Advice Archives

Abigail Garner and her brother, 1975

My online advice column, “Answers from Abigail” started because I began receiving unsolicited questions about LGBT families and relationships as soon as I launched in 1999. By 2001, I officially declared myself an advice columnist and began publicly posting my answers to selected questions on a monthly basis for nearly six years.

While I no longer respond to personal requests for advice, the archives of my published column remain here as a resource for LGBT families and our allies. While most of these questions are over a decade old, the need to address challenges and conflicts in LGBT families does not have an expiration date.

Please take a look around and see if you can find the answers you are looking for. Use the search feature in the right margin, as well as the categories to explore the topics I’ve addressed. The category “Reply Included” are questions to which the person who asked the original question read my advice and then posted a follow-up in the comments.

Additionally, here’s my short-hand responses to the three most common questions:

  • How do I come out to my kids? Should I come out? When should I come out?
    You are not alone in feeling lost about this issue. See the archives on this topic. I am asked so much, I devoted an entire chapter to it in Families Like Mine.
  • How will having gay parents affect my children?
    Kids are individuals and since I don’t personally know yours, it’s not fair for me to say. Again: read the archives and read other people’s comments for additional perspectives. My book will give you a broad overview of how adult kids think they were affected by having gay parents.
  • What about my children’s sexual orientation?
    A hot-button issue for us all. The last two chapters of Families Like Mine are all about this. The short answer is some turn out queer, some turn out heterosexual. It is their process in “coming out” either way that is notably different from kids with straight parents.

I have found that 9 out of 10 requests for advice from me are by people who have not read my book, Families Like Mine, because they are asking about issues that my book addresses. Find Families Like Mine at your local bookstore or order it online.

In pride,
Abigail Garner

P.S. If you are interested in reprinting material from this site in your print or online publication, contact me for details.

Her father’s sexual orientation is the “elephant in the livingroom.”


Three years ago, my sisters and I found out my father is gay, but not because he came out and told us. My youngest sister (11 at the time) found some incriminating evidence, and put the pieces together. Since then, there has been a mutual understanding between my mother and father, and my father and us, that he is gay, but our family will remain intact. We have never sat down together to actually discuss the situation, Continue reading Her father’s sexual orientation is the “elephant in the livingroom.”

Teen takes his mother’s clothes and cigarettes.


I’m writing about my 14-year-old son. He’s my only child and his father and I are divorced. I think he might be gay and I don’t know if I should try to talk to him about it or what I should say.

While cleaning up his room on Friday, I found a box in his closet. The box contained a lot of my clothes and several packs of my cigarettes (mostly empty). I also found letters that he had written to me but never gave me. Continue reading Teen takes his mother’s clothes and cigarettes.

Children resist lesbian mothers’ urge to merge.


My partner and I have just purchased our first home together. We are extremely excited about this move since we have been living in separate apartments for over eight months.

The problem arises with the different levels of acceptance our children have about our decision to live together. They range in age from 21 to 13. Her two oldest sons — both over 18 — will not be joining us in our new home. They are extremely homophobic and vocally oppose our plan. Continue reading Children resist lesbian mothers’ urge to merge.

Can these mommies get their groove back?


I really appreciated the response you gave to Randi from Denver. The child is the most important factor in this decision.

On that note: My partner of 15 years and I have a four-year-old daughter. We do share a bedroom, but have kept the door open and have remained (for lack of a better term) platonic since our daughter was born. I am really at a loss about how, when, or if to reclaim an intimate relationship with my partner. Continue reading Can these mommies get their groove back?

Mom’s girlfriend sleeps downstairs.


I am in a relationship with another woman who has a 10-year-old daughter. She told her daughter that we love each other to which her daughter replied, “I know.”

Now, I am not sure what exactly she “knows” but when I stay over, I sleep downstairs in another room. I’d like to stay with my girlfriend in her bedroom, which is upstairs, near her daughter’s bedroom but my girlfriend is not sure how to explain this to her daughter. What would be the best way to tell her daughter that we want to sleep in the same bedroom? Continue reading Mom’s girlfriend sleeps downstairs.