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Thursday, February 2, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: Lesbian Teen Not Happy With Her Parents—Or With Dan

Posted by on Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Yeah, so I'm a 17-year-old lesbian and decided to be big and brave and come out to my parents. I did the whole "born this way," "please accept me," etc., that I'm sure everyone tries.

Things got pretty damn quiet, which was actually a good reaction in my books because my parents are kind of religious and the words "conversion therapy" were once-upon-a-time raised at the table as a good thing to have available to gay kids, so... I thought things went kind of well considering.

And then, guess what? My parents decided to have a nice sit down with me tonight and beside them is my Dad's laptop and on it is one of your videos on YouTube, which I though was pretty darn weird considering my parents usual tastes in entertainment. What played then was your video on women's sexuality with that lovely quote about your five lesbian friends—three of whom are now married to men. Bravo Dan, way to throw a sister under the bus. Because now my parents are taking your word as a fellow homosexual that there is no such thing as a woman being totally gay and that with a bit of therapy I can drag myself back to "straight."

Newsflash, Dan: I've never been into dudes. Like, ever. Always known it, from back when I prayed to God when playing spin the bottle it would land on my girl friends and not one of the guys. So some girls might like to swap and change, but others don't.

Not that I think you'll ever read this, but on the small off chance that you do, well, YOU SUCK. Like, so much. Think about what you say before you say it next time! I get that it obviously wasn't what you were trying to say. You saying that lesbians can change what gender they like is just made of fail.

Pissed Off Dyke

My response—and an epic email exchange with POD—after the jump.


I'm so sorry—I drew the short straw on lesbian friends, it seems, but that's the truth of my experience, and the sexual journeys/trajectories of my friends. But my having known three bi woman who identified as lesbians in the 1990s—the three with male partners now are most definitely NOT straight—doesn't make you any less of a lesbian, POD. or prove that no one is a lesbian, or that everyone can change, or that anyone should have to change.

First, tell your parents, who hang on my every word, that I said "fuck you," by the way.

But the fact is, however, that female sexuality is more fluid than male sexuality. That isn't to erase anyone's lesbianism, and it doesn't prove that there are not lesbian women out there who are solids, not fluids, who were "born this way" and always will be this way. There most certainly are. None, however, were among my five friends back in the day.

And my five friends and their particular sexual journeys don't excuse your parents from loving and accepting you, POD, however you identify. And the harm they can do to you by rejecting you, or forcing you into some quack therapy program, is real and you should share this stat with them: LGBT youth whose families reject them or are hostile are eight times likelier to attempt suicide. And every reputable shink org on earth rejects "conversion therapy" and considers it harmful and psychologically damaging.

And as your parents are in video-watching mode, send them to, where they can watch thousands of videos made by women who came out as lesbians when they were teenagers and decades later are still—and always will be—lesbians, POD, just like you.

I'm sorry my video complicated this time in your life. Really, I am. That certainly wasn't my intention. The fluidity of female sexuality is much more commonly expressed in journeys like Cynthia Nixon's—that is, in straight-identified women who later come out as bi or lesbian. You can tell your parents I said so. And that means your mom is likelier to "change" than you are.

Also, ask your parents to watch Lead With Love. And if you want to keep talking with me on email, i'm game.—Dan


Wow. I wasn't actually expecting a response, and I'm kind of embarressed now. I was mostly just venting at what I kinda thought would be thin air. Sorry. Not your fault. If it wasn't that video they used as their proof it would've been another one.

Trust me, I had a pretty big screaming match with them about thirty seconds before I was banished to my room. Yeah at 17, I know—sad. I tried to do the whole explaining about the "it gets better" thing, which rocks btw. I'm not, like, getting kicked out of the house or anything. But they want me to give the therapy thing a try at least and I really don't fucking want to and I know it sounds weird that a 17 year old is freaking out because her parents want her to do something she doesn't want to do, but I live at home and I'm still in school and I don't really know how to get them off their high horse. And if they insist they'll probably bring in someone from the church, which is a side order of guilt from the priest who baptised, communed, and confirmationed me and has known me since BIRTH.

I'm sorry anyway. I didn't mean the guilt trip. I feel bad now. As I said, thought I was ranting at thing air. Sorry.—POD


Please don't apologize for your anger, POD. It was justified.

I wish to God I could remember which IGB video it was, but there was a guy who talked about going to reparative therapy, at the insistence of his parents, and smiling and nodding and not really talking and treating the whole thing like a top-secret mission—basically, he kept his own counsel and bided his time as he ran out the living-at-home/gotta-do-what-mom-and-dad-say clock.

I think you should... maybe... give in to your parents, if they insist, or threaten to throw you out or cut you off. Roll your eyes and let them make an appointment. Go talk with the stupid therapist. But stand your ground in those sessions. And remind your parents that not everyone clicks with every therapist and if you're going to talk with someone the person can't be crazy or disrespectful or insulting. Even if you just don't feel a good connection with a therapist you'll need to meet with someone else until you find someone you can work with—even if that person isn't necessarily pro-gay, tell your parents, then keep playing therapist roulette until you find someone who isn't too rabidly anti-gay or is, with any luck, neutral or pro.

You're in a tough spot. You may have to do what your parents demand to keep the peace—at least while you're living at home. Think of yourself as the grownup in this situation and your parents as the tantrum-throwing toddlers. Be patient, be loving, be kind... and tell yourself... as they did when you were a tantrum-throwing toddler... that this stage of their development will pass. They'll get over it, or you'll finish school and start your adult life and move out and they can go fuck themselves, but either way... this is only temporary. It's only for now, as they sing in Avenue Q. Only for now.

I wish I could come to your house and speak to your parents in person. If you wanted me to, if you would let me, POD, I would show up at your house in person and speak to your parents. I feel I have a right to speak to them, seeing as they're misusing my YouTube talks to badger you into a potentially damaging therapy program. I travel a lot. I'm traveling right now. If you live close to one of the places i'm visiting, even if it means another day on the road, I'll drop by your house and knock on your door.

Totally serious.—Dan


I'm in Ireland, actually, kind of out of your area.

Ah shit, I'm really sorry if I ruined your day there. My parents are assholes. They would have found something to use against me one way or another, and like, most of your stuff's great like, the its gets better thing really inspired me and made me feel better. Don't worry about what I said. It's fine!—POD


Ireland's kinda far! Where in ireland?—Dan


I live in Dublin! It's not too bad to live here, as far as being gay in a v. catholic country goes. It's not like America were thousands of people protest against pretty much anything that's in anyway gay-related, but I got unlucky I guess.

I guess you're right: it doesn't hurt to just go and wait it out. I mean, it's not like I dont know that they're just talking shite. I didn't even know they allowed conversion therapy over here but apparently they do. The thought of it is making me sick, though, and my parents looking at me like I admitted to being addicted to crack or something and selling myself to pay for it also makes me ill. And I had to be a fucking idiot when they asked how did I even know since I had never had sex or met any other lesbians and me, the biggest fool that ever lived, turned around and said I have had sex and that I've gone out to some of the very few gay bars in Dublin—underage too, genius is what I am—and things just went mad here.

I suppose if I give them this then I can say I "tried" and they can't have hold that over my head but it's kind of terrifying. I've read some awful stories about these "pray the gay away" camps in America and that they're basically brainwashing and worse. And most of the time it's just people who got shipped off by parents with good intentions as well. I'm hoping they just have a one-to-one thing planned and not some camp but even then, I'm pretty scared about it. I don't think I can get away with not going and expect life at home to not be a nightmare.

But thanks for talking to me, especially after I was a bit of an asshole. I don't really have anyone I can talk to about these things. The few friends who do know are pretty cool and try hard but, it's kind of like "this is my lesbian friend [POD]," instead of "this is [POD]!" the way it was before.

Thanks for offering to come if I lived in America though, I appreciate it. :) But it would probably make them angrier that I was airing their dirty laundrey in public though!—POD


No, no: your parents have it all wrong: it's gay boys like me who are addicted to crack.

So... how would you like a world of support and a world of supporters? I can't come over there, POD, but i could post our exchange online, if you're okay with it, along with your email address (or another one, if you want to create one), and you'll have so many people emailing you, talking to you, supporting you, and strategizing with you that you won't know what to do.

Also: look around. The friends you're out to: are they your age? Do they have parents who are more liberal and humane than your parents are capable of being at the moment? (Don't lose hope for your parents—they usually come around!) Make a backup plan, POD, make it now, so you have a place to go if things get really hairy ugly with your parents, or if you decide you just can't to talk to some quack therapist. Just talking to some supportive adults about being able to crash with them for a week or two would be a relief.

Are there social service orgs in Dublin for queer youth? There must be. Have you Googled around?—Dan



I wouldn't mind if you posted this online. I mean, I do feel a bit better, even just from venting like. But would it be okay if I gave you a different email? On the offchance that my Dad goes rogue and decides to figure out the Internet outside of YouTube? I'm not too worried because it's not likely they'll find out about this email address as they havent found out about all the porn I've been defiling their computer with over the years—ha!

But I set another up. Is this okay?

I just set it up now. Because it really is too late to be awake. It's like 2 in the morning but theres no way in hell I'm sleeping tonight.

