In this letter to “Ask Amy,” a “Devastated Grandma” confesses that her LGBTQ grandson makes her sick. Her lack of empathy and failure to love him unconditionally sickened me! I hope she reads and follows Amy’s wise advice.
Many grandparents today are learning how to navigate the new world of gender fluidity and why support matters. That’s why I’ve invited author Cristina Spencer to speak to our GaGa Sisterhood about gender identity and provide some basic vocabulary for understanding today’s gender fluidity. Cristina will be our speaker on Sunday, November 13, 2022.
Dear Amy: I have one son and two grandsons. The older grandson, age 17, appeared at his prom wearing a full-length purple gown with nail polish to match.
My son became very defensive and said that people can love who they want and that society needs to get used to it. I agree. But there are people out there who don’t like this “in your face” behavior.
I have not mentioned this again. I don’t want to alienate my son or grandson, but the prospect of having an LGBTQ grandson makes me sick.
He spends most of his time alone in his room and is very sullen. His maternal grandfather committed suicide last year, so I am concerned about the mental health of the entire family. They are receiving counseling individually and as a family.
Can I do anything other than cry myself to sleep? Could this be a phase, or will he always be like this?
— Devastated Grandma
Dear Devastated: I have a blunt question for you: Are you going through a phase, or will you always be like this?
I hope it’s a phase.
Yes, you worry. Yes, you fret. But the role of a grandparent is actually so simple: All you have to do is to love your grandchildren — exactly as they are, exactly as they present to you; through phases, representations or revelations; and through whatever joys or challenges they encounter.
Can you imagine the impact on this family if you just simply loved and accepted all of them, no matter what?
You might not understand why your grandson would make the choice to go to the prom wearing what sounds like an amazing outfit. But that sullen teenager left his bedroom, got dolled up, and took himself to the prom! (I wish I’d had an ounce of that kind of courage at his age.)
Furthermore, his father is his ally! Give yourself credit for raising a man who is a good parent. This family is receiving professional support (another very wise choice).
Your only job here is to find a way around your own fears and to relieve yourself of the burden to judge this family — and instead to love all of them, just as they are.