Dear Annie: I'm a 58-year-old male. Ever since my early 20s, I've been confused about which sex I truly am. Of course, I was born a male, but my thoughts and feelings are that of a female. There is nothing about being a male that interests me. I'm thinking about getting hormone shots to become more female.
I've lived with this issue all of my life, but maybe it's too late for me now. Do you have any suggestions or information? - Unknown Gender
Dear Unknown: It is not too late for you to work on this, and we recommend you get more information before starting hormone shots. You can find resources and support on transgender issues through the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center (gaycenter.org) and the American Psychological Association (apa.org), which can answer many of your questions and point you in the right direction.
Dear Annie: When I go out to eat for breakfast, the restaurants always have artificial sweetener for your coffee and often nondairy creamer. What I do not find is a nondairy substitute for butter. Many of us would rather not eat butter. Please spread this message so stores and restaurants will see it and offer this item. - Nondairy in Wisconsin
Dear Nondairy: Most places will provide margarine if you request it. If you want something else (soy butter, et al), you will have a harder time. If you patronize the same places often and ask each time, they may begin to offer these items. Try it.
Dear Annie: When I was growing up, good table manners were a necessity. As my children became older, sometimes they would regress, and I found a foolproof method that worked for us. I bought a small standup mirror and put it in front of them at the table. One day my daughter came home from school and commented on a girl at her lunch table who ate with her mouth open. They still have beautiful manners. - Kentucky Great-Grandma
Dear Annie: I have a suggestion for "Confused," whose husband refuses to give her an allowance or spending money. She stated that she is 59 years old, worked for 30 years but was unable to continue due to ill health.
I suggest she immediately contact her local Social Security office and file a claim. As a former disability examiner, I can tell you that her age, work record and disability should be sufficient to collect benefits. - B.