What could be more adorable than a cute little old lady lesbian? We love and cherish our elder dykes, because we have them to thank for so many victories of the early LGBT liberation movement, and also they bake delicious cookies.
And apparently Dear Abby has a soft spot for the Daughters of Bilitis as well, because the advice columnist just offered some tender words to a lesbian grandmother who’s having a difficult time with her son. The situation is a bit sad: the woman came out when her son was four; he’s now 30 and married with a child; and he’s decided that he needs to “protect” his family from LGBTs. Ugh.
There’s a hint in her letter that what’s really going on is a domineering religious wife who’s decided to cut the lesbian grandmother out of their lives. Abby has no patience for any of this bigoted nonsense: “If your son is under the mistaken impression that he is going to somehow ‘protect’ his children by isolating them from gay people, he must be living in an alternate reality,” she writes.
Abby goes on, “You can’t force your son and his wife to have contact with you if they don’t want to. Leave open the possibility that they may, over time, reconcile their love for you with their faith.”
And that’s pretty much all a person can do when a family member is being terrible: let them know that you’ll be there for them if they ever come around, and then give them as much space as they need to be far away from you. In the mean time, Abby suggests volunteering with PFLAG to fill the grandchild-shaped hold in the grandmother’s life, which really does not seem like a sufficient substitute but what else can you do?
It’s worth mentioning that Dear Abby has a track record of solid advice when it comes to queer issues, dating back decades when such positions were not quite so popular. Last year, she had stern words for a couple in Texas who wouldn’t include gay neighbors in a gathering, and she also counseled a closeted gay who was getting harassed at work. Even in 1979, the original columnist was advising bigots who complained about gay neighbors that they were in the wrong.