• Resolving Problems

My best friend called my son a fag

January 15, 2014 | By | 12 Replies Continue Reading
A woman expresses disappointment that her friend has called her homosexual son as a fag.

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

I am 60 and my best friend called my son a fag! I was so offended as my son is homosexual. She is a very angry and racist person. I do not want to be her friend anymore. What do I do?

Signed, Pam

ANSWER

Hi Pam,

It is tough to be friends with someone who is angry, racist, and prejudiced when you hold different values. When that person is your friend, has no filters, and starts trashing your own son, it makes it worse in spades.

Whether or not you want to remain friends with this woman, you should use this as a teachable moment. You have a responsibility to let your friend know how offensive her language/characterization of your son was, and tell her that she is going to wind up alienating people if she speaks that way. You need to make it crystal clear that you will not tolerate any further comments like this.

My guess is that you probably can’t change your friend’s mind or behavior so you need to end the friendship and let her know why.

My best, Irene

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Category: Friends with different ethics

Comments (12)

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  1. Dudebro says:

    UGH!! Dump her. What a bitch!

  2. Sel says:

    Make it very clear to her that her crappy behaviour is NOT acceptable nor will it be tolerated and then drop her like a hot potato, with “friends” like that you don’t need enemies.

    You and your son deserve much better!

  3. Tam says:

    Hmmm… She was your BFF despite being an angry, racist person? What was pleasant about this friendship in the first place?
    There was something about it that was valuable to you. Your question isn’t “What to do about the bigoted remark?” but what to do about sustaining the friendship despite the bigoted remark. And that depends upon you, really: Whether you can tolerate bigotry. (You have thus far.)You can not expect her to change her bigotry: You can, at most, expect of her to keep that stuff to herself.
    I’d simply be forthright about your son and your values as my opening. I’d say, “I got to tell you that my son’s sexuality is homosexual… My son isn’t homosexual anymore than you/I are heterosexual…We are all more than our sexuality. And just like us, my son’s sexuality was engraved in him when the stork came by. In other words, he’s not a pervert, screwed up or in anyway unworthy. And I have to stand up for him and the worthiness of people despite their differences in sexuality, culture, religion or race. Maybe I am more open minded about folk for him and that is a blessing. I know you have strong feelings about other races, cultures, etc. So, the question becomes what we can do as friends to not put either one of us in that awkward moment when I must stand up.”
    If your friend begins a chapter and verse about why you should share her bigoted opinions, you know then that the friendship will end… It will dwindle because you won’t enjoy being with her. If your friend responds with some understanding of the dilemma, then there’s a chance of sustaining the relationship… So long as you are not put in that position to stand up for others and, as well, you are not going to try to change her views. Whether that’s enough for you to continue the relationship, depends on you… But that’s all you can expect. So be realistic about it.

  4. Carol says:

    One of the things I created when beginning a support agency during my work in the early AIDS epidemic, was to start a group for “Mother.” It was not only a time when people with HIV/AIDS had no place to go for help, it was also a time when the parents, usually the Moms, had no support and didn’t know who to go to be supported as well. So I reached out to the surrounding counties where the Moms of those who were sick and dying (very quickly in those days), so they could all come together to help each other. The only time I was part of the group was at the original forming of it in order for me to share what I had already learned and how best to be supportive. The group grew in numbers and the women (it was usually always the Mothers who came, and they all took turn driving long distances to meet. Often parents would want to come and talk with me as they dealt with the reality of their son or daughter dying. Lots of gay men hadn’t told their parents they were gay and this of course made confronting the issues for all that much more complicated. However, it was a time when mothers, fathers and family members came together to support each other and of course supported their son or daughter.

    These were difficult times because people were fearful and also like an epidemic that takes lives, this one had the added pain of homophobia and thus the words like “fag” were used to further hurt those who needed understanding and care. The last thing our world needs now is one more person who won’t deal with the reality of differences in all of us. Parent of gay and lesbian teens and adults need to know we will help to protect them from hate.

    Carol

  5. Marissa says:

    My son is gay and he is not a “fag”. If any friend of mine referred to him this way, that would be the last time he or she spoke to me. Period.

  6. paula says:

    Hello, this one is clear that she is neither a good friend nor a good person. A son is an untouchable being for a mother and if she has said something so horrible to you, is because it wants to damage to you. Do not speak to him nevermore. She is not a good person. I believe that you should search new friends. Friends with whom you could speak. Go shopping, about taking coffee, etc

  7. Lauren says:

    What a best “friend”!!! She has probably been silently judging you and your son for quite a long time, and now she has finally attacked you and your son with her words of hate and bigotry, out loud to your face.

