Relationship Advice: Homophobia and Vegan-o-phobia Edition
We’ve got two questions this week. I didn’t get a third till this morning and I don’t think that’s adequate time to fully process the issue, so we’ll just stick with these two. But what’s going on? Have you figured your shit out, everyone? That can’t possibly be true…
As always, I’m doing questions in the order I get them. You can leave questions here, e-mail them to [email protected], tweet them to me, or leave a question on our Facebook page. (Have you “liked” our Facebook page yet? Do you follow us on Twitter?)
I cannot stand my girlfriend’s family. I think they’re a bunch of dysfunctional, offensive assholes who hate the fact that she’s gay. My girlfriend agrees…and yet still wants me to come with her to family functions and sometimes even gets upset when I suggest we ditch her family for holidays! Am I obligated to hang out with them? — LR
Well, yes and no. Keep in mind that they are still your girlfriend’s family. They will always be her family. She might know they’re not good people, but the choice to completely cut yourself off from your family is hard, and you still love your family even when you’re confronted with their flaws. I’m willing to bet that you come from one of those super-happy, loving, functional, possibly-robot families. In my own life, I’ve seen a lot of relationships where one person comes from a great family and the other comes from a not-so-great family and the person from the great family just doesn’t get it. Keep this in mind: you won’t get it. That’s good. Be lucky for that! Don’t try to get it. But hang out with your girlfriend’s family on occasion when she asks you. Remember that it’s important for her.
However, if they’re saying offensive, homophobic things, that’s a whole different story. Nobody should be forced to endure hearing discrimination and intolerance directed at them. Even if they don’t say it outright to your face, I imagine it must be difficult to be around someone you know is homophobic. Talk to your girlfriend and frame the discussion like this: “I understand that you have a relationship with your family, but being around someone homophobic makes me uncomfortable.” Don’t attack her relationship, don’t just say you hate them–make it about your very real, very valid discomfort. If you start from there, instead of “no, I won’t come”, the discussion has room to grow to a compromise that makes both of you happy.
My boyfriend is a very strict vegan. I’m a vegetarian, and eat mostly vegan. The problem is that most of my friends are not, and every time we’re at a social event that involves food or out on the town and someone wants to eat food, he considers it his mission to try and preach veganism at them. They’re getting tired of it and don’t want me to bring him around. I really love and respect his convictions and I don’t want to tell him not to talk about what he believes in! — LV
Uh, so, you’re out at a bar, drinking, and your friends decide to order some Buffalo wings, and he decides to take that opportunity to give a lesson about factory farming? Wow, I wouldn’t want to hang out with him either. He’s being obnoxious because policing what other people eat is obnoxious. Here’s the right way to preach veganism: be an example. Answer questions people may have, offer to send them some links if they’re intrigued. Pushing it like that doesn’t make people want to be vegans, it just makes them hate vegans.
And what if one of your friends has a fucked-up relationship with food? I’m not even talking about a full-blown eating disorder, but so many young women (and men!) suffer from feeling adversarial to food. You want to shame her for enjoying food? What a buzzkill.
Don’t bring him, or tell him that he has to be respectful of your friends.Otherwise, they’re not going to invite you to any social events that involve food or possibly eating (so…life.) This isn’t about your friends being mad that he posts slaugherhouse videos on Facebook. That would be their problem–and they can hide him from their newsfeed. This is about them trying to have fun, and you bringing a guy who waits for that first bite of delicious drunk pizza to clear their lips before starting in with the proselytizing. I’d be mad too!
Written by Jess Mary Aloe