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"I have recently discovered that my grandfather is gay. He has no idea that I know. The members of our family that also know have been very cruel. I can see that he is afraid to say anything aloud. How should I broach the subject? He deserves to know that he is still loved and appreciated."

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

I think you just put yourself out there. I don’t know what’s up in your family or if you even talk about stuff like this, but if your grandfather is getting only negatives from the rest of the fam I can almost guarantee your positive vibes will be welcome.

If you’re nervous and you don’t know what actual words to say, maybe use an example. Perhaps one of your aunts asked your grandfather not to come to a family gathering because of his “lifestyle,” bring that up. You can LITERALLY SAY “Hey grandad, I just wanted to let you know I thought it sucked that AUNT CALCULATOR wouldn’t let you come to PIZZA NIGHT, I thought it was super unfair.”

That way, you’re pointing out an incident but not saying ‘HI I KNOW THAT YOU ARE GAY’ because that might be difficult for you to say without feeling uncomfortable.

Again, everyone’s situation is different, but the one thing I want you to take away is how amazing it will feel when your grandfather knows that he has you on his side. That feeling is something incredible. That support is incredible. You are incredible.

Kristin Says:

Agree, agree, agree. Goddammit. Your grandfather is going to be so happy that someone in his family is loving and supportive of him, no matter how you express it – and regardless of how you may have come to “know.”

I also want to say this: There have been some people in my life who, when I first came out, wanted to show their support but couldn’t say the exact words that they meant. In the months after my extended family knew (and many of them were NOT pleased), I had certain relatives who would shakily pull me aside at family functions. They didn’t know the words to say and felt intimidated or confused, but they’d give me a hug, tell me they loved me, that they would always love me, and that if I ever needed anything to just say the word.

Those family members didn’t need to explain that what they meant was that they supported me and that they loved me as a gay person. It was so present in my mind during that time, because of all the lack of support, fear, and anger I was facing. The simplest motion of love spoke so, so many words.

If you feel brave enough on the first pass to call out a specific incident, or to say ‘Grandpa, no matter who you love or how you love them, I will always love you,’ then do it. There is only love in those actions, and it sounds like your grandfather needs all the love he can get. If, however, your words fail you and you don’t say exactly what you mean… know that he still knows exactly what you mean.

Stand by him just by standing by him, by loving him fiercely, and by being his granddaughter.

You are a true light.