Dear Annie: My niece is transgender (she’s a boy who wants to be a girl). She needs to take a hormone blocker, and it costs a fortune. Insurance won’t pay for it, so the whole family is chipping in.
My brother-in-law doesn’t make much money, and he’s lazy. My parents paid most of their bills when they were first married, and they are giving my niece so much money that we cannot have our annual vacation. My parents will be giving them more money in a few months.
Meanwhile, my niece gets everything she wants. My mother recently bought her a $200 outfit for her birthday. I suggested she get something less expensive because she is already paying a fortune for the hormone blocker.
My parents now can’t send me to the university of my choice, so I have to opt for community college. I worked like a horse to get straight A’s, but still didn’t qualify for a scholarship big enough to cover the cost of the university.
Taking out a loan is out of the question, because my parents won’t co-sign, and the bank won’t give me one without it.
I think my sister should sell her jewelry to pay for the drugs, and she and my brother-in-law should downgrade to a smaller home if they need the money. My mother says I’m being selfish. Am I? — Missing Out
Dear Missing: This is your parents’ money.
They can choose to give more to your sister (and her child), rather than pay for an expensive university education for you.
We realize this isn’t fair, but it serves no purpose to build up resentment. You can get a perfectly good education at a community college for a fraction of the cost, and if you still want to attend a four-year university, you can look into transferring in two years, and research scholarships, grants and loans that may be available then.
Your parents obviously believe your sister needs this money more than you do, which also means they feel you are responsible and motivated and will do OK without their help.
Please prove them right.
Dear Annie: Would you please give me your opinion on the “man up” issue when raising boys?
When my 2-year-old grandson falls down, he is told to tough it out, that he is OK, and to “man up.” There is no hugging or wiping of tears, because that’s considered babying. I consider it compassion.
I didn’t raise my kids like this. Why do parents want their boys to be tough and hide their emotions? Isn’t it OK to cry if you are hurt, especially if you are 2 years old? Should I continue to comfort them anyway? How do I handle this? — Sad Grandma
Dear Grandma: It’s perfectly OK for boys of any age to cry when hurt (physically or emotionally). And while our society has been conditioned to react negatively toward men who weep at the drop of a hat, it is generally considered sensitive and attractive for them to shed a tear when the occasion calls for it.
Thought minor hurts should not be turned into major crises, a toddler should be able to cry without worrying that he is angering or disappointing his parents. When he is with you, feel free to treat him as you would any child who needs some TLC. The world certainly does not need more men who are emotionally closed off because their parents taught them that expressing themselves was somehow not masculine.
Dear Annie: This is for “Puzzled in Gary, Ind.,” who wondered why her senior age and white hair were attracting unwanted flirtation from lesbians.
I, too, have a full head of white hair and just turned 59. I also happen to be a lesbian, so I believe I have the authority to speak to her concern. I don’t believe it’s her white hair that is causing the unwelcome attention.
It’s more about posture, physical carriage and style of clothing that projects a certain “gay-dar” (gay radar).
She shouldn’t change her hair color over this, but perhaps a more feminine hairstyle and wardrobe would make a difference. But you’re right, Annie. Flirting is not a sign of endangerment. — Pomona, Calif.
Dear Pomona: We appreciate the backup. Read on for more:
From Florida: As I have aged, I also notice that white men don’t apparently find me sexy or relevant anymore. Thank heavens Hispanic and black men and lesbians still think I’m as cute as a button. I’d forget how to flirt if it weren’t for them. I’m strictly straight and happily married, but still find it a tremendous compliment when someone chats me up a bit.
Santa Cruz: Speaking as a white-haired lesbian with all the “inside” knowledge available, I can only wish the rumors were true. Maybe she could give me some pointers.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.