— An excerpt from advice columnist Dear Abby — Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips — who responded to a gay woman whose son had shut her out of the lives of her grandchildren. When asked why he had suddenly banned her from his family’s life, her son responded, “I have to protect my children from people who are gay. I don’t want them to know anyone who is gay.” Abby told the woman she couldn’t “force your son and his wife to have contact with you if they don’t want to,” and instead to focus her maternal instincts on helping others. In particular, she recommended that the woman join PFLAG, as “[LGBT youth rejected by their parents] would benefit greatly from having a positive adult mentor like you.”
The full exchange is below, courtesy of Uexpress.
DEAR ABBY: I came out of the closet when my son was 4. I thought I had taught him not to judge because of a label. He’s now 30, with a wife and two adorable children who own my heart.
When my granddaughter was born, my partner and I were at the hospital and have visited with them often and they with us. However, after my grandson was born last year, my son quit speaking to me.
I have asked him numerous times what the issue is. His response is: “I have to protect my children from people who are gay. I don’t want them to know anyone who is gay.” His wife and her family are very religious, and I feel this is the real reason. What can I do? — HEARTBROKEN GAY GRANNY
DEAR HEARTBROKEN: If your son is under the mistaken impression that he is going to somehow “protect” his children by isolating them from gay people, he must be living in an alternate reality. Does he also plan to emigrate to the moon?
I suspect you have put your finger squarely on the reason why your son is now ostracizing you. His wife appears to wield the power in that family, and could benefit by learning more about homosexuality and her religion, which I assume preaches love and tolerance for one’s fellow man rather than judgment and exclusion.
You can’t force your son and his wife to have contact with you if they don’t want to. Leave open the possibility that they may, over time, reconcile their love for you with their faith.
For your own emotional well-being, it’s important you find other outlets for your maternal instincts and go on with your life because any child would be blessed to be a part of it. Sadly, a large number of LGBT young people are rejected by their parents when they come out. These kids would benefit greatly from having a positive adult mentor like you. This could be your golden opportunity to make a significant, positive difference in someone’s life. Contact Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays at pflag.org to find out how to get involved.
Image Credit: Uexpress
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