    I doubt very much that you can educate her, and change her way of thinking, but you certainly can give her your view point. She is a dangerous person. Did she think that you would turn your back on your son, because she is so bigoted and hateful in her view of life?

    As they say, with “friends” like her, you don’t need enemies. Life is way too short to spend your valuable time with people of her type.

  8. bronwyn says:

    I would agree with the idea of educating if it seemed this person was open to becoming educated. It doesn’t sound like she is.

    And I am very much in agreement with Amy, while this woman holds views that are different than yours, she had to know how referring to your son by this name would impact you. So the issue really is one of disrespect — to both you and your son.

    Perhaps in terminating the friendship, you could point out that it seemed quite clear to you that she no longer wished to be in it, having shown such blatant disregard for your feelings. Sometimes people will test you to see how much you’ll tolerate. It is totally unacceptable that you would tolerate hate speech directed at your child.

  9. Alberta says:

    As Dan Savage would say DTMF.

  10. Sandra says:

    Oh, wow. The way I see it, life is short. So why waste your precious time with anyone who would who insult your son, especially in such a mean-spirited, hurtful way? For me, that would be a deal-breaker. Over and done.

    I’m very liberal, but I have a few conservative friends. I often have to remind myself that being fully human — and open-minded — requires that we tolerate and try to understand people who hold opposing views from our own, socially or politically.

    But honestly, the older I get, the less time I want to spend with narrow-minded people — especially narrow-minded people who insult their friends. For goodness sake, time is too precious to waste on them.

  11. Amy says:

    Clearly you and this woman have different values. What’s even worse, she is judging and disrespecting your son. That to me would erode whatever basis of friendship may have existed.
    I’m lesbian, but I don’t think the issue is as much about homosexuality as it is respect and values.

    I loathe the word “fag”, especially when it’s used as an insult, but also when people in the gay community use it toward each other. It’s the gay N-word to me, but her use of the word is far less offensive than her attitude.

  12. Carol says:

    Hi Pam,

    Well, I wondered when it would be necessary for me to say out loud, I am a lesbian, but your situation calls on me to do so. I am 75 soon, just retired from a very homophobic school system I was part of for many years. It has been an experiment on this blog to see if I could actually be part of something wherein I didn’t have to deal with homophobia. I came out when I was 12 years old. So you can see how long I’ve been engaged in dealing with hatred and bigots. I won’t even begin to share the many, many battles I have fought to continue on. Bigots are everywhere. When I was a teenager, the threats was being arrested and put in a “reform” school. The treatment of gay men and women in those years were criminal. One day I will write a book about my experiences of those times.

    The result of learning to “fight on” was that I became a warrior for others. Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. I became one of
    the first people to head up one of the first agencies to help those who were infected with the HIV virus. Maybe even becoming one of the first educators in Northern Ca. In doing so I eventually became one who sat at the bedside of hundreds of dying men AND women and their families as well, hoping to comfort them. Now, as I know it would, AIDS is a world-wide epidemic, but a more hopeful ending due to so much new treatments and knowledge. However, because it is still a disease that many want to keep in the darkest, many are still uneducated about its dangers; there is still no cure. It is still a very silent epidemic in this country.

    I get why you would tolerate calling someone a friend who is so filled with ignorance and hatred for any group of human being on the planet. And I am sure there is more to this story and I want to think you have your reasons. I feel when we don’t know what to do, we go along. This may be the moment when you become a fighter too, for your son and for all of us. As I eventually did, you could always choose to educate her, thereby possibly allowing our world to have one less hate filled human being to deal with.

    Some people feel they have the answers for all of us in life. It has something to do with getting right with God…their God, not the one you or I may believe in. For some there is no way but to be except their way. I have found after all these years of living with myself and trying to be like the others, that it is impossible, without ending my life, to be anyone but who I am. I don’t know how old your son is, but I encourage you to love him for who he is and I hope he doesn’t take as long as I did to find out who that is. My family and I never dealt openly with this fact of who I am and it is a wound that I will take with me to my grave. If this friend can not support you and in loving your son as she would if your son was not gay, then move on to supportive friends who will be there you as you encourage your son to be who he is.

    Insight brings choice; choice brings change and change brings liberation. Educating your friend is a choice. I know now that I have had many bigoted so-called friends in my life, but I was afraid of rejection. I now know that no-one dies of rejection. However, when you won’t allow yourself to exist, you reject yourself. Your son needs all the love and acceptance you can give him so he can continue to grow and be the person he is. Just yesterday, the Nigerian government went forward with outlawing homosexuality; men were begin arrested by the hundreds. Our world is still not a safe place for all human beings; when one person anywhere, loses his or her rights, all of our rights are diminished and threatened.

    You have my support and courage to face your friend and demand respectful treatment of you and all those you love.

    Carol

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