Dear Determined,

My precious poppet … my heart yearns for the time when all of our children can grow up without fear of prejudice, racism, sexism, homophobia, and rejection.

Congratulations on coming to terms with who you are and being brave enough to live your truth! Crystal's boyfriend would have done well to learn that lesson years ago — before he dragged innocent lives into his pain-inducing circle of existence.

Know this: if your parents love you, they will be there for you regardless. Sure, it may not be pretty in the beginning — in fact, it could be quite uncomfortable for all involved.

But remember that people most fear that which they do not understand. Educate them: share with them what your life is, who you truly are (i.e. you still put your pants on one leg at a time). If they go the "you're defected" route, remind them that the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder OVER THIRTY YEARS AGO (people here in the U.S. need constant reminding on that one).

Check out this great organization — Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). They have great resources for those coming out and their family and friends. Their Web site is: