Can ‘Right-Wing’ Grandparents’ Gay Views Change?

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    Feb 09, 2014 1:32 AM GMT
    Do you think it is essential to tell aging grandparents, in this case ultra right-wingers, that their grandsons or granddaughters are in a relationship with a person of their sex? Is a family doing a disservice to the gay grandchildren by not telling them?
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    Feb 09, 2014 2:34 AM GMT
    I think that grandparents are just as likely to change their views when someone they love comes out. Just because they have age and experience doesn't mean that they can't change and accept something that is most likely very foreign to them...or not. If grandchildren are close to their grandparents, then yes, in my opinion, they should share their good news with them.

    As a grandparent, albeit a little bias because I came out, I can't imagine every shunning my grandchildren. Of course as they age, that might be more difficult! LOL
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Feb 09, 2014 4:38 AM GMT
    It seems that grandparents are more accepting than are parents...
  • PolitiMAC

    Posts: 728

    Feb 09, 2014 4:42 AM GMT
    What kind of question is that? Of course they can change their minds regardless of their political leanings.

    I'm a gay man on the right side of politics and I hope go have grandchildren one day and I will like or dislike them based on their character, not anything to do with sexuality.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Feb 09, 2014 4:44 AM GMT
    FRANKHOMESTEADER saidWhat is gay today is actually queer .

    No, you're queer. Gay? I have no idea.
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    Feb 09, 2014 5:02 AM GMT
    PolitiNerd saidWhat kind of question is that? Of course they can change their minds regardless of their political leanings.

    I'm a gay man on the right side of politics and I hope go have grandchildren one day and I will like or dislike them based on their character, not anything to do with sexuality.

    Yes, but you're bias so you don't count. I feel the same way and I have grandchildren but they will grow up with a gay grandpa so they'll know no different. I would hope they'd be very understanding of others.
  • MikeW

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    Feb 09, 2014 5:21 AM GMT
    Woodsmen, I think it depends on a lot of variables.

    IF the right wing view is purely political (that is to say NOT based in religion), then there may be a better chance. However, if the political stance is based in fundamentalism (usually protestant Christian) then I would say highly unlikely that the grand parents will ever change their views. In the latter case, their sense of identity and personal salvation forbids it. They *might* accept the fact that a grandchild is gay but they would never accept that homosexuality is anything other than morally and ethically wrong.

    As to whether or not it is worth telling them… I wold say that is up to the grandchildren to decide. Do they want to be out to them or not.

    I'll give you my case as an example. My mother and two older sisters were fundamentalists. My dad was less religious but was extremely bigoted. 'Niggers', 'Chinks', 'Spicks', 'Jews', 'Catholics'… you get the picture. Anyone 'other' was 'bad'.

    So here was gay little Mike growing up in the midst of this being told over and over and over again "You're stupid, lazy, good for nothing, and will never amount to anything."

    Fucked up.

    I *never* came out to these people. No way in hell was I going to do that. They were so dysfunctional and 'down' on me, criticizing me at every turn -- not even knowing my sexual proclivities -- no way in HELL was I going to give them any more ammunition to murder my self-esteem than they already had. FUCK THEM already!

    If I had had better self-esteem growing up, then maybe I would have but the point is, because I didn't, I had to struggle to keep my sense of self, and keep myself from blowing my head off. Last thing I needed was their shit. So, to me, it wasn't any of their fucking business what I did or with whom.
  • MikeW

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    Feb 09, 2014 5:27 AM GMT
    woodsmen said^ Hugs Mike. Didn't know this background of yours.

    My dad used me for target practice with his 22 rifle. I kid you not.
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    Feb 09, 2014 5:58 AM GMT
    MikeW said
    woodsmen said^ Hugs Mike. Didn't know this background of yours.

    My dad used me for target practice with his 22 rifle. I kid you not.

    I'm sorry to hear that.
    Mine used me for a punching bag every day until I was 16, when I hauled off and hit him back hard, then packed my shit and left for good.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 09, 2014 6:27 AM GMT
    I'm not concerned about the age rather the "right wing". I doubt that will change. I'm embroiled in an acrimonious exchange with the editor of my community newsletter for printing a column condemning gay rights and marriage.

    She can print this hate propaganda but what disturbs me is that she feels it's perfectly fine not to print the opposing viewpoint and I must learn to tolerate.

    It's this right wing that will just need to die off through attrition. In a couple generations, things will be positively different provided we continually strive for change. Granted, I grow weary of continually being the one to speak up while everyone hides their heads in the sand.
  • MikeW

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    Feb 09, 2014 6:57 AM GMT
    Aristoshark said
    MikeW said
    woodsmen said^ Hugs Mike. Didn't know this background of yours.

    My dad used me for target practice with his 22 rifle. I kid you not.

    I'm sorry to hear that.
    Mine used me for a punching bag every day until I was 16, when I hauled off and hit him back hard, then packed my shit and left for good.

    That's what it takes. Setting and maintaining boundaries. I *never* talked back to my dad even once until I was 18 years old. Finally I'd just had enough. He was fussing at me (for the millionth time) about something and I just said FUCK YOU, YOU STUPID SON OF A BITCH and walked away from him. That wasn't the end of our history but it was certainly a turning point.
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    Feb 09, 2014 3:41 PM GMT
    My grandfather shared MikeW's use of generalizations about groups, but somehow he saw individuals differently. He was raised with certain prejudices and shared them, and would say obtuse things like "there are too many blacks on TV" or "there are too many spics playing baseball" but if we had a friend of a different race he would treat them fine.

    I never came out to him... he died before I told my family, but he definitely knew I was "different" and I never felt any hostility from him. I actually worked construction with him for a while so we spent a lot of time together.

