Ask Daddy is an advice column for LGBTQ readers with questions relating to sexuality, morality, coming out or navigating relationships. And always remember, the best advice this Gay Daddy has for you is that if you have an urgent issue or are in need of regular counseling, seek out a therapist who can offer you individual care in person.
This week, Kevin responds to a writer who wants to know if he should bow out of being his brother’s best man — because his family is repulsed by his non-binary boyfriend.
Dear Daddy —
I’m in a tight spot. I live in Connecticut and work in New York City. I have been seeing someone in the city who wears makeup, dresses in clothes he finds in the women’s section (if it suits them) and most definitely considers himself gender non-conforming. Those aren’t the things that attract me most, but they don’t bother me, either. They’re a beautiful person, inside and out.
What Makes You Beautiful
The problem is, my family and their friends have already stated that they consider my boyfriend a freak. I had been posting pics from our dates to shows and clubs, and the haters came out of the woodwork to express their uninvited opinions. And now I’m supposed to be Best Man at my younger brother’s wedding.
My brother and I have been inseparable since he came into the world. He was the first person I came out to, and still my favorite person ever. If we don’t talk on the phone at least every other day, that’s unusual.
At the same time, I feel like it wouldn’t be fair to bring my boyfriend into a lion’s den— if that’s what this wedding becomes. Likewise, I would hate to abandon my brother on his wedding day just because of a few bigoted members of my family and their friends. But I don’t want to add to his troubles when he and his fiancée already have so much going on.
What do I do?
Harper (is my middle name)
It’s apparent even in using your middle name that you don’t want to be seen as a troublemaker.
Here’s the thing: I get the drama over you in a same-sex relationship with a beautiful guy who likes to color outside the lines of expected masculinity. Good for them, and good for you that it’s a non-issue.
You Are Beautiful…
But, as I’m sure you’re aware, New York is a bit ahead of the curve when it comes to such things. And that doesn’t make you wrong — it just means that you can expect the haters to come for you when you pop up on social media with someone who flouts convention.
So I say conduct your life with dignity and don’t accept anything less from others, no matter where they are and no matter the circumstances. The problem as I see it is not really yours at all. But it’s one Hell of a headache for your brother.
You see, it’s his big day. The good news about that is that he and his bride get to make all the decisions. The bad news about that is they have to make those decisions. That includes the easy ones about venues and cakes and DJs versus a live band, and the tough ones, too. That means having some uncomfortable conversations with the aforementioned haters, and perhaps a few delicate ones with you and your boyfriend as well.
But respect that it’s for your brother and his betrothed to put together a day they can be happy looking back on for (I hope) for the rest of their lives. Clearly you’re meant to be part of that.
Be the Best Man You Can
All of this doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t voice your opinion, either. My guess is that if your brother would stand at your side the way you’re standing up for him, you’d bring your boyfriend and let those opposed either not attend or suffer through the experience of seeing “alternative lifestyles” in 3/D.
If you’re up for it (and your guy is, too), you should rock it out. I wouldn’t say be more flamboyant than you would in the city in order to stick it to them. But you shouldn’t dial it back, either. Think of how you’d behave at someone else’s wedding in the city where there wouldn’t be a judge and jury and let that be your guide.
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Last modified: November 22, 2019