Since 1956, “Dear Abby” has helped newspaper readers sort out life’s trickiest social situations. The advice column, currently written by Jeanne Phillips, often handles the lovesick, confused and envious with a gentle touch. But this week, the column’s advice to a homophobic couple was quite blunt.
“Unhappy in Tampa” wrote into “Dear Abby” regarding two gay couples who live in their new Florida neighborhood. The writer said that they refuse to include these neighbors in their gatherings, and are now experiencing backlash from their local social circle.
“While they are nice enough, my husband and I did not include them when it was our turn to host because we do not approve of their lifestyle choices. Since then, we have been excluded from neighborhood gatherings, and someone even suggested that we are bigots!” the letter read.
This reaction left the pair feeling miffed. As always, “Dear Abby” had an answer.
“I find it interesting that you are unwilling to reciprocate the hospitality of people who welcomed you and opened their homes to you, and yet you complain because you are receiving similar treatment,” the column responded.
While pointing out the hypocrisy of the couple’s complaint, “Dear Abby” reminds the writer that a person’s sexual orientation is not a choice. The straightforward response concludes with a final, and not-so-subtle, suggestion.
“It appears you would be happier in a less integrated neighborhood surrounded by people who think the way you do. But if you interact only with people like yourselves, you will have missed a chance for growth, which is what you have been offered here. Please don’t blow it.”