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Don’t Like Your Gay Neighbors? Then Move, Says Dear Abby

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Saturday Feb 22, 2014
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Author Jeanne Phillips, the daughter of the original advice columnist Dear Abby
Author Jeanne Phillips, the daughter of the original advice columnist Dear Abby   (Source:AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

A Tampa couple got an unexpected slap to the face when syndicated advice columnist Dear Abby suggested that if they didn’t approve of the "lifestyle choices" of their gay neighbors, perhaps they should move.

In a recent article on CBSNews.com, Jeanne Phillips, aka Abigail Van Buren, who took over the original Dear Abby column from her mother, responded to a letter from a Florida couple who complained that they were being excluded from neighborhood gatherings over her refusal to extend an invitation to two gay couples, one male, one female.

Under the handle "Unhappy in Tampa," the couple explained that after they moved to Florida from a conservative community, their new neighbors initially welcomed them. But when the couple refused to invite the gay neighbors over, the welcome wagon screeched to a halt.

"While they are nice enough, my husband and I did not include them when it was our turn to host because we do not approve of their lifestyle choices," the letter read. "Since then, we have been excluded from neighborhood gatherings, and someone even suggested that we are bigots! But really, who is the true bigot here? Would you like to weigh in?"

Phillips, who has voiced her support in the past for gay rights, including marriage equality, was quick to weigh in, letting the couple know that they were, in fact, the true bigots here.

"Gay people don’t choose to be gay; they are born that way," Jeanne Phillips, the current author of the syndicated advice column, wrote. "They can’t change being gay any more than you can change being heterosexual."

While the couple said that they did not think they should compromise their values to win their neighbors’ approval, Phillips responded that they might just be happier in a neighborhood surrounded by people who thought the way that they did.

"But if you interact only with people like yourselves, you will have missed a chance for growth, which is what you have been offered here," concluded Phillips. "Please don’t blow it."

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women’s news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes about local restaurants in her food blog, http://brooklyniscookin.blogspot.com/

Comments

  • Anonymous, 2014-02-22 20:38:59

    One very important mistake is in this article - use of the term "lifestyle". Lifestyle involves choice and, as "Dear Abby" correctly notes, being Gay or Lesbian is not a choice. Therefore, being Gay, Lesbian (or Bisexual or Transgendered) cannot be considered a lifestyle. As for this couple who clearly tried to divide their community with their intolerance, if they are truly "conservative", they should consider that what they have in their neighbourhood are two same-sex couples trying to live a life of commitment and faithfulness to each other. Would they prefer two heterosexual couples who live a lifestyle of swinging from partner to partner to partner?


  • Jonathan Willner, 2014-02-26 23:29:25

    You have both adopted the rhetorical stance known as "Preaching to the choir."


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