Sadly I don't think any of my friends' parents would over step mine. Unless my parents completley kicked me out, which is whole new set of nightmares. But I don't my friends' parents they would take me in otherwise. I haven't really looked around but I'm sure there are a few orgs here that could help. I didn't really think they'd react this badly, you know?

Thanks again, Dan, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me after I vented on you!—POD


You know that I'm irish Catholic myself, right? So I read "toolateforawake" and read it as "too late for a WAKE."

Pretty morbid, huh?

Okay, I'm shutting down my computer. I'm on your side, POD, and you're not in this alone. If I publish our conversation along with your email address you might get emails from a few haters—can you handle that? Can you delete the hateful emails and ignore the haters and focus on the people offering you good advice and moral support instead of obsessing on the haters?—Dan


Fun times, being gay and Irish Catholic, isn't it? I go to a nice convent school run by nuns too, oh joy.

Jesus, actually, yeah that email address does sound morbid! My brain is like, completely off line.

If you do post our emails and my email address, that's fine. I'm a big girl. It's really only my parents that are a problem because I share the same breathing space as them. I'm not going to let a few haters bother me. And I've read the comments section on your YouTube videos. Ha! If you can read through them without having no self esteem left than I can handle a few dicks taking a jab at me.


Thanks again. I'm gonna try and shut off my brain and get some sleep. Thoughts of school tomorrow are heartbreaking. Cheers!—POD


Comments (133) RSS

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AmyC 1
i just wanna give this girl a big ol hug.
Posted by AmyC on February 2, 2012 at 2:45 PM · Report this
Dan, You rock. I know your mom is so proud of you. What a kind and loving exchange- you graciously accepted her anger and got her to open up and you probably just opened doors and hearts all over the world. You are my hero.
Posted by Duvall-ite on February 2, 2012 at 2:47 PM · Report this
How wonderful. Lovely lovely.
Posted by gloomy gus on February 2, 2012 at 2:52 PM · Report this
pales 4
Big hug to you, POD. I read it as "too late for a wake" as well.
Posted by pales on February 2, 2012 at 2:53 PM · Report this
Dan, you are teh awesome. I wish I'd had an older friend/role model to speak to me that way back when I was in high school - in Indiana, in the '80s! - and didn't know any openly gay people at all, just one "rumored gay" teacher who they accused of coming on to male students.

Keep fighting the good fight, Dan! We're behind you!
Posted by Pope Buck I on February 2, 2012 at 2:53 PM · Report this
Enigma 6
Girl, you know you have support around the world from queers and not-so-queer peeps. I'm one of those fluid ladies who can make life difficult for the for-sure-lesbian side of the spectrum.
But I can tell you, being in the middle isn't the greatest either. I've spent hours crying about not being able to fit into either world and feeling like any time I fall for a guy I'm betraying my queer side. A lot of this inner conflict has contributed to me actually never having a long-term relationship.
I'd still never want to change who I am to fit into someone else's definition of how people should be.

And if your parents are in a movie watching mood, I'd suggest checking out 'For the Bible Tells Me So'. A great documentary that chronicles a few famous-ish families and their journeys from all the spectrums of support- conservative to tolerating to being super supportive.
Posted by Enigma on February 2, 2012 at 2:54 PM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 7
@2 x a million! Well done Dan.

Oh and ditto on the hug.
Posted by ArtBasketSara on February 2, 2012 at 2:55 PM · Report this
What a beautiful thread. I just wrote her to tell her how brave I think she is and to let her know how many people in the world are behind her 100%.
Posted by maddogm13 on February 2, 2012 at 2:56 PM · Report this
NaFun 9
Watch For the Bible Tells Me So like Enigma says, really loudly. If your parents ask what you're watching you can reply "stories of families that support their gay children. You probably wouldn't like it."

But then, I'm from Seattle.

Posted by NaFun on February 2, 2012 at 3:00 PM · Report this
emma's bee 10
That was a truly lovely exchange. I hope it gets better right quick for her.
Posted by emma's bee on February 2, 2012 at 3:01 PM · Report this
I want this child to come live with me. Poor girl. 17 is a hard age for anyone, but this girlie has a shite road ahead of her until she is of age and in a position where she can support herself.

I don't mean to sidetrack, but don't you think that part of the fluidity of women's sexuality is the ease with which society is able to accept it? 2 women together is perceived by a lot of men as hot hot hot and a chance that some lucky bastard is going to be invited to join in. I don't know of many women who see prospective hot sex when she sees a male couple.
Posted by catballou on February 2, 2012 at 3:02 PM · Report this
To POD - Hang in there. You're awesome. You strong. You rock.

To Dan - Yeah, whatever, you'e okay too. But we knew that already.
Posted by amiller92 on February 2, 2012 at 3:03 PM · Report this
Nice exchange, but, yeah "my 5 lesbian friends" has always been irritating to me, as well. You could've made the same point, talking about fluidity, by saying "i had a lesbian friend once who then married a man and here's what I know about it" instead of acting like you had a statistically significant sample.
Posted by Finish Tag on February 2, 2012 at 3:03 PM · Report this
Why would anybody want to talk his or her daughter out of being a lesbian? Even the most enlightened of parents is going to be understandabley concerned about a gay son because of HIV and stuff, but dykes don't face those kinds of problems.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 2, 2012 at 3:07 PM · Report this
Epic email exchange indeed! Thanks for posting that Dan and extra thanks for taking the time to be so responsive to POD.

And I gotta say: for 17 POD writes and thinks exceptionally well. That's one good head you have on your shoulders POD! Best of luck in weathering this storm and moving on to the next.
Posted by gnossos on February 2, 2012 at 3:10 PM · Report this
Just sent POD a hug. Anyone know someone in Dublin who can be more helpful?

@11 "women who see prospective hot sex when she sees a male couple."

me me me! Hasn't ever worked out so far, but a girl can dream :-)

Posted by EricaP on February 2, 2012 at 3:12 PM · Report this
Granny Smith 17
Dan, you are going to ruin your reputation as an asshole with this kind of stuff.
Posted by Granny Smith on February 2, 2012 at 3:13 PM · Report this
John Horstman 18
Hugs POD! Hang in there!

@11: Probably. The problem is that people just fucking LOVE to essentialize any sort of categorical descriptions.
Posted by John Horstman on February 2, 2012 at 3:18 PM · Report this
I'm tearing up at my desk. POD, it really will get better. Dan, thank you for taking the time to talk with this kid.

It means so much to a young person to have a sympathetic, honest, receptive and respectful conversation with an adult who remembers what it's like in their shoes and can communicate across the generational divide from a place of real caring. You've set a great example here, Dan. I hope I can be there like this for a kid when the opportunity comes up.
Posted by Timmy! on February 2, 2012 at 3:20 PM · Report this
"I can handle a few dicks taking a jab at me"

I think if this were actually the case, she wouldn't have this problem with her parents after all.
Posted by shmelse on February 2, 2012 at 3:21 PM · Report this
balderdash 21
Sad, sad, and also sweet.

I can't say as I like the idea of anyone putting up with conversion therapy; repetition has surprising power even when we know what we're hearing is wrong, and the best-prepared gay kid could still come out of a relationship with a bad therapist with all kinds of emotional mess. I guess as long as Western society continues to consider children the property of their parents, though, it's a matter of best available options, not best options.
Posted by balderdash on February 2, 2012 at 3:24 PM · Report this
kim in portland 22
Dear POD,

Keep your chin up, love. You are not alone. I know a soon to be 17 y.o. girl who shares your journey. I wish you were on my side of the pond, because you'd know you had a place to go when things get overwhelming. I hope your parents are just grieving those dreams they thought were your future and they come around quickly. Make sure to dream for yourself.

Take care,
Posted by kim in portland on February 2, 2012 at 3:29 PM · Report this
Alanmt 23
@11 Plus whole legions of japanese high school girls. yaoi: male/male romance written for and sold primarily to a female audience.
Posted by Alanmt on February 2, 2012 at 3:31 PM · Report this
Man, 17. You're almost there! You're almost free. Just gotta hang on for a wee bit more. You can do it. And your parents will come around. It will just take time. Stay strong. There's a whole mess of people in the world, who are just waiting to show you all kinds of love and acceptance once you can get out there and join in. :-)
Posted by hereiswheremynamegoes on February 2, 2012 at 3:33 PM · Report this
Baby Blue 25
God damn it, Dan. You made me cry at work.

I was hoping you bought a plane ticket to Dublin though. Isn't it time for some Guiness?
Posted by Baby Blue on February 2, 2012 at 3:44 PM · Report this
metardtard 26
People are such cry babies.
Posted by metardtard on February 2, 2012 at 3:52 PM · Report this
BrendanMcK 27
Gay Switchboard Dublin/Ireland's generic gay help/resource line ( - I'll email the details to the email addr also. Looks like there's also a dedicated resource line for lesbians, the Dublin Lesian Line ( ) Originally from Dublin myself, been here in Seattle the past 13 years. They was a les/bi/gay youth support group back in the day, don't know if it's still running, but the above should be able to point as appropriate.

