Next to apple pie and the Fourth of July, it's hard to get much more middle America than 'Dear Abby.' The common-sense advice column has been running in America's newspapers since 1956, and apparently is "read by more people than any other newspaper column worldwide."
So for all the public opinion data and statistics this blog's covered the past few months about changing public opinions in the United States on acceptance of GLBT people, when 'Dear Abby' is running heartwarmingly Dear-Abbyish columns about GLBT couples and how they're being accepted by their families, that's some pretty hard evidence that public opinion is on our side. Take a look below for the column from yesterday's Houston Chronicle.
My husband and I raised our two sons and two daughters. One son and both daughters married well. Our other son, "Neil," is gay. He and his partner, "Ron," have been together 15 years, but Neil's father and I never wanted to know Ron because we disapproved of their lifestyle.
When I was 74, my husband died, leaving me in ill health and nearly penniless. No longer able to live alone, I asked my married son and two daughters if I could "visit" each of them for four months a year. All three turned me down.
When Neil and Ron heard what had happened, they welcomed me into their home and even removed a wall between two rooms so I'd have a bedroom with a private bath and sitting room.
They also include me in many of their plans. Since I moved in with them, I have traveled more than I have my whole life and seen places I only read about in books. They never mention the fact that they are supporting me or that I ignored them in the past.
When old friends ask how it feels living with my gay son, I tell them I hope they're lucky enough to have one who will take them in one day. Please continue urging your readers to accept their children as they are. My only regret is that I wasted 15 years.
Dear Grateful Mom:
You are indeed fortunate to have such a loving, generous and forgiving son. Sexual orientation is not a measure of anyone's humanity or worth. Thank you for pointing out how important it is that people respect each other for who they are, not for what we would like them to be.
You could have learned that lesson long ago, had you and your husband contacted Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (1726 M St. N.W., Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036; www.pflag.org) when you first learned that Neil was gay. Among other things, the organization offers support groups and education for parents who need to learn more about gender issues.