A Grandmother’s love for her gay grandson
Having suffered the consequences of a dangerous pig, I am now recovering from my shoulder surgery, and several of my on line friends have agreed to write guest posts or to allow me to re-publish some of their posts previously published on their blogs.
This guest post was written by Peter C. Frank and originally posted on his blog, Peter’s Place, on December 31, 2009, as, “A New Decade, Unconditional Love.” Peter is a 30-something, single, gay man living in the suburbs of New York City. He is disabled, and a GOP LGBT political activist who loves to snuggle.
Approximately one decade ago, Westchester County
where I live, was debating the passage of legislation that would establish its own Human Rights Law/Commission. The proposed legislation was extremely controversial because it included “sexual orientation” as a protected class–something the New York State law did not do at the time.
As someone who has been politically involved since high school and active in the LGBTQ rights movement, I wrote a letter to the editors of our local newspaper in support of the passage of the county’s proposed Human Rights Law. For whatever reason, somewhere around 90% of the letters to editors that I write actually get published, and this was no exception.
My letter appeared in the local paper, signed with my name and village of residence. My grandmother was very frail of health. At that time she’d had four major coronary infarctions and a series of minor strokes, along with the usual health problems associated with someone who is approaching their 80th birthday and had been smoking for over 60 years. She came into my room carrying the newspaper. While not bed-ridden, she didn’t often get out of bed except to use the facilities and go to doctor’s appointments.
She asked me how I could be so stupid as to have such a letter published with my name and location. I was very puzzled by her reaction, as she had tears in her eyes. I had already come out to her by this point, so it’s not like she didn’t about my being gay. I asked her what the big deal was.
She told me that there are very crazy people in the world and having my name and location published, someone could be hiding in the bushes outside of our house and attack me for being gay, or come by the house and throw rocks at me, or while I’m out and about someone could try to kill me. It was a cause of great consternation for her that I would be harmed by one of these crazy people.
I responded by telling my grandmother that it was she who instilled in me the values to stand up for what I believe in, to exercise my rights as guaranteed to me in the United States Constitution, and not to back down when I know I am fighting a just and worthy cause.
My grandmother hugged me, told me that she loved me, and urged that I be cautious and safe. She said she would pray that I not ever fall into harm’s way because of who I am, and advised that she would be worrying over me whenever I left the house, a promise she kept. Whenever I left, she wouldn’t go to sleep until I returned home safe and sound.
A few days later, a public hearing was being held on the proposed Human Rights Law. I was getting ready to leave the house, and my grandmother asked me where I was going. I told her that I was going to speak in support of the law at the public hearing. I had to explain a bit what was going on. She asked me if I could wait five minutes, and I said I would.
Less than five minutes later, my grandmother had her purse and winter coat, and told me that she was coming with me despite her frail health. There was nothing I could do to change her mind, so I brought her along to the public hearing.
We arrived a bit late, but not too late. We took seats near the front. When the legislators asked if anyone else wished to speak, I began to rise but my grandmother put her arm on me to keep me seated and instead rose herself and approached the podium.
At the podium, my grandmother relayed how she read my letter to the editor in the newspaper, and how scared she was for my safety. She told the legislators that she was a devout Roman Catholic, but that I was her grandson and she loved me no matter who I was or what I did. She implored the legislators to pass the Human Rights Law, so that she could stop worrying about the safety of her grandson and not have to worry that he would be fired from a job for being who he was.
I had absolutely no idea that “Grams” was going to do this. Tears filled my eyes — just as they are now as I recount these events. It was then, right there in the public hearing, that I came to know the true meaning of “Unconditional Love.” I couldn’t have been more proud, happy, or loved than I was at that point in time, until now.
The past decade has been a roller coaster of events that have affected me in various ways. Let’s view the events that have affected me over the past decade.
Be sure to check out Peter’s blog, “Peter’s Place.”