US vs Ireland are interesting to compare; while Ireland may be no San Francisco, it's also nowhere near as conservative as some places in the US; there's only a small handful of rabidly rightwing politicians in Irish politics, and little to no gay-baiting in politics. There likely won't be full gay 'marriage' for some years yet, due to a quirk in the Irish constitution that would take some time to fix, but Ireland has had an equivalent for some time now, which does include tax and immigration equality, and it passed with little or no drama.
Posted by BrendanMcK on February 2, 2012 at 3:57 PM · Report this
She goes to a convent school run by nuns? Chances are more than a couple of them are gay as well.
Posted by arthropod on February 2, 2012 at 4:00 PM · Report this
POD, you have lots of support here. This is a great place to vent, ask questions and get support. So sorry things are so sucky at your house. Wish we could all just head over there and give your parents a bit of advice. Over and over again until they get it.

I also recommend For the Bible Tells Me So. Also, if you want a book that gives a very different understanding of the Bible that is totally supportive of the LGBT community, read What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality. It was written by a Catholic Priest named Daniel Helminiak. I think I wrote his name right. It puts things into historical perspective and back into the larger context of what the authors of those Bible stories were trying to say. It totally takes the wind out of the sails of those people who cry "But it is in the Bible. God hates gays." It is not, and He doesn't. Just saying.
Posted by SeattleKim on February 2, 2012 at 4:02 PM · Report this
Note: A person who IDs as lesbian and then later IDs as bi or hetero has not changed gender but rather her (outward expression of) sexual orientation. Unless someone is using the archaic definition of "gender" as "type or kind."
Posted by DRF on February 2, 2012 at 4:07 PM · Report this
Dublin resources:

Running Amach…

BelongTo ("BeLonG To is an organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered young people, aged between 14 and 23")
phone. 01 670 6223… (Belong To -Dublin)

OUThouse, LGBT Community Resource Centre
105 Capel Street, Dublin 1
Telephone (01) 873 4999

Gay Switchboard ("Gay Switchboard Dublin provides a confidential telephone support service. We offer listening support and information to all our callers without being directive or judgmental. Our service is available to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, their parents, families and friends, and to anyone who has issues relating to sexuality. The Helpline service is available Monday to Thursday from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm.")
phone. 01-8721055
helpline. 01-8721055
Posted by EricaP on February 2, 2012 at 4:08 PM · Report this
Dublin resources:

Running Amach (specifically for women)…

BelongTo ("BeLonG To is an organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered young people, aged between 14 and 23")
phone. 01 670 6223… (Belong To -Dublin)

OUThouse, LGBT Community Resource Centre
105 Capel Street, Dublin 1
Telephone (01) 873 4999

Gay Switchboard ("Gay Switchboard Dublin provides a confidential telephone support service. We offer listening support and information to all our callers without being directive or judgmental. Our service is available to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, their parents, families and friends, and to anyone who has issues relating to sexuality. The Helpline service is available Monday to Thursday from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm.")
phone. 01-8721055
helpline. 01-8721055
Posted by EricaP on February 2, 2012 at 4:09 PM · Report this
Damn -- it said it hadn't posted.
Posted by EricaP on February 2, 2012 at 4:10 PM · Report this
emailed her a hug.
Posted by stephen.g on February 2, 2012 at 4:12 PM · Report this
The Advocate put some Georgia teenage "lesbian" on the cover as the Homosexual of the Year and within a year she was shacking up with her boyfriend popping out a baby.....
Posted by relax honey- you'll find a nice boy soon enough on February 2, 2012 at 4:21 PM · Report this
our five homosexual friends are all pedophiles.....
Posted by ....what are the odds? on February 2, 2012 at 4:24 PM · Report this
gttim 37
Dan you rock! Wow, your emails are incredible.

POD you rock as well! Hang tight, get through it, and then move on!
Posted by gttim on February 2, 2012 at 4:25 PM · Report this
This story made me cry and I hate to cry. Youre a jerk
Posted by dbgill56 on February 2, 2012 at 4:26 PM · Report this
merry 39
You do good work, Dan.

Thanks for posting the entire email exchange, and POD, thank you too, for being so brave. Here I am, all the way across the world from you, and I have tears in my eyes...

It is a lovely future we're going to, it really is...
Posted by merry on February 2, 2012 at 4:26 PM · Report this
@11 I think far more women than you think. But it's less okay for women to admit to thinking about male-male shenanigans than it is for a man to admit to thinking about female-female ones. It's likely part of the general cultural shaming of women for having any sexual desires (fortunately this isn't complete, but it does happen) combined with the general idea that the male point of view is the default normal point of view and that a woman's point of view is a special case. Add in that men are expected to be straight and it becomes far more acceptable to sexualize females. But sexualizing males is more taboo, unless you're showing what a stud they are in their ability to get women, thus feeding the male fantasy of guys getting women. On the upside, there are a lot of forces combating all of those things, which is why this isn't the only viewpoint you see, but it is still a fairly strong trend.
Posted by uncreative on February 2, 2012 at 4:28 PM · Report this
sirkowski 41
You can use the Bible against your parents.

- Has your father ever gone to bed with your mother when she was on her period?
Lev. 20:18 And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.

- Does your dad shave his beard?
Lev. 19:27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.

- Do your parents eat porc?
Lev. 11:7 And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.

- No shellfish either.
Lev. 11:10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

- Does your mom sometime wear pants instead of skirts?
Deu. 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

- Have your parents killed anyone from a different religion lately? Well they should. Lev. 13:6-10

Posted by sirkowski on February 2, 2012 at 4:31 PM · Report this
Dan, I'm a UNC student who couldn't get off work tonight to come here you speak, so I was reading your blog (it's a slow night at work) as a small consolation. Words of encouragement have been sent to POD.
Posted by TarHeel on February 2, 2012 at 4:35 PM · Report this
harmonyak 43
Dan, I couldn't love you any more right now. You are one awesome human being! Also, you are my hero.
Posted by harmonyak on February 2, 2012 at 4:37 PM · Report this
Simple 44
POD my advice is to rent the wonderful movie "But I Am A Cheerleader" and watch that with your family.
Posted by Simple on February 2, 2012 at 4:39 PM · Report this
First, I love you Dan.

Second, I think all lesbian Irish listeners near Dublin need to go to her doorstep and tell her parents how things are!

Posted by rdemartini on February 2, 2012 at 4:58 PM · Report this
@11 "women who see prospective hot sex when she sees a male couple."

Me, too, if they're sexy (or affectionate). Of course, I tend to think of prospective hot sex when I see a hot male, too.

And @20 - Totally!
Posted by Gamebird on February 2, 2012 at 5:19 PM · Report this
I have a young friend in Texas in a similar situation. Two in one week - how gruesome. All the best, Ms POD. But, if it should come to it, you do seem to manifest the possession and sense required to get through some of the not-so-best.
Posted by vennominon on February 2, 2012 at 5:29 PM · Report this
Please note I said 'many' women, not 'any' women. But thank you for letting me know I'm not alone here :)

And EricaP @16, I really do enjoy you.
Posted by catballou on February 2, 2012 at 5:34 PM · Report this
ItsAllOverNow 49
Solid exchange but the unnecessary use of 'like' in this girls emails made me cringe.
Posted by ItsAllOverNow on February 2, 2012 at 5:53 PM · Report this
OT: I swear I first read the email addy as "tool ate for a wake", as in, "That dickhead ate enough for a roomful of mourners!"

Anyway, POD, I'm sorry to hear they have that "reparative therapy" bullshit over there too. I'm hoping this is just your parents' reaction to the initial shock, and/or the result of some misguided advice they got from a priest or a website or whatever, and that they'll snap out of it before long. If not, well, you're so close to adulthood. You have a lot of people in your corner and a good head on your shoulders. This is not the rest of your life. Courage, and don't let anybody tell you who to be.
Posted by Prettybetsy on February 2, 2012 at 6:15 PM · Report this
Dan, I strongly suspect that you are an excellent father and a rockin' uncle. This was great.
Posted by MN on February 2, 2012 at 6:46 PM · Report this
Write or Wrong 52
I just sent her this email:

Dear POD,

I just read your e-mail exchange on Dan Savage's website. Firstly, I would like to applaud your bravery. I'm almost 21 and I haven't come out yet. Mind you, I was buried in denial for years and just recently emerged from it. And I mean that I haven't come out to my family. I have come out to my closest friends and even a professor at my university. I am fortunate to have a very liberal and accepting campus where I can begin my coming out process. This year I have been going to GLBTA club meetings and making lots of new friends, GLBT and straight allies. I feel really comfortable at my university because it is my own world and my parents aren't a part of it. In just three years, things have gotten much better for me and continue to do so. But enough about me.

