Coming out is one of the hardest things members of the LGBTQ community can do. It is also one of the bravest, because we never know how people we have come to know, love and respect– sometimes our own flesh and blood– will react. Well, the interwebs are often flooded with coming out stories that are shocking, heartbreaking– and, in some cases, heartwarming. The story of 16-year-old Tumblr user Katie definitely falls into the latter category.
Katie posted to tumblr that her homophobic grandmother had been busily ranting how all gays will burn in hell during a family visit. She, like many closeted teens, sat there and listening, knowing a woman she had loved, looked up to, and respected her entire life felt that way about her, even if the grandmother wasn’t aware that her bigotry was being directed at her own granddaughter, right to her face. Finally, Katie couldn’t take it anymore, and left the room. Katie sent a text to her friend Kai, explaining the situation:
I may have just accidentally came out to my entire family in the worst way possible.
My grandma was saying how gays are going to hell and I didn’t want to deal with it so I started to leave.
My cousin asked where I was going.
What have I done?
Katie then wrote a Tumblr post that pictured the text message, captioned:
The most terrifying five minutes of my life, but now that it’s over, I’m kinda proud of this.
And she should be proud. So many LGBTQ youth who come out to their families wind up suffering horrific abuse in the form of gay “cure therapies,” being emotionally or physically abused, or even being thrown out into the streets with nothing and nowhere to go. So yes, this was incredibly brave, especially in the middle of her grandmother’s tirade about how evil gay people are.
But, Katie’s story ends differently. She posted the rest of her story, and it was incredibly touching. Here it is, in her own words:
The door was shut before I realized what I had said, and then I ran into the bathroom, where I sent that text.
While I was hiding in the bathroom, my cousin knocked on the door.‘You can come out now,’ she said, followed by ‘well, I guess you already did that, but…’
Anyway, we took refuge in her room.
Apparently, after I left the room my grandmother turned to my mom and said something to the extent of ‘how could you let your daughter become a queer?’
My mother, aunt, and uncle all went off at her for that one, there was quite a bit of yelling.
After a while, my mother came upstairs and told me that she supported me no matter what, and then we left without talking to my grandmother.
Shame on Katie’s grandmother for her bigotry. Different generation or not, this is her granddaughter, her flesh and blood. If there is a hell, it’s that hateful old woman who belongs there, not Katie.
The reaction from the rest of Katie’s family was incredible. Kudos to them for standing up in the face of that kind of hate, and what will likely be a huge division within the family. You’ll get through this Katie, because you have the support of your other relatives. If you grandmother chooses to hate on you over this, it’s her loss…but who knows? Maybe she’ll come around in the future. In the meantime, surround yourself with those who love and accept you just as you are.
If only all LGBTQ youth had families like Katie’s. Perhaps one day they will.
Featured image via screen capture from The Gaily Grind