Your Other Dad says that labels can get in the way of your love life.

Dear Other Dad,

When I came out of the closet, it was a huge deal. My parents weren’t excited about it (esp. my dad) and they didn’t want me to tell other people at first. Eventually they came around and met my boyfriend (who I really loved at the time). They let me hang up pride stuff and my Mom went to Pride (which was a LOT for her). My problem is that lately I’m not sure I am gay. I’ve been seeing this girl I really like and I feel more attracted to her than any guy. I feel…


Vanna White, Pumpkin Pie, and the Moment I Stopped Lying about My Life

It is November 1992. George H. W. Bush is President, but not for much longer. The biggest song in America is “I Will Always Love You” and Whitney nails it, but you liked it just fine when it was still just your hero, Dolly Parton, and her guitar. Hee Haw has ended and Absolutely Fabulous has begun but you will not hear of it for a few more years, when you see the VHS tape in the library and become obsessed. Malcolm X is sharing movie theaters with Mighty Ducks; they are never a double bill. …


Your Other Dad says you can’t threaten “fairness” that doesn’t exist.

Dear Other Dad —

My daughter does rock climbing and is really good at it, but there is a trans girl who keeps taking the top spot. My daughter gets disappointed sometimes but also claims she doesn’t mind because she says this trans girl should be able to climb. I’m proud of her for being so generous but I’m frustrated that all the other girls don’t get a fair shot to win. If they don’t win local meets they can’t go to nationals and some of them hope to get sponsors. …


Your Other Dad says men are making women fight over what’s “appropriate.”

This topic is like a minefield: there are loaded opinions on all sides. The language that gets thrown around (“slutty” and “trashy” vs “shaming” and “oppressive”) positions the recipient in a bad light and puts the speaker on a moral high ground — in both directions. The discussion often pits women against each other — mothers and daughters, girls and their friends. Yet it’s worth acknowledging upfront that the issue only arises because of the imagined needs of (straight) men.

Who would care what a girl wants to wear if it they didn’t have to factor in the male gaze…


Your Other Dad says that it’s time to talk about sex, porn, and the law

Dear Other Dad —

My wife and I discovered that our 13-year-old son was looking at gay porn on the internet. When we took his computer, we also found nude selfies he and another boy had sent to each other. And when we pushed, we discovered they’ve had some sexual activity already, presumably to try out things they’d seen in porn.

My wife freaked out. I’m trying to stay calm. But we don’t actually know who the aggressor is here; it might have been my son. Do I need to worry that he’s turning into a bad kid? …


Your Other Dad Says a mirror is the wrong place to look for positivity

Dear Other Dad —

I really want to model body positivity — especially because my little sister and brother look up to me and I know they learn from how I act. But I hate my body. It’s not that I’m FAT fat. I just don’t like what I see and it’s hard to hide that. How do I change this?

Big Sister Issues

I hope you know that you are not alone in wrestling with this seeming contradiction. Just Google body-positive + I hate my body and you’ll discover a lot of people share these feelings.

There have been…


Your Other Dad says don’t hurry to share the pain — and have a goal when you do.

Dear Other Dad —

I’ve been wondering about how parents can safely share their own histories of trauma/abuse without harming their kids. I’m grappling with how my mother shared her history of sexual abuse with me when I was 13, which resulted in me experiencing some trauma as well, especially since it was being shared as a way for me to help her carry the burden of her own unresolved trauma.

How can parents share their difficult pasts without passing on the trauma and responsibility to their kids?

— ASPAP

The starting point of your question is so loving: You’re…


Your Other Dad says first you must untangle discomfort from harm

Dear Other Dad —

My child has a friend who uses the pronoun “it.” Using this pronoun is incredibly difficult for me in a different way than learning how to use they/them. There is no instance in which you do not use someone’s pronouns, but I have a lot of feelings about using this pronoun for a human.

I feel sad when I think about using this pronoun, which makes me think of the homophobia I experienced personally in the 80s. …


Your Other Dad says sexuality and sex aren’t interchangeable.

Dear Other Dad —

Following a TikTok trend, my daughter has started using the hashtag #bipride and posted pictures of her with her female friends. I’m not comfortable with her talking about sexuality in a public forum — she’s 13 and isn’t even at a point to be sexual herself. She says this is not about sex. How do I help her see that it is?

— Mom

There are two reasons you and your daughter can’t see eye to eye on this. To start with, she’s a teenager, which means viewing all your unsolicited opinions with the particular mix…


Your Other Dad says you might not really know what she’s signalling

Dear Other Dad —

My child, who says she’s not gay, posted photos of herself with the gay pride flag on Instagram because she said it will get her more followers. We have gay family members and I think her post does not respect what they went through in real life. It just exploits being gay for likes. Should I make her take the photo down?

— Tired of Social Media

This past winter, I heard from multiple parents that their children were adding images of themselves to a rising tide of social media posts that feature LBGTQ hashtags, acronyms…

David Valdes

David Valdes is a Cuban-American playwright and author. He’s written about family, race, and LGBTQ issues for the New York Times, Boston Globe, and HuffPo.

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