Or, what I would have written to her were she still alive to read it.
My grandmother lived a long life that spanned from being a farm girl in the
back woods to driving around in a big white Pontiac that she parked in the
garage of a modern house. She thus saw a fast and accelerating pace of change
through her whole life. One thing that she did not live to see was the import of the changes wrought by the post-Stonewall GLBT Rights movement. She also did not
live to see me come out.
My grandmother died not long after I graduated from high school, just long
enough after graduation that I can't quite think she hung on just to see me
graduate. But, we were very close, really closer than I was to anyone else in
my family. There are, even so, things I never got to say to her--that I was
not able to say because I was still denying and passing off attraction to and
interest in other guys as "just weird fantasies." I am fairly certain, given
her background, that she would have had a very difficult time dealing with my
being bisexual. It might even have caused a rift between us that would have
hurt both of us very much. But, even so, and even though she cannot be here
to read these words now, I think that what I might have said to her still
needs to be said. So....
Grandmother, I love you, and I need to tell you something that may be hard to
hear. I'm sorry about that. I know your background and beliefs and that you
have always held to a strict code that is extremely important to you. I
cannot ever thank you enough for having taught me to be flawlessly honest and
to stick to my guns. But, if I were to hold back what I am about to say any
longer, I would be throwing aside both of those very important things that you
taught me. I can't risk that any longer. So here it is.
I'm bisexual. I'm attracted to men as well as to women. Romantically.
Physically. Sexually. I know that's an uncomfortable topic for you, given
your background, even when the discussion is restricted to heterosexuality.
Let alone that we're talking about a sexuality whose very existence is sometimes flatly denied. For what it's worth, I'm not gay. I've identified that
way in the past, briefly, and it required me to subject myself to as much
denial as was required for me to identify as straight. I don't know if that
I do know that a lot of the concern you will have about this news is because
you love me and because you honestly believe that the deity has it in for
homosexuals--and, by extension, for bisexuals. But, I'd like you to consider
the more-recent research and work, to include new work on the Old Testament
that reveals that the critical verses in Leviticus have been hugely
mistranslated, in a way that obscures that they're really about nothing beyond
cult prostitution. (Not to mention that everywhere else in the Bible that is taken
to speak against homosexuality has been shown to be talking about something else or
else involves impossibly questionable translations or very difficult translation issues.) There seems to be nothing written against two guys who love each other and
who choose to express that love in all of the ways, including the physical.
You see, grandmother, I'm dating a guy now. And granted that it's all of a
month old, but he's made me feel like almost no-one else ever has. All I can
wish this early on is that I make him feel at least as good as that--and that
it just keeps getting better for both of us. I don't want a rift between you
and me, but he's important to me, as are you: I need your tolerance, at
minimum, and at best your acceptance and understanding. You know that your
opinion has always mattered to me. But, whatever you end up choosing to think
about this, I have met a man whose presence in my life--as my
boyfriend and, if the best happens, as my partner--looks to be going to matter to me just as much.
I love you. Please accept me for who I really am--because that is the very
basis and first necessary condition for love. I know it will be
hard, that it will take a lot of thought. That you will pray. Hard. It's
OK. Nothing about any of this happens in a moment. My coming out to myself
didn't. My coming out to you is a process that will take the time that it
Please give us both the time to find our way through this and continue to have
the closeness that you have offered me that I have found with almost no-one
else. Please understand that my new guy seems to be offering me that same
rarity, that same acceptance and closeness. Please take your time, but please
do understand that I'm still your loving grandson. I'm still the same
person. You just know more about me now.
I wish my grandmother were still alive to read the above, and thence to know me completely, to include things I was not ready to deal with back then. And I wish that I could introduce my awesome new boyfriend to her. If only.