Dear Amy: I’m a college sophomore. I came out to my parents as a transgender man a few months back. Since I don’t live at home, this hasn’t been much of an issue; but recently when I went home for Thanksgiving, both of my parents introduced me to their friends as their daughter.
I’m a man, and I look like one. There’s always visible confusion on these people’s faces, and for the most part I’ve just let it slide, but it makes me incredibly uncomfortable.
Should I correct my folks in the moment, or simply reintroduce myself later? The Christmas season means I’ll be home again, and that means meeting more people. — Embarrassed
Dear Embarrassed: Talk to your parents about this. Tell them how you want to be addressed. If you have changed your first name, make sure they understand that it is easier on you and others if they introduce you this way.
You have been living in your body during your transition, but your parents haven’t physically been with you and are still anchored to the person they raised as a daughter.
Just as every transition is different for every individual, loved ones sometimes struggle with the loss they associate with this change. Your folks may worry about you and feel guilty about the pain you might have been feeling, pre-transition. Help them to understand that this is liberating and beautiful for you. Assume that they will adjust to this change, just as you have - in sometimes awkward stages.
Because you have chosen to be home for the holidays, I’m going to assume that your family is flawed, like all families, but loving at its core.
Glaad.org has some helpful information that your folks might use — about how to become an ally to transgendered people. Share these tips (and any other information) with them.
If you face your family relationships with honesty, grace, forgiveness and humor, you might lead the way toward a new way of behaving and relating. This is a big lift for a young person, but you know who you are — and now you can show the world.
If a botched introduction leads to confusion, you can say, “I’m a transgender man. We’re all adjusting. Please, call me ‘Carlo.’ I’m very happy to see you, and Merry Christmas!”
In short, simply be you.
Dear Amy: I have a “friend” who has asked me for money a couple of times. We have lent it to her, and she and her husband have paid us back. We have also helped them with their vehicle, done some housesitting for them, and we’ve watched their children so that they could have a date night.
I have asked her to attend some events and activities, and she has either said “no,” or she will say “yes” and then flake out. She is something of a homebody, so I let it go and try not to take it personally.
I don’t want to confront her for what I see as selfishness because I fear saying something that I may regret.
My husband has no issues with her husband. We see him often with mutual friends and run the risk of seeing her as well.
How do I distance myself without being rude? — Going the Distance
Dear Going: Your friend sounds like an introvert — or she might have some social anxiety — which would account for some behavior which you interpret as being flakey. She might accept invitations because she feels beholden to you (because you and your husband have done so many nice things for her), but when it comes down to it, she struggles to follow through.
The way to distance yourself is to simply stop extending yourself and to stop initiating invitations, where she is likely to disappoint you. You do not need to confront her or comment on how her behavior affects you (if you don’t want to).
In terms of your generous impulses, continue to respond to requests on a case-by-case basis, but don’t do so expecting a more intimate friendship.
Dear Amy: Thank you, thank you, for responding with such humor to the question from “Holiday Grown-ups,” the newly married woman whose in-laws maintained the cringe-worthy tradition of filming their adult children coming down the staircase on Christmas morning.
My wife and I literally laughed out loud when you compared this to “Meet the Parents.” I hope this DIL can see this with as much humor as you did. — Big Fans
Dear Fans: Personally, I thought this tradition sounded fairly awesome.
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