I wanted to write to you and offer some words of encouragement. I know that it's easy to get down and feel lonely, even in a supportive environment. Hang in there. Stick it out. Reach out when life feels too heavy to hold. You're certainly not alone. I'm sure you've heard much of this before, so bear with me. In about a year, you can go to university, or join the military, or get a job. You can move away and start your own life. You will make friends that are more understanding, and your friends now might become more understanding as time passes. Don't be afraid to talk to them. If you don't want to be introduced as POD, The Lesbian, just say that to your friends. Tell them that you're the same person you were before and being gay doesn't define you. If you open the door up for conversation, it might help their ignorance (even though it's minor). Have you heard of the website ? You should check it out. It's an advice website run by two lesbians that I visit almost every day. Also, this is my favorite video of Dan's and I think it's great advice that I plan to follow when I do come out to my parents:…

Your parents love you, POD. I know it may be hard to see that right now, but they do. They always will. And you're not alone in this. Keep reaching out when you need help. Keep watching It Gets Better videos. Keep being yourself. I hope you don't have to go to conversion therapy, but if you do, good luck. Hopefully Dan's advice works and you can find a halfway decent therapist, at least. You're very brave, POD, and I'd like to keep talking to you if you respond to me. You're going to have a great life. Good luck! :)
Posted by Write or Wrong on February 2, 2012 at 7:14 PM · Report this
POD's going to turn out all right, and it'll get better for her. Strength of spirit shone through in that exchange. Delightful to read!
Posted by Evn on February 2, 2012 at 7:21 PM · Report this
This whole exchange made me cry. I emailed POD and offered support.
Posted by savagewench on February 2, 2012 at 7:40 PM · Report this
Honestly, Dan. I was just ranting about how tired I get of your comments about "fluid" female sexuality because I feel like it minimizes the experiences of lesbians. Then you go and do something like this... You continue to be a demi-god in my eyes, damn you.
Posted by Geek Porn Girl on February 2, 2012 at 7:55 PM · Report this
I love you both!!
Posted by ehappy on February 2, 2012 at 7:59 PM · Report this
rob! 57
I have nothing useful to add this late in the thread but encouragement, and nothing better to do than heave a sigh of relief that the Magdalene laundries are gone from Ireland.

Well done, all.
Posted by rob! on February 2, 2012 at 8:03 PM · Report this
This made me cry too. Dan, so moved by your commitment. POD, you'll get there. You'll look back at these times like a fuzzy distant memory and think, did I really live that?! Trust me. The world is moving in the direction of acceptance, and the Catholics will have to sort it out (many of our generation of Catholics don't abide the intolerance). I've been there, and you'll get here! *hugs*
Posted by Scarlett on February 2, 2012 at 8:13 PM · Report this
I, too, was bawling reading through these emails. I sure hope things get better for POD. Thanks for being such an awesome force in this world, Dan!
Posted by skohlmann on February 2, 2012 at 8:14 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 60
reparative therapy in ireland = sessions with the parish priest, who, if you're lucky, just might be gay himself. and listen to dan's podcast:…. i bet someday you will be his guest advising baby dykes about coming out to conservative and/or religious parents. Síochán leat, mo cuishle.
Posted by scary tyler moore on February 2, 2012 at 8:15 PM · Report this
reading the kids e-mails, I'm not too concerned. She'll be fine. She's smart, sounds well adjusted, (writes well, too).

Also @Dan - that line about not caring about the people who write to you from the Ira Glass podcast? I call a giant bullshit on that.
Posted by adam.smith on February 2, 2012 at 8:28 PM · Report this
Dear Dan,

For a heartless "faggot," you are such a wonderful person, If i pretend to be a 17 year old who just came out to her religiously uptight parents, would you come visit me too? I promise I would make you, Terry and "the kid" a homemade Italian meal you wouldn't forget! My girls would play with "the kid" too!


Me and the monkey family. <3
Posted by monkeylover on February 2, 2012 at 8:52 PM · Report this
Mischa Vainburg 63
"I go to a nice convent school run by nuns too, oh joy."

Catholic schoolgirls! What's not to love?
Posted by Mischa Vainburg on February 2, 2012 at 9:00 PM · Report this
All I can say here are these two things:
1.) POD, you ROCK for #1: sending Dan your first email; #2: continuing to respond to his answers; and, #3: for being such a totally AWESOME, grounded, and realistic person as you are.
2.) Dan, YOU rock, too, because you stated your situation, backed off and acknowledged her complaints, and then you were there to totally offer her your unconditional support.
Kudos to all involved.
Posted by TheCat on February 2, 2012 at 9:10 PM · Report this
Wonderful exchange, and wonderful idea to write to POD. Thanks!
Posted by North of 49 on February 2, 2012 at 9:21 PM · Report this
Too late for a wake,

Because you've been in heaven for a half hour!

You're doing it correctly. Use every tip and trick provided by your antecedents, come up with new ones, and share with those coming after you. You aren't alone.

Coming from the point of view of your parents, it is terrifying entering new territory and hoping for the best. But still, here is hoping for the best.

Posted by Married in MA on February 2, 2012 at 9:22 PM · Report this
Greg 67
Hug it out, guys.
Posted by Greg on February 2, 2012 at 9:26 PM · Report this
Lose-Lose 68
I love you Dan! And POD, I love you too! I love ALL of you!

But seriously Dan, awesome advice. I like how you admit to making mistakes and being human. Now, if only those danhating glitter bombers would see that...
Posted by Lose-Lose on February 2, 2012 at 9:26 PM · Report this
Sent her a supportive email. Thanks for sharing this.
Posted by Rondie on February 2, 2012 at 9:30 PM · Report this
pointy 70
Posted by pointy on February 2, 2012 at 9:38 PM · Report this
So, I just sent POD this email, and I wanted to share:

Dear POD,

I just read the email exchange between you and Dan Savage. So, I have to tell you what went through my mind initially: BRAVA, girl, just, BRAVA! I am a straight (at least, I think!) 55 year old woman, divorced just since mid-August, 2011, after almost 33 years of marriage to the man who I considered the "love of my life". We have a daughter who will be 30 years old this year, married, and mother to my handsome, wonderful, intelligent grandson, who is 28 months old. None of this has anything to do with your situation, but, I just wanted you to know just a little of my background.

I want you to know that I think that you are such a brave & inspiring person. The exchanges between you and Dan show you as such an intelligent, caring & thoughtful person, and you're ONLY 17! As Dan's message, through his program, says: It gets better. In this day and age, please know that there are so many groups and organizations which have come into existence in the last 10-20 years that are so supporting of the LGBT community. I have family and friends in this community, and, now, you. You need to know that you have so many people on your side, and for whom you are a hero(ine). I don't know you at all, but I am so proud of you. Do what you have to do, say what you have to say, in the short term (if you need to). Your parents will always be your parents; hopefully, they will come around.
Posted by TheCat on February 2, 2012 at 9:39 PM · Report this
seandr 72
@11: don't you think that part of the fluidity of women's sexuality is the ease with which society is able to accept it

I keep going back and forth on this.

On the one hand, yes, I think sexual fluidity is much more compatible with conventional femininity than masculinity. Tradition says a manly man should be sexually dominant, so when a man goes at it with another man, the implication is that he must submit and is therefore feminized by the act. If straight ladies were to reinforce that man-man action is manly and sexy and hot and likely to win them some pussy, maybe you'd see straight boys getting touchy with each other.

On the other hand, as someone with connections to the mental health field, I've known a lot dykes, many of whom I simply cannot picture ever being with a man, despite all the cultural pressure pushing them in that direction. They are just not fluid like that. And if some lesbians aren't fluid by nature, I would imagine some straight guys aren't fluid by nature either.
Posted by seandr on February 2, 2012 at 10:04 PM · Report this
Here's mine:


I'm sure you're getting bombarded right about now, but I wanted to add my admiration to the rapidly-accumulating pile. What strength and grace you've shown, both in the confrontation with your parents and the exchange with Dan.

The part that gives me the most hope for you is that you wrote to Dan to call him out for his error, never doubting your own truth for a moment. Keep that conviction. Believe in yourself. Know that you are right and you are following the path you were meant to follow, no matter what the ignorant people around you think, do, or say.

I bet your parents will come around at some point-- they are grasping at straws right now to avoid facing the fact that what they thought was true is not, in fact, true, and that is hard for a lot of people. It's hard for most of us, in one way or another.

That doesn't excuse their treatment of you-- they owed you better. My hope for them is that they find a way to give it, so they don't miss out on the magical life of their smart, articulate daughter who knows her heart and speaks her truth.

I'm sorry this was such a fucked up experience for you, but I hope that on some level you can feel that you've already made things easier for yourself. You've come out of hiding. You've declared to the world who you are. And now we can reach out to you and offer you what you deserve: support, encouragement, belief, admiration, love.

You certainly have mine.

Kate :>…
Posted by inconcvbl on February 2, 2012 at 10:09 PM · Report this
seandr 74
Oh, and speaking of lesbians in the mental health field - POD, tell your parents that you'll go to therapy, but see a real therapist with good references and a PhD from an accredited program. She could provide you with lots of support for dealing with your parents, and might also play a role in helping your parents accept you.
Posted by seandr on February 2, 2012 at 10:14 PM · Report this
Seandr @ 72. My understanding is that for whatever reason, the male hormones tend to hard wire male sexuality much more firmly in place than female hormones do. So a male is going to like what he likes, be attracted to what he is attracted to, and have the kinks and fetishes that turn him on. Those just won't change much. With females, I'm betting that there is a wider range they move within. If a female's sexuality is firmly planted at one end of the spectrum or the other, she is never going to be a "switch hitter". But if her range is more toward the middle, there is a better chance of it sliding to the other side. What turns her on will also be more wide ranging, and flexible. If hormones have anything to do with it, since female hormones fluctuate a lot during the month, and during her lifetime, this could explain a lot.
Posted by SeattleKim on February 2, 2012 at 10:14 PM · Report this
Her parents are Catholic, so their objections are likely cultural rather than Biblical (scripture is interpreted by the clergy and detailed reading of the bible isn't particularly encouraged). My parents cried about it being "a sin", but no bible verses were quoted, evidence cited, nothing to really argue against. That it is a sin is more unspoken cultural knowledge than anything more specific, so biblical knowledge is interesting but irrelevant.

