DEAR AMY: My seventh-grade daughter’s female gym teacher is openly gay. None of the parents or kids has a problem with this.
The issue is that she observes the girls changing into and out of their gym clothes, and my daughter and many of her peers feel very uncomfortable having a lesbian watch them walk around in their underwear.
I’m afraid to say anything because I worry that my daughter will be given a “special area” to change, and it will make her feel awkward.
I understand that seventh-graders need supervision in the locker room, but it seems to me the school should know that it may not be appropriate to have a lesbian in the locker room with young girls.
By the way, the teacher has never behaved unprofessionally — nor is anyone worried that she might — it is simply an issue of discomfort.
What’s the right answer that respects everyone involved? — Concerned Mom
DEAR CONCERNED: You might start this conversation by letting your daughter know that there is a likelihood some of her fellow students at school or on sports teams are also lesbians, and that in this environment, along with trusting her instincts, she also has to trust other people (gay and straight) to have integrity.
You seem to think that because this teacher is a lesbian, she may also be attracted to — or be an unhealthy presence — for girls. Judging by the preponderance of recent alarming news reports of improper sexual relationships between teachers and students, a student is much more likely to be hit on by a heterosexual teacher than a gay one.
If your daughter feels vulnerable (or if this teacher has acted inappropriately), then you should definitely take this issue to the school. However, you say this is not the case, so if your daughter feels self-conscious, she should change her clothes in a bathroom stall. (I assume the locker room has stalls.)
DEAR AMY: I have been married for almost 22 years, and while I know he looks at dirty magazines and movies, I was recently stunned that he was also looking online.
A couple of months ago I also found that he had a second phone that he hid from me. He was talking to other women and telling them he is divorced. I confronted him and he said he would get rid of it. However, I know that he continues to look online and belongs to a pornography website.
I feel betrayed and like I don’t even know him anymore. He said it wasn’t cheating because he was never actually with these women — only looking at them.
He said he didn’t want to leave and didn’t want a divorce.
I can’t talk to anyone about it because I’m embarrassed to let anyone know what he is doing. I’m afraid he will freak out because I know about his secret. Do you have any advice for me? — Can’t Talk to Anyone in N.J.
DEAR CAN’T TALK: You have put yourself in a powerless position by declaring that you can’t talk to anyone — not even your husband — about his behavior and its effect on you.
You need to reclaim your power. Your husband doesn’t want to stop doing what he is doing, leave the marriage or even talk about it.
Is this what you want your marriage to be? If he already tells people he’s divorced, then maybe you should help make this a reality.
You must talk about it. Find a trustworthy and wise friend, or (preferably) a skilled counselor.
At some point you will be asked, “What do you want to do about this?” You need to come up with an answer.
DEAR AMY: “Stressed Out” complained about her husband, who had started an extensive home renovation several years earlier but never finished it. He also mistreated their son.
She wondered if she should use her inheritance to complete the renovation. I was relieved when you said no. That inheritance is her lifeline. She should use it to start a new life with her son. — Worried
DEAR WORRIED: I agree. Thank you.