Ask the Aunties: should I come out to my homophobic grandparents?

If you have homophobic grandparents, should you bother coming out to them as pansexual?

In this episode of Ask the Aunties, our queer agony aunties Karnage and Lee help a 24-year-old woman who identifies as pansexual has written in to ask if she should come out to her family.

The dilemma: should I come out as pansexual?

“I’m a 24-year-old pansexual woman. My friends and fiancé totally accept it.

“However, I pretend to be straight when I’m with my grandparents. Ever since my dad died they’ve been there for me and never turned me away when I needed help.

“But, they think gay people choose to be gay. Do you think I should tell them I’m attracted to women, or is it not worth the risk?”

Ask the Aunties: their response

Agony Auntie Karnage kicks off: “I personally feel like they need to be educated. A lot of older people do not get, you know, gay or queer issues—they don’t understand it.

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“I feel like it’s not even probably from a hateful place, it’s just the way that they were brought up.”

“She has the opportunity to teach and inform them of what it’s like to be LGBTQ,” Karnage adds.

“I grew up around Caribbean culture,” says Lee.

“So my grandparents were brought up being told that being gay was closer to satan than it was to anything else.

“The worst thing you could do was to be gay. Growing up I felt like I could never tell my grandparents.”

Lee remembers when his Nan brought up his sexuality: “She was like: ‘I know you are a gay, but I still love you,’ in her thick Caribbean accent.

“‘It’s not for me, but I love you so don’t worry about it.'”

This is an image of two Black men sitting on a couch and talking.
Aunties Karnage and Lee offer advice to a reader who isn’t sure if they should come out to their homophobic grandparents.

“My great-grandmother was from Jamaica, and you know, they’re not very accepting,” Karnage recalls.

Karnage says that other than his mum, she was most accepting: “It shook me and surprised me, but her love for me didn’t change because I’m gay.

“It made our relationship stronger because now she understands me.”

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Lee then turns to the advice for the reader who isn’t sure about coming out to their homophobic grandparents: “You’re 24-years-old so you’ll get to a point where you want to live your life authentically and be honest with the people that love you.

“You’re grandparents were there for you when you really needed them and so they care about you and love you.

“I wouldn’t assume that they’re not going to be there for you.”

Karnage chimes in: “I feel like people will surprise you when they love you.”

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