She’s not sure which family to support



March 25, 2021 - 9:07 AM

Dear Carolyn: I have no idea what the right decision is here. We’re a family of three adult sisters. My sister “Leah” is estranged from our mom because Mom won’t accept that she’s gay. My other sister, “May,” wants to plan a family trip — post-Covid, of course. We’ve traditionally done these trips every few years, and we meet in a central spot for a few days of fun.

Leah won’t vacation with Mom, which I understand and support. So do I go? I’d like to see Dad and May and the cousins, but, if I go, am I condoning Mom’s behavior? So I skip and hurt May? I’m just not sure what the right thing to do is.

— Just Not Sure

Just Not Sure: If you skip, then it’s your mother hurting May — and hurting your father and these cousins — by forcing you all to choose between your mother and Leah. Which really isn’t a choice, once you put it to even a moment’s scrutiny: You stand by your sister, not the person rejecting who she is.

Carolyn HaxCourtesy photo

And this is not about choosing to “condon[e] Mom’s behavior” or not — it’s a choice between supporting or not supporting Leah.

That’s instantly clarifying, isn’t it?

It works for any future decisions about family events, too. Ask yourself: “How do I best support Leah?” If it’s not obvious to you in any given moment, then you can put it to Leah herself. If she sees this as a responsibility she’s not comfortable bearing, a fair point, then call it by its true name, “How do I best serve my beliefs?”

You can stay close through individual visits. The only reunified family that isn’t a sellout is one that forms in solidarity behind Leah. Not that this is the reason to make the choices you do — but here’s hoping you inspire that result.

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