I want to comment that her fear of 'reparative therapy' is healthy and should be listened to. It doesn't take too much repetition or even time for something to really warp ones thinking for years even. I only had March-August after I turned 18 and it was legal to kick me out of the house to 'be good' because I really wanted to go to college. It was amazing how long it took me to speak up for myself naturally after just six months of keeping my mouth shut and just swallowing everything (years). If you do have to try it, please call one of the helplines above after EVERY session. Talking to someone else who is sane and reasonable is really important after being told unreasonable things by 'authority figures', even ones you don't respect at all. (I should have done more of that, it would have really helped. However, I was sure I would be fine, it wasn't that long anyway, it wasn't that bad, I didn't want to bug anyone all the time, etc. and I really paid for that.)

And yes, some parents really, really care about their daughters not being lesbian. It's a combination of a lot of things, sin, damnation, grandchildren, but it probably comes down mostly to expectations. Not everyone is good at dealing with disappointment, and a lot of people want to be raising little versions of themselves, but better (little versions of themselves who are pretty and do things like go to prom). For my parents, at least a tiny bit of it was 'but your life will be so hard this way, can't you just be straight?' so it wasn't all complete and utter selfishness!
Posted by reka on February 2, 2012 at 10:21 PM · Report this
Being 17 sucks giant sticky donkey dick but we all went through it and *it really does get better*. So you might have to play by the rules set down by your 'rents right now but it won't always be the case and when you're done and ready to move out into the wide world you can do that making your own choices and learning from your own mistakes.
Don't fight fire with fire on this though, your 'rents hold all the cards a the moment because you're living under their roof. Make the best of your education and opportunities and when you are in a position to stand on your own two feet you can do as you please. You'll find that they'll be more ready to accept you when they can no longer bully you and it's up to you if you want that or if you want to remind them that they should have accepted you when they didn't have to.
Also, on a slightly related note, Dan mentions that gay girls and boys who are not accepted by their parents are more likely to be driven to suicide. Don't. The worse it gets as a teenager the better it *can* get and *will* get as you get older, don't miss out on the wonderful experiences you get as you explore the world just because you've got shitty 'rents.
Posted by Signed up just to say this on February 3, 2012 at 2:34 AM · Report this
You really should contact BeLonG To - its the national youth service for LGBT young people in Ireland.
They have over 20 groups all around Ireland - 5 in Dublin, including The Lady Birds - a groups for young LBT women. They are fantastic - world class in fact. Do you rem the 'Stand Up! Don't Stand for Homophobic Bullying' ad on YouTube last year? It was viewed by like a million people - that was BeLonG To! You have the best LGBT youth support in the world on your doorstep - - - 016706223 - please contact them x
Posted by Brian555 on February 3, 2012 at 2:46 AM · Report this
Sorry to hear that things are really tough with your parents right now. What I reccomend is that you go to the Amazing BeLonG To - Ireland's LGBT youth service. They have groups all over Ireland - and a bunch in Dublin. It's good that you are getting some advice here from folk in the US, but it would be great to talk to people here in Ireland. BeLonG To is really an Amazing place. You will get to meet loads of other 17 year olds going through the same stuff and the youth work staff there are so brilliant.
You probably saw this already - but this is BeLonG To's 'Stand Up! Dont Stand for Homophobic Bullying' Ad - have a look - this is their approach - making things better right now!

BeLonG To's website is, P 01-6706223
Posted by Miles Daly on February 3, 2012 at 3:51 AM · Report this
Hey POD,

Just been reading over your conversation with Mr. Savage, and felt compelled to drop you a line. Im not going to say "it gets better" (why wait?) I'm not even going to try and talk it over with you, because as an Queer adult male, who came out a long time ago, I can't really imagine what is going on for you, I hope you're okay though! I just wanted to point you in the direction of , one of the biggest lesbian Gay Bi and Trans organisations in Ireland, and get this...its a youth organisation! So you have the best chance to speak to trained professionals and peers who have gone or are going through the same things as you. They have weekly, sometimes daily meetings, mixed and female only groups. As well as fabulous social events like The Gay prom, they run campaigns to combat homophobia in schools.(…) Its a pretty big organization that turns its tiny cogs solely with the purpose of making sure young folks like yourself can be themselves, happily and securely. They are currently training teachers and principals in schools all over the country with a new pilot scheme that will in a short while be common practice in every school, that protects and encourages our gay kids and keeps them safe .... Please direct your parents to the website, and give them a call yourself, they will be happy to meet with you and your folks, individually or together, that's up to you... once you make the first move and contact them, you will begin a whole new amazing chapter in your life.

Be happy
Posted by dalmatianstation on February 3, 2012 at 3:57 AM · Report this
Hey POD,

Just been reading over your conversation with Mr. Savage, and felt compelled to drop you a line. Im not going to say "it gets better" (why wait?) I'm not even going to try and talk it over with you, because as an Queer adult male, who came out a long time ago, I can't really imagine what is going on for you, I hope you're okay though! I just wanted to point you in the direction of , one of the biggest lesbian Gay Bi and Trans organisations in Ireland, and get this...its a youth organisation! So you have the best chance to speak to trained professionals and peers who have gone or are going through the same things as you. They have weekly, sometimes daily meetings, mixed and female only groups. As well as fabulous social events like The Gay prom, they run campaigns to combat homophobia in schools.(…) Its a pretty big organization that turns its tiny cogs solely with the purpose of making sure young folks like yourself can be themselves, happily and securely. They are currently training teachers and principals in schools all over the country with a new pilot scheme that will in a short while be common practice in every school, that protects and encourages our gay kids and keeps them safe .... Please direct your parents to the website, and give them a call yourself, they will be happy to meet with you and your folks, individually or together, that's up to you... once you make the first move and contact them, you will begin a whole new amazing chapter in your life.

Be happy
Posted by dalmatianstation on February 3, 2012 at 4:01 AM · Report this
Dan you should win the Nobel Prize for advice columnists. I know, I know, no such thing, but I think they should create the category just so you get an award for this.

Posted by Lynnkins on February 3, 2012 at 4:56 AM · Report this
Sorry to hear that things are really tough with your parents right now. What I reccomend is that you go to the Amazing BeLonG To - Ireland's LGBT youth service. They have groups all over Ireland - and a bunch in Dublin. It's good that you are getting some advice here from folk in the US, but it would be great to talk to people here in Ireland. BeLonG To is really an Amazing place. You will get to meet loads of other 17 year olds going through the same stuff and the youth work staff there are so brilliant.
You probably saw this already - but this is BeLonG To's 'Stand Up! Dont Stand for Homophobic Bullying' Ad - have a look - this is their approach - making things better right now!

BeLonG To's website is, P 01-6706223
Posted by IrishLGBT on February 3, 2012 at 6:50 AM · Report this
Kat 84
Er, I don't know if this will help, but I used to work for Childline in Ireland, and I know there are a couple more like that in Eire. Hotlines for children suffering abuse at home (which conversion camp may well count as). I'm sure she's seen the numbers growing up, but they have counsellors who can help her plan for some scenarios and that.
Posted by Kat on February 3, 2012 at 7:39 AM · Report this
theresa-marie 85
There is a spare room with my family if this awesome kid wants to come to college in the Pacific Northwest. My teenage son is happily out as bi and his 10-year-old brother is confidently 'fabulous'. I read it's "too late for a wake" also and was immediately back in time to high school when me and my friends were dykes and fags and being slammed into lockers. It gets better.
Posted by theresa-marie on February 3, 2012 at 8:39 AM · Report this
Way to make it all about you, 71.

Posted by Count the number of "I" and "me's" in your email on February 3, 2012 at 8:52 AM · Report this
As a lesbian in her late 20s this letter hurts to read.

And while I get that it's interesting for adults to offer musings about the cultural constraints that may or may not prevent men from expressing the same levels of sexual fluidity that women do (as though all women have that experience, when almost all straight women don't, and most lesbians don't), but that is, at root, a straight person's area of interest, not mine, and not this endearingly sassy Irish teen's.

Because when your sexual orientation is 100% at odds with your culture and your parents, you feel the lack of fluidity very very acutely. When I was this kid's age, I wanted desperately to believe that my crushes on girls were something I was feeling only b/c I wasn't fully mature yet, and when I came out to my parents a few years later, I know they hoped that too.

Not to Irish Teen: Now everything is awesome and I have a girlfriend, whom my parents quite like, and she's hot. Also, it turns out that being a lesbian in a major Western city (me, NYC, you, Dublin right now) IS actually a great talking point.

So buck up Irish teen, not only do you probably have a delightful accent, you also have an interesting sexual orientation, and like many of your countrymen, you are incredibly skilled at using the language that your English oppressors forced on you. You will be a hit at parties. I'm sorry your parents are doing this.

