The Lesbian Bridesmaid

Dear Dr. Darcy:

I have 3 daughters, the middle daughter (straight) is getting married, and youngest daughter (gay) was asked to be in bridal party.  The 2 sisters are having a fight because the bride wants sister to wear a… dress (the gay daughter NEVER wears a dress), and, as a result, the gay sister is super hurt, angry, and doesn't want to be in bridal party. The bride also is in a dilemma as to 'where to place her sister in the pictures.'

As the mom, I am so sad and upset that my daughters are fighting, and that my daughter’s sexuality/gender issue is an issue at all.

We've all searched a variety of websites for answers but none that will satisfy my daughters.

Any suggestions?

Mom

ANSWER

Dear Mom:

I’m actually frustrated with both sisters. Let’s start with the straight one, because she’s the easiest to correct:  Whom does she want in her wedding party, her dyke/butch sister, or a femme version of her? The message that she’s sending to her sister is that the wedding photos are more important than with her sister’s dignity. It’s not just a little power struggle here; it’s not one sister refusing to take her nose ring out – it’s her sister’s sexual and gender identity. There are ways to compromise. She’s just not thinking outside the box and being creative.

What she could do is have her bridesmaids wear tailored, sexy, women’s tuxedos/pantsuits so that her sister would fit in and feel more like herself. And by way of personal example, my wife (who identifies as a dyke) wore a gorgeous Armani Prive women’s pantsuit at our wedding. She looked like herself, but a black-tie version thereof. Theory makes amazing pantsuits for women. And unlike EVERY bridesmaid dress that I’ve ever been forced to buy and never wore again, the pantsuit would get worn beyond the wedding. It’s a win for everyone involved. The straight daughter would look like a hero for choosing something that her sister can wear and she’d get props for having a wedding party that actually looked unique and chic. That’s my advice for the straight daughter.  

Now for the gay one: This shouldn’t even be a question in her mind. She needs to set a boundary and stick to it. There are times in our lives when we can’t expect our straight family members to understand everything that we as gay people we go through, and in those moments we need to advocate for ourselves.  This should not be a fight. It’s as unreasonable for your gay daughter to expect your straight one to get this as it is for the straight one to ask the gay one to don a dress.

Now for you, Mom: Support the gay daughter by encouraging the straight one to compromise on her bridal party’s couture. Do this one time and then stay the hell out of it. Same goes for your gay daughter. Let her know that you’ll support her if she chooses not to be in the bridal party. This is a one-time conversation. Best of luck as you navigate this terrain.

Writer’s Stats: Female

Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual

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Just Do It

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Hi Dr. Darcy.

My relationship started as long distance. A month or so after we started living together everything was good, our sex life was healthy and fun. Four years later we can go weeks or months without having sex. My partner is constantly bringing this up and making it clear she's not happy because of the lack. We are close and spend a lot of time together but the sex has gone. The pressure she puts on me to bring it back isn't exactly a turn on. I spend a lot of time worrying about when she will next start an argument about it. I love her & I want our sex life back but I don't seem to be able to actually make the step and neither can she. What can I do? I don't want this relationship to end and that seems to be the way she thinks it is leading.

ANSWER

Make no mistake: Your relationship is headed for the end unless you (the collective You) find a way to become sexually intimate.

If you’re waiting to be turned on, it’s never going to happen. You’ve fallen into a power struggle around sex (she demands - you refuse). No one finds a nag sexy, and no one sticks around in a sexless relationship when they still have a need for sex.

The solution lies in behaving your way to success rather than waiting to feel differently. Start by assigning new meaning behind her requests for sex. Instead of “worrying about when she will next start an argument about it,” try viewing her requests as an attempt to connect with you. Think about it logically: She’s not intending to fight about sex. She’s intending to engage in a discussion about it so she can, A) get some reassurance that she’s not going to be rejected were she to initiate, or, B) communicate to you her wish for you to initiate sex. Stop viewing it through a historical lens which is fogged up with negative meaning. Try viewing it through a clean lens, sans baggage.

The next time she brings it up, take her hand, look her in the eye, and tell her how much you love her. Tell her that you also want to be closer with her, to connect more deeply with her. See if that doesn’t begin to break the negative cycle. And for the love of God, if you still want this woman in your life, make love to her – even if you’re not in the mood. I’m not in the mood to take a shower right now and get ready for work, but I’m going to do it anyway.

Writer’s Stats: Female, Lesbian.

