Wedding Woes

Tell me you're queer-phobic without telling me you're queer-phobic.

Q. Bad neighbors: Our teen daughter has gotten close to our lesbian neighbors, and it’s impacting her attitude and behavior in a big way.

My daughter met these neighbors during lockdown last summer, when she would ride her bike to get out of the house. Being outgoing and polite, she commented on the garden one of the women was working in, and they started talking daily. At the time we didn’t think much of it—everyone was lonely, and it was especially hard on our daughter to not see her school friends—but she started spending more and more time out of the house, and then her attitude and style changed overnight. She’s always worn dresses and makeup, and suddenly she’d bought an entire wardrobe of jeans, flannel, and loose clothes, and has long and angry rants about the beauty industry whenever we bring up makeup. She also said she was going to cut her hair short, which we obviously forbade since her hair has always been long and it was too drastic a change. She became surly and stopped talking to us, and she keeps her hair tied up in a bun instead of styling it like she always has.

The first thing she shared with us in quite some time was that one of the lesbians had a woodworking shop and she now wanted to try woodworking class at school. We forbid her from going to the neighbors’ house, and she threw a fit, which is completely unlike her. We’ve tried to set up activities with friends from school, but she was so rude and stubborn that we had to ground her instead. The night we grounded her, the doorbell rang, and our daughter was standing there with one of the neighbors—our daughter had snuck out to see the couple! And the neighbor had the same rude and defensive attitude our daughter’s been showing when we laid into her about her and her wife’s damaging influence.

The more my husband and I (also a man) try to help our daughter stay true to herself and set boundaries, the more we’re the “bad guys,” which I guess is part of parenting, but it’s concerning to have to change the way we parent because of this influence. We just don’t recognize our daughter anymore. How do we deal with her, and what the hell do we do about the neighbors?

Re: Tell me you're queer-phobic without telling me you're queer-phobic.

  • ((sputtering)) WHAT did I just read?!?!

    "Help her stay true to herself".  While the entire letter is about how overbearing they are in doing the opposite.

    The other line that jumped out at me was "whenever we bring up makeup".  Why is makeup ever brought up?  My parents never "brought up" makeup to me when I was a teen.  Other than my mom gave me an occasional compliment on how I was wearing it.  
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    MissKittyDanger
  • kerbohlkerbohl member
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    They FORBADE a teenager to cut her hair?  Really?  Long hair is a lot of maintenance, maybe because she is biking a lot she got tired of having long sweaty hair under her bike helmet.  

  • banana468banana468 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Not FLANNELS?!

    This parent is so out of line there's going to be no hope of a relationship with the teen.
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Insane. That's all normal teen behavior. And to ban her from cutting her hair??? What the actual fuck? 
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I know internalized homophobia exists, but I read so much of this from the voice of obnoxious white boomer cishet dad. Well of course you bring up makeup and forbade her from cutting her hair. 

    Go to hell, LW.
    mrsconn23VarunaTTCasadena
  • I understand being surprised at this change and concerned about why she's suddenly being rude and stubborn, but have you tried having a respectful conversation with your daughter to see what's going on with her instead of automatically forbidding her from doing anything that doesn't fit your vision of her? Have you tried getting to know these neighbors instead of "laying into" them the first chance you got?

    Maybe your daughter feels more herself in flannels and woodworking. Maybe she's realizing she's a lesbian and wants to get some guidance and support from someone who understands what she's going through. Or maybe she's just a teenager trying to figure out who she is, and this is who she is at the moment and may or may not be a year or two from now. There's nothing wrong with any of these things. Again, I understand why you are surprised and concerned, but you're going about this all wrong, and you're just going to push her further and further away if you don't calm down and back off.

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  • ei34ei34 member
    Ninth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I know internalized homophobia exists, but I read so much of this from the voice of obnoxious white boomer cishet dad. Well of course you bring up makeup and forbade her from cutting her hair. 

    Go to hell, LW.
    I was picturing a pearl-clutching cishet mom.  Can't imagine my dad (or mom) caring about my hair or makeup, jeez.  Go to hell LW
    mrsconn23MyNameIsNot
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