DEAR AMY: I am 50 years old and a lesbian. My family has known this since I was 22 years old. Five months ago I started a new relationship after being single for four years. My girlfriend is wonderful and wants to get to know my family. My previous relationship didn't go well. That person was a leech who stole from me and from some of my family members. My family holds that over my head and won't let it go. My current girlfriend is not welcome at my parents' house and my siblings won't talk to her. I am so devastated and hurt, I just feel like letting them all go. My family are devout Catholics, and my being gay has always been a problem for them.
-- Very Hurt in Seattle
DEAR HURT: Your family members are not punishing your girlfriend -- they don't know her and have no grounds to actively dislike her.
They are punishing you for allowing a previous partner to mistreat and violate your trust -- and theirs. They obviously don't trust your judgment.
You must acknowledge the part you played in this previous betrayal and apologize sincerely for the pain and hardship it caused.
After that, tell your family how much their rejection has hurt you. Ask for a fresh start.
If they continue to punish and reject you, then yes -- you have a choice to make.
DEAR AMY: Responding to the letter from "Terrified," whose mother refused to wear a motorcycle helmet while riding: For those of us who wait and wait for an organ transplant, a motorcyclist speeding along without a helmet looks exactly like a squadron of useful organs flying in formation. Each cyclist who dies of a brain injury can save at least five lives. Let people who choose to wear a helmet do so, but don't criticize those who choose to take their chances and want to sacrifice their lives to save many more.
DEAR PETER: This is pretty stark, but I get your point.