I am a strange high school senior and the daughter of an evangelical Christian. I kept my sexuality secret from them. During the pandemic, I became lonely and started chatting on the LGBTQ bulletin board. Unfortunately, I was careless about my browser history. My mother was surprised to see it. She made me swear I wasn’t a lesbian. Hooray. My parents also have me talk to their ministers every week. If not, they say I have to leave the house. They also threatened not to help college costs next year. (They aren’t kidding.) So now I’m lying to their minister too. I hate this! I like to think of myself as a good person. Should I come clean?
Now, when the power difference between you and your parents is so great that the threatened consequences of honesty can do terrible (and unreasonable) harm to you, the truth is that you can’t afford to buy. It’s a luxury. Keep lying! You are not a bad person.
You are trying to survive your parents’ prejudice against the immutable part of your identity. For now, focus on safety: keep the roof on your head and stay in school. Decide how close you want to be with your parents when you can support yourself. (Their views may change.)
Remember: You didn’t choose any of this. And self-preservation is not shameful. Over time, you’ll find that a tragic number of LGBTQ youths are driven into the same nasty bondage as you. Take care of yourself and keep an eye out for those who can speak safely. If you can help, please contact us.
Written on the stars
I received an email asking my car dealer to evaluate customer service. My experience was not good. Despite our state mask obligations, many people, including regular staff and other customers, do not wear masks indoors. When I talked to the manager, he first said I was wrong. Then he said he wouldn’t stand up to the customer about the mask. I gave the dealer one of five stars and explained why. Now the manager has asked me to change my rating. He told him my review would face him next month’s wage cuts he couldn’t afford. He told me he would receive another email asking me to reassess the dealer. what should I do?
Swipe the dealer’s ridiculous practice of contacting the reviewer before reaching the manager, which is common. The point of customer survey is to evaluate and improve the service, not to be bothered by the honest response of the customer. Don’t change the word!
Now, when it comes to managers, he seems to want it both ways: he refuses to ask customers and employees to wear masks (see your state’s mask obligations). You can easily do that by doing so). And he wants you to silently take unnecessary health risks. I sympathize with the new challenges of service work. However, this manager is far from the base. Perhaps the financial blow will encourage him to rethink his approach.
‘young woman’? Really?
I’m just 67 years old and I feel pretty good about myself. I look like a healthy older woman. So why does a man grin when he opens the door for me and says something like “please, young lady”? Do they think I don’t have a calendar or a mirror? When that last happened, I had terrible thoughts about myself for hours. How would you handle it?
I don’t think a snappy comeback will be of great help to you, as your encounters are so pervasive in sexism and ageism. It’s pretty fashion, but it’s annoying to feel that these guys are eligible to comment on your age. But the fact that you give a male stranger “hours” of offensive power about yourself is equally disappointing.
The next time this happens, be frank. I’m sure you don’t do it to men. But your bigger takeaway hopes that your opinion about your appearance is important only to you!
Tips for teachers
My youngest is cheerful and affectionate, but he is having a hard time at school. At the age of six, he sometimes hits other children and causes tantrums. His parents and teacher are working hard with him. However, I recently learned that my parents are giving cash to public school teachers every month because my son thinks his teachers aren’t getting enough money. Is this the correct answer?
Your son’s heart is in the right place. Most public school teachers have low wages. Still, most districts have rules regarding gifts to teachers. And there are good reasons for these rules. Parents should not feel pressure to give and teachers should not feel bribes.
But let’s assume your grandchildren’s teachers and parents know the rules of their district. Do you really want to insert yourself into the sensitive issues of your grandchildren’s behavioral issues? The rules are important. But no one here asked for your advice.
For troublesome situations, SocialQ @ nytimes.com, Facebook Philip Galanes, or @SocialQPhilip On Twitter.
Do I need to come out to my parents?
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