Wedding Woes

Mike's parents are terrible people, but they're not going to listen.

Dear Prudence,
I am transgender and autistic, and I have made a friend who is also autistic, “Mike.” Mike is cis and straight, while I am gender fluid. This is not an issue for either of us, as we have bonded over our shared social difficulties and many common interests. We’re both enrolled at the local college, and I have been helping Mike stay on top of his schoolwork. But his parents don’t want him to spend time with me. His mother apparently heard from a co-worker that I have “stalking tendencies,” and I have no idea where this came from. I do have social difficulties but have never been accused of stalking. My college has multiple campuses, and I recently learned there is another trans student there who has been accused of stalking; I think it’s likely this is who Mike’s mother has heard about.

Mike’s parents are highly critical of me and have been trying to convince Mike that I am a bad influence and even tried to ban him from seeing me. Mike is in his early 20s, although he still lives at home. His parents seem to think I am trying to turn their son gay and steal him from them. I’d like to clear up this mistaken identity, but Mike’s parents won’t respond to my request to sit down and have an honest discussion. They are treating Mike so poorly that I fear for his mental health, and all of this is taking a major toll on me. How do I even begin to deal with this?

—Friendship Troubles

Re: Mike's parents are terrible people, but they're not going to listen.

  • Go to the college's LGBTQ+ office and talk with them, and/or Accessibility Resources. Better yet try to meet with representatives from both offices at the same time. They will likely have resources for you to help talk with Mike about your concerns, as well as resources for how to communicate effectively given social difficulties. 
  • *Sigh*  That's really sad for both of these young men.  I'd suspect they both have trouble making friends because of their conditions, so it is all the more precious they have a good friendship with someone who understands what the other is going through.

    I commend this LW who, despite his social difficulties, tried to open a dialogue with Mike's parents.  That would be a tough, even for someone without social challenges.  The fact that the parents won't even meet with him tells me they are just looking for any excuse to dislike him because he is gender fluid.

    Easier said than done, but I think the LW needs to just accept that Mike's parents don't like him and never will.  Continue being an emotionally supportive friend to him. 

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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