I remember that sickening confusion: when some straight people and your parents and even some gay guys nonchalantly imply that at the end of the day you, as a lesbian, somehow have the ONLY SEXUAL ORIENTATION that is actually not a real thing, that you are really just participating in a trend, like slap bracelets or those 2 years when American Apparel was cool. That's bullshit, Irish. It's of a piece with the bizarre notion that women don't really enjoy sex, and they only submit to it to get things they want. If that was true, I wouldn't have put my self in the 682 embarrassing situations I've put myself in, just to get close to some girl. And I know straight women who would cut their own arm off to just get some facetime with a penis.

I do believe that Savage is an incredibly important figure for us gays (I take a lot of his advice very seriously, I do), but I was also sent into a classic lesbian-invisibility mini-rage by his "all 5 lesbians I know" comment, because while I totally agree what we lesbians need to be about 7 levels less hysterical and insecure about bisexual women who shack up with men after years of ID-ing as gay, there are lots and lots of lesbians (I am one, my gf is one, my lesbian friend is one, another lesbian friend is one, my still-closeted 60 yr old Irish Catholic aunt is one), whose experiences do in fact seem pretty similar to those of gay men, in that we have always only been capable of falling in love with and wanting to bone people of our own sex. So I applaud this Irish gayelle for calling him out on his cringe-inducing phrasing, as well as Savage's willingness to engage with her. I hope he knows how much influence he has with my generation of gay people.

Posted by LRH21 on February 3, 2012 at 9:20 AM · Report this
POD, if you're looking for a simple-but-imperfect solution as a backup, you could talk to your pastor about it, then tell your parents that he turned you straight. Just to get them off your back and keep them paying for school and all until you're on your own two feet. That way, you control who you talk to, instead of your parents forcing you to go to a camp or something. Then you can come out to them again later, when you have your own space and they can't force you to do anything.
Posted by Mike Sententia on February 3, 2012 at 9:39 AM · Report this
89 does that work exactly? Do they wave a bunch of cocks in a 17 year old girl's face until she decides one of them is worth swallowing?

Religious parents of straight high school girls always seem to want to stop their daughters from hopping on some cock. Why do religious parents of lesbians want their daughters to get dick stuffed?
Posted by ScoutX on February 3, 2012 at 9:46 AM · Report this
Dan mostly rocks, but his gay militancy unfortunately blinds him to the truth about "straight" male sexuality and about "bisexuality", leading to making wild comments along the lines of "female sexuality is more flexible than male". I say that's bull. What he perhaps (being generous) means by that is that female homophobia is less widespread than male, and therefore non-gay females are less inhibited in getting off with other females than non-gay males are in getting off with other males. But this is a result of homophobia, not some "natural law". FWIW, my two cents:…
Posted by Jangali on February 3, 2012 at 10:00 AM · Report this
What a strong, spirited woman you are! Damn, girl, I think you're gonna be fine.

I'm a 48 yr. old bi woman and, I gotta tell ya, I've been quite fluid over the few decades I've been dealing with being me.HOWEVER--never, ever, ever, ever has a sexual connection or relationship with a man invalidated my sexual connections and love relationships with women.

I can say with confidence that I am EVERY BIT as GAY as I am straight. Not everyone gets that, and I've taken a whole lotta sh*t from the glbt community, from my family and from lovers, both lesbian and straight male.

Trust yourself. It may not always be easy, but It Gets Better and it will be so worth it.
Posted by mangojuice on February 3, 2012 at 10:16 AM · Report this
djx 92
@11 & @16, Yeah that's pretty much what I normally think of when I see an attractive gay couple--effing hot!!!
Posted by djx on February 3, 2012 at 10:19 AM · Report this
the stranger has been a great cure for being bummed out as of late.
Posted by grace on February 3, 2012 at 10:22 AM · Report this
Someone made the comment that because there is no threat of HIV, it is easier for parents to accept a lesbian child. Parents take it as a given that when they have a daughter, that child is going to fufill certain needs and expectations that they have always carried. From comforting them when their first boyfriend breaks their heart, seeing her all dressed up on her wedding day, grandchildren,etc.. Or course all of things can happen anyway and they can rejoice in that fact but I could imagine that it would be hard for some to change just one thing, It will be with another woman. Yes they should get over it. But give them time to mourn a specific, little dream they had for so long.
Posted by Lee74 on February 3, 2012 at 10:26 AM · Report this

And Dan, you are a very special man. You're caring, commitment, and fire are truly inspiring.
Posted by mangojuice on February 3, 2012 at 10:32 AM · Report this
Ken Mehlman - I know you mean well with that comment, but it's worth considering how reinforcing that logic can be harmful. A lot of statistics indicate that the rate of STI's in the lesbian community is growing faster than in many other communities because of the logic that "women have little risk, and women who have sex with women therefore have miniscule risk". While there are many factors that contribute to that particular perception (which is a whole other conversation), what has resulted from that common idea is a lot less education and urgency around safe sex practices within the lesbian community. HIV and other STI's are transmitted as a result of UNPROTECTED SEX - and the who is having sex with whom is a secondary detail to that fact.

Also, if a child's sexual safety is a parent's true motivator - then being an adult and having a conversation with you child about safe sexual practice is the answer, no matter who the child is attracted to. The most enlightened parents know that, and also know how harmful any negative behavior around their child's sexual expression can be.
Posted by bek on February 3, 2012 at 10:38 AM · Report this
If the world would simply understand that we are all different, and our differences make us better, the world would be a much better place. As an atheist I understand what it is like to be different also, and to have people condemn me to hell or worse. I told my parents and they said I had to tell our priest (he wasn't too bad) and our mother superior (she condemned my soul to hell) before they would let me stop going to church and catholicism. Maybe it is because I was different that I try and understand what it is like to be different in other ways. It is not fun to be different, but if you accept it and stand up for yourself it does make you stronger and much less likely to be able to be controlled by others. And once you get over that hurdle and understand that as long as you love yourself others will find you, love you, accept you for who you are and as you say so well... It Does Get Better.
Posted by NoGodKnowFreedom on February 3, 2012 at 10:43 AM · Report this
What a great exchange. I passed her email along to a Dublin based GLBT youth group. Hopefully they can get in contact with her and offer her on the ground support.
Posted by Lynx on February 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM · Report this
@11 -- I think women not being into gay guys is not so true anymore. Ever heard of slash fiction? Lots and lots and lots of fandom communities online pairing up fictional characters (predominantly male/male) with each other, and predominantly women writers. And I'm one of their fans. It's gotten to the point where gay porn is all that will get me off when I wank. Love love love the gay sex!
Posted by grrgoyl on February 3, 2012 at 10:54 AM · Report this
POD - Hang it there. I was in Catholic high school when I was your age, and all I can say is that I wish I was more in touch with my dyke-self then because, I mean come on, Catholic school girls!

I am always very impressed with teenagers that have the guts to totally stand up to the bullshi#, but what sucks about being underage is that there is a whole system on the bullshi#'s side. I personally did more what Dan suggests, go through the motions and save my energy I would spend on fighting to use on positioning myself for when I had a different roof over my head and no nuns around.

From my experience, I couldn't agree more with the idea that you are the grown-up in your situation and they are the toddlers - but like with toddlers, if you let them just keep running around they'll tire themselves out instead of spending your energy trying to stop them.

Some of my best friends are dykes in Dublin, and they are happy - but they have spent a lot of time being able to say "fuck this shite". I guess because of the deep Catholicism, there is a lot of talk that their being dykes is "doing something" to their family - and that's some twisted shit. No one talks about parents being guilt-trippy homophobic arseholes as "doing something" to their family, but it can really wear on people. From your exchange with Dan it is obvious you are a smart, self-aware, and kind person - and you're going kick ass in the world.

In terms of being "changeable" - as a total sure-as-the-sky-is-blue lesbian, if anything, the longer you are out and the more experience you get, you will discover even more the depths of your desire for women. Women are amazing, and loving them is amazing and you are going to have an awesome time!
Posted by bek on February 3, 2012 at 10:56 AM · Report this
@ 11 Not going to lie, I see two hot dudes and think YES! Call me! ; )
Posted by MmmmHmmmm on February 3, 2012 at 11:03 AM · Report this
Watch this great documentary, Fish Out of Water, that dismantles the myths about what the Bible says about gays, in an entertaining yet serious way:
Posted by EmmaGoldman on February 3, 2012 at 11:23 AM · Report this
lewlew 103
Go to Ireland, Dan! There are planes that fly there, astonshing, I know! Talk to those parents. Make a damn TV show out of it if you have to. Go to Ireland, Dan. Go! And then tell us all about it. oxo
Posted by lewlew on February 3, 2012 at 11:33 AM · Report this
@87 You rock!!!
Posted by Rhythm on February 3, 2012 at 11:45 AM · Report this
Hey POD,

