Sexuality and Spirituality Strain Father-Daughter Relationship

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Strongly held beliefs regarding religion, politics, and sexuality can complicate relationships with loved ones. Those relationships are even more difficult when they involve blood relations, and their beliefs differ markedly from ours.

In a poignant essay for the group website BlogHer, Zoe Gaymo describes her difficult relationship with her father. He is a practicing Catholic, and she is a lesbian. While they get along most of the time, issues have a way of flaring up. “Over the years , I have learned that when my dad gets to talking about religion or politics, I should just let him say what he has to say and not argue with him. … But every once in a while, he pushes my buttons (the gay ones) and I just can’t not say something, which usually ends in me pushing his buttons (the Catholic Church ones).”

The essay illustrates how, even with the best of intentions, parents and their adult offspring can spend their whole lives in a cycle of upsetting disagreement and tenuous reconciliation, never able to find common ground. Gaymo ends her essay resigned, saying: “I know my parents will never change. I just wish they would.”

Image adapted from a photo by Chris Darling, licensed by Creative Commons.

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