Dear Amy: I am a 60-year-old conservative Catholic male.
I believe that gender is determined by physiology, not psychology. I don’t believe transitioning to another gender is the answer to gender dysphoria. My views about transitioning and giving puberty-blocking drugs to youths are in line with my very conservative perspective.
My best friend “Martin’s” child (born male) is transitioning to female. She’s 25. Since I value Martin’s friendship, I refer to his child as “your daughter,” and I use his daughter’s new name and refer to her with female pronouns.
The only advice I have given is to get a second opinion before any surgery (which is advice I would give to everyone before any surgery).
Other than that, I provide Martin with emotional support, and I keep my mouth shut about my opinions.
Some of my church friends think that I should be preaching to Martin every day about the evils of being transgender. On the other hand, my liberal friends think I need to be more of an ally to the LGBTQ community.
I think that I’m doing the best I can to support my friend, and I don’t notice any tension between the two of us.
What’s your view on how I should interact with my friend?
— MYOB in NJ
Dear MYOB: My first reaction is to wonder why a man who signs his question “MYOB” is receiving the views of so many people regarding his relationship with his closest friend. You wish others would mind their own business, which also means that you should continue to mind yours.
“Martin’s” adult child is transitioning from male to female. It seems logical that this intrinsically personal journey should belong only to the person taking it. You can apply your theories regarding gender dysphoria, hormones, surgery and the like to your own life, should you ever choose to contemplate gender transition. Otherwise, MYOB, indeed.
I agree with you that interacting with Martin should continue to reflect your close friendship, without you feeling pressured to preach to him on your or your church’s various positions regarding gender.
Although it seems that you are acknowledging this transition respectfully only because you value your friendship with the father, respecting his daughter’s pronouns and name is the very least you can do — and you’re doing it.
Overall, I think the world would be a whole lot better with less preaching and condemning, and more allyship and acceptance.
Dear Amy: I am a retiree and one of my daily pleasures is taking my pup to a neighborhood off-leash dog park.
Over time I have developed friendly relationships with a few fellow dog owners. Recently “Friend One,” one of my closer park buddies (a professional dog walker), arrived with an air horn. She claims it’s for the safety of the dogs in the event of a pup scuffle.
It does seem to work, although fights are very rare at this park.
The problem is that it scares the heck out of “Friend Two’s” beloved (non-aggressive) pooch.
Friend Two nicely asked Friend One (the pro dog-walker) to refrain from honking while her dog was present.
Now Friend One won’t show if Friend Two is on-site.
I enjoy the company of all involved and this little fracas has made my daily outings awkward. Should I intervene?
— Caught up in a Dogfight
Dear Caught Up: Air horns are an effective and non-invasive “safe” way to distract dogs and break up a fight.
I assume that being near an escalating dog fight could be at least as traumatic for a shy dog as an air horn would be.
But “Friend One” is respecting “Friend Two’s” nicely-worded request and is steering clear of the park when the “non-aggressive” dog is present. To me, that seems like a solution. You might feel better if you saw it this way, too.
Regardless, dog owners are more intractable and harder to train than the canines they care for. Should you intervene here? Not even with a 10-foot leash.
Dear Amy: I had to laugh at the letter from “Underappreciated,” who said that grandparents were always boasting about their other grandchildren.
My grandmother used to always tell me how smart, scholarly, and wonderful her other four grandchildren were.
It wasn’t until I was grown, and I was talking with those cousins that I found out that Grandma was always talking to them about how smart and accomplished I was. Grandma did appreciate me after all!
Dear Appreciated: These responses make me believe that many grandparents have been pointing their praise and compliments in the wrong direction.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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