Dear Christine, Sad in Saline

Dear Christine,

My sister is pretending to like guys, when she’s a lesbian? I feel really bad. She’s 16 and she’s really popular. Everyone likes her in our school. I never knew she was a lesbian because she’s had so many boyfriends but when I came home early from work once I saw her and her girlfriend on our couch touching each other. She told me she was homosexual but it’s no big deal. Our parents force us to go to church and my dad is a jerk, he always makes fun of this girl who dresses like a guy and I realized it was the same girl she was kissing…

I told my dad to stop and she said “why he’s right, dykes go to hell that’s so nasty” and she whispered to me and told me to shut up. I feel bad because I see her sneaking out of our balcony all the time to see her. My dad always makes rude comments but she just laughs at them. I tried talking to her and telling her it’s not good to be in denial and she said “Do you want dad to find out i’m a lesbian and secretly hate me and make fun of me? He’ll tell the whole church i’m a f*g.” And she started crying.

I feel so bad for her! We use to be so close & now she hardly tells me anything. How do I make things easier for her?

Sad in Saline

Dear Sad,

I hear your pain, wanting to support your sister, who is not ready to come out to parents and church. It’s hard to see someone you love, or be the person, who is living a double life. Remember that she is doing it not to push you away, but to try to survive this difficult time while still dependent on parents. This is the time to trust her judgment and be available to support her in what ever way she wants or needs. This means waiting for her to ask you or tell you something, not necessarily jumping in for her, like you did with your dad. Your intentions were the best, but she’s just not ready for coming out yet. That’s OK. I hope she finds the inner strength to do this, maybe before she graduates High School, maybe when she attends college away from home, or may not till later in her 20s. I sure took my time figuring out my orientation, denying it and trying to fit in, as I lived at home, then college, and then divinity school. Wanting to become an ordained minister made it really tough to be honest with myself, much less family and church! I couldn’t be ordained as a lesbian then, so I hid from myself. It was totally weird to come out to my oldest sister in my mid 30s and have her tell me she knew this about me all along. She respected my process and my timing, but she’s always been in my corner and supported me fully, as I dated, then met, fell in love with and married my wife, Susan.

We need straight allies like you! Ten states have legally approved gay marriage so far, but some 36 others, including Michigan, still have a ban against gay marriage in our state constitution. We will find out more from the Supreme Court in June as to where the Court weighs in on this issue. It’s a time of change in the US, and it’s hard for your parents and church to cope with this change. I know, I know, God is love, and love is all that matters…. But that’s not always easy to live!


Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888Click here to email Christine.

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