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Dear Abby

Woman with transgender lover seeks support

Dear Abby: I'm a divorced woman with grown children. I have always supported gay rights and thought of myself as straight. But a few months ago, I met a woman, "Stephanie."

We hit it off immediately, and I was shocked to learn she's a transgender woman who was born male. We have spent a lot of time together and are falling in love. Stephanie will be having surgery soon to complete the transgender process.

I have been surprised and disappointed by the lack of support from my family and friends, whom I always thought were open-minded. Some have voiced support, but have shown no interest in meeting her and seem uncomfortable hearing about her.

I'm excited about this relationship and would have thought my family and friends would be happy for me, as I have been alone for a long time. But now I find myself refraining from mentioning Stephanie in conversation.

How can I discuss her with others? We are taking things slowly and not jumping into anything, yet we can definitely see ourselves spending the rest of our lives together. We have already faced disapproving strangers and handled it well. – Loves My Friend in Ohio

Dear Loves: It appears Stephanie isn't the only one in your relationship who is in transition. Both of you are, and because it is new to those around you, they may not understand it -- which is why they are uncomfortable.

The fact that Stephanie is transgender should not be mentioned right off the bat. It is not the most important thing about her, and it should not be her defining characteristic. Discuss the matter with your friend and ask how she would like to be introduced and referred to. It's only logical that this will vary according to how close these people are to you.

Dear Abby: I am a single mother who has had my share of heartbreak. I was with "Kent" for almost two years. We moved in together and talked often about marriage.

Things were going great, but then he lost his job. After that, finding and keeping a job became harder and harder for him.

One day when I came home from work, all of Kent's clothes were gone. He said he had moved back in with his mother because he didn't feel comfortable with me paying all the bills. He assured me he still wanted to remain in the relationship, and once he could keep a steady job he'd move back.

Three months later, he broke up with me. The following week some mutual friends told me he had gotten married!

When I confronted Kent, he told me he still wants to have a sexual relationship with me. I refused and haven't spoken to him since. Yesterday I learned that I am pregnant with his child.

I am turned upside down without a clue what to do. Is it wrong to feel hatred for him? – Betrayed in Texas

Dear Betrayed: Under the circumstances your feelings are understandable. Now, here's what to do. Contact Kent AND his wife and tell them the "happy" news that he is going to be a father – and you expect him to shoulder all the responsibilities that go with it. Then talk to a lawyer to be sure he does.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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