I think that if you end up having to go to therapy you should consider blogging the experience. I think you would end up with a very eager audience and gain the opportunity to get perspective on what's going on in those sessions. Also it would give people the opportunity to know what to expect if they are fated for a similar experience. But of course also consider that doing so could potentially also bring you a lot of unwanted attention.
Posted by heartening on February 3, 2012 at 11:46 AM · Report this
"Well, according to Dan, it's just a phase. So I don't need therapy. Therapy might make the phase go slower because I'll be rebelling against it. If you just let me do my things for now, maybe later I will turn straight." Boom. Just bought yourself a few years and your parents will be over it by then. Just saying what I would do... :)
Posted by Jenn ({i}) on February 3, 2012 at 12:13 PM · Report this
@11: The more significant point isn't whether women see two men together as being hot, it's whether MEN see two men being together as hot. Remember who is "in charge."
Posted by shefightslikeagirl on February 3, 2012 at 12:17 PM · Report this
@94, I had a very similar conversation with a friend of mine recently. You'll notice that for some reason, I am impassioned by this thread, so I don't mean to have my back up, but I urge you to consider a different scenario:

There is a father who was a football star in his youth - he lived and breathed the sport, enjoyed the male camaraderie and toughness that playing it brought him, and greatly looks forward to sharing all of these moments and lessons with his son. He envisions football being his opportunity to teach masculinity to the strapping, athletic lad that is to be his heir. His son is born, and is a bit of indoor-type kid - he loves to read and excels at academics and music. Dad urges him to play ball but he isn't very good at it or any other sport. The son is dutiful, kind to people, respectful of his parents - and continues to be excellent at music and pursues that as a teenager and young adult. All the dreams of that Dad for football don't come true, and he is disappointed and perhaps mourns the death of those dreams. I think we would all understand that the Dad is having those feelings.

But were that dad to kick out his son for not playing football, or suggest that he be sent to therapy for not playing football, or generally grow distant for a while from his son - would the expectation be for everyone to just give him time to mourn? Would we not consider him cruel for laying the guilt of his lost dreams on his son who did nothing wrong and had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of those dreams? I don't think so. I think that to make an argument that it is legitimate to ask a CHILD to give their PARENT understanding and sympathy when the only thing the child has done is to be his/herself is unfair. It greatly undermines an effort to make a queer kid feel okay with (not to mention proud of) who they are. Reinforcing that the particular difference of being gay is somehow set apart, and that the reactions to it are therefore excusably different (and likely more negative, more severe, etc.) is not helping promote the inclusion of and celebration of queer youth.

I grew up as a total boi/butch in the Deep South Bible Belt. I am well-acquainted with the types of expectations that other people had of me because I was born with a vagina, though I had absolutely no hand in developing those expectations. The greatest pains and torments in my life have come from not meeting those expectations, and I work hard, every day, to overcome them and believe that I am at least a decent human being even though I wouldn't wear a dress to the father-daughter dance. Please do not ask me, or any other lesbian that is born with a lot of expectations on them rooted in a very particularly definition of females and femininity, to just give them time to mourn. It implies that we have killed something, which was only imaginations, while we stand there in the flesh needing support from our parents.
Posted by bek on February 3, 2012 at 12:35 PM · Report this
Lily Fluffbottom 109
POD is going to to do great things in life. Just wait and see.
Posted by Lily Fluffbottom on February 3, 2012 at 12:39 PM · Report this
Fluidity in women's sexuality more than men? Yes, I agree. But to declare oneself a lesbian and then marry a man (assuming they have vowed to be faithful) means they've either discovered they are NOT Lesbian or Bi, they ARE Bi and are trying to ignore that, or they are struggling. Let's just be fluid about that, shall we?
Posted by Jill Kring Carter on February 3, 2012 at 12:51 PM · Report this
Corylea 111
Ah, POD, I'm amazed at how mature and together you sound. Being an underage lesbian in a non-accepting family is extremely hard, and you seem to be handling your situation with humor and self-knowledge.

I think you're in for some hard times in the next year, but given the qualities you've demonstrated so far, I know you'll come out okay on the other side. You have both grit and wit, and that combination will take you far, girl.

Lots of us here are hoping for the best for you. It really DOES get better.

Posted by Corylea on February 3, 2012 at 1:02 PM · Report this
I want to point out a mental leap that POD's parents make that, if you think about it, isn't logically sound. The evidence, "Dan Savage knows lesbian-identified women who later identified as bi or straight," leads them to the conclusion, "You should go into therapy to become straight." I'm pretty sure none of Dan's fluid-lesbian friends got straightened out by ex-gay therapy. Either they changed simply because people sometimes change, or they realized that they had been bi all along. Neither one suggests that therapy can "cure" a lesbian.
Posted by bija on February 3, 2012 at 1:36 PM · Report this
idnarcarlton 113
So well put, that is such a strong and greatly overlooked observation you have one should be made to feel guilty about shattering expectations that they did nothing to form or humor. To feel like you need to take it easy on someone who is mourning a fake idea of who you could have been is ridiculous; people wouldn't have their dreams shattered if they understood the importance of being open-minded with their children and realizing that they could grow up to be anything, no matter what they push onto them. So your kid doesn't want to be a doctor, so they don't go to college, so they go to a college you didn't want them to go to, so they're gay... what would you rather have, the fictional kid in your head or your flesh and blood human feeling living child?

Posted by idnarcarlton on February 3, 2012 at 2:00 PM · Report this
On fluidity, whether social or genetic: I could of course say that my personal experience tends to confirm Dan's, but what good would it be, since I, like Dan, also only had/have a handful of Lesbian friends and acquaintances, so it's all anecdotal anyway?

I'll wait for the statistical studies and the researchers' consensus opinion once it's reached. What little I've read thus far tends to confirm the idea that women are in average, on the whole (meaning there are lots of exceptions, etc... stats aren't to be read as if they were the ten commandments) more flexible/fluid than men, more so than cultural tendencies would jusitify. But, who knows? Maybe further studies will debunk that.

As long as we understand that statistical claims and tendencies are only that: statistics, not guidelines about how to live one's life and whether or not one is "normal" (in any of the several senses of this word) or "has a problem"... As long as we treat each others as individuals... there's no problem with the stats. No matter what men and women are statistically more likely to be (an interesting fact in itself, but...), I am still myself, you are still yourself, and that's it.
Posted by ankylosaur on February 3, 2012 at 2:36 PM · Report this
I'm with @103. GO TO IRELAND, DAN! What are you waiting for?! GO GO GO!
Posted by inconcvbl on February 3, 2012 at 3:57 PM · Report this
Make your folks watch "But I'm a Cheerleader"! It's fictional, but it's funny and heartwarming. The Gay Conversion Camp just pushed the questioning girl right into full-fledged lesbian relationship. And nearly everyone associated with the camp was really gay. RuPaul in boy drag!
Posted by bluemoonbaby on February 3, 2012 at 4:25 PM · Report this
Props to you POD, for coming out to your parents. You're braver than me. Stay strong-- you're seventeen and don't have long to go!
Posted by lenna_lit on February 3, 2012 at 7:52 PM · Report this
To POD, for what it's worth, my highschool friends who were lesbians (or who came out as lesbian later) were always, 100% lesbian. Although it is awesome to have so many people from around the world in your corner (and in the corner of all the other kids in Dublin, or any other city, who are in your shoes!), that doesn't take away the frustration of having to deal with parents who aren't being supportive. I really like what Dan said about treating them like the toddlers throwing a tantrum, and viewing yourself as the more mature adult in this situation. Toddlers do need patience, and often they do change, even if it's very hard for them. But even if they don't change, eventually it will not be your responsibility to attend to their needs anymore. Eventually they will have to accept you on your own terms. It may not feel like it at 17, but the time flies by and you're so close to having wonderful independence and freedom! I pray that your parents will learn to understand and love you exactly for who you are.
Posted by Suzy on February 3, 2012 at 10:54 PM · Report this
@ 44 Heh. I didn't really know a good way to show my daughter my support when she came out to me, so I bought her a VHS of "But I'm a Cheerleader". It's really a pretty dumb movie, but it holds a place in our hearts, anyway.
Posted by agony on February 4, 2012 at 12:00 AM · Report this
I live in Dublin too. Born and raised. Am 18 years older than you, so I went through very similar stuff, but in the pre-internet days. Used to pretend to be browsing the books in 'Books Upstairs' beside Trinity until I could work up the courage to take a free copy of G.C.N. in my clammy hand, half-expecting everyone in the shop to turn around and go 'oh you're one of them!'. Makes me smile to think of it now. Would have loved to have been bombarded with all these wonderful, supportive comments at the time! But I found the support of the groups mentioned above (or earlier incarnations of them) to be very good. You sound like you have your head together though. Didn't think 'conversion therapists' existed anymore. My therapist friends tell me that even if a practitioner had a personal view of homosexuality as a disfunction, they probably wouldn't show it because it's just not supported by the evidence and is not a mainstream view anymore. Remember that. Wondering if I should give you any advice here...what keeps coming to mind is PATIENCE. Be patient with your parents and the steep learning curve they are on and keep being your lovely, dignified self. Being patient doesn't mean giving in to their ignorance of course. It just means understanding that they were taught different things and had different experiences and are scared of 'new' ideas and are probably scared for you. I suspect they just want you, deep down, to be happy, but are convinced that you won't be if you follow this 'alternative lifestyle'. I get that now with my parents. Patience worked for us. They are not and never will be champions of gay rights and they still don't quite get it, but they are genuinely caring towards my partner (female!) of 11 years and our 1 year old daughter. And that gives me a happy feeling inside.
Posted by Wuz on February 4, 2012 at 3:06 AM · Report this
Comment #112:

Thanks---a similar comment I made seems to have been et. I also mentioned that in my limited experience those who showed fluidity of sexual behaviour were not women who had been forced to undergo reparative therapy, but who instead had been let the fuck alone, and someone should tell her parents this.

