We know they love us dearly and want to make us feel comfortable... but sometimes they need a little help, amirite? Here are some do's and don'ts for our well-intentioned straight fams.
DO: Going to buy gifts for your lesbian daughter, but don't know what she'd like? Stick with her list, even if it includes things from the men's department.
DO NOT: Insist on buying her stuff from the women's department if she does not usually buy stuff in the women's department. (If you claim that the socks/sweatshirts/shoes are "just like men's," then you shouldn't care what department you buy them in... Right?)
BONUS TIP: All lesbians love gift certificates. And money. And puppies.
DO: Include her partner in everything, just as you would if her partner was male.
DO NOT: Introduce her partner or girlfriend as her "friend."
BONUS TIP: Not sure whether to use "partner" or "girlfriend?" Ask ahead of time.
DO: Avoid contentious political discussion.
DO NOT: Turn on Fox News, no matter how badly you want to watch it. They sometimes say hostile things about The Gays, which will make your dyke kid annoyed, angry, and/or uncomfortable.
BONUS TIP: This goes for conservative talk radio, too.
DO: Feel free to ask if she's dating anyone.
DO NOT: Ask, "Are you keeping an open mind about dating men?"
BONUS TIP: If a great-aunt asks her, "Have you met a nice man yet?" gently "remind" her: "Actually, Aunt Marge, Suzy dates women, not men."
DO: Carry on with church attendance, if that's part of what you like to do. And invite your daughter--don't assume that she's not religious anymore.
DO NOT: Pressure her. Some of us have a complicated relationship with religion. We might not feel comfortable with the folks at church, the church itself, or some aspect of it. Please respect this.
BONUS TIP: Declining to attend church with you doesn't mean we're not religious or don't believe in God. Attending church with you doesn't mean we're religious, or that we identify with the church's religion.
DO: Group gift exchanges, if you like.
DO NOT:Make them gender-specific gift exchanges (e.g., women bring a "women's gift," men bring a "men's gift," exchanges happen within gender groups). For the gender-atypical among us, that can just underscore the fact that we're not exactly like everyone else, making us feel out of place.
BONUS TIP: Nice scarves, coffee tumblers, a Kindle, a temperature station, or a unisex watch are all terrific gender-neutral gifts.
DO: Compliment your daughter on her appearance, if the compliment is genuine--e.g., "That color looks great on you," or "Those are cool shoes!"
DO NOT: Use a compliment as a back-handed way to get your sapphic offspring to be more gender-conforming or conventional--e.g., "Your hair looks really nice now that you've grown it out a little."
And if you want to be really supportive, wear an awesome shirt like this one.
What else would you add to this list? What makes you feel comfortable (or uncomfortable) when you're home for the holidays?
12/12/2013 05:37:41 am
My sister-in-law needs to read this list!
8/10/2017 06:16:15 pm
God, my entire family could stand to not make odd comments about how my hair looks better when it's unintentionally "girlier." (IE not styled.)
12/12/2013 11:43:08 am
Great list! Yes, the church thing is tricky. My parents were great last year--they didn't bring it up and when they did want to go to a Christmas Eve service, we didn't go to their conservative evangelical Baptist church, we went to a strictly musical service at a slightly more liberal Presbyterian church.
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