I hear this statement constantly from parents who can’t believe that their cutie daughter, who held the white patent leather pocketbook in nursery school, and is donning makeup and short skirts in high school, is gay.When your “girly girl” daughter “comes out” to you, please don’t deny her sexual orientation!
Lesbians come in all shapes and sizes. Just because you prefer your own sex doesn’t mean you have to adhere to society’s prototype of the “masculine” lesbian: you know, the short “butch” haircut, combat boots, tatoos. (Even “Peppermint Patty” from “Peanuts” comic strip wears Birkenstocks and is called “Sir” by her friends.) Nor does it mean your child is automatically relegated to the Army, police force or landscaping business.
Every day, I pass a Saturday Evening Post cover illustration, executed by a well-known American artist in 1924 of an incredibly beautiful woman. She is the epitome of female perfection: cupid mouth, perfectly-shaped nose, big green eyes, and a flapper’s figure. She is my maternal grandmother. She’s also a closeted lesbian.
“Nanny’s” beauty belied a capable woman, ahead of her time. Divorced, she was an executive at Elizabeth Arden in Philadelphia as well as a Director of Camp Bueno, a summer camp for society girls in New Hampshire.
Today, society perpetuates the myth of the “dyke.” Writer, gay rights activist Kim Stolz, who appeared on Season 5 of “America’s Next Top Model,” has been told “you’re too pretty to be a lesbian.” Tall, leggy, with short hair, Kim, like my grandmother, is also a Renaissance woman: she has a job in finance, has been an MTV reporter, and is writing a book on relationships vis-a-vis social media.
Even with no hair for her lead performance in “Wit,” unlike her role as Miranda Hobbes in “Sex and the City,” Cynthia Nixon can look “feminine.” So can the so-called “lipstick lesbians” in the world’s modelling agencies.
These women, who many regard as too feminine to be lesbian, are not trying to hide their sexual orientation. They want to look like women because they are women.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.