GRAND Magazine - February 2009 - (Page 32)

ask grand An elephant in the room? By Dr. LILLIAn CArSon Gay grandparents wonder what to tell their grandkids…and when Q A I am the grandmother of two girls, ages 7 and 10. After my divorce 10 years ago I began a relationship with another woman. We have been living together for seven years and are committed life partners. My grandchildren like “Aunt Mimi,” and we both enjoy good relationships with them. I have never discussed the fact that I am a lesbian with my grandchildren and feel that it is the elephant in the room. Their parents know the truth. Should I talk to my granddaughters about this? If It Is of any comfort, you are not alone. Like you, many lesbian and gay parents who married decades ago, had children and subsequently divorced are now becoming grandparents. You are pioneering this new role. “There are a growing number of gay/lesbian grandparents who are looking for ways to explain to their grandchildren who they are and who they love,” according to Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council. Because this is a sensitive topic, I understand that you don’t want to upset or harm your rela- tionship with your granddaughters. But, what exactly are you worried about? As you have described, your “secret” is the elephant in the room, an unspoken but intrusive fact. The old adage “The truth shall set you free” is applicable. Emerging from the closet is still new territory for many gay and lesbian parents and grandparents, and there is no guarantee how others will react. The first step is to be comfortable with your own life. It would also be helpful to seek counsel from the parents of your grandchildren. Their suggestions and support can provide reas- 32 GRAND FEBRUARY 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - February 2009

GRAND Magazine - February 2009
GRAND Central
On the Cover: Susan L. Taylor, One in a Million
Get a Job!
The Healthy Crib
Movin’ to the G’Kids
Closing In
10 Disney Secrets
Just the Family We Are
Grand Prix: 0-3
Left Behind
Cycle Safe
GRAND Finale

GRAND Magazine - February 2009