Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Hi, Carolyn: Our transgender teenage son will be applying to colleges in the fall and has started working on his college essay. His father and I feel he should use this opportunity to write about his transition to help highlight his unique perspective, maturity, and the challenges he has faced.
So far, he is against this. His goal for transitioning is to blend in — he doesn’t want to be a “trans guy,” he just wants to be a “guy.”
We understand that, but feel like if something can be used against you, it is better to embrace it and use it to your advantage when you can. Normally, we are hands-off when it comes to his academics, but he wants to get into competitive programs and we feel like this is the edge he needs. Are we overstepping?
— To Push or Not to Push
DEAR TO PUSH OR NOT TO PUSH: Yes. Let your son tell his own story his own way. What a gift. More valuable in the long run, I’m guessing, than admission to Impress U.
Re: Trans Son: AUGH NO NO NO NO NO. I know you are trying to help your son but, seriously, this is not your journey to butt into! If he doesn’t want to out himself, he does not have to. He is not defined by his trans-ness, and it’s hugely overstepping for you to try and force him to make any particular choice about how he wants to be seen and by whom. Please take my word for it as a member of the LGBT+ community, that continuing to push here is the opposite of being supportive and likely to alienate you from him.
Hi, Carolyn: I have been asked to help plan and, I believe, pay for a baby shower for my daughter, who is expecting her first child. She has a guest list of almost 60 people — aack. I assume I’ll have to rent a dining room in a restaurant and provide a meal and drinks for all of these people, but, boy, my heart just is not into it!
Do I suck it up and go along so I don’t disappoint her? She’s one of the last of a group of friends to have a child so the precedent on this type of function is well-established. Why can’t I get excited? I can afford it if I am careful.
DEAR PARENT: “[A]nd, I believe, pay for”?
And set limits that are comfortable for you, on the guest list and the expense. The “precedent on this type of function” is pure bunktion.
Er: Shower: Where is it written that we must never disappoint the people we love? Talk to your daughter and set limits, as Carolyn says, and recognize that if your daughter is disappointed, then she’s an adult and can find a way to deal with it, as we must all deal with disappointments. In the long term, not having the Baby Shower of Her Dreams is pretty small potatoes.
DEAR ANONYMOUS: Blasphemy! I like it.