Advice column by Tim White, PhD, LPC, NCC.
Tim White, PhD, LPC, NCC offers advice on family planning and parenting, LGBT issues, disability issues, education and work issues, relationships, ethics and “unusual” social issues. Send questions to Tim for future columns through his website.
I'm a man, 50’s, married for 30 years and we have two children who are grown, successful and happy. The problem is our son, “Brian” who is 23. He recently came out as homosexual to the family and we're having a tough time. We already suspected, before he even started school. But at least we had hope that he might not choose this path. We’re Christians and we can’t ignore a clear violation of our faith. It makes me sick. I want to get help for him, to fix him somehow but he won’t discuss it. My wife and daughter and I treat him differently now, and the more we try not to the more uncomfortable he makes us. He brings his “boyfriend” over, but we just treat him like a friend and make him feel welcome. I can’t talk to Brian like we used to do. Sometimes I lay awake at night, crying for my lost boy. I wanted so much for him. On some level, I have to accept his choice to sin. I love my son and I want him to be happy but I follow God’s word too and I need help sorting it all out. I’m aware that reparative therapy is not effective. Is just regular therapy helpful, at least to help him think more clearly about choices? I hope I am coming to the right place. — Disappointed Dad
Hi Disappointed Dad,
You came to the right place if you want the truth. It is the year 2015. Same-sex pairing is found in over 1,000 animal species and 2-4% of the human population; at least by the numbers reported. The legal, anthropological, academic, medical and psychiatric communities have accepted, and finally even the corporate and government communities have started to accept, that same-sex attraction is not a choice at all. Rather, it is a natural variation in human sexuality that deserves nothing less than the respect and opportunities afforded the heterosexually oriented.
Actual empirical and scientific evidence is near conclusive that sexual orientation is not a choice; you can find plenty of references from Truth Wins Out, an organization dedicated to collecting studies from far and wide resources in order to educate the public and challenge the harmful pseudoscience of a scant few, anti-gay charlatans with religious or political agendas. Same-sex attraction is not a choice. Period. So, either your God makes a lot of mistakes, or it occurs naturally. Being gay or lesbian is not just natural, it is beautiful, and we need to be out in the streets with all of our children celebrating it. That includes celebrating your successful and happy son, who is a human being and not a disappointment, broken or a problem. Shame on you for describing him with those words. Contact PFLAG and get into a supportive community where you can learn more about acceptance.
You need help understanding the truth that was already in the hearts of countless little gay boys and girls. Their truth could not be shaken by the brain-washing, the trauma of quackery and fake “reparative therapy,” the shaming, self-hatred, rejection, abandonment, ridicule, bullying, violence and even murder. Their truth remains steadfast; the rest of the world is merely catching up. Now it is your turn. I highly recommend you seek therapy, but not for your son. You are wrong. Your religion, or at least the way you interpret it, is wrong. Be a grownup and own up. For you and anyone else out there who will not accept their gay or lesbian child, I only have three words. Go fix yourself!
Just School Me
I'm a guy, 18 just graduated from high school. I want to attend a technical school for paralegal studies but my parents, both with doctorates, want me to get a degree. They are helping me pay for my education, but I don’t want to go to school for 4 years! I’m not super intelligent like them and they don’t understand this. So even though I made my feelings about becoming a paralegal known they pretend I’m going to college and everything is exactly the same. This is so frustrating, am I supposed to just give in and go get a useless degree that I'll never use? — Just School Me
Hi Just School Me,
Your age says it all. You are 18, and the big decisions are going to happen now. If you do not have any interest in college, the choice is yours to make. Paralegal does count as a goal and an education. Without the interest and under pressure, college is going to be brutal. You can talk with some paralegal folks and hear about the field from the source. If there are any lingering doubts for yourself you can do paralegal studies in a two-year community college and bank transferable credit in case you may decide to aim for a higher degree later. However, your career choice sounds perfectly valid and really, you will have to answer only to yourself on this decision so if your passion is providing legal support, follow your dream and do not be afraid to remind your parents that you are not only happier, but you are saving them a fortune.
man, 24 marry 2 yrs. i have a soc med presence that, let’s say NSFW and mks a little extra $ but cause probs w/my grl who msg me whn im doing this. she is irate b/c i spend overtime to upload and txfer for clnts and check out new mtrl. She never mnds me lookin b4 so why not make $? — Dbl Life
Hi Double Life,
At least we know you are not spending too much time actually typing on the keyboard; especially the caps lock button. I will usually make minor corrections in letters I receive but I would have had to bill you for this one. After assembling a small team of amateur code-breakers to study your letter, or more appropriately emailed text message, the outcome was sketchy. But I feel like I can take an educated shot at your dilemma, which was only dimly lit by your communication style. I am suspicious that your NSFW (Not Safe For Work) site aka porn peddling, has reduced your married life to you chained to the laptop with the wife getting messages somewhat like that which I received. I can almost feel her frustration.
We do not have to address how much partner porn is healthy, because you took it up a notch and became a distributor, complete with money changing hands. This has nothing to do with what otherwise is harmless recreation; it sounds like she was understanding about that. You have invited the porn industry into your home via the internet, and that is not a reasonable expectation in your average marriage. Your wife wants this brought to the table for negotiation and she is justified. If this is a deal-breaker for her, you need to treat it as such and take her a lot more seriously than you did your message. You can always deliver pizza or flowers or do odd jobs if you need extra money.
Editor’s Note: The opinions offered in this blog are the author’s alone. Tim White, and any experts he may consult and/or quote in responses to letters, will never provide medical or psychological advice, diagnoses, treatment, or counseling of any kind. General advice, opinions and suggestions may be offered with no obligation on the part of readers to accept or act upon the content published within this column. Anyone in immediate crisis and/or mental/physical distress should call 911 or related resources of assistance.
Photo by Fotolia/pekkic