1. Kids & Family

Stand up to homophobe parents

Q: My parents are very conservative. They live in a state where gay marriage is banned. I legally wed my partner in another state and haven't been to my hometown in years. I would like to take a family trip with my spouse and our child to show them where I grew up, as neither has been to that part of the country. However my parents are against it. They don't want people in their small town to know I'm gay. My question is how much do I owe them? They are my parents, but how long do I have to obey them? I feel like they are ashamed.

A: You are an adult with a spouse and a child and you don't need your parents' permission to show your new family where you grew up.

How sad for your parents that they would prefer to stand by some ugly beliefs about their own child than to open their hearts and realize they are only hurting themselves by not embracing all of you.

I hope on this trip that when you stop by the local diner, etc., you run into some old friends who extend a sincere welcome. If your parents refuse to do the same, that's their loss.

What's in a (married) name?

My husband and I have been married for 61/2 years. We have an extremely strong relationship with one small point of contention: my name. When we got married, I had the intention of changing my last name to his, but I got cold feet about it. I feel that if I change my name, I'll lose my autonomy. Couple this with the fact that people automatically assume my last name is his and end up calling him Mr. Smith, instead of Mr. Notsmith, and you can see where my husband would be more than slightly annoyed. Am I way out of line on this one?

If people assume that you have your husband's last name, I don't get the sense you are annoyed or offended when they make that understandable mistake. But your husband feels demeaned by people who don't know him well calling him Mr. Smith.

I actually don't see why this should bother him.

I didn't change my name so at our dry cleaners my husband is called Mr. Yoffe, and he's never said that picking up his shirts using this moniker has left him feeling unmanned.

What to do about a name change is highly personal and I would hope that six years into it, your husband could respect your choice and laugh off any silly confusion over it.


You can reach Emily Yoffe, aka Dear Prudence, at