Coming Out to Grandma and Grandpa

Raising My Rainbow is written by the mother of a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son. She’s chronicling their journey on Queerty right here. Read up on RMR‘s cast of characters.

My mother-in-law and I are VERY different. For example, she decorates like this. I do not.

We see Grandma and Grandpa Colorado only a few times each year, which would be totally fine if I didn’t like them so much. How I managed to luck out in the in-law department is beyond me. It’s not that we have so much in common: My mother-in-law is a total tomboy. She was a professional athlete, she hates to shop and she couldn’t care less about celebrity gossip—mostly because she is unfamiliar with most celebrities. (She recently went three years without a television.) I told her that Michael Jackson had died six months after his death and she was shocked, though not sad. She doesn’t know her way around a computer or the mall. She doesn’t care about things like matching her clothes, climbing the corporate ladder or preventative maintenance. I love her.

My father-in-law might have been my soulmate had I been born 30 years earlier. He’s a dichotomy—a man’s man with a Master’s degree in English and a hankering for the liquor. He knows every pre-Y2K song that comes on the radio and will dance to it with a grace not known to many men over six feet. He collects quotes and knives. He has an artist’s spirit with a blue-collar sensibility. He understands women, fish and woodworking more than any person I’ve ever met. He calls me and my friends sexist nicknames like Baby Doll, Baby Girl and Filly. Not only are we not bothered by it, we kind of like it.

Grandma and Grandpa Colorado are children of the Sixties. They met in Redondo Beach, got married months later and joined the Peace Corps, but they’re not the hippies you might imagine them to be. They are old-fashioned in many, many ways.

We haven't spotted in rainbows in Colorado, but C.J. has been impressed with the clouds. He wants to taste them.

They’ve always welcomed my gay brother into their lives and home with big, burly arms. But he’s not their son, so it’s a little easier to be accepting and loving and then send him back home on the evening train to WeHo.

C.J. is different; he’s their flesh and blood. And, I can’t help but feel that him being gender creative and possibly gay is my fault. As far as we know, they’ve never had a homosexual in their bloodline. I can’t help but wonder if they blame me?

Oh, and one other little, teeny, tiny thing: They don’t know about this blog. Whoopsie. I feel like I’m in the closet with them—and I don’t like it. It’s just how it is telling people my brother’s gay: if I don’t come out with it early, at a certain point it gets awkward to come out with it at all. People feel like you haven’t been real with them, like you were trying to deceive them. Or when you do tell them, they feel like you’ve altered their sense of reality. Never a good feeling, I realize.

It’s the end of our first full day in Colorado. The daily thunderstorm is rolling in the sky and The Rolling Stones are playing on high. C.J. is in his black-and-white polka-dot apron and pink headband. Papa Colorado is dancing with him, spinning him round and round as C.J. giggles with delight. I know that they are going to love C.J. no matter what. This is a new journey for them, and they deserve to be as big a part of it as they choose to be, not as I choose for them to be. I’m gonna tell them real soon….I promise.


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  • patrick L

    I don’t get it. Tell them WHAT? That little C.J. might someday like getting his dick sucked by another man? We don’t even know for sure if this kid is gay or not, and you feel you have to discuss his sexual identity? Leave the kid alone.

  • EdWoody

    I would think if they’ve any kind of eyes in their heads they’ll see it for themselves. But other than that, @patrick L is right – what exactly could you tell them? You don’t KNOW anything to tell them yet. The rest is obvious.

  • Mike in Asheville

    Is it just me, or does this whole “Raising My Rainbow” project give anyone else the heebie jeebies?

  • Steveo

    @Mike in Asheville: I am in the same boat. I think it’s well-intentioned, but unfortunately I think she’s become a bit obsessed.

  • mark

    Your doing a good thing by not busting his balls about the shit he likes, but can you just relax and let him be a kid. Why the hell does he have to basically “come out” at the age of 4. Unless your grand-in-laws both have alzheimers they realize hes obviously a little effeminate. So you dont need to attach labels to your child when hes to young to understand or give a damn.

  • inoits2

    …groan. If you aren’t doing something wrong then you should tell them. Tell them now. You won’t because they would get a court order.

  • Adam

    I agree completely with the first four commenters. I love how positive the mother is towards her child, but it has gotten to be too much. The mother seems to have a victimization complex. Additionally, it seems like everyone else is fine with CJ, and the mother keeps turning everything in to DEFCON 1.

  • john

    guys I don’t think she’s talking about telling them he might be gay…I think she’s talking about telling them about the blog…

  • Tony

    Does anyone know if this woman is for real? Or is she (or he) just writing an entertaining blog as a creative writing project?

  • Kieran

    Why don’t you just let CJ be a kid and stop obsessing if he might be gay or not? There’ll be plenty of time to obsess over his sexual orientation or whether he’s transgendered when puberty arrives—–in another decade or so.

  • Adam

    @john: At any rate, I resent that she would conflate her not telling her in-laws about her blog with being in the closet, and to further talk about how it’s an issue when she tells people whether or not her brother is gay. She has a victimization complex.

  • xander

    She’s really creating lots of drama out of thin air : The grandparents still love C.J., even if he’s effeminate,
    and she’s got no obligation to tell them that she blogs—since after all, no real names are used. What’s the big angst for?

    No reason to bunch up the pants, Mother!

    The bizarro analysis of gender roles of MIL and FatherIn Law at the beginning makes me wonder why she is so very much obsessed with how ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ people appear to be??

  • dryad

    this lady sounds like she wants attention for nothing jsut making a big deal about how OMG I AM LOVING PERFECT MOM FUCK YOU WORLD before her damned kid has straight up told her hes gay, or trans, et fucking alia

  • Elloreigh

    “As far as we know, they’ve never had a homosexual in their bloodline. I can’t help but wonder if they blame me?”

    Lady, your son might not turn out to be gay. For that matter, he might even completely surprise you and outgrow his early love of girly things.

    Accept, but don’t push, and don’t assume. Puberty can be a big game changer.

  • artyparty

    You guys are kinda harsh and rude.
    She never once even said that her son is gay.
    she just documenting an experience that may be helpful to other parents dealing with the same issue.
    I’m an out gay elementary teacher and have had a parent come up to me to ask me about their child who may not be fitting into the role that is usually in line for ones gender.
    This article could possibly be helpful to those parents even if only to say your not alone.

  • Adman

    C.J, you’re being slowly introduced to the last lesson in non-hetero life. It’s the age you live in that makes it all totally premature you should be learning many lessons first before goint to grad school, but you’ll have to deal. One day you’ll learn, never defend the breeders. Never do it, because it’s a deal breaker with any amount of human potential you may have. You’ll never know it, and experience manifestation of yourself if you stick up for them, since the game their playing is conformity at the expense of a specter in their own minds.
    The specter is a ghost, the spirit of lost opportunity you represent in their true hearts, or an infinitely malleable concept of “difference” that lies at the base of everything they are. And it makes them tolerate breaking up families, robbing, killing, even their own family, flesh and blood to “deal with it”.
    It’s not evil per se, this protean ambivalence for non-heteros, it’s just the vessel that evil resides in when manifest, so you must never defend it. It’ll take patience, and you’ll question everything about yourself, but then you will anyway, because you’re better than the game they play, and they are simply impoverished at this fact about you themselves. But, don’t defend them. I know you love them, but just know that they’ll take it or maladapt, whatever, but it is not your fight. Here’s hoping you someday come to understand.

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