Coming Out to the Grandparents…

When I was 17 years old, I came out to my mom and dad. It has been
a rocky journey, but one with more ups than downs.

It’s been 8 years; I’m 25 now and all the important people in my
life – family, friends, coworkers (of course), etc – know that I’m
gay. Everyone except my grandparents. That is, until now.

Though I have felt, in my heart of hearts, that the time has been
right to come out to my grandparents for many years, my parents
have been opposed to the idea. For the last 8 years, my parents’
collective philosophy has been: “They’re old. They won’t get
it. They’ll get upset. They’re going to die soon anyway.”

My philosophy has been: “I don’t want my grandparents to die
without ever fully knowing their grandson.” Sure, being gay
isn’t who I am – I’m much more than that. But, being
gay is a huge and important aspect of my identity; indeed, it will
determine who I spend my life with and many other facets of my

Yesterday, my dad was eating lunch with my grandparents. My
grandfather asked my dad, as he often does, “Does David have a
girlfriend yet?” My dad replied in the negative. There was a
pregnant pause. Then my grandfather looked at my dad and asked,
“Well, does he have a boyfriend?” My dad eyed my old-school,
Catholic grandparents for a moment. It’s one thing to not tell my
grandparents that I’m gay, but it’s another thing altogether to
lie. He sat up straight and replied, “No, David does not have a
boyfriend. But he has had a boyfriend in the past.” My
grandparents didn’t skip a beat or a bite, and went on with their

And that was that. No tears. No disowning. No outbursts.

In the words of my father, “They don’t love you any less or any

Maybe there’s something about living nearly 90 years that puts
things into perspective. Maybe living through wars, a depression,
countless recessions, family tragedies and the like that gives
older folks that ability to put the smaller things in life into
context. Would my grandparents rather see me with a woman?
Probably. But is it a big deal that their grandson is gay? No,
probably not.

And so, a weight has been lifted.

P.S. I’m really proud of my dad.