Dear Annie: We live in a quiet family neighborhood. Recently, a neighbor tried to locate the owner of a rental home next door in order to discuss a shared fence issue. When our neighbor could find no contact information through the city department of housing, he searched the Internet. He was shocked to discover that for the past 10 years, the owners have had a porn site registered at that rental home address. None of us wants a porn site associated with our neighborhood. How should we handle this?
— No Name or Location, Please
Dear No Name: While we certainly understand your moral objections, these owners seem to be running a legal operation. Most web-based or home-based businesses are fine unless there are customers or employees coming to the house. There may be a requirement to have a business license, but that’s about it. You can contact a lawyer in your city to find out whether there are other possibilities, but we suspect there is nothing you can do, legally, about this. Sorry.
Dear Annie: I share a small workspace with someone who constantly coughs, sneezes, clears her throat, blows her nose and grunts. Worse, she never covers her mouth, so I am surrounded by airborne germs all day. It’s extremely annoying and interferes with my ability to concentrate on my work. I know some of this is allergies, but she also doesn’t stay home when she is sick.
I have offered cough drops and antihistamines, which she has refused. I suffer from allergies, as well, but try to keep my symptoms to myself. I have talked to my boss, but she won’t deal with it. Other co-workers are unwilling to switch desks with me (understandably). I used to like going to work, but I am ready to hand in my notice. What do you suggest?
— Had It with the Hacking
Dear Had It: First be more direct with this co-worker, explaining your discomfort and asking her to please cover her nose and mouth. If that doesn’t help, can you complain to the human resources department or a higher-up? Is it possible to move your desk? Would you be willing to wear a surgical mask or filter? Allergies can’t always be helped, but people should be considerate of one another.
Dear Annie: I read your advice to “Nervous in Vermont” with much interest, being the parent of a transgender child myself.
Even if an initial conversation may have seemed encouraging, it can be dangerous for trans kids to come out to their parents. Half of all homeless kids are LGBT, some as young as 12, and were kicked out of their parents’ home after coming out to their families. And a staggering number of trans kids end up committing suicide if met with scorn, shame or parental refusal to accept or discuss the subject. Coming out must be done eventually, but unless the child is nearing 18 or has contingency plans, one must take into consideration the things that can go wrong.
I’d like to offer a couple of parental resources for such situations:
Trans Youth Family Allies (imatyfa.org) is a wonderful group of parents of trans kids that includes a support email list, as well as organized trainings for schools and other organizations.
Gender Spectrum (genderspectrum.org) holds a yearly Gender Spectrum Family conference in Oakland as well as a trans-masculine oriented Gender Spectrum conference in Seattle, Wash.
These two groups can be of incredible assistance to parents after their kids have come out. We’ve found that going through the process of accepting our kids is not dissimilar to the grieving process. What is lost is not the person (thank goodness), but our hopes, dreams and plans for our child. We fear for them and their future. But we support each other and learn to move on, create new dreams and celebrate our children’s true identities.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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