We asked the BuzzFeed community to tell us what happened when they came out to their grandparents and phew, they delivered. Take your time and read these stories. Full disclosure: I cried when reading these.
1. Sofiya's story:
When I came out to my grandma she was cool and gave me a hug...but the sweeter part is that since she lives kind of far away, she’ll send me a package for every holiday (besides Christmas because that’s when she visits) and now ever since I came out to her she includes something rainbow in them.
2. Liza's story:
I was engaged to my then girlfriend and I was out to most of my family. My grandmother, who was very conservative, was not doing very well health wise. While at one of my cousin's weddings, my aunt came up to me and told me that my grandmother knew I was engaged and wanted me to tell her myself. She wanted me to come out to her before she passed away and she insisted on it so much. I’ll never forget my mom's reaction to that, she was stunned that not only did my grandmother know, but wanted to acknowledge it.
Later that week I went to my grandmother's house and sat in her living room with her and my grandfather and nervously told them I was gay and engaged to be married. My grandmother took my hand and told me she was so happy for me. She wanted nothing more than for me to tell her and as long as I was happy that’s all that mattered. She then began to cry as she told me she didn’t think she could hang on for my wedding. She felt so bad she wouldn’t be able to be there but she loved my very much and wished she could. My grandmother passed away a few months later and it was incredibly hard for our family. I will never forget her words to me and that she insisted I come out to her so she could tell me how she loved me for exactly the person I was. Her words gave me so much strength and courage to love myself no matter what.
After she passed I went through a lot and found I wasn’t truly happy in my current relationship. I ended up breaking off the engagement and moving back home to be with my family. It’s now almost five years since she passed and I am so lucky to be engaged to the most amazing girl. I feel sad my grandma isn’t around to meet my fiancé but I know I wouldn’t be where I am if things didn’t happen how they did. I miss my grandma every single day and I wish so much I could give her one more hug and tell her how much that day meant to me.
3. Mary's story:
My mom told my grandma over the phone and my grandma went. “Ok. What’s the plan for Christmas, honey. I hate that you always wait until last minute to plan.”
4. Matt's story:
A little background....
I live in West Virginia which historically doesn’t have the best reputation as a place for diversity or inclusivity. However the city I live in, Huntington, is really pro-active and supportive of the LGBTQ community. In recent years we’ve been named an All-Star city by the HRC and have developed a lot of initiatives connecting underrepresented populations within the community to additional resources, events, etc. Additionally at the time of all this, my grandma had been battling various ailments and health problems that had not only left her physically home/bed bound, but also would alter aspect of her personality, thinking, and mental health....
I was asked by our mayor to speak at a TedTalk-esque style event on the realities of identifying as LGBTQ in Appalachia and specifically West Virginia. I was nervous to do it as I wasn’t out to my grandparents or extended family, but figured I could make it informal, low key, and not a big deal.
Fortunately this didn’t happen and the day before the event there were several news stories about it and I started getting calls from various reporters. I additionally got a call from my mom saying I needed to come home because it wasn’t fair for my family (who I have a great relationship with) to find out I’m gay via our local news station.
I remember driving the hour home and being nervous about how my grandma would react. I knew in her heart she would love me, but given the health problems wasn’t sure how she would react or what she would say.
When I got to her home she was asleep and I had to wait for what seemed like an eternity to talk to her. She finally woke up and asked me to sit on her porch with her.
We talked about how the sun was finally out, how her flowers were really starting to bloom, and how the birds were louder than usual.
Then there was a break in the conversation, and I said it.
“Mawmaw, I’m gay.”
Without hesitation and with no break in the conversation, she took my hand and simply said, “There’s room in this world for everyone and more than enough love. I love you.”
I immediately started to tear up and she went on to tell me she just wanted me to be happy. She asked if I was in a relationship and what prompted me to come out. When I told her about the event and how I was asked to speak her eyes began to well up and she told me how proud she was of me and that we needed to celebrate on a Sunday after church.
When it came time for me to present the following day, I began to walk up to the podium and noticed a bit of movement in the back of the room. It was my grandma being wheeled in by my entire family. I of course began to tear up.
When it concluded and I went to see them, she told me she wouldn’t miss it for the entire world and the second I left her home she called the rest of my family to tell them they would all be going with her.
To this day I still can’t talk about it without tearing up. I’ve always been a mawmaw’s boy and most definitely have a special bond with her. We’re even closer now.
5. Elaine's story:
My grandparents live about four hours away so I decided to call them. I sat in my friend’s dorm room, terrified, and dialed their number. My grandma was extremely accepting but kept asking, “You’re sure it’s not a phase?” And my granddaddy was wondering the same thing. I think they were in denial about me being gay but when I told them I had fallen in love with an amazing girl they were so happy for me and have opened her with the biggest open arms. My grandparents are very conservative but have accepted me fully. I got very lucky with them and I feel like we are closer than before.
6. James' story:
I never planned on telling my grandma but one day she got annoyed and texted me asking if I was gay. She then texted me for 20 days in a row asking me, so I finally said "yes." She now messages me every week asking me if I have a boyfriend yet.
