a teen sleepover. My daughter agreed, and that's how we moved forward. Now it gets tricky. My 11-year-old recently asked for a sleepover. She gave me her list, which included a 12-year-old openly lesbian child. We talked about our "hangout vs sleepover" decision when it came to our lesbian friends. My daughter began to cry. It turns out my younger daughter is gay. Again, I feel proud that a child as young as 11 can openly discuss this with her mom. But it really complicates the whole sleepover question for us. I don't want to tell one daughter that sleepovers are OK, and the other it's not. Please weigh in!
iStruggling with iGen Dilemma
DEAR ISTRUGGLING: Given that you have already denied your daughter's (presumably platonic) gay friend access to an overnight at your house, you could choose to be consistent regarding your younger daughter. But ponder how she will feel when her platonic friends' parents won't let her spend the night at their homes, presumably because they assume she might behave sexually toward another girl.
My point is that gay people have platonic friends — both straight and gay. Just as many straight teens manage to participate in group "lock-ins," overnight trips and retreats, gay kids should also be granted the same opportunities, with the same assumptions: Sometimes they behave as the adults would wish, and sometimes they don't. Trust, but verify.
You seem like a thoughtful and accepting parent.
You are going to have to have "the talk" with your daughter. Do your best to relate to her regarding hormones, sexual activity, and emotions. Does she consider her gay friend to be her girlfriend? If so, tell her you understand the feelings but wow — she's too young to date, don't you think?
Depending on her response, you may choose to retract your "out-means-out" metric about sleepovers.
Your whole family should read: "Queer, 2nd Edition: The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide for Teens," by Kathy Belge and Marke Bieschke (2019, Zest Books). The book comprises a series of letters from adults to their younger selves.
DEAR AMY: I have been dating a guy for a few weeks. We've been on at least 10 dates, but he won't have sex with me. We have been sexual in other ways, but whenever the topic gets brought up, he makes an excuse or defers the conversation. What should I do? I think intimacy is important.
DEAR WORRIED: There's intimacy and there's intimacy. Talking honestly about a challenging topic is the most intimate thing two people can do.
Your friend may have religious or ethical issues that interfere with his willingness to have sex with you right now.
He may have medical issues that render sex challenging. He might have herpes or another STD that he is reluctant to disclose. He might have been the victim of sexual violence that he is not willing or ready to disclose.
He might not be into you — or is seeing someone else.
You should ask him during a nonsexual moment to talk honestly with you. If he won't (or can't), and if sexual intimacy is a core value for you, then you may have to exit from the relationship.
DEAR AMY: I'm so sick of political correctness. All of these people saying that the word "Gypsy" is a slur? What about Gypsy Rose Lee? Is her name a slur?
Sick of It
DEAR SICK: For those readers who aren't into American musicals, Gypsy Rose Lee was a stripper and entertainer in the first half of the last century.
Gypsy Rose Lee was born in 1911. Yes, this stage name would now be considered a slur and yes, I suggest that you adjust. It's not that hard.