    The thing that really stunned me, though, was towards the end of his life when he was in and out of hospitals, he had a black roommate of similar age to him, who wouldn't eat for some reason, and thus wasn't getting better. My mom walked in on my grandfather spoon feeding the guy, talking gently and encouragingly to him like you would a little kid, trying to convince him he needed to eat if he wanted to go home. Somehow he was able to see individuals as people even though he carried the baggage of his generation about various groups. I like to think he would have been okay with me, but I guess I'll never know.
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    Feb 09, 2014 3:49 PM GMT
    Webster666 saidIt seems that grandparents are more accepting than are parents...



    agreed , grandparents have given up on alot of things, and just dont care.
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    Feb 09, 2014 4:19 PM GMT
    Yes, grandparents can change. So can everybody else. I think many grandparents have evolved with the times. They grew up in a different environment than what we have now but have had time to learn that the biases they grew up with are meaningless and should be ignored. Those biases are so ingrained in others that their beliefs will never change. It's up to each of us to recognize and understand the culture and environment they grew up in and decide if they will be supportive or not, then make a decision about coming out to them.

    In my case, I chose not to come out to my grandparents. I think my grandmother would have been supportive after a little while, but I strongly doubt my grandfather would have come around. They lived with an uncle for several years toward the end of their lives and all of them (grandfather, uncle, aunt, cousins) are conservative. I cared about what my grandparents thought but don't care about the rest of them, so I kept my sexuality quiet from that branch of the family until both grandparents passed away. My grandfather passed away a year ago, so I've since come out to that part of the family.

    I've only had one negative reaction to my coming out. None of my friends, coworkers, kids that i coach, or other family members cared. That one negative reaction was from my aunt, saying they would never publicly criticize or bully a gay person, but they believe homosexuality is a sin. This was done via a private message on Facebook. Things have gone on as normal since. Since we live in different parts of the country I'll likely never see them again, but if I do, I'm a bit concerned about what they will say.

  • rdberg1957

    Posts: 662

    Feb 09, 2014 4:57 PM GMT
    I think the question is relevant and the answers will differ depending on the people involved. I think that the culture has changed dramatically. While there is still a great deal of homophobia, it isn't tolerated everywhere. When I came out, it not only took courage to come out, it also took courage for any parent to stand up for their child.

    Because so many gays and lesbians have come out in their families, it is much more difficult for anyone to say that they don't know anyone who is gay or lesbian. The issue of bullying in schools is instructive. In some school districts with a conservative adult population, bullying is a very real issue. However, more parents are willing to stand up for their children. There are more people accepting of gay marriage than ever before, even among conservatives.

    I would say that the current generation of grandparents who are around my age and a little older (50's, 60's and 70's) may be more open to change than the previous. Part of the reason for this is the context in which the previous generation grew up. My grandparents grew up in a world where gay did not exist. Homosexuality was only spoken of in whispers and considered exceedingly odd. The only public places where homosexuals could gather were kept secret from the general population--which was easy to do prior to television and the internet. While there is still some risk of backlash and family discord if a young adult or adolescent comes out to his grandparents, I believe it is less than it has ever been in our culture.

    I came out in 1979. My paternal grandfather was 86, my paternal grandmother had dementia. Grandpa Phil died a year later and it made no sense to even speak to my grandmother. It wasn't an issue. I had more of a relationship with my maternal grandparents at that point. I visited them in California in 1984. By this time they had moved into a retirement community and out of their home in Santa Cruz. They had moved closer to my uncle. I had come out to my uncle, but he was not very helpful at the time. I never said anything to my grandparents because I didn't expect any supportive response from them. Looking back, their health was failing and knowing them as little and as much as I did, it was probably prudent not to discuss my sexuality with them. Neither grandparent was very personal; both were good people, but neither disclosed much about their internal world (personal experiences, feelings, history).
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    Feb 09, 2014 5:41 PM GMT
    woodsmen said"My mom walked in on my grandfather spoon feeding the guy, talking gently and encouragingly to him like you would a little kid, trying to convince him he needed to eat if he wanted to go home"

    I teared up. It shows that we all may have prejudices because of environment but kindness comes from our own heart.

    I think this illustrates how we hide behind what we've learned or been taught and until we're faced with a situation in our own life, it's easy to remain or proclaim we're against anything.

    Often when reality hits home, it's a different story. You see this with parents when they find that their child is gay. At first it's a definitive NO, then as time goes by and they break out of that bubble of ignorance created by accepting what they were told or what was learned, then they change, often becoming more accepting openly.

    Grandparents are the same but have many more years of experience in going through this with many aspects of their lives. I believe that as they grow older they recognize that changing is OK and that understanding is better than standing firm with no reason. They've all seen their children's imperfections despite their parenting techniques. They've seen the same in a second generation and realize that life, society and norms change over the years and that what they once thought was certain, perhaps isn't.

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    Feb 09, 2014 9:15 PM GMT
    MikeW said
    FRANKHOMESTEADER saidWhat is gay today is actually queer .

    No, you're queer. Gay? I have no idea.


    When my 96 Yo Mormon Grandmother was a young girl, gay meant happy and bright, a good time. Then it come to mean homosexual, then it come to mean shoving all the communities like GLBT under one banner, when we have never ever been one tribe, but many. To the youth of today, gay simply means dumb, and they can have it.

    Oh and my 96 yo Mormon Grandmother love's my husband and I, with all her heart.

    Not everyone here with left wing voting Grand parents are so luckyicon_wink.gif
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    Feb 09, 2014 9:19 PM GMT
    Yes, mind did and they love being apart of my life!
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    Feb 10, 2014 12:36 AM GMT
    Gant31 saidYes, mind did and they love being apart of my life!

    Ah...that's awesome! Congrats icon_smile.gif