7. Clint's story:
My grandmother passed away before I was able to come out to her. She was devoutly religious and unaccepting of the LGBT community while she was alive. About a year after she passed away, I went and visited her grave for the first time and I just sat down and told her about myself and came out to her. I told her I was so much happier now and how I wish she were still here to understand more about who I was. Whether she would have accepted me or not isn’t a big deal to me but just saying it aloud, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
8. Luna's story:
I told my Grammy that I was bi and she looked at me for about a minute, cocked her head, and said, “Huh?” I repeated myself and she’s like, “What’s that? Never mind I’ll look it up." So now my Grammy is in a full fledged research project as to what bisexuality is.
9. Reed's story:
My Nanners (that’s what I call my grandmother) and I have always been really close. She’s my favorite and I’m hers, to the point to where the entire family knows it. We do woodworking together, go to yard sales, and generally just share similar interests. She’s always been that one constant person in my life. Even when I had no one, I knew I had her, and she had me. This being said, I was petrified to tell her I was gay. If I lost her, it truly would completely devastate me. I was scared to take the risk, but it got to the point when I felt like I was lying to her, and I couldn’t stand lying to the most important person in my life. So, one day I was at her house and we were sanding down some furniture, and I was like “I have something to tell you." She looked at me all concerned and I said “I’m dating someone.” Her reaction was “Who is she?” I told her as we continued to sand down the wood. After that she just accepted it fully and everything was the same as it had always been between us. She has since gone on to introduce my girlfriend to people at weddings and family events, not giving a crap if they like it or not. That’s saying a lot seeing as how I’m from a small town in Tennessee. She is literally one of my absolute favorite people. I truly don’t know what I would do without her. ❤️
10. Angela's story:
I’ve been with my fiancé for over six years. We are getting married next March and I hadn’t come out to my grandma because my mom was afraid of her reaction. They are Hispanic and Catholic and my mom would refer to my fiancé as my "friend" or "roommate" whenever she talked about us. We were in town visiting and I casually gave my grandma the "save the date" for my wedding and said, “So, Daphney and I are getting married next year.” She just said “Oh, really?” and admired the invitation and then asked for three more to frame.
I found out later that she called my aunt to vent about it. Her main question she had was “But how do they have sex?!”
11. Jessica's story:
My mom actually "outted" me to my grandmother, in the best way! My grandmother is very Catholic and my mom and I figured she didn't have to know about my sexuality or who I was dating. She was in her late 80s, why give her heart the stress, ya know? Anyway, my mom got so comfortable with me and my girlfriend that when my grandmother asked where I was during their nightly phone call, she blurted out, "Oh, she's on a date with Marianne."
Surprisingly though, my grandmother and my girlfriend really hit it off. My grandmother and grandfather adored her and her family. They threw dinner parties for them and vice versa. It got to the point where I was starting to doubt they're understanding of her being my romantic partner but my mom confirmed that they knew, 100%. My grandmother grew quite protective of her and asked my mother repeatedly if my sister's were being inclusive of us, hahah! A near 90- year-old stone-cold Catholic lady making sure her little gays were okay! Years later, when said girlfriend and I had been broken up for about two years, my grandma asks me if it'd be okay if she asked Marianne to give her iPad lessons because she's "so patient and it's too loud at the Apple store." I said yes, of course. Marianne was an amazing tutor and even drew her instructions on how to navigate her email and Facebook profile. They both still adore each other and occasionally chat on messenger.
12. Abby's story:
I wanted to tell my grandmother that I’m non-binary. I felt like I had the courage to do it, and all I needed to do was figure out the right time and place for it. Then with basically no warning, she passed away, completely devastating my family and me. Not only did I not come out to her, but it ended up derailing my plans to come out to the rest of my family. I was hesitant about coming out at first because I wasn’t sure how she would react, but in hindsight I realize that she would love me no matter what. Not coming out to her has been the biggest regret of my life because it didn’t just push me farther back into the closet, it took away an opportunity for her to truly understand me, and for us to become closer before she passed.
13. Sophia's story:
I came out via a post on Facebook, and I didn’t want my grandparents to find out like that, so I texted them and told them. They replied, “Just remember, you’re our granddaughter and we will love you no matter what. Well, unless you like Trump.”
14. Dylan's story:
I was 14-years-old. I had come out to my parents a few months before, and my friends/school a couple months before that. My grandparents lived a few hours away, and it was standard for me to go out and spend a week or two with them over the summer.
Now, being a 14-year-old boy, let's just say I had a habit of going to certain websites where I boldly lied about being18 to enter. Before I left my mother sat me down and told me, in no uncertain terms, that if I even THOUGHT about going to ANY of "those websites" the repercussions would be swift and serious. And to this day I am STUNNED that I actually upheld my end of the bargain. I mostly fluttered around sites like LiveJournal (hah), NeoPets (HAH), and AOL IM (LORD HELP US ALL).
Well, apparently my grandma stumbled across my Livejournal (side note: my Livejournal name at the time was "thespian_queen"... I know, right?), and she started reading my journal posts about all the boys I was not-so-secretly in love with and all the pre-BuzzFeed quizzes about what dildo.
