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DEAR ABBY: I’m 31 and the mother of three awesome children. At 29, I left my husband of nine years and came out of the closet. I have been in a stable two-year relationship with my girlfriend, and she recently moved in with us.

My oldest child has started asking if his friends can come and stay the night on a weekend. I let one child spend the night with him once. My sister asked me if I had told the child’s parent that I’m a lesbian living with a partner. When I said no, she got upset and said that because we live in a small, religious country town I should inform the child’s parent of my living situation.

I can see where she’s coming from, but I don’t feel it’s my responsibility to offer this personal information. We’re hardworking, law-abiding citizens, and I am a loving and protective mother. We aren’t felons who need to “disclose” our personal “crimes.” What do you think? — PROUD MAMA IN THE SOUTH

DEAR PROUD MAMA: I, too, can see where your sister is coming from, and I don’t like the direction. You are not under any obligation to announce your sexual orientation to anyone. In a small town — religious or not — word gets around quickly on its own. Trust me on that. However, if you are asked directly, you should be honest.