I’m a queer woman with a conservative family, apart from my siblings. My sister is fairly progressive and tries to be a good queer ally, although she doesn’t always know how to do it. She never asks me for my input but speaks from a place of assumed knowledge. In the past few years, as her social awareness has increased, she’s taken to venting to me about our family and their conservative views. This often includes sending me screenshots of the racist and homophobic things our mom says, for example. I don’t mind her processing the racist stuff with me, and while part of me wants to know the homophobic things my mom says to others (my mom would never say such things directly to me), the other part feels super uncomfortable to have to see it.
Her relaying these homophobic messages from my mother (or aunt or grandmother) that weren’t meant for my ears feels at best like she thinks we’re equally affected by their prejudice (we’re not) and at worst like she wants to incite my hatred of those people. If she phrased it in a way that conveyed sympathy and recognized the fact that she’s telling me that my family hates me, I wouldn’t be questioning this. But she uses casual language that she expects me to easily digest and the purpose of which seems to be to alleviate her annoyance. On top of this, she maintains close relationships with these same people, something that I feel has been taken away from me given what I now know about how they view me. Can you help me suss out these feelings? I don’t want to be blind to the homophobia of those close to me, but I also don’t want my sister treating that homophobia as gossip. Second, am I allowed to feel betrayed by her continued closeness with our homophobic family, while I now feel that because of information she gave me I no longer have that option?
—Would-Be Ally Sister