1. In the last months of his grandfather’s life, Grant Rehnberg received “the greatest gift possible.” The 90-year-old man revealed he was gay – just like his grandson sitting right across from him.
3. In his own words, Grant remembers the moment his Grandpa Jim came out to him:
11. “He told me about the love of his life, Warren Johnson, a boy he played music with at church. He told me God loves every part of us.”
At the funeral, Grant placed a photo of himself and his husband on their wedding day in his grandfather’s suit coat pocket and a red rose on his coffin.
14. He hopes the project will help him process his feelings toward a man “whose legacy of religious shame, sexual repression, and fear of one’s true self” shaped his own path.
Today, I live as a legally married, openly gay man. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and DoMA have fallen, but I still experience similar discrimination that my grandfather’s generation knew far too well. Even with our sixty-five year age gap, Grandpa Jim and I were both born into worlds far from perfect equality and security for queer people. Many still live in the dark closet that my grandpa and I ultimately found freedom from.