I recently reveled to my friends and family, via Face Book, that I’m Bisexual. Several friends already knew, because I told them in person not long after I figured it out for myself.
Many of the reactions I received were predictable. There were reactions from people I hadn’t expected any comment from, telling me they thought I was brave, and that they supported me. My parents simply said, “We kinda already knew” and told me my brother outed me to them a few weeks before I officially came out.
But the most shocking response, by far, was the one I received from my maternal grandparents.
My Nanny and Pawpop, as we kiddos call them, helped my mom raise me for four or five years while she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. They are two of my very favorite people in the world and mean a lot to me, almost as much as my mom. They are also deeply religious Southern Baptists, and I wasn’t sure they would immediately accept me and my revelation.
But, the next day, while shopping with my mom for Prom accessories and items needed for a school trip to NYC, I received a FB message from Nanny, alerting me to the fact that, no matter what, she and my Pawpop (who doesn’t have FB or a cell phone, and really doesn’t care for most technology except flat screen tvs) would always love me. And then, she revealed to me that, while she hadn’t told my grandfather that I had “come out”, he had said, in a conversation they had earlier, that maybe one day one of us six grandkids (four from my mom, two from my uncle) would announce that we were gay and that that would be okay.
I literally teared up in the bathroom stall at Wal-Mart where I was reading the message and it made my day to hear that my Pawpop, the first father figure I ever had, the man who drove me around on his riding lawn mower, took me to work at the post-office with him, took me on my first visit to a local Historic Village, and planted Easter eggs for me and my friends to find in our huge yard, and who has, in his own way, admitted that I am his favorite (Read: first and currently most ambitious) grandchild, and who is very deeply religious and conservative in many ways, may be able to accept the fact that I might very well marry a beautiful woman some day and be praying to whatever powers there may be that he can come to the wedding and be present enough mentally to know who I am.
I guess the reason I really wanted to tell this story is to let people who think that there will be favorite family members (such as a grandparent or cousin or whatever the person may be to you) who won’t accept you coming out as anything other than “Heterosexual” because of their religious or conservative views know there is hope. They may not necessarily see it as “right” but they will support you and love you and they’ll do their best to understand. And I’m sure, if you make it known that you don’t want to be preached at, that they won’t preach to you as much if at all.
Be strong. Keep the faith. “Just keep Swimming!” And remind yourself that in the end, the only thing that matters is that YOU are happy and that you’ve done what you’re comfortable with and if your family can’t, for some really out-there reason, accept you for who you are, well then, they aren’t worth the effort it would take to put up with them trying to shoot your amazing self down.
We’re a community. We will be a new family if you need one. Remember that, and you’re golden.