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Coming Out To Granny
# 1 : Tuesday 28-4-2015 @ 18:02
The debate about the marriage referendum has made me reflect a lot on my own attitude to gay rights and to being gay myself. Coming to terms with being gay has been a long process for me, but I've been pretty happy in myself for the last couple of years. There was just one small thing that has bothered me consistently in that time, and that was the attitude I have to being open about my sexuality with my extended family. My parents have known for a long time, and all my relatives that I am close to know also, with the exception of my grandmother.

She is a stiff-upper-lip sort of granny, and usually shies away from being openly emotional, so while I am quite close to her in terms of knowing her very well and having spent a lot of time with her (I lived with her for a year when I was 20/21) I've always felt a little bit of distance from her from an emotional point of view. This distance was compounded by the fact that I was most concerned about her finding out I was gay, more than anyone else in the extended family.

I could never figure out if she suspected or not, but I expect from things she has said in the past that she didn't. She doesn't know any gay people very well (or at least, she thinks she doesn't), and while she'd be quite open-minded and liberal about a lot of things, I have heard her in the past make mildly disparaging comments about gay people. (I always recall with amusement her comment to me when the Netherlands legalized gay marriage: 'I suppose they should be allowed to get married, but as far as adopting children goes, that's a bit queer.')

Lately I came to the realisation that in order to bridge this gap I needed finally to be honest with her and come out to her. It was a hard decision, but it was something I put off for so long and because of the sort of personality she has I couldn't imagine telling her to her face, or even over the phone: the thought terrified me, and I knew that putting her in that situation would make the whole thing much worse for both of us. After reflecting for a while I decided that the best thing to do was write her a detailed letter, telling her why it was I needed to tell her, and why it took me so long to build up the courage to do it. I wrote the letter some days ago and posted it just this afternoon. It still terrifies me a bit every time I think of it but I know I've done the right thing.

Do any of you have any stories about coming out to grannies (or grandads)?
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# 2 : Tuesday 28-4-2015 @ 18:19
well done
# 3 : Tuesday 28-4-2015 @ 18:21
Thanks Kneel. I hope the reaction will be positive, or at least, not negative...
# 4 : Tuesday 28-4-2015 @ 18:29
It may even sway her to vote Yes?
She would like to see her favourite grandson happy one day?
Well done and in her case probably the 'proper' way to broach the subject.
# 5 : Tuesday 28-4-2015 @ 18:30
I don't know your granny, but my mother was eighty five when I came out to her, she hugged me and said she loved me, but she was concerned about the hardship that was in store for me, as she saw it. People are people, but family are family. My mams 3th anniversary is next mon, I miss her so much, but I am so glad I told her to years before she passed. Well done to you, I am sure you will have no regrets in the long therm .
# 6 : Tuesday 28-4-2015 @ 18:47
My adoptive father found out in 2002 because he overheard me on phone to a man. I never had any otigknsl intention of telling him. It's possible afterwards he didn't give me such a hard time about the way I talk and act.

I told my adoptive mother about a year or two earlier than that and she was ok with it but for a little while thought it might just be a phase.

Two of my aunts also know. I told one around 2002-3 when Mam fainted and was unconscious in the hospital and I was wondering could this be the reason (actually it was depression because of not getting along with Dad and her medication not agreeing with her).

The second aunt found out because without my permission Dad told her.
# 7 : Tuesday 28-4-2015 @ 18:56
I can relate alot to your post Lari as I had a very similar relationship with my grandmother. She sadly passed away in 2010 but I did come out to her before then. I remember being petrified about it because although we had a close relationship, she was a very religious woman who attended mass every Sunday. She made sure the religious values she thought her own 9 children trickled down to all of her grandchildren.

If she were still around today, I would like to think she would have voted YES.
# 8 : Tuesday 28-4-2015 @ 20:10
Ah that's sweet Lari, I'm sure she probably already knows and is very proud of her talented grandson.
# 9 : Tuesday 28-4-2015 @ 21:05
Well done Lari. I didn't come out to my grandfather as my family all agreed it was best not to tell him. I'd only come out to my father a couple of years earlier.
# 10 : Tuesday 28-4-2015 @ 21:24

# 11 : Tuesday 28-4-2015 @ 23:24
I remember introducing my partner to my 92 year old Jewish grandmother many years ago now, she has since passed. As I was a bit nervous I introduced him to her as my "friend". He had a good start in that he was Jewish, but all she asked was "are you definitely circumcised?". When he said he was the sherry was poured and all was well and she said to him "if you ever give him (me) the "ghet" (breakup/divorce) I'll find you and cut your balls off. Such a loyal and understanding nana
# 12 : Wednesday 29-4-2015 @ 01:26
Well done Lari,i'm sure she will be fine with you,or take the shotgun to you when you approach her porch,hope you dodge the bullet.
# 13 : Thursday 30-4-2015 @ 09:03
Thanks for the support, everyone--I appreciated reading the comments, especially as I was in limbo before she received the letter.

Honest Joe, in fact I recall your story from a previous thread. Your mother sounds wonderful.

Boggy, I'm interested to know how she reacted when you told her.

My Gran received the letter yesterday morning. She rang me immediately, though I missed her call as I was in the bathroom, and so she left me a very lovely and heartfelt voice message. I rang her back and we had a long chat. She said she was very happy that I had told her, but was only sad that I had felt the need to hide it for so long. She said she did suspect, but reckoned that it wasn't something I ever wanted to discuss, so she never mentioned.

In the course of the conversation she mentioned Leo Varadkar and said that hearing him talk about how difficult it was to come out (she used that phrase, not me, which I thought was interesting) made her understand better what it must be like. I think his coming out might have had an untold positive effect on older generations who may hitherto have been 'no' voters in the upcoming referendum.
# 14 : Thursday 30-4-2015 @ 09:07
Awhhh Lari, that's lovely

I think at times we expect the older generation to be more closed off to the ideas and reality of diversity but for many they've being around long enough that they've seen their fair share of loss and pain so an anchor of love and connection, regardless of its form, is always welcome
# 15 : Thursday 30-4-2015 @ 09:48
Great to hear Lari!
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