Ask Amy: Readers respond to recent letters

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • January 8, 2014 - 11:26 AM

Dear Amy: It was extremely troubling to me to read about the attitude of the “young and ambitious” attorney who trashed her secretary on Facebook.

I am the managing partner of a small law firm. I am pleased that this attorney does not work for (or with) me. Prior to being with my firm, I was a consultant with several large firms and the CEO of a small corporation.

Law firms, like most other organizations, are collaborative endeavors with success dependent on everyone’s efforts. It appears that this young attorney sees herself as a shining star, owing any success to no one but herself.

She may find herself on her own sooner than she anticipated, as I can’t imagine any firm wanting to retain or hire a person with such a toxic attitude. She will then be her own support staff (heaven help anyone she hires) and will find out just how much her former firm’s support staff assisted her in her success. Only then will she begin to appreciate how important the people surrounding her are.

Anyone who describes anyone else as “just a (fill in the blank)” is reflecting their own ignorance and insecurities. Everyone in an organization plays an important role in that organization’s success and they are deserving of their dignity. Those who would rob anyone of their dignity deserve to be shown the door.

Amy says: This attorney’s arrogance and humiliation of her support staff on Facebook appalled some of her family members — and many readers. Thank you for an eloquent explanation of just how vital cooperation is in any successful venture.

Courage to be yourself

Dear Amy: I felt the need to respond to the letter from a woman who stated that her son was “gender queer” and was concerned about his attire at a restaurant. While your advice to the mother was sound, I felt your advice to the son — that he “grow up and quit sulking” — was insulting and ignorant.

I am the aunt of someone who identifies as gender queer. Being truly gender queer is not a political or fashion statement — it is an expression of one’s true identity.

My “nibling,” the gender-neutral term for nephew or niece, is neither male nor female, but both. My nibling sports a beard and a spectacular (and enviable) wardrobe of dresses.

The process of coming out as gender queer was long and difficult, and my nibling struggled with years of unhappiness and feeling uncomfortable in “their” own skin. (There is currently no satisfactory gender-neutral term for his or her.) The decision to express himself/herself openly, despite the reactions and repercussions, was an act of real bravery. As a family, we have all stood behind my nibling; everyone deserves to be able to be who they are.

Amy says: Your “nibling” is fortunate to have your support. But I stand behind my basic advice to a 24-year-old who seems to have embroiled his mother in his choices of what to wear: Grow up. Stand up. Wear what you want and prepare yourself for the impact on others. Be respectful of people and situations. In short, I’m describing the sort of bravery you say your family member demonstrates.

Men can be victims, too

Dear Amy: I could not believe your response to the letter from the man whose neighbor “Brandy” got drunk and disorderly. You called it “sexual assault”! A man should call the cops for having his hair pulled by a woman? Your advice is extreme in almost any circumstance. I’m pretty sure that the man is dying to know if there is even a remote chance that “Brandy” is interested in him!

Amy says: Yes. Being pulled into a bedroom by your hair and having a kiss forced upon you is sexual assault, no matter the gender of the perpetrator.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at

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