Ask Kari: I don’t condone my sister’s gay lifestyle and now she won’t speak to me — what should I do?

Dear Kari,

My sister is gay and has a partner that she lives with. I love her, she’s my sister, but I don’t condone her lifestyle and I do not want to include her partner in events with my family. There is nothing wrong with her partner; I just don’t want my children to see that type of lifestyle. Now my sister won’t talk to me until I start inviting both she and her partner to activities with my family. She is the only sibling I have; my wife thinks I should give in to my sister’s demands for the sake of family harmony. What do you think?

Pressured By Family

Dear Pressured By Family,

I understand you have strong feelings about your sister’s relationship with a female partner. But love is love. The love you have for your sister is pure human love, as is the love that your sister has for her partner. It is hard enough to find someone who connects with us, loves us, and carries our heart carefully. Sexual orientation of that person is only part of what draws us to someone. Being gay is simply who one is, just like being right or left-handed. Our societal norms embed heterosexuality into us from birth. To go against that path is typically only done after coming to the conclusion that one does not fit into those societal norms. Don’t miss out on being part of your sister’s life, all parts of her life. Invite her and her partner over. You might just find that you all have much in common as couples in committed relationships. The bonus is that your children see you accepting and loving someone who is not exactly like you, making all your lives richer.


As published in the July 2013 issue of Connections.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

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