Q: I just found out that my granddaughter is gay. I’m crushed. What should I do?
— Anguished Grandparent
A: Dear Anguished,
It used to be that gay people simply kept that fact to themselves and made excuses for not being married or having children. Today, however, there is much more recognition and acceptance of gays in our society. That realization may not make it any easier for you to get over the initial shock, but it can help you put the issue into perspective.
Remember that today is not like yesterday. Most straight people are not offended by those who are involved in same-sex relationships. Even Pope Francis has taken a conciliatory tone regarding the acceptance of homosexuality in the Catholic Church. Quite simply, sexual orientation is not something to be ashamed of, either as a gay person or as a family member of that person.
If you have not yet talked with your granddaughter about this new information, proceed cautiously. It is likely more traumatic for her to make her sexuality known than for you to learn about it. Be aware that regardless of how she acts, she is craving acceptance from you and the rest of her family.
More than anything else, she wants you to continue to feel the same about her as you did before you knew.
The most important thing to do is withhold any judgmental feelings you may have based on former societal norms. It may feel natural for you to have an initial reaction that is rooted in the past, but consider talking with a professional or progressive clergy about how to approach your granddaughter with love and acceptance. . Your initial reaction could seriously undermine your future relationship if you display judgment or criticism of her disclosure.
If you dig deep in your heart, you will know that your feelings for your granddaughter are no different than they ever were. Focus on that love and on the fact that she needs your acceptance and support now and always.
A Personal Family Lawyer® can help you provide for your granddaughter and other loved ones when you can no longer be there. We know how important family is, and we’ll help you take steps to ensure their security.