Dear Abby: How can I support my child at school?


DEAR ABBY: My daughter, who is in eighth grade, has slowly come out as lesbian. She enjoys makeup and fashion, but isn’t absolute in presenting in a feminine way. She is an artist and a musician, is very creative and enjoys being unique in her style sense.

Some of the students have tried to project onto her that she’s actually transgender, which she is not. They ask if she is a boy or a girl even though she is obviously female. As she walks through the campus and in class, the kids holler in front of the campus monitors and teachers, “Is ‘it’ a he/she/it?”

My daughter is being shunned in PE even though she is very athletic, belongs to Junior Lifeguards and excels at this every summer, and she’s a wonderful cross country runner. She is becoming discouraged at school even though she is an A-B student, and she no longer wants to go to PE because of the harassment she’s receiving in front of teachers.

I have complained before and was told students have been spoken to, but I find it kind of shocking that they keep doing this in front of the teachers and hall monitors, who do nothing about it unless I say something. What are your thoughts? — FIERCE MAMA IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR MAMA: All students deserve to get an education free from harassment. Talk to your daughter. Assure her that you love her and you will support her any way you can.

Because the teachers have done nothing about the harassment she’s receiving and the administration has been unresponsive, consider transferring your daughter out of that school and into one that is progressive — with artistic and creative teachers and students. (Obviously, your daughter’s school isn’t one of them!)

If things cannot be improved at her school, consider consulting a civil rights attorney and ask at the nearest LGBTQ center about counseling for your daughter. For support for yourself as well as your daughter, research the nearest chapter of PFLAG, the nation’s largest family and ally organization for LGBTQ individuals. Its web address is

Read more Dear Abby and other advice columns.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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