Lesbian Accidentally Gets Black Sperm and Sues

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“A white woman was accidentally impregnated with a black donor’s sperm. Now she’s suing.”

“White Lesbian Couple Starts Family, Comes With Unwanted Blackness.”

“White Ohio Woman Sues Over Sperm From Black Donor.”

It all sounds repugnant, and I don’t dispute that there may be some primordial racism fueling the lawsuit of Jennifer Cramblett, the white Ohio woman who is suing a sperm bank for impregnating her with a black donor’s sperm, but don’t let race distract you from the central issue: The sperm bank fucked up. Colossally. To me it’s indisputable – and personal.

Steph and I decided to start a family two years ago. We decided that I’d carry. It felt like a more natural fit with my gender identity and because of my complicated family genetics (you’ll need to read my memoir to get that story), I wanted a child biologically related to me; one who had a chance of looking like me.

After three months of testing, our doctor at NYU Fertility determined that my body was good-to-go and he informed us that I’d get my first insemination the following month, so it was “time to pick a sperm donor!”

This process of picking a sperm donor, by the way, would have made a great reality show. I am the most controlling human being on the planet, a Virgo to the nth degree, detail-oriented to the point of sometimes meeting criteria for OCD, and historically speaking, I can’t make a decision when there’s too many options. We had about a week to decide on the paternal genetics of our future children, and when I tell you we had an almost infinite amount of options for who the donor would be, I am not exaggerating.

Sperm donation is big business folks. The ‘banks’ as they’re called, are FDA approved, and they house every combination of intelligence, physical health, mental health, race, culture, religion, education, eye color, hair color, height, weight, talent and aptitude that one can imagine. If you can think it, there’s a good chance that some college-aged kid who meets your exact criteria has donated his sperm in exchange for some spending money.

It took us about five days to decide on our sperm donor (we only had 7), after having purchased additional information (ala carte, of course) about his medical history, his psychological history, his ACT score, a personality test, and of course, an adult photo. I’d read somewhere that we are more likely to conceive with people who we’d be attracted to in real life. So I picked a guy who looks like my wife, Steph. We called him Boy-Steph.

Our story doesn’t have the ending that we wanted – but that’s not the point. Here’s the point: If sperm banks don’t want to be held accountable for giving aspiring parents the exact sperm that they sign up for, they shouldn’t offer options. This isn’t about race. It’s about accountability and taking responsibility for the fact that these sperm banks have God-like control over their client’s future children.

I have a family member who’s husband’s sperm were slow swimmers – the cure for which involved taking the sperm, spinning it, and inseminating her. There’s a lot of trust that goes into getting inseminated. Can you imagine if she had been inseminated with the wrong man’s sperm?

I have another family member who used a donor egg to conceive her child. Her process of choosing said donor was as laborious as my own in picking a sperm donor. I can’t begin to wrap my head around the heartache she’d have suffered if after the emotional tsunami of choosing a donor, she’d been impregnated with the wrong donor’s egg.

It’s akin to being sent home from the hospital with the wrong fucking infant, people, but worse: You can return the wrong infant, but what happened to this family can’t be reversed.

Here’s another point that you probably haven’t considered (because the only people who would consider it are those who go through this miserable process):

Some of that pre-insemination testing that I underwent was intended to identify any chromosomal abnormalities that I was a carrier for. Lots of people are carriers for a genetic abnormality but it only becomes a problem if both the man and the woman are carriers. What if I had been a carrier of a genetic abnormality and I had specifically chosen a sperm donor who wasn’t a carrier, but because the sperm bank fucked up, I wound up inseminated with the wrong sperm and became pregnant with a child who had that genetic abnormality. You know, two lesbians can’t bump in the night to become pregnant – we have to go through a very complicated and expensive process to breed. The upside to that process is that we get to choose the exact genetics of the sperm.

That said, I disagree with Cramblett’s choice to go public with her story. If she were politically minded, or if she actually gave a shit about being a role model for the LGBT community, she would have kept quiet. This kind of publicity is not the kind our movement needs, specifically because race is involved and any imbecile could have predicted that it would become a distracting variable.

If Cramblett were thinking long-term, as dare I say any parent should about the effects this fiasco will have on her child in terms of her racial identity, her family identity, and of how this will effect her socially, she certainly wouldn’t have done this.

So let it be known that I think Cramblett’s decision to sue the sperm bank was ill conceived (pun intended), outrageously selfish and a bad decision for all involved. Still, what that sperm bank did was inexcusable – and they should pay multiples of the 50K that this couple is asking for.