Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"People at my church will make fun of me"

I haven't read advice columns since Dear Abby, when I was a kid. But this is one I really had to share.

A concerned parent wrote to Dear Amy (Amy Dickinson at the Washington Post), thus:
DEAR AMY: I recently discovered that my son, who is 17, is a homosexual. We are part of a church group and I fear that if people in that group find out they will make fun of me for having a gay child.

He won’t listen to reason, and he will not stop being gay. I feel as if he is doing this just to get back at me for forgetting his birthday for the past three years — I have a busy work schedule.

Please help him make the right choice in life by not being gay. He won’t listen to me, so maybe he will listen to you. -- Feeling Betrayed

This is a classic, isn't it? This person - this mother, I assume (just from the tone of the letter) - is "feeling betrayed" because her son chose to be gay, just to spite her. And now he "won't listen to reason" and stop being gay.

Now, sure, she's forgotten his birthday for the past three years, but heck, she's busy. And is that really a good excuse for her son to decide to be gay?

But what's her real concern? She's afraid that people in her church group will make fun of her for having a gay son! Heh, heh. Yeah, she's really a loving mother, isn't she? (Or a loving parent, at least.) I feel sorry for her children whether they're gay or not.

Amy tells her this, in part:
DEAR BETRAYED: You could teach your son an important lesson by changing your own sexuality to show him how easy it is. Try it for the next year or so: Stop being a heterosexual to demonstrate to your son that a person’s sexuality is a matter of choice — to be dictated by one’s parents, the parents’ church and social pressure.

That's pretty good advice, isn't it? And I guess it's why she's an advice columnist and not me, because what I'd tell this pathetic excuse for a human being couldn't be printed in a family newspaper.

Of course, the whole letter could be a fake. I'd like to think so. I'd like to think it's just someone making a point. That's not exactly admirable, but it would be a whole lot better than the alternative, don't you think?

Edit: In a way, this is a similar kind of story, but it's a mother's reaction to her child being an atheist. This is the line which reminded me of the above story:
The worse transgression, in her opinion, was that my actions were an affront to her status, and I owed her the decency of coming back to the faith.

Is she worried about her child, or about her own status? Yeah, her daughter owes her the decency of living a lie. Very similar to the above, don't you think?


m1nks said...

I think the letter is fake, or rather a joke - it's just too pat in the way that it hits every point; the mother who is just concerned about her social status, the fact that she forgets her sons birthdays because she is 'too busy' and how she thinks that it's just something her son can 'choose not to be'.

Someone is having a laugh.

WCG said...

I suspect that you're right, M1nks. And as I said above, I'd like to think so. But that second story isn't a fake, and I've seen reactions similar to these (well, second-hand, admittedly).

But as you say, that first letter is just too much. It's improbable, because it's improbably perfect. And I probably should have noted that right at the start.