Advice on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues: Archives from Ask Dr. J






#1 SARA


My 22 yr old son has been living with me since last June. He lived with his father and my other son since his dad and I divorced back in 1991. He likes to drink, but not every day. he likes women, and has a girlfriend. but in the mornings I get on my computer and see that he has been looking at porn. That would not worry me so much, but he looks at Transsexuals. I have asked him if he is gay and he says no. that he likes women. do you think this has to do with his dad? his father was very emotionally and physically abusive and went thru 2 divorces. is my son a closet gay?

Sara



Dear Sara

If I were you, I’d be more concerned about the fact this guy is 22 years old, lives at home with his mother, probably drinks too much, and has the time to surf the net for porn.

My second concern is the fact that you are spying on him to see where he is going on the Net. He’s an adult. If you do not want him using your computer to do this, that is entirely understandable because he is exposing you to a rather seedy side of the internet world by using your computer to visit porn sites.

Third, is the sexual attraction issue. I would have no idea if your son is gay or straight, and I really don’t think it should matter. If he were visiting child pornography sites, then I would be concerned. Regarding your questions about his upbringing, there is no “cause” for being gay. To say there is a cause implies that homosexuality is a disease rather than an orientation. I imagine gay and straight guys alike may want to check out a Transsexual website.....on the other hand, maybe your son is transgendered (transsexual) himself.

And finally, not all websites having to do with the transgendered (or transsexual) are porn sites. Many are informational, and are not sexually explicit at all. Take some comfort in the fact that no matter what your son’s sexual orientation is, it has very little to do with his upbringing. Other than supporting him, I don’t know what you could do about it if he were gay.....or transgendered for that matter,

Dr. J









#2 ANDREA



Dear Dr. J

I’m in a lesbian relationship with a woman who has a family history of alcoholism, depression, suicide, mental illness, and emotional abuse. My partner is emotionally abusive to me, goes into frequent rages over the smallest frustrations and is very controlling. I feel like I am walking on eggshells whenever I am with her.

I have asked her to get help, but she denies that she has a problem, and in turn says that I am the one who needs to try harder to make the relationship work. Is there anything I can do?

Andrea



Dear Andrea:

Yes there is something you can do—get out of this relationship.

Call and make an appointment with a therapist immediately and find out why you are trying to make an abusive relationship work. Once you have asked your partner to get help, and she remains in denial, there is absolutely nothing you can do. You need to find out why living with an abusive, controlling rage-aholic is something you want to stay in. I can guess what some of the reasons might be, but this is something you need to talk over in depth with a qualified professional. In the meantime, please read Codependent No More and Beyond Codependency by Melanie Beattie (both books are reviewed on the website).

Focus on yourself and try to figure out what it is you want. Good Luck

Dr. J






#3 CINDY


Dear Dr. J

I have been married to the same man for 32 years. We have two sons who are now grown. About 10 years into my marriage, I found I was attracted to women. I have had three long-term relationships with women while I have stayed married to my husband. I always told myself I couldn’t leave him or my sons because they would hate me and I would ruin their lives.

Well, now my sons are grown and I still don’t have much of a relationship with my husband, but I still can’t get a divorce. I now know I am gay since I have been in love and have had sexual relationships with women for the last 20 years. I am now single (in my Lesbian life), but go out to the gay bars and got to softball games and other Lesbian events. I know I’m leading a double life so to speak. I’ve even seen a therapist about it. Of course, she encouraged me to be honest with myself and others and lead a life that fits me. I recently dropped out of therapy because I felt I was just wasting my therapist’s time. I felt I was saying the same thing week after week and never doing anything about it. What’s wrong with me that I can’t just ask my husband for a divorce and move on with my life?

Cindy


Dear Cindy:

The only thing I can think of that is holding you back from having an authentic life is fear. I’m sure you must have worked with your therapist on your fears of getting a divorce and living a lesbian lifestyle. I think you dropped out before you should have, or maybe you need a different therapist.

You think you’re ok with being gay, but if you did, you would give yourself permission to live the life you want. I have to be honest with you. Somehow you’ve been able to have relationships with women who have put up with your lies and rationalizations. You mentioned having three long-term relationships with women during your marriage. I don’t know what caused the breakups, but a woman who had a relationship with you was cheating herself.

You had one foot in the Lesbian world, but needed the security of one foot in the straight world. I’m amazed you were able to find women who would put up with this. Unfortunately for you, they enabled you to stay married by agreeing to be your “little secret”. By the same token, your husband is also the unknowing fool. Please have respect for others you say you love and, more importantly, for yourself.

Life is a gift and its too short to waste. Find the courage within yourself to be genuine. Stop lying to yourself and others. I know this kind of internal conflict is miserable! You can either live life with love or with fear. You choose.




#4 BARB


Dear Dr. J

It's frustrating for me to need to come-out AGAIN whenever I want to have a will made or talk to my taxman about issues (deeds, IRAs, investing, etc)....there's always the gulp and then the overexcuses. It gets tiring to be judged as someone less because I'm a Lesbian. I know there's no question because there's no answer.
Barb

Dear Barb

Well, there really IS a question here and I'm going to try to answer it. There are a couple of things going on. The first is your frustration at being oppressed and having to feel like a second-class citizen because of the biases of our culture. Homophobia is very real and people do carry stereotypes about gay people based on ignorance and the "fear of difference". In it's worst form, homophobia can result in hate crimes where physical violence is perpetrated against the gay,lesbian, and transgendered population.

Now, there is a second part to this question, and that is on the personal or individual level. Despite the fact that you are angry and frustrated with this situation, you have internalized this homophobia I was talking about. How? Well, you must be buying into it in some way because you are responding from a victim position, and yet you are doing nothing about it. Especially in your examples, you hired somebody for a service; why would you put up with anything other than complete acceptance? If you don't like the gulp, go elsewhere. These people are not in a significant enough position in your life to matter. When seeking out services, when you interview a prospective "employee" simply say, "I'm a Lesbian, is that a problem for you?" Empower yourself and explore your own internalized homophobia.

Dr. J