A concerned mother has appealed to famed advice columnist Dear Abby with an overwhelming anxiety: if her son and his best friend drift closer and closer physically, does that mean they’re gay?
“My preteen son is friends with a boy I don’t quite approve of, but I understand that sometimes bad decisions lead to future wisdom,” the woman, identified as “Wondering on the Farm” writes. “When I can, I allow the friend to come to our house to hang out with my son because this friend allegedly has a difficult home life.”
“During this last visit, I noticed them hanging out a little physically closer than usual,” she continues. “They shared the same recliner to play video games, talked to each other using gamer tags and the like, and had what I assume were numerous inside jokes.”
Related: Does Dear Abby think bisexual men are infested with STDs?
“My husband and I would never belittle, degrade or denounce our children for being gay,” Wondering asserts. “We know we’re from a bygone era, and we do not assume our particular values are held by our children. We have discussed it and know how to approach it from our perspective if our son announces his orientation. I’m not even certain my perception of his closeness with his friend is accurate.”
“Neither of us wants to address this ahead of anything occurring,” Wondering concludes. “We will love our son regardless and support him throughout our lives. I don’t want to make him feel singled out by what may be usual pubescent behavior. My husband and I are in our 30s/40s. We live in an extremely rural area, and this is my son’s only real friend. Any insight would be appreciated.”
The ever level-headed Dear Abby, true to form, advises the fretting woman to calm down.
“You may be jumping to conclusions unnecessarily,” Abby observes. “Sitting close to play video games and sharing inside jokes with a best friend are not necessarily signs of being gay. It is what best friends that age do. Whatever your boy’s sexual orientation may be, you say you will love and support him regardless, so this shouldn’t be a problem.”
“His sexual orientation will reveal itself in its own time,” Abby further soothes.
Dear Abby has a long history of advising concerned readers on LGBTQ issues. Last year, she advised a worried grandmother how to best raise her transgender grandchild. In 2017, she nabbed headlines for a notorious, three-word smackdown of homophobes hating on their neighbors, and that same year, issued guidance on how to deal with anti-gay wedding guests.
The mother sounds a bit paranoid and messy. You really shouldn’t be concerned with the sexual dimensions of your preteen. While who knows where he is and where he’ll be regarding the gender, sexual, affection, romantic, emotion, commitment spectrum. That should not be a focus. You definitely want your children to feel safe and comfortable. But it sounds more like she just doesn’t want her kid to get too close to the other kid. That’s a whole different conversation.
For my best friend and myself at age 8 we started to talk about boys. We were really close but never experimented and in the early 1950s did not know we could be gay – never heard of it. We lost touch after University and reconnected 30 years later. I had married and he had broken an engagement but we both came out in our first phone call with each other. I now look back and see other signs throughout my life but I was married well before Stonewall when newspapers really started to mention gay people. In the last 5 years of Ron’s life we went back to the cottage that I had spent summers visiting him when we were pre-teen, we travelled, we swam every day and we both lost our male partners 8 weeks apart.
They sound like the animated characters Ben 10 and Kevin 11. Is she sure they DON’T have superpowers?
She fears that they do.
I hope that the main issue is that his friend comes from a rough home life and she doesn’t approve of the friendship because of the potential complications that could arise from this friendship but the fact that she connects sexuality to the conversation suggests that she might not be as willing to accept a gay son as she thinks she is.
And how sad that two adolescents can hang out and enjoy an intimacy(that doesn’t likely or necessarily include sex). My very best friends are those with whom I have never slept with but with whom I still share intimacy. Sex is often had without any intimacy and intimacy can be maintained without any sex.
Gay passions, affections, investment, love are not always entirely connected to sex though. You’re kinda making some of the mistakes that this mother is making. Seeing everything “gay” about sex is just as narrow as thinking a dude can’t have an intimate friendship with someone of his sex without being “gay”. Sexuality is incredibly varied, as is the gender, sexual, affection, romantic, emotional investment, relationship comfort, commitment spectrum. As there are plenty of dudes who have a lot of sex with guys but aren’t really overall homo-leaning, and there’s a good amount of dudes who have a lot of sex with women or have hetero attractions or present themselves as “straight”, but they’re not really overall hetero-leaning. If you’re only into dudes because of sex that seems more like homosexuality or being sexually homo-leaning to me than “gay”.
Either way, the way the mother is describing the situation makes her come off ridiculous.
just another made up story.
This one is a bit less absurd than others. But it very well could be a joke with the way the “mother” is describing why she thinks her son is “gay”. I assume that the majority of these advice column questions are bs.
It doesn’t really matter. I am a father of 4 and a school teacher and this topic is often brought up. It’s good to talk about it.
I have seen that the best thing a parent can do with friends and treat them like family. Be loving and kind and available but not overbearing.
There is nothing more important to kids than their friendships, so being supportive is the best thing you can do.
Exactly! They’re in their “30s/40s,” but from “a bygone era”? Did the grow up in Kazakhistan or Outer Mongolia? Because 30 and 40-somethings grew up in the 80s and 90s, not the 1910s.
Gay or straight or something in between or at some point exploring each other in physical/erotic/emotional ways, her son is lucky to have such a close friend at that age. His true nature as an adult will emerge. Meanwhile I would feel that the son’s friendship is a special gift.
Well said, John. ??
IF this is an actual letter from a Concerned Mother (as in Concerned Old Mother Aghast, or COMA) I wonder how Dear Abby thought it even worth printing.
Mom why not let them play video games and meanwhile you get a life.
Mothers worry. That’s what they do. It’s human nature.
One more thing. I mistyped my comment above. The correct acronym for this organization is Concerned Old Meddlers Aghast or COMA, membership 1. The mother, who hails from Outpost, Mississippi, is its President and CEO, and its only member.
Mom sounds like she stuck with a mindset that comes from “Too Much Church” and not living in the real world. Poor kid.
If people in their 30s and 40s think they are in a bygone era, when will it actually be bygone? It really is staying past its due date. Abby should have suggested getting them into manly sports, buy them singlets and start wrestling.
I suppose it really comes down to what video games they’re playing together.
Sword of the Necromancer? Heirs and Graces? Everhood? Escape from Pleasure Planet? The House in Fata Morgana? Genital Jousting? Save Me Mr Tako? Tales of Zestiria? Boyfriend Dungeon? My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant? Psychonauts 2? Chess of Blades? Lake? World of Warcraft? Newfound Courage? Tell Me Why? Life Is Strange? The Last of Us? Unsighted? Immortals Fenyx Rising? Aeon Drive? Ikenfell? Rainbow Billy? If Found? Moonglow Bay? Hades? Bloodshore? Bugsnax? Forza Horizon 5? Borderlands 3? Blue Reflection? Assassin’s Creed? Skyrim?
Discussions with children about homosexuality should begin at a very young age, not when they are pubescent or older and decide to come out. From the time they’re old enough to appreciate the Cinderella story, kids need to learn that some boys like boys and some girls like girls, and that it’s OK — that they won’t lose their parents’ love if they’re gay. Parents don’t need to try having an adult conversation with a 7-year-old — just talk to them at their level, and it doesn’t have to be about sex. Before coming out, there can be a tremendous amount of guilt and suffering if a kid isn’t sure how his parents will react to his coming out — and especially if his church is telling him he’s an abomination. Even for the kids who turn out to be straight, those discussions — and being exposed to gay role models — won’t make them gay and can prevent them from becoming gay-bashing bullies.
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