This may seem a little craven, as it does not confront their bad reasons, but I believe they will be more receptive to understanding that they've a problem with their means. That is to say, it might be the wrong thing to do, but it has the advantage of having a decent chance of of working.

(I was once, mysteriously, asked for counsel by the father of a young man involved in a [straight] relationship of which he disapproved and which seemed innocuous to me. His reasons weren't that good, in my mind, but they obviously were in his, and I doubted that I could change his I merely pointed out to him that this was a relationship between two people in college, and that most of those don't last more than a few years at most---and that pressure from him would be more likely to convict his son in his intended course, the son being about as stubborn of the father. Perhaps it would have shown him more respect to try to 'get his mind right', but I thought my primary obligation was helping his son, not saving the man's soul.)
Posted by Gerald Fnord on February 4, 2012 at 8:13 AM · Report this
I am glad she reached out to Dan... and Dan, I am glad you were there to answer... Loved the line, "since your parents are hanging on my every word, tell them fuck you" lmoa
Posted by russ217 on February 4, 2012 at 9:26 PM · Report this
Lovely, Dan. You DO rock. How do we nominate you for the Nobel Peace Prize? I'm serious.

Sent POD an email, too, to let her know we all care. Being 17 sucks no matter who you want to have sex with.
Posted by seamstressguil on February 5, 2012 at 9:35 AM · Report this
I just read about a service for gay youth called Anonymouse. The article bout it is here:…

The service is at
Posted by Helpin' out on February 5, 2012 at 9:36 AM · Report this
Barbara Tee 125
Probably a huge number of the Nuns in your Catholic school are closeted Lesbians; probably that's exactly why they became Nuns in the first place. To avoid questions of "Why aren't you interested in dating?" way back when.
Statistically, it is extremely likely that your Parish Priest is Gay, too. For exactly the same reasons. To avoid the almost universal pressure, back then, to "Get married and provide grandchildren".

The Church has ALWAYS, historically, been a place of refuge for Gay people. Some have managed to be quite open about it, also. At least among themselves, if not with the Laity.
In the U.S., recently, a Priest died of a heart attack in a Gay sauna; there were two other Priests there to give him the Last Rites.
The HYPOCRISY, and the way that they pull the wool over the eyes of the Public, over believers such as your parents, is stunning -- and infuriating.
Fortunately, memoirs by ex-Priests and ex-Nuns are now revealing many new truths.

In the U.S. it has been shown time and again, that those MOST homophobic, publicly and politically and in churches, turn out to be closeted Gays themselves....
So, probably, those people involved in "pray away the gay" therapy, should you be so unlucky as to have to deal with them, MIGHT VERY WELL BE CLOSETED HYPOCRITES..... all the more rigid and vehement because, deep down, they KNOW they are blatantly lying!

Your parents, like mine, have grown up entirely in an atmosphere of Lies and Dis-information. It will take them awhile to come round, if they can be brought to recognize Truth, historically, socially, politically, statistically.....
You, brave you, may be the Opening Wedge for them; but they will need to be exposed to many other sources, books, videos, etc..... It is encouraging that they at least know of Dan Savage, even tho they mis-use him -- that can be built on!

All The Best, I know you'll make of your life what you want it to be..... You have the POWER.
Posted by Barbara Tee on February 5, 2012 at 11:43 AM · Report this
Troy from IN 126
At 17 she should be saying Fuck You to her parents and moving out on her own. They either will come to terms with who she is or she'll stand on her own.
POD should find a local pride organization and see if anyone there would help her get a job, apartment, and possibly roommates.
Dan, you really dropped the ball on this one telling her to go into therapy.
Posted by Troy from IN on February 5, 2012 at 8:10 PM · Report this
geoz 127
It is frustrating that this experience continues, and that the solution feels so "one at a time." But that's what it is, and great job Dan in providing the ear, the support. POD, hang in there. I've seen parents come around to a better place, but your are great to never give up on who you really are - be it around being a lesbian or being whatever else you are.
Posted by geoz on February 6, 2012 at 1:20 PM · Report this
@14, it's less common among lesbian but it still happens. One of my dearest relationships was with a woman who was infected with HIV in the 1980s (either neonatally or via breastmilk, the doctors aren't sure). We chose to partake in low- and no-risk sexual activity together, and she took her meds, but there's always a chance.

I'm a 27yo queer woman. When I was 17, and my first girlfriend had broken up with me, I came out to my Irish Catholic mother--simply by saying, "Mom, I'm bisexual." Her response was, "No, you're not!" She never really got over it--but there's a peace, in that we don't talk about my dating life. I figure I'm lucky because she doesn't pry, criticize, or "suggest" at all; she doesn't get it so she's backed off. You may never get the warm loving family reception you've heard about and dreamed of--but it still gets better.
Posted by sorchaine on February 6, 2012 at 3:44 PM · Report this
POD, if you read this, get a beard. You're probably not the only kid with homophobic parents in your area. Find some gay boy whose parents are trying to get him to like girls, and pretend to be a couple just to get the folks off your back. You can date people you actually like under the cover of being "cured", you'll have someone to talk to about having shitty parents with, and you might even make a new good friend.

Then, when you're no longer in a position when your parents have power over you, come out to them if you want to, and stop bearding.

It's not an ideal solution, but I was in a similar place, and that's what I wish I'd done.
Posted by miracles on February 17, 2012 at 7:05 AM · Report this
POD, if you read this, get a beard. You're probably not the only kid with homophobic parents in your area. Find some gay boy whose parents are trying to get him to like girls, and pretend to be a couple just to get the folks off your back. You can date people you actually like under the cover of being "cured", you'll have someone to talk to about having shitty parents with, and you might even make a new good friend.

Then, when you're no longer in a position when your parents have power over you, come out to them if you want to, and stop bearding.

It's not an ideal solution, but I was in a similar place, and that's what I wish I'd done.
Posted by miracles on February 17, 2012 at 7:13 AM · Report this
I would like to see the raw data and the peer-reviewed literature on this so-called "fact" than women are essentially more fluid.
Posted by Mel0276 on May 18, 2012 at 6:42 PM · Report this
I think your answer to your question about "your family" chose you? You are now here to show that younger person what it is like to be understood, that they are not alone, and someone to understand you just as much in return....
Posted by Alwaysamom on May 18, 2012 at 9:39 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 133
I understand that journalists don't admit their mistakes unless it can be hidden in the "corrections and clarifications" category, which is about as lame as all the idiot "poets" who never make excuses or never explain their publicly published drivel about something they couldn't muster up the courage to say,

regardless, it is still pretty irresponsible to not make clear how important it is for a person to have the courage to be themselves

So it kind of pisses me off when people want to cite "research" or want "research" to be done in order to justify something that NOBODY should ever feel they need to justify

Who you choose as your chosen family is UP TO YOU, and POD shouldn't be afraid of any person she honestly believes she loves or has fallen in love with. So long as she honestly knows who she is, then even a parents bad habits in regards to picking partners will dictate who a knowing child chooses for a family

If this were Heaven, you needn't worry about what some fuckin idiot says about how everyone else lives their life or who they choose to participate as their chosen family.

They are NOT YOU

Stupid fucking psychologists or worse, psychiatrists should quit pretending certain psychological "diseases" exist when is doesn't have anything to do with medicine or science. They are talking about social psychology and as for the medical field most psychiatrists are full of shit so who gives a fuck what any study says.

the bottom line is;

anyone who lets a community tell them that who they are is wrong, bad, evil or unacceptable is going to have major psychological problems until they are allowed to live honestly and honestly be who they are

they will either have to learn not to care (which can be very troublesome, especially if they tend to care a lot) or learn to surround themselves with those who allow them to be themselves.

I hope next time, Dan, you tell the youngster that if she honestly knows who she is, that she is light years ahead of the game, far ahead of anybody who would be so fucking brain dead as to think that who you love is acceptable based on some stupid study of human behavior. Statistical or not, no research should ever be convincing enough to phase an honest human being who knows themselves, not to mention that any of those "studies" is only based on the opinion and interpretation of answers given by a bunch of lying idiots.


Who you love is not up to society, is up to you and only YOU, and the quicker you learn that the most important thing to know, is not letting anybody influence your decisions as to who you choose to share your life with, As only yourself and those who accept your offer to share lives, ultimately matter, and so are the only ones who get any say

To all others you rather should learn how to say "Go fuck yourself" and tell them not to worry about who you choose to love, and for Christ's sake don't just become another bigot against personal freedoms like so many of Dan's readers, it is possible to value freedom and practice tolerance, only placing blame where it should be, which is on the shoulders of stupid assholes, not Lesbians, not Gays, not Christians, not anybody unless they are stupid assholes, and yes POD there are many of them, as being stupid and an asshole is a disease that affects millions if not billions of men, and some women, every single goddamned day
Posted by Dirtclustit on February 9, 2014 at 11:40 PM · Report this

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