DEAR AMY: A co-worker just told me that his college daughter was raped by my neighbor, who is also a college student. Another student at the school told his daughter that this boy had raped her, too. Neither girl pressed charges because they had no proof. My co-worker wanted me to know because we have a relationship (not close) with the boy's family, and I have a teenage daughter. Now I am wondering about another neighbor who also has a teenage daughter and a closer relationship with this family. I want them to be aware that this boy is not safe. At the same time, I feel uneasy about spreading the news further. It seems unlikely that either teenager would be alone with this boy, yet if anything were to happen and I had not said anything, I would feel terrible. Is there a way to protect my neighbor's daughter without potentially launching the gossip mill?
DEAR PERPLEXED: Based on what you report, it seems that the gossip mill is already churning.
These accusations are extremely serious, and completely untested. I realize that you aren't a parent of one of the accusers, but both of the girls who are accusing this young man of rape should go to the police department in the town where the college is located. Even if they don't think they have specific proof, they should be interviewed by police and give their truthful account of what happened, including any identifiable characteristics. Doing this might establish a pattern. (They should also be screened for STDs.)
They should go to the dean of students at their school to report this assault.
If you want your own daughter to stay away from this neighbor, you should tell her, "I think he is bad news, and I want you to be aware of that." But no, you should not pass along specific unproven allegations. You should also assume that the gossip mill has spread to the teens, and that your daughter might know more about this than you do.
You could encourage the parent who warned you to also warn the other neighbor, but no — I don't think you should.
DEAR AMY: I am 65. I hope that this letter can help some younger couples. I frequently wore women's clothing 40 years ago, before I was married. About five years after we were married, I told my wife about those experiences, and asked if we could incorporate cross-dressing into our life together. She freaked out and told me that it would never be possible. She wondered about my sexual identity and even wondered what other things I had hidden from her. This had a negative effect on our trust level. She still brings up that conversation when we are having normal marital problems. We do get along fine and we both think we have a good relationship. The problem is that the compulsion to dress as a woman has never gone away. I look at women and wish that I could be wearing their wonderful outfits; especially their underwear. My advice for young cross dressers is to discuss this issue before you are married. Don't be afraid to tell her exactly who you are. Your real self will never go away. Women who find out before marriage about a cross-dressing partner should not be afraid, either. Talk about it and then experiment to see what you think. Be open. It is too late to fulfill my desire to live that part of my true self. I just want to help others.
Too Old to Begin
DEAR TOO OLD: I hope it is not "too late" for anything! The world has changed in 40 years, and I believe that people are generally more tolerant and understanding about gender-fluid behavior.
You should not need your wife's permission to essentially express your "real self." She may not want to incorporate your cross-dressing into her own life, but she should be tolerant regarding your own expression. You are not acting out sexually. You are not being unfaithful. You are simply trying to be yourself.
DEAR AMY: OMG "Slighted on Social Media" really needs to figure out how social media works! He was fixated on ONE person who wouldn't follow him. Slighted really needs to broaden his reach, and embrace connecting with many people, versus one.
DEAR EXPERIENCED: Social media offers powerful opportunities to connect.
Think of it this way: We already know our friends. Social media can help us to meet new friends.