She FLEW. OFF. THE. HANDLE.
She asked why I was looking at dirty websites, why I was "that way," etc. etc. etc.
She calls and demanded she drive the four hours to "get me out of her house."
I spent the next four hours locked in the guest bedroom of my grandma's house.
I heard my mother's car pull up, heard her slam the car door, and burst through the sliding kitchen doors and immediately scream, SCREAM, at her mother, "What the FUCK do you think you're doing!? We have all known he was gay since he was THREE, Mom. What do you think this is making him feel like?!" My grandma just cried and said she didn't want me there and blubbered about "How was she supposed to know?" My mom said, with finality, "Well, congratulations mom, but your grandson is gay and thinks that is wrong somehow because of you, and I don't want my son thinking that about himself!" A few expletives later and my mom screams down the hall for me to grab my stuff because "we are leaving, NOW."
My grandpa eventually came home, heard what happened, and called my mom on her cell and asked to speak with me.
"We love you," he said. "We will always love you, no matter what. Your grandma is just from a different time and wasn't ready to process this."
Cut to a few months later. No one in my family had spoken to my grandparents in almost that entire time. However, it was our family's turn to host Thanksgiving. The day my grandparents arrived, I was once again, terrified. I did not want to be the cause of a ruined Thanksgiving. As my grandma got out of the car, she was holding a wrapped gift. She handed it to me without saying a word, but motioned for me to open it. It was a complete works of William Shakespeare. Written on the inside was a simple note: "To my thespian queen. I will always love you." I cried. She cried. Mom cried.
The next summer when I went out for another visit, my grandma had tivo'd the original Queer Eye and Will and Grace, and we watched them together, occasionally asking me questions about this or that.
This all was literally half my life ago, and I am happy to report my grandmother has become nothing but the supporting, loving ally I always needed, wanted, and now have.
15. Sully's story:
I was scared so I had my parents tell my grandparents. My one grandma wasn't happy about it but said that she'd live with it. My grandparents on the other side of the family were shocked at first and didn't think I could know for sure. Since then they have become more comfortable with it and have met my girlfriend multiple times. Whenever my grandma finds out that one of her friends has a LGBT grandchild she sends me a text about it.
16. Jenn's story:
I was a nervous 19-year-old so I asked my mom to tell her parents and my dad’s mother. I was never worried about not being loved or or anything but they were all born in the '30s and wasn’t sure how my nana Ann would deal with it.
Well, I was in my dorm room and my mom told my nana Ann and she called me and said she didn’t care and loves me so much! She was a tough lady and had her flaws but that night she was the best person in the world. I was so excited and overwhelmed I ran up and down the hallways of the dorm and it felt like my heart was going to explode! I am incredibly lucky and so fortunate. It’s a night that I will never forget.
17. Hipster in disguise's story:
She lives in Texas and I was living in Southern California during my junior year of his college. The two of us were very close because she had lived with us for most of my childhood after my mother died, so I felt that it was probably a good idea to let her know.
We had never really talked about being LGBTQ or her opinions about it but she's a VERY traditional woman who loves her Bible. She had called me every Sunday to talk and I had decided that today was going to be the day.
I had a plan all written out about what I was going to do if she had a negative reaction and how I had planned to rise above and be a composed person. The phone rings and we go through the usual small talk and I'm anxious to just say "Betty, I am a lesbian and it's fucking amazing."
So there's a stall and I compose myself and say, "Grandma, I love you, and I just wanted to let you know that I'm a lesbian and I have a girlfriend. I would love your support because you are an important part of my life, but I understand if you don't want to continue our relationship."
There was no response on the other line and I assumed she was worried that she had "caught the plague of the homosexuals over the phone" or something like that. I asked if she heard me and only then did I realize that she was laughing. She told me "Honey, this is not a surprise. I told your father you were gay when you were four and wouldn't stop talking about the girls in your school and was sure when you were eight and told me that you just wanted to live with your friend in a cabin in the woods and grow carrots. I love you with all my heart and nothing could ever change that. God loves you and you can't forget that. Don't let this girl break your heart, young love makes the heart fragile."
I was then sobbing because no where in my very organized notes had I prepared for this. It was so pure and I never assumed she would be so accepting.
Fun fact: She walked me down the aisle in June because that girl never did break my heart. I love my wife (I HAVE A WIFE, GUYS!!!) and I'm so thankful to my amazing 76-year-old grandmother.
18. Kenz story:
I had to tell my grandma before my sisters wedding because I was bringing a girl and her response was "Okay, thats fine, are you still wearing a dress?"
19. Taylor's story:
My grandma and I have always been close so when I came out as a lesbian at age 23 I was very concerned she wouldn’t take it well and our relationship would suffer.
Nearly two years later and I’m not sure why I was worried, I routinely get calls from her telling me that she’s seen someone on Facebook post about having a queer daughter/granddaughter/cousin/whatever and asking if she should call to set up a date.
The first time she tried I was (besides being mortified at the idea of my grandma calling a stranger to find me a date) moved to tears that she was so dedicated to helping me find a partner, even if it wasn’t the type of partner she’d always expected. I still get teary eyed telling people about how incredible my grandma is.